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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Anwar: I'll tell Ambiga to call off Bersih rally if...

pkr election confeb anwar speaking(Malaysiakini) PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said that he would tell Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga to call off the July 9 rally if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak can assure tomorrow that elections will be free and fair.

"I will call Ambiga and tell her to call off Bersih, if Najib can promise free and fair elections tomorrow," he told over two-thousand PKR members at the party's election convention in Shah Alam today.

Anwar (left) said this in his concluding speech at the convention, that aimed to educate and energise the party's grassroots election machinery who were mostly present at the event.

pkr election confeb generalThe Permatang Pauh MP was trying to make a point, arguing that the BN regime will not dare to allow free and fair elections because the ruling coalition knows that it no longer has the favour of the voters and thus has to resort to dirty means to cling on to power.

Former Bar Council chief Ambiga was however not amused, and in an immediate response ticked Anwar off for overstepping his role.

"It is not up to him to decide,” the activist quipped.

“We have decided to hold the rally and it is we who will decide on whether or not to hold it," she told reporters prior to the official launch of the Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur tonight.

Ambiga: 'It's not about me'

ngo pro selangor government rally 230111 ambigaAmbiga (right) also refuted right wing pressure group Perkasa's allegations made in the latter's launch of their anti-Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur earlier today.

"Bersih is not about the individual; it is not about me. I will not respond to their character attacks," she said.

The lawyer added that she will neither respond to Perkasa nor lodge police reports on the group burning her photo and making threats against her during their event.

"Free and fair elections is our message, and our means is peaceful. If there is violence on that day it will not be from our side," assured the Bersih chief.
pkr election confeb crowd kidsThe Berish 2.0 coalition for free and fair elections comprising over 60 NGOs and political parties is planning a mega rally on July 9 to press for electoral reform.
The organisers aim the event to be even bigger than the first Bersih rally in November 2007, that saw 40,000 turning Kuala Lumpur into a sea of yellow shirted protestors demanding changes to the electoral system that critics say is favouring the ruling party.

Ibrahim raises spectre of May 13 at anti-Bersih rally launch

Datuk Ibrahim Ali launching the Anti Bersih programme at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman in Kampung Baru June 19, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Perkasa kicked off its Bersih 2.0 counter-protest here in Kampung Baru today by burning images of Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and issuing a warning to the Chinese to stay indoors as “anything could happen”.
Perkasa Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who earlier appointed himself “war general”, said if electoral reform coalition Bersih goes through with its July 9 rally, he will not be held responsible for any untoward incidents which may occur.

“Imagine if chaos erupts. If the Bersih rally is not cancelled... I believe the Chinese community will have to stock up on food.

“Yes, anything can happen. And so I ask the police to act and use whatever powers are at their disposal,” he told some 500 supporters who gathered at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman here for the launch.

Those at the launch burning images of Ambiga on poster June 19, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi
Ibrahim stressed, however, that Perkasa and the other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) opposed to the Bersih rally would not resort to violence as they were only interested in safeguarding the nation’s peace and prosperity.

But the Malay rights leader added that he would not be held responsible for the actions of those who might use the rally as a cover to commit crimes.

Ibrahim also suggested that Ambiga — described in a flyer being passed as “a dangerous Hindu woman” — was working for foreign powers seeking an excuse to interfere in Malaysia’s internal affairs.

He cited the former Bar Council president’s defence of Lina Joy’s right to convert from Islam and her involvement in the interfaith council as examples of her repeated “illegal actions”.
“Perhaps she is an agent of the Jews,” he said.

The Pasir Mas MP also repeated a claim made by Utusan Malaysia today that the opposition will use the rally to trigger an uprising similar to the ones seen in Egypt and Libya before forcing their choice of prime minister upon the people.

Supporters scream out their opposition to Bersih June 19, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi
“If an emergency declared, will the Agong be able to appoint a caretaker leader? Maybe they (the opposition) will take to the streets and demand that they take over the government,” he said.

PR component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.
The first rally in 2007 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital's street, before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannon.

The 2007 rally has been credited for the PR’s record gains in Election 2008, where the opposition pact was swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.

PAS has promised to bring some 300,000 protestors this year in hopes that it will galvanise support for the opposition in the next general election, expected to be called within a year.

Perkasa has pledged to send 20 buses from each of the 10 peninsular Malaysian states, in addition to supporters from 164 other non-governmental organisations. Umno Youth has also said it will march on July 9 to counter the Bersih rally.

The 'apostasy' elephant in the room

'A person must convert to Islam before he or she can marry a Muslim. Why not allow the convert to revert when the marriage ends?'

Mufti: Many new converts want out of Islam

Sarawakian_3ff9: That's the problem when people are forced to convert, either through marriage or for other reasons. Most who converted through their own conviction are unlikely to revert.

When a marriage fails, the converted spouse is likely to opt out due to the prospect of future marriage or to go back to their original religion, meaning that they never actually leave their previous religion.

Other countries don't have such problem, only Malaysia.

Ruben: "Syariah Court received 686 applications to renounce Islam between 2000 and 2010."

That's a small number. I wonder why all the fuss. In any religion, there will be people who get disillusioned with their faith and thus like to convert.

DontPlayGod: The Islamic law says that a person must convert to Islam before he or she can marry a Muslim. So why not allow that convert to revert to his or her former religion when the marriage ended?

After all, the convert knows nothing about Islam and is not interested in it. So why insist that he or she to remain as a Muslim? Why keep a person tied to a religion which he or she doesn't believe in?

Alan Goh: Converting to Islam is easy but coming out of it is very difficult. Why is it so when religion is something personal between man and woman and God. True faith must come from the heart.

Practice moderation like what we see in Indonesia and Singapore. The Muslims there are not bogged down with petty issues like the use of 'Allah' and are very tolerant with other religions, which in return, gain respect from Christians, Buddhists and Hindus.

Just look at oneself in the mirror - if you are not clean in the inside, then do not cast the first stone. This is a personal opinion is from a sinful and humble layman who leave others to decide their own faith as all religion preaches goodness, mercy and compassion.

Henry Hock: Do an honest survey, you will find that some convert to Islam because they want to get married and get goverment contracts and promotions. Do they really understand the theology behind it?

Let there be true freedom of religion, otherwise you are making a mockery out of Allah because He only wants willing and sincere converts (including those born in Muslim families) who believes in Him with all their hearts, minds, soul and might. You agree, mufti?

Ksn: Let them go. Why force anyone to stay in any religion if they have no faith in the religion. There is no reason to fuss about it. Those remaining will be those with strong convictions and true to the religion.

Disgusted: The truth is 80 percent of the people who 'convert' to Islam are forced to do so not out of the heart.

A majority of them convert because they have fallen in love with a Muslim and want to get married. Some for economic reasons to get the privileges accorded to Muslims economically as well as to get instant bumiputera status.

There are some who are conned or coerced as is happening to some Orang Asli, and those in East Malaysia where children who do not have a definite religion specified in their birth certificate, and are later assigned as Muslims when they enter school. In some government-run institutions like orphanages and welfare homes, the same thing is done.

As long as this sort of conversion takes place to boost the numbers for political reasons, there will be no sincerity in the hearts of these people. All conversion must be from the heart, not otherwise. I know of many who were forced to convert because of marriage, and have since fled to Singapore and Australia.

Anonymous_403c: I believe Islam is a great religion that teaches righteousness. However, the way it is being abused and misused by many Muslims frightens the non-Muslims. You get the impression that the religion is violent, unforgiving and obsessed with sex.

Fairnessforall: Many covert for dubious reasons and not for the love of Islam. There are men who just want out of a marriage and do not want to pay alimony so he converts to escape his responsibility.

Then there are those who convert just to marry a Muslim as our country does not allow a non-Muslim to marry a Muslim without converting. So most converts are Muslim on paper, but they are not Muslim in practice as I know many Muslim converts who still eat port, go to temples, and do everything that is not allowed in Islam.

So it is the fault of the Islamic authorities for forcing these people to convert and also for making it so easy for an individual to escape his responsibilities by converting. Apparently, they are interested in quantity, not quality.

What's the point of having fake Muslims? The authorities should come up with strict guidelines for conversion, and it should not allow a person to escape his responsibilities by converting.

Anonymous: I am a forced Muslim. I signed a form, which noted, that I was signing the form out of free will, and not forced. While my heart was shouting 'sign', my brain was shouting 'do not sign'.

Now, I am happily married for 10 years, and in love with my wife and kids. Religion? What religion?

Keturunan Malaysia: You can beat the life out of a body, but you cannot beat what he/she believes in out of his/her heart and mind. No one bothers if you believe in Buddhism (my religion). It is as easy and as simple as that. It is, and shall always be, between you and God.

Malaysiasakit: Like they say in the song 'Hotel California' - You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

Ku Li: Putrajaya should rethink economic policies as income gap widens

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah believes Putrajaya should rethink its economic polices as the income inequality has widened in Malaysia and is now a problem across all races despite Barisan Nasional’s (BN) claim of promoting a welfare state.

The former finance minister also called for a review of affirmative action policies, saying last night the view that “if ownership was de-racialised or balanced at the top, economic justice would follow is no longer a valid premise for the future.”

“Income inequality in Malaysia has widened (and) is no longer a problem between races; it crosses the racial divide and it is a problem of the majority of Malaysians who feel the pressure of inflation in almost every essential aspects of their lives. This is the most serious challenge we face,” the Gua Musang MP said in a speech in Taiping last night.

Barisan Nasional leaders including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had insisted that the ruling coalition has already implemented a welfare state in response to PAS’s recent shift from an Islamic to a welfare state agenda which aims to redistribute profits earned by GLCs and crony companies to the general public

However, the Kelantan prince questioned the management of state finances, stating that if the current administration’s struggles with the budget deficit was a “result of wastage, corruption and extravagance in the use of public funds, then the solution to the problem should not be passed on to the public.”

“What is needed is a re-examination of the management of the country’s finances before... any change in the policy of subsidies be implemented, as the consequences would have a life-changing impact on the livelihood of the people,” said the veteran politician popularly known as Ku Li (picture).

Putrajaya has committed itself to slashing a budget deficit that hit a two-decade peak of 7 per cent in 2009 to 5.4 per cent this year and has made cuts to a subsidy bill that would otherwise double to RM21 billion this year.

The hikes in prices of items such as fuel, electricity and sugar come despite surging inflation which hit a two-year high of 3.2 per cent in April, fuelling public anger ahead of a general election expected within the year.

Opposition politicians have called for a review of the subsidy cuts and want a bi-partisan panel to look into Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s (TNB) power purchase agreements which are said to favour independent power producers (IPPs).

Tengku Razaleigh also picked out “the moral inconsistency” of how national oil company Petronas has recorded “mind-boggling” profits over the years including a RM90.5 billion pre-tax profit this year but yet “the greatest poverty is found in the petroleum producing states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Sarawak, and Sabah.”

“Petronas was set up with the objective of serving the nation’s interest as a priority. The aim of making Petronas a multinational cooperation at the expense of national interest is contrary to the Petroleum Development Act,” said the Kelantan prince, who was instrumental in the founding of Petronas.

He also criticised Malaysia for being the only rice producing country that has privatised rice production and given it to politically-linked Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s company, Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), a monopoly over the market.

“The reality today is Thailand and Indonesia are self sufficient in rice and we are 30 per cent dependent on imported rice. But because it is a monopoly, imported rice is cheaper in Singapore than Malaysia.
“Privatisation for the benefit of private individuals to profit from such an essential commodity is a clear abuse of power,” Tengku Razaleigh added.

Hindraf: End religious ‘persecution’

Failing which the government faces the risk of the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia, says Waythamoorthy.

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an NGO in overdrive since late 2007, wants Malaysia to end all forms of religious persecution in the country or incur the wrath of the international community on the issue.

They fear that Malaysia will end up as an “international pariah state and outlaw like some other countries run by rogue regimes”.

The NGO warns that religious persecution is a serious offence under the United Nations Charter, of which Malaysia is a signatory, and under international law. Religion should not be brought into the public sphere, it added, to clobber anyone with it.

“This (religious persecution) has been going on long enough in the country and we want to see an end to it,” said Hindraf chair P Waythamoorthy in a telephone call from political asylum in London.
“Enough is enough. Don’t play politics with religion.”

He was commenting on the on-going polemics on the incidence of apostasy (murtad) in the country following conflicting statements from Selangor mufti Tamyes Abdul Wahid and Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom.

The minister, in particular, has allegedly contradicted himself by telling the press something different from what he told Parliament.

Waythamoorthy refuses to be drawn into the polemics which, according to him, is being politicized by the mufti and the minister.

Instead, the Hindraf chair wants the authorities to buck up on the issue of religious persecution or risk the international community applying sanctions against Malaysia.

“We must not think that it (sanctions) will not happen. It will once the international community decides that the country has lost credibility on the issue of religious persecution,” said Waythamoorthy.

“If enough people in Malaysia stand up on the issue, things could get very hot quickly for the government.”

New umbrella body

Asked for his definition of religious persecution, Waythamoorthy cited, as an example, that the country was not allowing freedom of worship as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

One aspect was “the authorities forcing non-Muslims to embrace Islam against their will when they married Muslims”.

Other examples, he said, were rampant incidents of body-snatching by Islamic Religious Department officials, difficulties in getting official permission to build places of worship, indiscriminate demolishing of places of worship, religious establishments being forced to take down the symbols of their faith and discrimination against one on the basis of faith.

“The worst form of religious persecution in Malaysia is the encroachment of the Syariah Court into the domain of the civil courts,” fumed Waythamoorthy. “The civil courts are the last bastion of civilization in Malaysia.”

Unfortunately, he added, there were too few non-Muslim judges in Malaysia to defend the judiciary from insidious attack by the Syariah Court.

The Hindraf chief conceded that his ad hoc apolitical movement had not been vocal enough on religious persecution in the country. However, he vowed that things will be very different from now on under the UK-based Human Rights Foundation Malaysia which was recently set up to work closely with all human rights NGOs in the country.

“Religious persecution will top our agenda in Malaysia, at the United Nations and in international forums,” said Waythamorthy.

“We have already raised the issue of Islam being imposed illegally on Sabah and Sarawak as the official religion and the Orang Asli Christians being persecuted for their faith.”

Opting out of Islam

Another sore point, continued Waythamoorthy, is the establishment of religious rehabilitation centres all over the country to re-brainwash apostates in Islam and force them to abandon their original faith or reject their new non-Islamic faith.

He reckons these centres as akin to the re-education camps set up by the communists during the Cold War years.

“The Islamic religious authorities in Malaysia are treading the same path as that taken by the communist bloc since 1917,” said Waythamoorthy.

“The Free World would sooner or later have to fight yet another global Cold War, this time against religious intolerance and the lack of respect for democracy, human rights and women.”

The Selangor mufti, Tamyes Abdul Wahid, has since disclosed that many new converts to Islam in the country applied to renounce their new faith and return to their original beliefs once their marriage to Muslim partners fell apart. He denounced the tendency among non-Muslims to embrace Islam only when they married Muslims.

Tamyes was elaborating on Jamil Khir’s recent statement in Parliament, as recorded in the Hansard, that 168 applications had been approved in recent months to opt out of Islam.

Jamil Khir has also been reported as saying by Bernama, the national news agency, that the Syariah Court had not approved even a single case of “opting out” todate. - FMT

Libyan government denies rape allegations

CNN obtained a copy of a cell phone video that appears to show a woman being sexually abused.Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- The Libyan government has denied rebel allegations that Moammar Gadhafi loyalists have been raping women, despite videos captured on cell phones that appear to show sexual abuse.

The Gadhafi regime had initially not responded to CNN requests for comment on the abuse allegations but Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi said Friday at a news conference that women are "our sisters" and Libyan soldiers would not commit such heinous acts.

"This, like the other mercenaries lies, are false," al-Mahmudi said.

Rebel fighters said they have found videos of rape on cell phones confiscated from captured or killed Libyan soldiers.

CNN obtained a copy of a cell phone video that appears to show a woman being sexually abused. The person who gave the video to CNN said it was on a cell phone that was confiscated from a Gadhafi loyalist.

Rebels say cell phone videos show rape, torture

It shows two men in civilian clothes standing over a naked woman who is bent over with her face on the floor. The man standing behind her is sodomizing her with what appears to be a broomstick.

"I can't bear it! I can't bear it!" the woman cries.
"Let's push it farther," a male voice says off-camera.
"No, no, that's enough!" the woman begs.

Eventually, one of the men puts his sock-covered foot on her face. In Arab culture, that is considered a major insult. But in this case, it pales in comparison to what the victim is already enduring.

Arabic speakers who listened to the video at CNN's request said the voices have Tripoli accents. There is no date on the video and the men in it are not wearing military uniforms.

CNN has been unable to verify the video's authenticity, when it was shot, or by whom. The person who gave it to CNN asked not to be identified for fear of being punished by Libya's conservative society.

Al-Mahmudi said there was no proof that Libyan soldiers were behind the abuse. It said the perpetrators could belong to the armed gangs leading the rebellion against Gadhafi.

An opposition spokesman, however, said the video illustrated a pattern of abuse by Libyan soldiers.
"We were able to confirm that rape was used as a weapon of war, because it was systematic," rebel spokesman Abdullah al-Kabeir said.

The rebels have many videos showing other types of torture, and a few depict rape, he said. He did not know exactly how many videos there were showing abuse.

One of the most famous faces of Libya's revolution, Eman al-Obeidy, dramatically claimed in March she had been gang-raped by pro-Gadhafi forces. She has since fled the country.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States was "deeply concerned" over the reports of wide-scale rape in Libya and called for an investigation.

"Gadhafi's security forces and other groups in the region are trying to divide the people by using violence against women and rape as tools of war, and the United States condemns this in the strongest possible terms," she said.

Devi Mata saved hundreds lives of Hindus. Suspected Muslim Militants are unsuccessful to blast in Hindu Pilgrimage at Kamakhya.

Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, Assam.

Guwahati : Cops defuse powerful bomb on Kanchenjunga Express, avert tragedy at Hindu Pilgrimage.

Somi S Mohanta || Siliguri, 17th June 2011
Defusing the Bomb at Guwahati Railway Station

To frighten the Hindu pilgrimage for abstaining from gathering in the yearly congregation of Ambubachi Festival at ancient Kamakhya Temple near Guwahati in Assam, most probably the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) had their definite planning to finish hundreds of Hindus this time.  At the same time anti-talk factions of ULFA and NDFB are also under the scanner for such subversive activities who have been continuously defying the Indian sovereignty in the North East India. Kamakhya Temple is considered as a Shakti Peeth of 51 Shakti Peeth in the North East India. Lakhs of hindu devotees come to Kamakhya in the occasion of Ambubachi Mela every year.

Hundreds of passengers of the Sealdah-Guwahati Kanchenjunga Express had a miraculous escape on Friday morning after a powerful IED placed inside one of the reserved compartments was detected and diffused by police well in time at Kamakhya Station near Guwahati. By the blessings of Devi Mata, lives of some 1100 devotees were saved miraculously. The IED device could not effective in time. Most probably the Islamists wanted a Quranic treatment of Kaffirs through a blast and fire-works on Jumma day (Friday) to celebrate the win of maximum numbers of Muslim MLA s in Assam Assembly as sponsored by United Muslim Force of Badaruddin Azmal Attarwala.

A team of Government Railway Police detected a suspicious bag on seat number 22 of coach S5 when the crowded train entered the Guwahati railway station after an overnight journey from Sealdah in West Bengal. The GRP personnel found no owner for the bag and on opening it found a milk can that was tightly wrapped around by small ropes.

According to the police the IED weighed around four kilogram was fitted with a programmable time device. There were also three detonators and splinters inside the bomb. The bomb was disposed off by a bomb disposal squad of special branch of Assam police after few minutes of its recovery in the morning.
Police said the personnel on duty in the train noticed an unattended small, but heavy bag on empty seat no. 22 in S-5 reserved coach at Kamakhya railway station near Guwahati.

“As nobody claimed the bag at Guwahati railway station, where the train arrived at 5.20 am, the GRP personnel suspecting it to be a bomb evacuated about 1,100 passengers on board it and the crowded platform,” they said.  The train was 45 minutes behind schedule.

Assam Police IGP (operations) Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta said, ” We are yet to ascertain as to who could be behind the planting of the IED inside the train. We are also examining the fact the train had come through lower Assam.” The prime suspects are the anti-talk factions of Ulfa and National Democratic Front of Boroland. The lower Assam area through which the train passed has the presence of mostly the NDFB faction. NDFB has now its connectivity with both the Christian militants and the MULTA counterpart as a strategy of power sharing of this region.

Officer –in-charge of the police station of Guwahati railway station, Dhrubajyoti Hazarika said that police have intensified security systems in and around the station. “We received special directives from our senior officers few days before to check every coach with utmost care before the Ambubachi festival. There are inputs that some militants may plant explosives to create panic before the Ambubachi festival in the city.”

A high alert has been sounded across the state following the detection of the powerful bomb which was a programmable time device (PTD) weighing 4 to 5 kgs and it could have caused a major explosion, GRP sources said.

The Assam based insurgency is receiving green colour in texture. A portion of Baruas in Assam have been converted to Islam and helping the Islamic supremacists. Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) has been running more than 200 terrorist camps/hide outs in Assam valley to strength its own set up and to throw out all Hindus from Assam at any cost. They have a major plan to make this land as part of United Islamic Bangladesh.

Jamat Ali, Islamist, MULTA
The Police and Para-Military have recently cracked the conspiracy against the Assam Hindus by MULTA Terrorists as the army entrapped a militant mastermind belonging to Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) during a joint operation at Phutimari village in Kamrup district of Assam on Sunday last. The militant has been identified as Jamat Ali, carrying an one 12 Bore single barrel gun, a china made automatic revolver, a crude bomb weighing two kilogram and some improvised detonators to run further havoc over Hindus. MULTA has the strategy to curve out blasts, shoot out, un-noticed rioting over communal issues on Fridays in Assam in Hindu religious places and especially Hindu populated areas, as apprehended.

Anwar at 'Rapat AMK'

Racism in disbursement of gov't scholarships charge

(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Party has filed a police report in Penang against the government over what it described as "race based" disbursement of Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships, study loans and seat allocation for students of higher learning.

Ganesan Penang Human Rights Party HRPIn his police report, HRP advisor N Ganesan (far left) urged the police to investigate Prime Minister Najib Razak, his deputy and Education Minister Muyhiddin Yassin, Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khalid Nordin, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz over the issue.

He also urged the police to probe the Umno-led government, especially the violations of Article 8 and Article 12 of the Federal Constitution for denying the Malaysian Indian students of their basic right to education.

"This level of racism, religious extremism and supremacy do not exist in any other part of the world except in Najib Razak's One Malaysia," he told reporters after filing his report at the Jalan Patani police station last night.

Much hand wringing over issue

"Today Malaysia is the most racist and supremacist country in the world," he charged, asking the force to reply to him in writing within two weeks, failing which he would assume the contents of his police report to be true.

Ganesan said the government has committed a "gross abuse of executive power" by not revealing the details of the scholarship recipients', terming it a flawed process of "implementing transparently".

Later, Nazri had reportedly said that there was "no concrete evidence" when the proof itself was a state secret, he added.

He was referring to Nazri's June 14 statement, where he had said "It is the government's policy not to reveal the marks of the recipients to the public to protect their individual rights and privacy."

Nazri added that " there is no further concrete proof of abuse of power in awarding scholarships, looking at the fact that the implementation was done transparently and in order as dictated by the cabinet decision of 14th Jan 2009."

The Malaysian Indian-rights party views the issue of scholarship disbursement and seats allocations in institutions of higher learning for students from the community as contradicting the Federal Constitution.

Muhyiddin says opposition using Bersih rally to topple BN

BEAUFORT, June 18 – The opposition is hiding behind the planned Bersih 2.0 rally with a plot to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The Umno deputy president (picture) said the opposition’s agenda was to create a momentum among the people to hate the government by raising various issues beyond the call for clean and fair elections.

“They are trying to use street demonstrations against the government to achieve their road to Putrajaya,’’ Muhyiddin told reporters after opening the annual meeting of Beaufort Umno.

The Bersih 2.0 electoral watchdog group has called for a rally in Kuala Lumpur on July 9 to demand the Election Commission (EC) clean the electoral roll, reform postal vote, use indelible ink, free and fair access to media and have a minimum 21 days campaign period.

The group which comprises opposition parties, non-governmental organisations and activists are also asking the government to strengthen public institutions, stop corruption and dirty politics.

But Muhyiddin pointed out that if the elections had not been free and fair, how could the opposition win so many parliamentary seats and four state governments in 2008.

“If it is not free and fair, how could they make electoral gains. If they win they keep quiet and if they lose they claim unfairness, why the double standards. I think their motive is a short cut to Putrajaya,” he said.

The three parties that later formed Pakatan Rakyat (PR) – PKR, DAP and PAS – won 82 federal seats and four more states in Election 2008 which saw BN losing its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time ever since becoming a coalition in 1974. That victory came after the first Bersih rally in 2007.

Umno and Malay rights group Perkasa have denounced the rally, saying it would lead to chaos,  have an impact on tourism and is a threat to national security. Several police reports have also been lodged against the rally.

Umno Youth has also announced it will hold its own rally against the Bersih rally, joining Perkasa which was the first group to counter the rally.

The police have said it will not issue permits for any rally on that day and will mount operations to prevent gatherings in the city.

Full welfare state will bankrupt Malaysia, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir previously equated a welfare state to communism. — file pic 
PUTRAJAYA, June 18 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad conceded today that Malaysia was a partial welfare state, but remained steadfast that it should not be allowed to become a full-fledged one as it will bankrupt the nation.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition lynchpin, Umno, and its political foe, PAS, have been fighting to claim ownership over the welfare state philosophy as the public grows more restive over the soaring prices of daily goods and services following subsidy cuts ahead of a general election expected by next year.

Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, have said that PAS’s welfare state was not new and that BN has already been practising it in government.

“To a certain extent it is true. A lot of things are made cheap for the people, the government used money in order to reduce the cost of living in this country. The cost of living in this country is very low,” Dr Mahathir  told reporters when asked if he agreed with the Najib administration’s stand.

The country’s fourth prime minister, from 1981 to 2003, explained the amount of things a shopper could buy in Malaysia was nearly on par with his counterpart in the US, despite the American dollar’s higher currency value.

“If compared, RM1 in this country will buy practically US$1 (RM3.04) in America because the cost of living here is almost one-third the cost in America.

“This due to the government giving subsidies, having built up facilities, all kinds of things the government has done for the people, not for the government,” said Dr Mahathir, who had pegged the ringgit to the US dollar in an attempt to keep the national economy afloat during the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s.

Asked if that move qualified Malaysia to be called a welfare state, the 85-year-old who once controlled the country’s purse strings clarified he did not claim it was a “full welfare state”.

“I believe that if we have a full welfare state, we’ll go bankrupt,” he said and pointed to Greece, which had announced bankruptcy due to overwhelming debt last year.

Dr Mahathir said the Mediterranean nation became broke because “they spent money giving their people, they don’t have to work, you go and retire at 40 years old, you get pension, you do that, you go bankrupt.”
He said the government should continue its welfare programmes to a limited extent.

“To be a welfare state, people must make money and pay tax to government. If people are not making money then the government will not have money,” he said.

The former finance minister highlighted that the biggest problem with having a welfare state was that the funds depended on the number of people who had jobs.

“But at the same time, because the number of people employed is less, the number of people requiring aid or pension is more.

“So when you have less money, that’s when you have to pay more money, that’s the problem of a welfare state,” he explained.

In his New Year’s message on January 1, 1994, Dr Mahathir argued against the idea.
He said people could not hope for the government to provide all the facilities as promised by a welfare state.

He also equated a welfare state with communism while railing against a minimum wage, which he argued was inefficient.

Karpal wants act to protect parents

The veteran politician says a law must be put in place to protect them from errant children, and he will propose this in Parliament.

GEORGE TOWN: Senior parliamentarian Karpal Singh wants the government to enact a Maintenance of Parents Act to protect parents’ rights from errant children.

Since children were now neglecting their responsibility to take care of their parents, the DAP stalwart said he would move a Private Member’s Bill during the August parliamentary sitting to effect his proposal.

He said many children, especially sons, had now shirked their duty to maintain their parents, especially the ailing ones.

He said some children just send their parents to old folks homes or simply chased them away after getting married.

“This is wrong. It’s time to enact a law to protect the parents. We should punish children who neglect their parents,” Karpal told newsmen during his Bukit Gelugor constituency visit here today.

He added that neighbouring Singapore already had such a law, and hoped that the government would heed his call to enact the Maintenance of Parents Act.

Still early to retire

On the next general election, the DAP national chairman said the party might only allow Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Sarawak candidates to contest both parliament and state seats.
Others in the Peninsular, he said, would be told to contest either seat.

Karpal said his “one candidate – one constituency” proposal had been well received by party grassroots.
He would air his proposal at the party central executive committee “when the time is right.”

Retirement from politics was also far away from the minds of Karpal and his fellow party veteran and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang.

Karpal said they would like to have another shot by contesting their respective seats in the next election.
“So long as the party and public want us to contest we will continue our political struggle to serve the people in our own way,” he said.

The 71-year-old wheel-chair bound politician said he was still healthy, capable and able to be in active politics.

“After all former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamed retired from active politics at 78,” he noted.

Penindasan Syiah: Ar-Ridha serah memo kepada PBB

Memorandum tersebut diterima oleh Penasihat Keselamatan PBB di Malaysia, Singapura dan Brunei, Devendra Patel
PETALING JAYA: Ar-Ridha, sebuah NGO komuniti Syiah di negara ini, telah menyerahkan memorandum bantahan penindasan terhadap pengikut mazhab itu di Malaysia kepada Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) di Bukit Damansara semalam.

Memorandum tersebut diterima oleh Penasihat Keselamatan PBB di Malaysia, Singapura dan Brunei, Devendra Patel, demikian menurut Pengarahnya Mohd Kamilzuhairi Abdul Aziz dalam satu kenyataan media.

“Penyerahan memorandum tersebut dihadiri sekitar 11 wakil pengikut Syiah dan berlangsung dengan aman sekitar 15 minit dengan dikawal rapi oleh beberapa anggota polis,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, ArRidha mengecam tindakan Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) Marzuki Hussin dan sebahagian laporan media yang menggambarkan Syiah sebagai “kafir”, “musyrik”, “sesat”, dan mazhab ini perlu dihapuskan.

“Tindakan ini bertentangan dengan pendirian Malaysia di persada antarabangsa sebagaimana yang dipersetujui pada deklarasi OIC (Pertubuhan Persidangan Negara-Negara Islam) di Islamabad, Pakistan berhubung satu resolusi tentang pengukuhan perpaduan Islam.

Menurut beliau, resolusi tersebut telah didokumentasikan di PBB : A/61/981 S/2007./656, antara lain menyebut Mazhab Syiah Imamiyyah diiktiraf sebagai mazhab yang sah.

Beliau turut mengecam tindakan Jais yang bertindak menceroboh Majlis Kebudayaan dan Kesenian bersempena hari ulang tahun kelahiran Fatimah Az-Zahra, puteri Nabi Muhammad s.a.w, pada 24 Mei lalu.
Majlis tersebut katanya, dihadiri lebih 1,500 tetamu daripada pelbagai bangsa dan agama yang sebenarnya melambangkan keharmonian hidup rakyat di negara ini.

Terdahulu Ar-Ridha telah memfailkan saman terhadap Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Berhad, Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) dan bekas Pengarah Jais Datuk Muhammad Khusrin Munawidi di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur semalam.

Ar-Ridha menasihat orang ramai supaya tidak termakan dengan fitnah dan tuduhan yang tidak berasas dan mengajak pihak berkuasa agama khususnya Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim) untuk mengadakan dialog.

Stop bitching

This is my response to the Penang mosque committee fiasco where the opposition was forced to do a ‘U-turn’ after adamantly stating that it would go ahead with the elections of the mosque committees. This is also my response to HINDRAF’s announcement that it is boycotting the BERSIH rally to punish Pakatan Rakyat.


Raja Petra Kamarudin
Aziz Bari is grumbling because Umno has dragged the Monarchy into politics and is using the Palace against the opposition (read his article in Bahasa Malaysia below). My response to that is: so what? Isn’t this what Umno normally does? Isn’t this what Umno always does? So, what else is new? It’s the same old story.

You mean the opposition did not suspect this would happen? You mean this is the first time this has happened and the opposition was caught off guard? How come the opposition was caught off guard? You mean Umno is cleverer than the opposition?

The opposition always seems to get caught off guard when it comes to issues concerning the Monarchy or the Palace. There must be some very stupid people in the opposition if they can get caught on the same issue again and again. There is saying: once bitten twice shy. Only fools get bitten 25 times and are still not shy.

Next time plan your strategy. Use preemptive strikes. Don’t get into a situation half-cocked like you always do. And stop complaining about Umno this and Umno that, especially when it comes to the Monarchy or Palace.

And to those Chinese and Indian readers, stop falling into Umno’s trap. Umno wants you to whack the Monarchy and Palace so that it can prove to the Malays that Pakatan Rakyat, in particular the non-Malays in Pakatan Rakyat, are anti-royalty. That will ensure Umno can win back Malay support. And you are doing exactly what Umno wants you to do.

Now, to the issue of HINDRAF. They want to boycott the BERSIH march because they are angry with Pakatan Rakyat. Why boycott BERSIH when it is Pakatan Rakyat you are angry with? I do not get that logic.

BERSIH is about the rakyat, not about Pakatan Rakyat. So, are you trying to punish the rakyat or punish Pakatan Rakyat?

The signal that HINDRAF is sending to the rakyat is that Pakatan Rakyat is behind BERSIH. Since Pakatan Rakyat and not the rakyat is behind BERSIH then this gives the government the justification to ban the BERSIH rally.

The government is saying that the opposition is the one really behind BERSIH. Now HINDRAF is confirming this. This means the government can legitimately clamp down on BERSIH and arrest or detain its leaders.

Maybe, after this, HINDRAF can proudly announce that it was they who made it possible for the government to take action against BERSIH and ban its planned march on 9th July 2011.

It would be good if the HINDRAF people can look at the two videos below. This is what I would call a quality Tamil leader. These are the kind of Tamil leaders that we want to see. Can you just visualise some of the HINDRAF leaders acting like this and demonstrating this type of class and quality?

P'raya masjid: Nama Agong diheret, kata Aziz Bari

Meskipun mengakui Yang di-Pertuan Agong mempunyai kuasa dalam hal-hal berkaitan agama Islam di negeri-negeri yang tidak mempunyai Raja-raja Melayu, namun pakar perlembagaan Profesor Abdul Aziz Bari mempertikaikan cara nama Seri Paduka diheret setiap kali bagi membidas dasar-dasar kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang.

NONE"Hanya selepas Pakatan Rakyat mengambil-alih Pulau Pinang, tiba-tiba peranan Agong menjadi tokoh yang signifikan.

"Nama Baginda digunakan bagi menghalang sebarang tindakan yang diambil oleh kerajaan negeri,” kata pensyarah Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIAM) itu kepada Malaysiakini.

Abdul Aziz berkata prosedur atau peraturan yang betul mengikut perlembagaan adalah bagi pihak Istana Negara atau setiausaha sulit Yang di-Pertuan Agong bagi mengeluarkan kenyataan berhubung kedudukannya sebagai ketua agama dan bukannya oleh pihak-pihak yang lain.

"Pastinya bukan Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, yang merupakan sebahagian daripada kerajaan.

"Jadi beliau harus diam. Biarkan Baginda melaksanakan tanggungjawab yang diperuntukkan oleh perlembagaan - bebas daripada kerajaan sama ada peringkat persekutuan mahupun negeri,” kata Abdul Aziz.

Beliau juga membidas dakwaan 'mengarut' oleh kumpulan pendesak Melayu, PERKASA yang berkata adalah salah bagi mengadakan pemilihan jawatankuasa kariah masjid diadakan.

"Pertama, tidak ada fatwa mengatakan pemilihan itu adalah haram mengikut Islam,” katanya.Fatwa

Lagipun menurut profesor itu lagi, umat Islam, sama ada dari Umno, PAS dan PKR, semuanya pernah terbabit dalam pemilihan parti masing-masing.

azlan"Jika ini tidak mengikut Islam, majlis fatwa sepatutnya mengeluarkan hukum berhubung perkara itu,” katanya.

Semalam, hasrat Majlis Agama Islam Pulau Pinang (MAIPP) bagi mengadakan pemilihan jawatankuasa kariah masjid bagi sesi 2012-2013 dengan kaedah pilihan raya terpaksa dibatalkan.

Keputusan itu dibuat di Istana Negara di Kuala Lumpur apabila Yang di-Pertua Negri Abdul Rahman Abbas dan Yang Dipertua MAIPP Ellias Zakaria menghadap Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Mesyuarat agung masjid-masjid di Pulau Pinang yang dijadualkan hari ini dan esok itu sepatutnya memilih jawatankuasa kariah di 151 daripada 200 masjid tetapi kini ditangguhkan sehingga notis lanjut.

Pemilihan ala pilihan raya yang dicadangkan itu bagi membolehkan anak kariah mengundi secara sulit untuk memilih pemimpin kariah yang sebelum ini dipilih oleh MAIPP.

Bantahan pelbagai pihak yang didalangi Umno begitu lantang kerana gusar pilihan raya kariah masjid akan menghakis sokongan kepada parti itu yang kini gagal menguasai kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang setelah ditumbangkan pada pilihan raya umum 2008.

Umno mendakwa pemilihan secara demokrasi itu akan hanya membawa perpecahan di kalangan umat Islam selain mengheret masjid ke kancah politik kepartian.



Date    :    19 June 2011 (Sunday)
Time    :    8.30 p.m.
Venue    :    Main Hall,
KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
1 Jalan Maharajalela Kampung Attap,
50150 Kuala Lumpur
Tentative Programme:
8.00 – 8.30 p.m.    Registration
8.30 p.m.    Welcome and Video
8.45 p.m.    Short speech from NGOs
9.30 p.m.    Short speech from all political parties
9.50 p.m.    Address by Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan, Chairperson of Bersih 2.0
Presentation on 8 demands of Bersih 2.0
10.10 p.m.    Closing ceremony

Small Parties Should Join BN Or Pakatan In Next Elections

PENAMPANG, June 18 (Bernama) -- Independent political parties should either join Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in facing the coming general election, for them to make an impact on the election results, said a Sabah PKR leader.

The newly-appointed head of its Strategy and Election Bureau, Datuk Karim Ghani, said in this respect, should the Sabah Progressive Party (Sapp) decide to join PR, it should be a full entry and not under a 'Pakatan Plus' concept.

"Only BN or PR has the chance of forming the Malaysian government. Without being part of a team, any other small political groups will end up like Snap (Sarawak National Party) in the recent state election.

"They must belong to the PR team, not be on their own.

"So, we hope Sapp will become fully PR, not just Pakatan Plus (Sapp)....we will have to wait and see as this is being discussed between PR and Sapp," he said after the bureau's meeting at the Sabah PKR's headquarters, here, Saturday.

Snap was a member of the federal opposition pact. However, just before the Sarawak state election in April this year, it withdrew from PR, citing seat allocation disagreements with PKR.

All of its 26 candidates were defeated in that election, with 25 of them losing their deposits.

On the meeting, Karim said as they expected the general election to be held soon, they also discussed strategies like visits throughout the state to spread the party's manifesto to bring change to the people of Sabah.