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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Malaysia, Muslim preachers now wear tudung

Siti Adibah presents herself during the first live telecast of “Solehah”, in Kuala Lumpur September 23, 2011. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Already accounting for more than 60 per cent of undergraduates and over half of civil servants, Malay-Muslim women are now breaking into the male bastion of Islamic preaching.

In a New York Times (NYT) article published yesterday, it was reported that two local new reality TV programmes are shining a spotlight on the rise of women in the male-dominated arena of religion.

The reason for this phenomena, the paper appeared to suggest, was because there was a significant gender role in Islam that could only be filled by women.

“We need women preachers, rather than men,” 21-year-old Siti Adibah Zulkepli, 21 a contestant on the reality TV show “Solehah” (translated as “pious” in Arabic) was cited as saying by the NYT.

“Because they don’t face what we are facing — health problems, how to manage the house, how to manage the children. The woman knows better,” she added.

It also cited Greg Barton, acting director of the Center for Islam and the Modern World at Monash University in Melbourne, as saying it would be a mistake to dismiss the significance of Malaysian women’s expanding engagement in Islamic education.

Both “Solehah” and “Ustazah Pilihan”, which the newspaper translated as “‘ideal female preacher’ in Malay” are burnishing the image of female preachers here and show how women “can shape and nurture potential leaders of the future”, the paper said.

Citing Zaleha Kamaruddin, the first female rector appointed to head the International Islamic University here, the NYT said Malaysia was carving a new path for women in Islam.

“I think Malaysia has started to break the glass ceiling and is trying to be one of the modern Muslim countries,” she was reported saying.

Despite the massive headway, the NYT observed that Malaysian Muslim women were still barred from leading prayers.

It cited Perak mufti, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria saying he welcomed the growing number of women teaching Islam, but insisted they could not lead Friday prayers in front of mixed congregations.

“They can preach Islam to the men, but they cannot lead the prayers for men,” the NYT reported Harrusani saying.

Pakatan sees red over instigation charge

Opposition leaders took a swipe at deputy minister Razali Ibrahim for claiming that the opposition poisoned the minds of Indonesians with regard to the Malaysian football team.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat leaders are seeing red over the accusation that they posioned the Indonesian fans to vent their fury on the Malaysian football team.
The accusation was made by Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Razali Ibrahim in Parliament yesterday after Barisan Nasional MP Mohamed Aziz asked why Indonesians were hostile towards the Malaysian football team during the SEA Games.
Miffed, PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin said Razali’s statement showed that BN leaders were bankrupt of ideas.
“If they think properly, they will understand that Indonesians don’t like us due to our cruel policies that affects the lives of migrant Indonesian workers,” he said.
Shamsul said Malaysia’s immigration laws were biased against migrant workers and harsh as illegal immigrants caught were often whipped by the Malaysian authorities.
“And they often don’t get paid, have their passports seized by errant employers and forced to pay bribes to authorities. Obviously, their brothers in their homeland are angry with us,” he added.
What about the horses?
DAP vice chairman M Kulasegaran said Razali should learn the difference between loyalty to the country and political differences between rival parties.
“He should show proof to back his claims. However, I believe he is just trying to deflect people’s attention from the scandals plaguing his ministry,” added the Ipoh Barat MP.
The Youth and Sports Ministry was reprimanded by the Auditor-General in his 2010 report for the former’s RM5 million purchase of 18 horses for an event.
However, it was later found that the horses were unfit for the event and could not adapt to the Malaysian weather.
Kulasegaran said when he asked about the horses in Parliament, the deputy minister replied that Pakatan would do the same if it was in power.
“He’s just devoid of ideas,” said the DAP leader.
On the Indonesians’ hostility, Kulasegaran said for some reason Indonesians seemed to lack sportsmanship and felt that they were better than the Malaysian team.
“And their organisers are unable to control their crowd. Winning and losing is part of any game and our team seems to understand this better than our neighbours,” he added.
Cases of abuse
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said the Indonesian crowd was probably upset with the abuse cases affecting Indonesian maids in Malaysia.
“Razali must understand that though we may differ on political views but we support our team to win any international tournaments as we are Malaysians too,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Malacca PKR leader G Rajendran agreed with Salahuddin’s assessment saying the Malaysian government had it coming when it failed to defend Indonesian workers in the country from being abused.
“For example, maid abuse cases like Nirmala Bonat in 2004, Siti Hajar Sadli in 2009 and also the alleged abuse of Manohara Odelia Pinot by a member of the Kelantan royalty. These are some incidents which have riled up the Indonesians,” he said.
“So the Indonesians used the SEA Games as a platform to vent their anger,” he added.

M’sia stops issuing ‘misused visa’ to Indonesians

Indonesian migrant workers and their agents frequently misuse the “Journey Performed” visas for work purposes.

JAKARTA: Malaysian authorities have agreed to an Indonesian request to stop issuing a type of frequently-misused visa in exchange for lifting the moratorium on migrant workers traveling to the country.

Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said that Indonesian migrant workers and their agents frequently misuse the “Journey Performed” visas for work purposes.

Misuse of the visa, a type of bridging visa, leaves workers as illegal immigrants, making them vulnerable to threats by human traffickers and unscrupulous employers. The problem has worsened since Indonesia instigated a ban on sending migrant workers to Malaysia, with tourism visas being used to disguise true intentions.

“Since the 2009 moratorium, the tendency is for increased misuse of Journey Performed visas as a means to enter Malaysia,” Muhaimin said here. “This situation is suspected to be one cause of the increasing number of illegal immigrants in Malaysia.”

He added that most Indonesian workers who run into problems in Malaysia had entered the country on ordinary passports and requested a 30-day visa on arrival.

“Initially they claim they are on vacation in Malaysia. But of course there is no holiday, they’re there to work as maids,” said Muhaimin.

Indonesians working under such entry conditions are prone to raids and severe criminal sanctions, the threat of which can be used by people wishing to exploit them, the minister explained.

The agreement with Malaysia, reached during the recently concluded Asean meeting in Bali, will come into effect once migrant workers begin to flow again.

“In accordance with the agreement, the Malaysian government will cease to issue JP visas for the purposes of people seeking work, once the Indonesian government lifts the moratorium on sending migrant workers to Malaysia,” Muhaimin said.

The matter of visas was one of 11 points agreed between Muhaimin and his Malaysian counterpart, Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

Other points included wage rates and methods of payment, written employment contracts, a guaranteed weekly break, prohibition on passport confiscation, pre-departure training and regulation of recruitment agencies, processes and charges.

- Jakarta Globe

Firing a worker

The Star

There must be valid reasons for termination of employment even for probationers.

I HAVE previously written on the need for caution on the part of employers in terminating the services of an employee. This is because under the law whatever the specific stipulations to the contrary, an employment cannot be terminated without just cause.

A reader has expressed surprise over the fact that even some lawyers are advising their clients to terminate an employee’s employment without giving any reason. He also asked if the situation is different for an employee under probation.

Note that what a lawyer advises his client would depend on the particular facts of each case which are available to him. There may well be reasons for such advice. It must also be appreciated that there is a difference between having a reason to terminate an employment and giving the employee the reasons.

It would be proper and fair to the employee to be told the reason for terminating his employment. However, the employer may feel that there is no need to give the reasons as the employee would already know what they are!

In the interest of employer-employee relations, it has long been the practice to facilitate communication of an employee’s shortcomings by holding a domestic inquiry prior to dismissal.

This industry practice is recognised and encouraged by the Industrial Court under the Industrial Relations Act although it is not required by common law.

At such an inquiry, a charge would be preferred against the employee setting out the complaint against him.

He would have to show cause through answering those complaints and presenting his evidence in rebuttal if any. This served the purpose of giving an employee a right to be heard.

At one time, the Industrial Court took the view that not holding a domestic inquiry was itself grounds to declare termination invalid. This was also the view adopted in instances where a domestic inquiry was held to be defective such as on the grounds of breach of the rules of natural justice.

The matter is now looked at somewhat differently. The fact that the domestic inquiry was not held or that it was defective by itself is no longer grounds to conclude that the termination cannot be justified. If and when the matter is referred to the Industrial Court, the employer will have the opportunity to present his evidence to justify the termination and the employee to rebut it.

Of course where a domestic inquiry has been earlier held the proceedings before the Industrial Court could be substantially a repetition of what happened in the domestic inquiry.

However, the evidence will all be reviewed and upheld depending on the finding of the Industrial Court based on the proceedings before it.

With regard to an employee under probation, he too cannot be terminated at will.

There will usually be a stipulated period of termination of the employment during probation. This will usually be much shorter than an employee who has been confirmed. In some cases, it may be just 24 or 48 hours.

Just as in the case of confirmed employees, the employer is not entitled to rely on such a clause in the Employment Contract to terminate the employment arbitrarily but must show that the termination is for just cause.

This is because when someone is employed and on probation, his employment is not for the period of probation, say, three months; as a matter of fact, he is engaged with a view to long-term employment.

It is therefore the duty and obligation of the employer to observe the performance of the employee on probation.

If he is not performing as expected, the employer should point this out so that the employee can rectify his shortcomings.

Of course, if the employee has made representations as to certain abilities and capabilities which are not now reflected in his performance, this should also be pointed out to the employee. This is again to enable the employee to remedy such shortcomings if he can.

This should all be done in writing. If the employer does not care to caution and counsel the employee, as happens in many cases, this could make things difficult for the employer if the matter should go to court.

If a dispute arises and is taken to court, the employer will still have an opportunity to justify the termination of the employment. Failure to have cautioned or advised the employee will no doubt be considered but inability or incompetence as well as deliberate disregard of the working conditions will be given much more weight.

If the termination or dismissal is upheld, the matter will end there. However, if the termination is held to be without just cause the court may either reinstate the employee which will revert such employee to his probationary status or order compensation to be paid.

The latter is more likely, especially in the case of a probationary employee. However, the compensation such employee is likely to get will be much smaller compared to a confirmed employee, especially one who has been in the company’s employment for a long time.

The compensation could be to cover the employee’s remaining period of probation or an extended period.

As can be seen, there is a difference between putting an employee on three months’ probation and engaging a person on a three-month contract.

In the latter case, no reason needs to be given if the person’s employment is not extended.

Death in police custody – S Kalaiselvam (Sultan Ismail Hospital; 22 Nov 2010)

One year ago today, 21-year-old S Kalaiselvam died at the Sultan Ismail Hospital, Johor Bahru, Johore, reportedly of a suspected lung infection.  S Kalaiselvam had been held under the Emergency Ordinance at the Kota Tinggi police station from 21 Sept 2010.  

His father claimed the police had neglected to ensure S Kalaiselvam received adequate treatment for the chest pains and appetite loss he had suffered for over a month.

The Johor Bahru High Court ordered a second post-mortem and an inquest into S Kalaiselvam’s death.  However, at the time of writing, no further details on the inquest were available in the media. 

Every death in custody must be thoroughly and impartially investigated.  S Kalaiselvam’s death must not be relegated to a mere statistic.  
Based on statistics disclosed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 156 persons died in police custody from the year 2000 until February 2011.

We express our heartfelt condolences to S Kalaiselvam’s family and friends on this anniversary of his death.

Isu Murtad: Empat beranak dibenar rujuk undang-undang

Utusan Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA 21 Nov. - Mahkamah Rayuan hari ini mengekalkan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi yang membenarkan empat beranak berketurunan India Muslim merujuk lima persoalan undang-undang ke Mahkamah Persekutuan dalam usaha mendapat perisytiharan bahawa mereka bukan lagi beragama Islam.

Zaina Abidin Hamid @ S. Maniam dan tiga anaknya iaitu Surindran a/l Zaina Abidin, Mohanasubash a/l Zaina Abidin dan Chandrika a/p Zaina Abidin memfailkan saman pemula di Mahkamah Tinggi memohon perisytiharan bahawa mereka telah murtad selepas mendakwa tidak pernah mengamalkan ajaran Islam.

Mereka memohon Mahkamah Persekutuan menentukan lima persoalan undang- undang antaranya adalah sama ada ibu bapa bagi anak-anak yang berusia di bawah 18 tahun berhak menentukan agama anak masing-masing menurut Perkara 11 dan Perkara 12(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Panel tiga hakim diketuai oleh Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing yang bersidang bersama Hakim Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin dan Hakim Datuk Linton Albert membenarkan mereka merujuk persoalan undang- undang itu selepas menolak rayuan Kerajaan Malaysia tanpa mendengar meritnya.

Bagaimanapun Kerajaan Malaysia mempunyai peluang terakhir untuk merayu di Mahkamah Persekutuan dengan mengemukakan permohonan bagi kebenaran merayu.

Ketika membenarkan bantahan awal keluarga berkenaan, panel itu bersetuju rayuan pihak kerajaan tidak mematuhi Peraturan 6, Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah Rayuan 1994 kerana notis rayuan tidak diserahkan kepada tiga pihak lain.

Pihak-pihak tersebut yang turut dinamakan sebagai responden dalam saman pemula terdiri daripada Kerajaan Negeri Selangor, Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) dan Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha, Kristian, Hindu dan Sikh.

Sehubungan itu, mahkamah berpendapat, oleh kerana kelima-lima persoalan undang-undang berkenaan mempunyai kesan langsung terhadap ketiga-tiga responden, maka wajar notis rayuan diserahkan kepada kesemuanya.

Sebelum itu, peguam Fahri Azzat yang mewakili keluarga berkenaan berhujah, rayuan itu tidak sempurna kerana ia gagal mematuhi peruntukan yang menghendaki kesemua pihak yang terlibat secara langsung dalam rayuan itu diserahkan dengan notis rayuan.

Bagaimanapun, Peguam Kanan Persekutuan, Norhisham Ismail yang mewakili Kerajaan Malaysia berhujah, notis tidak semestinya diserahkan kepada ketiga-tiganya kerana jika rayuan Kerajaan Malaysia dibenarkan, persoalan undang-undang tidak perlu dirujuk dan saman pemula itu dibicarakan di Mahkamah Tinggi.

Kerajaan Malaysia merayu terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Shah Alam, Selangor pada 27 September tahun lalu yang membenarkan permohonan empat beranak itu merujuk lima persoalan undang-undang ke Mahkamah Persekutuan.

Berdasarkan undang-undang, Zaina Abidin, 60, dilahirkan sebagai seorang Islam kerana bapanya yang beragama Hindu memeluk Islam dan berkahwin dengan ibunya yang berketurunan India Muslim.

Dia kemudian berkahwin dengan seorang wanita beragama Hindu. Pernikahan itu didaftarkan di bawah Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Penceraian) 1976.

Deadly blaze strikes India eunuch gathering

Members of India's eunuch community mourned the deaths of 14 others at the community's largest gathering [AFP]
Police report 15 deaths after a fire spread through the hall at a national gathering of marginalised community.

At least 15 people have been killed by a fire that swept through a venue in New Delhi where nearly 1,000 members of the marginalised eunuch community had gathered for a national convention, police said.

The fire broke out around 7pm (13:30 GMT) on Sunday and quickly spread through the community hall in the Nandnagary neighborhood of east Delhi, where the meeting was taking place, as well as in tents erected in the grounds of the venue.

Police officials at the site said 12 bodies had been recovered and another two people were reported to have died of their burns in hospital. More than 36 people were injured in the blaze.

A group of attendees at the planned 20-day event, protested against the police statement, saying that the reported casualty number was too low.

The fire erupted on the final evening of a three-day all-India convention of the country's eunuch community.

One witness, Angelie, said there was a loud short, then flames suddenly erupted and a gas cylinder exploded. Crowds of people ran to the exit from the fairground, the witness said.

Television reports cited fire officials as saying initial investigations suggested the fire had started in the venue's kitchen.

"We were rescued and brought outside the community centre but we don't know what has happened to some of our friends who we think are still inside," one person present at the gathering told reporters.

"The police aren't giving us the right information ... They are taking the bodies out through the back door of the hall," they said.

In India, the term "eunuch" is mostly used to refer to cross-dressers and pre- and post-operative transsexuals.

India's estimated 700,000 eunuchs are severely marginalised and often rely on begging and the sex trade for income as they are often unable to gets jobs.

Hindu Muslim Unity: Hindus help rebuild and finance village mosque

KARNATAKA (Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - It’s a century old mosque that’s been crying for attention since last October. It’s roofs started leaking and a portion of it was badly damaged in the heavy rains that lashed many parts of north Karnataka last year.

But the rains set off a lesson — a rare show of communal harmony. Hindus taking the lead to pitch in with donations and construction material to re-build the damaged mosque in remote village Purtageri.

There are about 150 households in Purtageri, of which only about ten families are Muslim. So they couldn’t afford the renovation of their only place of worship. But Hindus from the neighboring historic town of Gajendraghada donated willingly and work is now on in full swing with donations to the tune of about Rs 1 lakh that has come in. In fact, some Hindus who couldn’t donate in cash or kind, have volunteered to help with the masonry and labor.

Teacher slapped my son eight times, says woman

JOHOR BARU: A mother is upset at a female teacher for allegedly slapping her 11-year-old son eight times, causing his spectacles to break.

S. Rukumani, 49, said she was disappointed with the attitude of the teacher. She hopes the state education department will investigate and take action against the teacher concerned.
“My son, S. Sri Viknesh, was initially ac­­cused of marking his own report card and forging the principal’s signature.

Upsetting incident: Sri Viknesh holding his broken glasses as Rukumani holds up a copy of the police report and Sri Viknesh’s father S. Shanmugham shows the red marks on his son’s cheek.
“My husband and I, however, went to the school, spoke to the teacher and the principal and we had sorted out the matter,” she said at Taman Nesa here yesterday.

She added that her son did not commit the offence and that another student admitted to writing the marks on the card.

“It seems the teacher had sought the help of two other students to fill in the report cards and these students made a mistake with my son’s card,” she said.

Rukumani said the next day, her son was confronted by the teacher and was forced to admit that he had tampered with his report card.

“The teacher then slapped my son four times on the left cheek, four on the right, causing his glasses to break,” she said, adding that it was not an appropriate way to deal with the problem.

She said she brought her son to the Hospital Sultanah Aminah for treatment and lodged a police report on the matter as the slaps left red marks on her son’s cheeks.

Johor Baru (North) deputy OCPD Supt Mohd Akhir Ishak confirmed the case and said investigations were ongoing.

Dr M’s ‘befriend Perkasa’ riles Kita

The party is disappointed with the former premier's call on Umno to join hands with the Malay rights group to win votes.

PETALING JAYA: Kita is disappointed with Dr Mahathir Mohamad for asking the Malays to “put their heads in the sand” by urging Umno to befriend Perkasa to win the next general election.

The former premier yesterday warned Umno that it needed allies in Malay rights groups like Perkasa to recoup crucial Malay votes and pinned Barisan Nasional’s 2008 electoral losses on the lack of Malay support.

But Kita described Perkasa as an “organisation that clearly advocates racial hatred and bigotry”.

In a statement, the Zaid Ibrahim-led party pointed out that Mahathir’s winning formula for Umno is about the Malays inwardly huddling together and defending the values espoused in 1946 against outsiders.

It however added that it believes the Malays know better as they have seen how the “Malay-first-Malaysian second” policies have only helped those in power.

“They have seen how those that represent the ‘old Malay order’ trample on their civil and human rights,” Kita stated. “They’ve seen how these policies are an excuse for corruption, nepotism and the abuse of power.”

Kita further tore into the practice of government subsidies as well as the “Hidup Melayu” mantra. It scorned the former as an “opiate for those addicted to voting BN” and the latter as having no place in their children’s future.

“Kita believes that Malays recognise that their future is not in maintaining this fortress mentality. Instead, it is to embrace universal values which include integrity, hard work and tolerance, without losing one’s identity as a Malay.”

“The enlightenment of the Malays comes first from taking their heads out of the sand and their willingness to face the harsh realities of a competitive society.”

While Kita acknowledged the continuous need for social engineering, it also deemed that the way forward is by identifying and assisting those who need support solely on the basis of their economic and social conditions.

“Kita believes that Malays can and will say that ‘I am a Malaysian and I am a Malay’. Our Malaysian identity is what has made us a nation, and it is this recognition that will serve to best safeguard our collective future.”

Param: We need a code of ethics for MPs

Their conduct must be open to public scrutiny, says the veteran lawyer.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia urgently needs a code of ethics for MPs to prevent crossovers and money politics, according to veteran lawyer and political observer Param Cumaraswamy.

“In light of what we have seen since the 2008 general election, this is absolutely important,” he said in an interview with FMT.

He suggested the establishment of an institution to enforce the code.

“We need more than a parliamentary privilege committee because we need to check their conduct outside parliament as well,” he said. “Their conduct should be open to the rakyat’s scrutiny.”

Param was president of the Bar Council between 1986 and 1988 and is a prominent champion of good governance.

He described as “despicable” any MP who defects from the party that sponsored his candidacy and then exposes its secrets.

He believes that most members of the public would agree with him.

“People in general are very disturbed by what they have been seeing recently, when elected representatives not only crossed over but openly attacked his or her previous party and its leaders,” he said.

He said a code of ethics for MPs would go some way towards ensuring that only those with a high level of integrity would become elected representatives.

He also called on political parties to field only candidates of good calibre and to discipline corrupt MPs and never field them again for election.

“They are not fit to serve the rakyat and they should be prevented from ever being elected again.”

He said there should be an audit not only on the material wealth of MPs, but on their personal character as well.

He warned both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat that voter awareness had improved tremendously in recent years.

“It is absolutely important for political parties to be more careful of the kind of candidates they select,” he said.

New Penang BN chief to be named this week

Penang BN chief Dr Hilmi Yahya said the new chief will come from Gerakan as Umno is not interested in the position.

GEORGE TOWN: Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional national chairman Najib Tun Razak will announce the new Penang BN chief this week, its secretary Dr Hilmi Yahya said here today.

Hilmi’s announcement more or else confirmed speculations that Senator Koh Tsu Koon would step down as state BN chief, a post he has held for some 20 years.

Hilmi said Koh did not discuss about his resignation from the chairman post or about his successor with the state BN leadership.

Current Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow is strongly tipped to replace Koh.

Hilmi, Umno’s Teluk Bahang assemblyman, said Umno did not have any preference and was prepared to work with Teng, if appointed.

“We will work with anyone in the BN spirit,” he told newsmen before the sPICE civil suit was filed by four ratepayers at Penang High Court.

Last Saturday, Koh, the former Penang chief minister, when announcing that he would stay put as Gerakan president at least until after the next general election, has hinted that he would step down as state BN chief.

Hilmi said that Umno had never considered helming state BN due to the “coalition social contract” that the position should go to Gerakan, which was Penang’s ruling party from 1969 until 2008.

“We have no qualms over Gerakan leadership in BN,” he said in response to Kongres Melayu Pulau Pinang’s (KMPP) call last week on Umno to helm BN in Penang.

Once the leadership issue has been put to rest this week, Hilmi said that BN would move up a gear to focus on strengthening the coalition political position in the state.

What else is unconstitutional in Malaysia?

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said it is unconstitutional for a person to be homosexual in Malaysia. “In reality, in the country’s constitution it is not allowed, including sections 377(a), (b), (c) and (d) which prohibit sexual relations between two men,” said Jamil, who is in charge of Islamic affairs and head of the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Actually, if the minister really wants to follow the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, there are many more things that are unconstitutional, and being a homosexual is certainly not one of them although he can argue that it is against the law.
But then, being against the law (meaning: it constitutes a crime) does not make it unconstitutional. For example, raping your own mother or sodomising your own father is also a crime. But that does not make them unconstitutional. So is robbing a bank, murdering your wife, cheating on your income tax, taking bribes, misusing public funds to pay for your wife’s lavish shopping, etc. They are all crimes but can’t quite be called unconstitutional.
The minister, being not that intelligent and downright ignorant, as most Malaysian ministers are, does not appear to know the difference between what is unconstitutional and what is a crime.
Anyway, if you refer to some of the Articles in the Constitution below, you can see that there are many practices and policies in Malaysia that are unconstitutional (and at times opposed to Islam as well). Maybe my learned minister would like to talk about these as well.
Detaining someone without due process of the law is unconstitutional as per Article 5. And to use ‘emergency laws’ that waive the need for due process is unconstitutional when Malaysia is not facing any emergency and whatever emergency it did face in the past (such as The Emergency, May 13, Konfrontasi, etc.) have now ended (which means the emergency laws no longer apply). This is like still using WW1 or WW2 emergency laws when WW1 and WW2 have ended a long time ago.
Discrimination, quotas, preferences, etc., based on race or religion is unconstitutional as per Article 8. You can argue that the New Economic Policy (NEP) overrides the Constitution but Article 4 does not allow this. Anyway, the NEP was not a law passed by Parliament and that is why it is called ‘the aspirations (hasrat) of the NEP’. It is merely an aspiration and not a law. Hence, to force Malaysians to comply with the NEP violates the Constitution.
Asking for the citizenship of any Malaysian to be withdrawn is unconstitutional as per Article 9. So Umno should stop asking for the citizenship of Ambiga and others to be withdrawn.
Malaysians have the liberty to express their opinion as per Article 10 even if they wish to opine that religion is bullshit, God does not exist, or that the monarchy is outdated and corrupt and should be abolished in favour of a Republic of Malaysia. Opinions are allowed and expressing them is not a crime.
Malaysians have the liberty to believe in any religion they want to or to reject religion totally under Article 11. Even if they wish to reject all forms of religion and become atheists, that is their constitutional right. The only thing the Constitution forbids is to propagate these beliefs to Muslims. However, if that person has declared that he/she no longer believes in God, then that would make him/her an apostate and, technically, that person would no longer be a Muslim. Therefore, propagating to ex-Muslims would not constitute a crime since they have on their own freewill become apostates.
Setting up institutions of learning exclusive to any one race is unconstitutional according to Article 12. Therefore, UiTM, according to the constitution, must open its doors to all races (but whether they would want to enter UiTM is another matter altogether).
Yes, if you want to talk about what is unconstitutional then let us talk about what is unconstitutional. And being gay is not one of them. The above, however, are. But does the minister understand this? Most likely not! Or else he would not have been made a minister. Instead, he would have become a Blogger like me.
Article number: 4
• (1) This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.
• (2) The validity of any law shall not be questioned on the ground that -
        • (a) it imposes restrictions on the right mentioned in Article 9 (2) but does not relate to the matters mentioned therein; or
        • (b) it imposes such restrictions as are mentioned in Article 10 (2) but those restrictions were not deemed necessary or expedient by Parliament for the purposes mentioned in that Article.
• (3) The validity of any law made by Parliament or the Legislature of any State shall not be questioned on the ground that it makes provision with respect to any matter with respect to which Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of the State has no power to make laws, except in proceedings for a declaration that the law is invalid on that ground or -
       • (a) if the law was made by Parliament, in proceedings between the Federation and one or more States;
       • (b) if the law was made by Legislature of a State, in proceedings between the Federation and that State.
• (4) Proceedings for a declaration that a law is invalid on the ground mentioned in Clause (3) (not being proceedings falling within paragraph (a) or (b) of the Clause) shall not be commenced without the leave of a judge of the Supreme Court; and the Federation shall be entitled to be a party to any such proceedings, and so shall any State that would or might be a party to proceedings brought for the same purpose under paragraph (a) or (b) of the Clause.

Article number: 5
• (1) No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law.
• (2) Where complaint is made to a High court or any judge thereof that a person is being unlawfully detained the court shall inquire into the complaint and, unless satisfied that the detention is lawful, shall order him to be produced before the court and release him.
• (3) Where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
• (4) Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate's authority:
Provided that this Clause shall not apply to the arrest or detention of any person under the existing law relating to restricted residence, and all the provisions of this Clause shall be deemed to have been an integral part of this Article as from Merdeka Day.
• (5) Clauses (3) and (4) do not apply to an enemy alien.

Article number: 8
• (1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
• (2) Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.
• (3) There shall be no discrimination in favour of any person on the ground that he is a subject of the Ruler of the State.
• (4) No public authority shall discriminate against any person on the ground that he is resident or carrying on business in any part of the Federation outside the jurisdiction of the authority.
• (5) This Article does not invalidate or prohibit -
        • (a) any provision regulating personal law;
        • (b) any provision or practice restricting office or employment connected with the affairs of any religion, or of an institution managed by a group professing any religion, to persons professing that religion;
        • (c) any provision for the protection, wellbeing or advancement of the aboriginal peoples of the Malay Peninsula (including the reservation of land) or the reservation to aborigines of a reasonable proportion of suitable positions in the public service;
        • (d) any provision prescribing residence in a State or part of a State as a qualification for election or appointment to any authority having jurisdiction only in that State or part, or for voting in such an election;
        • (e) any provision of a Constitution of a State, being or corresponding to a provision in force immediately before Merdeka Day;
        • (f) any provision restricting enlistment in the Malay Regiment to Malays.

Article number: 9
• (1) No citizen shall be banished or excluded from the Federation.
• (2) Subject to Clause (3) and to any law relating to the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order, public health, or the punishment of offenders, every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the Federation and to reside in any part thereof.
• (3) So long as under this Constitution any other State is in a special position as compared with the States of Malaya, Parliament may by law impose restrictions, as between that State and other States, on the rights conferred by Clause (2) in respect of movement and residence.

Article number: 10
• (1) Subject to Clauses (2), (3) and (4) -
      • (a) every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
      • (b) all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms;
      • (c) all citizens have the right to form associations.
• (2) Parliament may by law impose -
      • (a) on the rights conferred by paragraph (a) of Clause (1),such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or of any Legislative Assembly or to provide against contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to any offence;
      • (b) on the right conferred by paragraph (b) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, or public order;
      • (c) on the right conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1), such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.
• (3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by paragraph (c) of Clause (1) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.
• (4) In imposing restrictions in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof or public order under Clause (2) (a), Parliament may pass law prohibiting the questioning of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, article 152, 153 or 181 otherwise than in relation to the implementation thereof as may be specified in such law.

Article number: 11
• (1) Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.
• (2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
• (3) Every religious group has the right -
        • (a) to manage its own religious affairs;
        • (b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
        • (c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
• (4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
• (5) This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Article number: 12
• (1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth -
      • (a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees; or
      • (b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation).
• (2) Every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children in its own religion, and there shall be no discrimination on the ground only of religion in any law relating to such institutions or in the administration of any such law; but it shall be lawful for the Federation or a State to establish or maintain or assist in establishing or maintaining Islamic institutions or provide or assist in providing instruction in the religion of Islam and incur such expenditure as may be necessary for the purpose.
• (3) No person shall be required to receive instruction in or take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.
• (4) For the purposes of Clause (3) the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian.

Hisham: New law replacing ISA to include detention without trial

(Bernama) - The new law to replace the Internal Security Act 1960, which will be repealed, will still provide for detention without trial, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said detention without trial was also being practised in some countries in the fight against terrorism, such as the Patriot Act in the United States and Anti-Terrorism Act in the United Kingdom and Australia.

"The US, UK and Australia all champion human rights, but they realised that when dealing with militancy and terrorism, they needed to have acts of that nature.

"In fact, there are some Malaysians who are being detained by the US in Guatanamo without trial for many years now. So, please don't have double standards and we don't want hypocrisy in this matter," he said, here, Monday.

Hishammuddin who had earlier attended the Innovaiton Day celebration and the ministry's monthly assembly, also said that Barisan Nasional, as the ruling government, would be responsible and abide by all new laws to be implemented in the interest of public well-being.

"He have learned from the experience of countries which have abolished such acts without thinking long and they paid the price," he added.

On Sept 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his Malaysia Day special address announced that the ISA would be repealed and two new suitable laws formulated to preserve peace, harmony, stability and prosperity in the country.

Asked about new elements to be incorporated in the new acts, Hishammuddin said these would include the period of detention, notice to families of the detainees and making appeals.

He opined that they would not be difficult to be implemented as the process of replacing the ISA had begun two years ago.

On the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 to be tabled in Parliament next week, he said it was in the final stage of drafting by the Attorney-General's Chambers.

UMNO-BN Using Police to Move Against Anwar Ibrahim Before 13th General Election

For the third time since 1998, the Barisan Nasional government is complicit in fabricating criminal charges in an attempt to end the political career of National Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and halt political and economic reform in this country.

UMNO-BN are using the police force to move aggressively against Anwar Ibrahim just as the general election is about to be called. On 16 November 2011, the opposition leader was ordered to report for police questioning, and was forced to attend Kepong police station instead of performing his duties as parliamentary opposition leader. A new criminal investigation had been launched against him based on a report made by one DSP Shanmugamoorthy who had investigated Anwar’s complaint of intimidation, blackmail and criminal defamation by the ‘Datuk T’ trio. Thus, from being an aggrieved complainant, the authorities have made Anwar the accused person. The entire investigation has been carefully orchestrated by the top police leadership, with the knowledge and complicity of the Attorney General. Unusually, investigation papers were already in the A-G’s hands even before Anwar was called in for questioning. More disturbingly, although the police report was lodged in September this year, Anwar was called in only last week. This indicates hidden hands manipulating the investigation and choosing a politically opportune time to move against Anwar.

There is no doubt now that a massive new conspiracy is afoot to charge, try and imprison Anwar Ibrahim. In any real democracy, the opposition leader plays a key role in questioning and checking governmental action. The bringing of baseless, politically motivated criminal charges against the Leader of the Opposition is an outrage against the democratic norms that are the bedrock of our nation. UMNO-BN must cease this criminal abuse of state powers and institutions in order to undermine the opposition and cling on to political power. We call upon the BN government to drop all politically motivated investigations and prosecutions against Anwar Ibrahim and to participate in democratic politics by rational public debate and discourse.


Disabled Woman Crowned WIM Inspirational Woman Of The Year

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 (Bernama) -- Disabled woman Sharinah Mohd Nor was crowned the winner of the Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Women Institute of Management (WIM) 2011 Inspirational Woman of the year Award, at a gala awards ceremony, here tonight.

The award was presented to Sharinah by WIM Honorary Life Member Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and witnessed by Chairman of WIM board, Tan Sri Napsiah Omar.

Also present at the event was former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Siti Hasmah said the award spotlights women who had undergone tremendous struggle in their lives but were able to surmount them and still come through with the compassion to help others in similar circumstances.

"I urge WIM to continue in these areas of training and also to focus on women's health issues," she said during her speech.

The other finalists were Sungai Siput MIC Women Leader, K.Saroja, President of Food Assistance Organisation and Penampang Welfare (Permak) Datuk Elizabeth Maurice, Executive Director of Petaling Jaya Live Arts Sdn Bhd Choong Lai Ling, and Pahang MIC Deputy Women Leader, M.Saressa.

Sharinah, a mother of four children, works as a volunteer at the Social Institute of Malaysia, under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

Sharinah who was born without both her lower limbs, got around using her knees until she received a pair of prosthetics when she was 19 years old.

After her gruelling journey to complete the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), she moved on to obtain a degree and a masters in Art and Design from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) and is curently pursuing her PhD in Education at UITM.

"I have not made my disability and lack of physical perfection as an excuse in my life, although it was not easy and was very challenging," she said.

Sharinah, 49, received the Award Challenge Trophy and a RM10,000 cash prize from WIM.

She also received an additional RM20,000 from Etiqa Insurance & Takaful, a RM15,000 set of pearl necklace from Rafflesia Pearls; crystal and china ware from Tiffany & Co worth RM15,000; and an RM8,000 designer handbag.

All five finalists were presented with Melvin Lam designer gowns and shoes by Tiamo.

The award was initiated in June 2003 in conjunction with WIM's 10th Annivesarry celebrations.

It is in line with the aspiration of WIM to honour women from disadvantaged backgrounds who have had to overcome great challenges and adversities to succeed in life.

In Cambodia, anti-slavery reforms questioned

By David Ariosto, CNN,

Cambodia, long suspected of being fertile ground for human traffickers, has drawn recent attention after reports of sexual abuse and widespread mistreatment prompted government actions to improve the plight of its young women and girls.

Considered a modern-day form of slavery, human trafficking involves the illegal trade of people and commonly includes sexual exploitation and forced labor.

In Cambodia, CNN uncovered stories of suspected abuse; ranging from girls as young as 4 years old being sold for sex - an industry thought to be bolstered by foreign tourists - to young women trapped in debt-bondage, having being lured to neighboring Malaysia for work.

In an effort to unravel a phenomenon that human rights groups say still plagues southeast Asia and the broader region, the CNN Freedom Project highlighted Cambodia because of both its reputation and a recent pledge to better the situation.

But whether recent reforms have since worked to stem the alleged abuses remains a subject of debate.

Domestic labor in Malaysia

Drawn by the prospect of a better life and the promise of more money, many young Cambodian maids working in Malaysia said they were recruited to go there by labor agencies, now only to find themselves unable to leave.

The women - often subject to poor treatment in prison-like facilities - forfeit their passports and are commonly left in a situation tantamount to indentured servitude, said Manfred Hornung, a legal adviser for the Cambodian Rights Group, Licadho.

On October 15, however, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a measure into law banning the practice of sending domestic workers to Malaysia, perhaps in response to mounting criticism.

The ban was enacted just days after a report by CNN's Dan Rivers examined a recruitment agency in the Cambodian capital.

The story "that aired on CNN has actually awakened the country up the whole country on this human trafficking issue again," said Cambodian parliament member Mu Sochua. "I have to say that his piece is just one little part of the whole problem, which is much worse."

She said the report prompted her to further petition the country's leadership to take action.
But only weeks later, Sochua told CNN that labor recruitment agencies in her country were still sending domestic workers to Malaysia, adding that many government officials either own or have close ties to the companies.

The country's ministries of labor and interior "are not taking any action," she said, noting that "many officials and familial members of some ministers actually own these dubious agencies."

Sochua did not identify the officials, ministers or companies to which she was referring and CNN cannot independently confirm her claim.

But a government spokesman called the practice of sending labor abroad "a learning process."
"We are finding out why it has happened and why it is happening," said Phay Siphan, a spokesperson for the country's Council of Ministers.

Recruitment agencies, meanwhile, forge identification papers in an effort to recruit children, charge "excessive recruitment fees" and mislead workers about potential opportunities, according to recent a Human Rights Watch report.

Up to 50,000 Cambodian women have migrated to Malaysia since 2008, the report said.

And yet just three days after the domestic worker ban was signed into law, 25 Cambodian maids - wearing shirts emblazoned with name of a recruiting agency - checked in for an Air Asia flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, according to Licadho.

CNN cannot independently confirm that account.

"It is a heartbreaking story," said Sochua. "I constantly meet with many parents who come to tell me that they don't know where their girls are, they simply disappeared and lost contacts with families after girls left to Malaysia."

Sex slavery

Often accused of being both a source of and destination for human sex trafficking, CNN explored allegations of abuse affecting young girls in Cambodia - notably in a village outside the capital of Phnom Penh.

The village, Svay Pak, appears to have a disturbing reputation as a place where little girls are openly sold for sex to foreign tourists.

One of the girls - who CNN is not naming to protect the identity of the victim - says she was forced to work in a brothel before she could read.

"I was about 5 or 6 years old," the girl said. "The first man said to me, 'I want to have sex with you.' At the time I didn't know what to do. No one could help me."

Dozens of girls in her neighborhood told CNN that they've had similar experiences.

Sex workers elsewhere in the country are also subject to other forms of sexual violence, according to Human Rights Watch.

Last year, the group released a report that detailed widespread allegations of 90 female and transgender sex workers that said police "had beaten them with their fists, sticks, and electronic shock batons."

"Several said officers raped them while they were in police detention," the report said. "Every single sex worker we spoke with said the police demanded bribes or stole money from them. Some officers demanded sex."

Two years earlier, the country had passed a law meant to protect sex workers. But rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch, say there is "little evidence that this has happened, or that prosecutions for trafficking have been pursued.

Government officials decline to comment on those allegations.


As the CNN Freedom Project continues to examine the effects and root causes of human trafficking, the following timeline reflects key aspects of coverage and events around the region.

October 3-5, 2011: CNN airs a three-part series that examines a recruiting agency, with alleged ties to the Cambodian government, suspected of trafficking maids to Malaysia. Just before the series airs, the young woman featured in the story begins receiving compensation, she says, but is still unable to leave the factory – her passport confiscated – until her "debt" is paid off. Read more of the report by CNN correspondent Dan Rivers 

October 15, 2011: Cambodia's prime minister signs an order suspending the recruitment, training and sending of Cambodian domestic workers to Malaysia. Weeks later an opposition lawmaker says labor recruitment agencies are still sending domestic workers to Malaysia, adding that many government officials either own or have close ties to the companies. CNN cannot independently confirm that account and government officials say stopping the practice is "a learning process."

October 17, 2011: Malaysian Foreign Minister pledges to apologize to Cambodia if allegations of abuse of Cambodian workers in Malaysia are proved to be true.

October 22-23, 2011: CNN airs a two-part documentary called "Not My Life" that focuses on Cambodian brothels, specifically an area not far from the capital, where young girls are prostituted to visiting tourists.

October 24, 2011: CNN correspondent Sara Sidner reports from Cambodiagoogle. as a follow-up to what was revealed in "Not My Life." She files a story that focuses on a young woman who talks about how she endured repeated rapes from the time she was 5e years old. Shortly after the story airs, Cambodian authorities contact Don Brewster who runs the aid group featured in "Not My Life" to say they would act and make arrests. Brewster says he's been "yelling from the roof tops" for the past two years and it's not until CNN airs the story that suddenly there is action.

October 28, 2011: An article in the Cambodia Daily - an English-language daily newspaper - highlights government ties to recruiting agencies, including the one featured in Rivers' report.

October 31, 2011: Human Rights Watch publishes a report based on interviews with migrant domestic workers, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and recruitment agencies that highlight alleged abuses of women and girls in Cambodia and Malaysia, including allegations of forced confinement, heavy debt burdens and rape.

November 6, 2011: Journalist Nick Kristof accompanies a police raid at a brothel in Cambodia and posts message on the social networking site Twitter about how the army showed up and ordered police to cancel the raid as it was taking place. CNN cannot independently confirm that account, and the government has declined to comment.