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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ethnic status: ‘A difference of opinion’

Hindraf Makkal Sakti disagrees with the claim that ethnic status does not make any difference to Malaysians citizenship rights.

GEORGE TOWN: Hindraf Makkal Sakti does not agree with Bersih 2.0 leader S Ambiga’s claim that the ethnic status of Malaysians did not make a difference to their citizenry rights.

London-based Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said Malaysians may get the wrong impression that Malaysia truly practised democracy in accordance with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“As a former head of the Bar Council, Ambiga should really rethink on her statement that there was truly no discrimination based on citizenship in Malaysia.

“Her statement could send wrong signals to the public,” said Waythamoorthy on Ambiga’s speech at a function in Sungei Siput, Perak, last weekend.

Ambiga had reportedly said that the factor that determined the rights and duties of the people was their citizenship and not the size of the community they belong to.

“I was told that in Malaysia I belonged to a minority race. It had to be accepted then. Today, I reject it. I firmly declare that in this country I belong to the majority because I am a citizen,” Ambiga said in her speech.

According to her, the Federal Constitution makes no discrimination among citizens and urged her listeners to be proud of being citizens of a great country.

Ambiga pointed out some of the provisions relating to the special positions of the Malays, the rights of the Orang Asli and the special positions for Sabah and Sarawak and said: “We respect the Federal Constitution… I am talking about fundamental rights.”

Silent indignity

Waythamoorthy chided Ambiga for claiming fundamental liberties were not affected by provisions in Article 153 and Article 121 1 (A) of the Federal Constitution.

He argued that Malaysia remained the only country in the world which practised institutionalised racism, where special privileges were given to protect a majority race.

He said the fundamental rights of religious freedom under Article 11 had become meaningless and hopeless to safeguard the rights of 12 million non-Muslims in Malaysia.

“Article 153 has created two classes of citizenship,” he said , adding that its provisions were rejected even during the pre-Merdeka period.

He pointed out that Perak tin mining tycoon the late Lau Phak Khuan was one notable personality who highlighted the evils of the provision.

Another Malayan, Lau Cheung Ling, had argued at the Reid Commission on July 20, 1956 that: “If Malays were to be privileged, then one form of colonialism would be replaced by another.”

“Today I would dare say that we, the other Malaysians known as non-Malays, have been recolonised by the majority race,” said Waythamoorthy.

He said Article 153 imposes a duty upon the King to safeguard the legitimate interests of other communities that were to be treated as equal human beings.

Pointing out that without equality, there can be no dignity, he alleged that the “other” Malaysians were living in silent indignity.

He rapped Ambiga for creating a misconception that the Orang Asli enjoyed special privileges under Article 153, when it only provided for Malays and natives in Sabah and Sarawak.

Election Commission gets rid of candidate objection period – a pre-emptive move to save PM Najib?

by Mat Zain bin Ibrahim
20 December 2011.
I refer to a report by Themalaysianinsider yesterday (19.12.2011) quoting YBhg Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the EC Chairman, to have said, that there will be no more objection period for candidates in the next GE. The onus to check if a candidate is qualified, is now on the EC. Political parties that object to candidates they deem unqualified to contest which the EC has approved, must take the matter to court now,and not on the very morning of nomination day.
At a glance, the new ruling appears to be a sincere and generous handout from the EC in conjunction with the coming Christmas and New Year celebrations and for free, without the parties concerned having to ask or take to the streets to demand for it.
However at closer scrutiny, I am of the opinion that this is a preemptive move by the EC to thwart any objections against PM Najib’s nomination. For if there were, the Returning Officer (RO) concerned, based on the existing rules and procedures during objection period, would have no choice, but to reject PM Najib’s nomination form and disqualify him from contesting in this coming GE.
Firstly, the rakyat should be made aware that our PM has got himself embroiled in misquoting his own name either when affirming his affidavits on 21st and 23rd Sept 2011 or during the swearing-in ceremony as PM before YDP Agong on 3rd April 2009. Both have serious and far reaching legal implications, in as far as his full name is concerned.This includes but not limited to when he files his nomination papers to contest in the coming GE.
Upon discovery of this ‘embroilment’, I sent a written information to the IGP and extended a copy to the Minister of Home Affairs on 8.11.2011.A couple of case laws were cited to support my arguments.
Again on 8.12.2011, I penned an article specially focused on this matter and again sent copies to the IGP and the Minister.The full text of this article was published by Malaysiakini on 10.12.2011 and few other blogs.This article can still be found in Malaysiakini entitled: “Najib’s name game may cost him GE nomination” dated Dec 10,2011.
For the benefit of some, who may not have the chance to sight the full article, I reproduce few paragraphs, which I consider to be most relevant for a better understanding of the issue in question,as the following:
Malaysiakini, Dec 10,2011.

“Najib’s name game may cost him GE nomination”
by Mat Zain Ibrahim.

“What are the Rakyat’s options then? My view is still, taking to the streets at this juncture is not the option. Some people may get hurt and many would be arrested. You cannot fight fire with fire. What the rakyat can do in the meantime, are to be composed and wait for the nomination day which is just around the corner, amongst them…
“When PM Najib files his nomination papers, most likely in Pekan, he is expected to state his name as Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak as in previous elections. If he does that this time, then he faces the risks of being disqualified for filing his nomination form, using a name which is not his name. For all intents and purposes, he has formally denounced the name Muhammad as his name, by way of two affidavits.The Returning Officer(RO) shall take the affidavits as evidence to that effect.
“Say this time around PM Najib states his name as Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, to neutralise the setbacks of the affidavits, still he can be disqualified for not using his full name in the nomination form.
“The recordings of the oath taking ceremony of 3rd April 09 where PM affirmed in the name of Allah before YDP Agong that his full name is MOHD NAJIB can be produced to the RO as evidence.
“So whichever name he chooses, whether Najib or Mohd Najib, it is still contentious, and the RO can disqualify him from contesting, although everybody knows, is unlikely to happen. But God works in mysterious ways they say. It has happened many years before, in one little State up north, where the future MB was disqualified on nomination day and an unknown took the seat uncontested.
“What I am trying to highlight here is that the issue of PM’s name, is not just a minor problem that can be easily fixed. At least one ordinary citizen, a woman, have gone to jail for this. We cannot take this matter lightly, just because this time around the person involved is the Prime Minister. No one is above the law, we are all equals before the law, which our PM is very fond of saying.
“Had he gotten confused with some technical or medical terms or legal jargons, the rakyat can understand. But for a Prime Minister to be confused or forgets his own name, something must be very wrong somewhere and the rakyat ought to be concerned. For that matter, it is incumbent upon the Cabinet members to view this matter with utmost urgency.”
Now, based on the above scenario, if any other person, other than PM Najib, is caught in exactly the same situation, will the RO accept his nomination form or reject it? The other points to consider would be, whether the RO has the powers to reject affidavits which had been tendered, considered and accepted by a High Court and whether the RO has the power to declare a swearing-in ceremony before YDP Agong, as null and void?
If the RO says that he has none of the above powers, then it is mandatory upon him to reject the nomination form and disqualify the candidate from contesting. That would be the most honourable decision.
With regard to this “objection period” , I think this was never an issue before. In fact it has been accepted as part of an election tradition. Some even take it as part of a carnival. Not that we are taking an election process for granted or for fun, but that is normally the most awaited period during nomination day.That’s when voters from the constituency assess the candidates contesting by checking themselves how the aspirants filled the simple nomination form.
They say, if a thing is not broken, why fix it? Unless the EC have some very good excuse but cannot tell. Otherwise they should not deprive the voters of their rights to assess the contestants before making their choice.
Coming back to PM Najib’s position. I am of the opinion that the PM still faces the risks of being disqualified from contesting unless he make amends or corrections to his name. It’s not easy I know, like I wrote in my article, but the PM has no choice.

EC: No more objection period during nominations

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission has done away with the objection period for candidates during the nomination period, said chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

Abdul Aziz said in order to expedite the nomination process, the commission would no longer allocate time for objections to the nomination of a candidate.

Under the current arrangement, personal details of confirmed candidates are displayed for an hour after the nomination period ends. Contesting candidates can raise objections to a candidate’s eligibility during this time.

Candidates are also not allowed to pull out after their nominations have been accepted.

“The returning officer will receive the candidates’ nomination forms and they will be able to decide on the candidates’ eligibility to run in the elections based on the legal requirements stated in the Federal Constitution,” said Abdul Aziz.

“This means that we can determine the eligible candidates and print the ballot paper faster,” he said.

The commission will also display the electoral roll every three months for a two-week period instead of the current one-week practice, said Abdul Aziz, adding that this would give the public and political parties more time to scrutinise the list.

He also said the disabled could now bring a trusted party instead of their own relative.

“In the past, the disabled were required to bring one of their own relatives.

“Now, they can bring someone they trust, be it a guardian or someone who takes care of them in a home,” said Abdul Aziz.

He said that the arrangement of polling stations would be modified in a way that would make it easier for candidates’ representatives and voters to see each other easily.

“These are recommendations by the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms to promote greater transparency, so we have no objections to the changes,” said Abdul Aziz.

Hafiz Saeed vows jihad against India will continue

Makes first call for jihad at public rally since UN ban on Jamaatud Dawa. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE
LAHORE:  Jamaatud Dawa (JD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed vowed on Sunday that the jihad to oust Indian forces from Kashmir would continue, the first time he has made a reference to jihad since his group was declared a terrorist outfit by the United Nations in 2009.

Saeed was speaking at the ‘Difa-i-Pakistan Conference’, a gathering of thousands of supporters of Wahhabi and Deobandi parties at Minar-i-Pakistan on Sunday to protest against ‘US and Nato terrorism’. All the speakers at the rally called for jihad and told their supporters to prepare for war.

During his speech, Difa-i-Pakistan Council Chairman Maulana Samiul Haq read out an oath to the audience that they would participate in jihad when the Council gave the call. “We will attack Indian, US, Russian and Nato forces if they try to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty,” they said, repeating after Haq.
Haq said the various parties at the conference had united and would work together until their goals were achieved.

The organisers had invited the parents of men killed fighting in Kashmir and Afghanistan to the conference. A man who had lost three sons and two nephews was called to the dais to speak briefly. From the stage, men on loudspeakers led the crowd in chants of ‘Sabilina sabilina, al jihad al jihad’, ‘India ka aik ilaaj, al jihad al jihad’.

‘Difa-i-Pakistan jihad-i-fi sabilillah se hoga’ (Pakistan’s defence is only possible through jihad) proclaimed a huge banner, decorated with images of missiles, tanks and fighter jets, that formed the backdrop to the stage. Speakers walked to the stage accompanied by gunmen.

The crowd was dominated by JD activists waving the group’s black and white striped flag, which is also the flag of Lashkar-i-Taiba, proscribed as a terrorist outfit by Pakistan. In December 2009, the UN declared JD an alias of LT, which is believed responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks.

Some in the crowd also waved the flag of Sipah-i-Sahaba, another banned terrorist outfit. Supporters of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Sami), Tanzim-i-Islami, Aalmai Khatme Nabuwat, Tanzim Mashaikh Azzaam, Jamiat Ahle Hadith and Majlis-i-Ahrar also turned out in large numbers.

In his address, Hafiz Saeed said jihad was obligatory for Muslims. He said if the Americans tried to invade Pakistan, they would be resisted and killed. He said America had been trying to get Israel to take out Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, but was now planning the task itself. He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan were like twin brothers; whoever tried to harm one, would have to face the people of the other country. He demanded that the Pakistani government end all contacts with the US. He said that a similar rally would be held in Rawalpindi. “We will no longer fight America’s war, we will fight Pakistan’s war,” he said.

Saeed said that his support for Kashmir remained firm. “We were with Kashmiris and are with Kashmiris,” he said.

He said that JD would not allow the government to grant most-favoured nation trading status to India. “We will surround the markets where Indian goods are sold,” he said, adding a call for revenge against India for the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan.

JD leader Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki said that the participants wielding JD flags had been trained to use rifles and Kalashnikovs. “When they head towards India with weapons, no one can resist them,” he said.
Former ministers Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Ijazul Haq, son of the late dictator Gen Ziaul Haq, also addressed the participants.

Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi spoke against Ahmedis. He said that US-Pakistani businessman Mansoor Ijaz was an Ahmedi and was conspiring against Pakistan in the form of the memo scandal. He said 4,000 young people he had sent for jihad had died.

Former Inter Services Intelligence chief General (retired) Hameed Gul said Pakistan did not want war against the US, but “America has destroyed our lives and now we have no choice but to take a firm stand against it”. He said that he supported those who wanted to fight for the country after the Nato strikes that killed 24 soldiers. He said that an Islamic revolution, not general elections, was what Pakistanis needed to resolve their problems.

Syed Ziaullah Shah Bukhari, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, Maulana Zahidul Raashdi, Abdullah Shah Mazhar, Hafiz Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer, Maulana Mazhar Javed and Maulana Bashir Ahmed Sial also spoke at the rally.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2011.

Police report filed against gay med student

A Muslim NGO wants the police to probe Ariff Alfian Rosli, who reportedly got married to a man in Ireland.
KUALA LUMPUR: The police have been urged to investigate gay medical student Ariff Alfian Rosli who reportedly married an Irish man over the weekend.
The report was filed by Muslim NGO, Kepong Islamic Youth Organisation (PBIK), with the Sentul police headquarters here this morning.
“We are making the police report in the name of the Malays against a Malay youth who disgraced the name of our country, religion and race.
“We want to pressure the Higher Education Ministry and government-linked companies which sponsors students for education abroad to ensure that the students’ Malayness and Islamic identity are strong,” said PBIK chairman Norizan Ali.
Ariff, 28, who was studying in the University College Dublin was initially reported to be missing. He is a former Petronas scholarship recipient.
Meanwhile, Malaysian ambassador to Ireland Ramli Naam confirmed that Arif’s whereabouts has been located but was unable to reveal the information as it was against Ireland’s Data Protection Act.
Norizan also said that PBIK is against any efforts to introduce the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual culture.
“Malaysian Muslims must adhere to the Islamic laws and our country’s laws even when they are abroad,” he added.

Filem Islamik dan ‘roh’ Islam

19 DIS — Apabila menonton filem Melayu, saya akan mengharapkan kehadiran “roh” Melayu. Begitu
juga, dalam filem-filem bertema Islam, saya mengharapkan “roh” Islam.
Malangnya, daripada pengalaman saya selama ini, apa yang dicari masih belum ditemui dalam filem-filem Melayu yang dilabel dan dipromosikan sebagai “filem Islamik”.
Saya sempat membincangkan topik ini bersama-sama Nizam Zakaria iaitu seorang novelis, penulis skrip, pengarah dan penerbit drama televisyen sepenuh masa pada 30 November 2011.
Pemuda yang lahir di Singapura itu mengakui bahawa banyak filem Islamik, sejak awal lagi, adalah mengenai topik dakwah dan masuk Islam.
Katanya, apa yang kadang kala membimbangkan adalah kegemaran pembikin filem menunjukkan bahawa agama asal watak itu ada banyak kepincangan.
Filem ‘Muallaf’ masih kekal sebagai filem bertema Islamik terbaik.
“Tindakan seumpama itu adalah terlalu simplistik. Mungkin ada kebenaran dalam kes-kes terpencil tetapi apabila diulang dalam terlalu banyak filem, perkara itu menjadi semacam branding. “Akhirnya, filem bertema Islam tidak bergerak keluar daripada kepompong kecil,” Nizam yang mendapat pendidikan di Malaysia, Singapura dan Amerika Syarikat menghuraikan.
Filem-filem bertema Islam keluaran tempatan juga nampaknya tidak boleh lari daripada tunjang (tema) utama iaitu bertaubat. Malangnya, tema itu juga dijadikan terlalu simplistik.
“Satu watak akan buat jahat, kemudian akhirnya bertaubat. Saya mahu juga menonton filem-filem Islamik yang keluar daripada kotak sempit ini. Maknanya tidak sekadar berkisar tema masuk Islam dan tema bertaubat.
“Kalau kita berpeluang menonton filem-filem Iran yang dikatakan bertema Islamik, sebenarnya banyak filem-filem besar dari negara itu tidak sepenuhnya masuk dalam kotak tema Islamik secara konvensional,” katanya.
Nizam juga bercakap berdasarkan pengalaman luas dalam bidang drama, telemovie dan filem tempatan. Beliau menulis lebih 20 skrip, termasuk “Hotel Mania” (2010), “Ponti Anak Remaja The Series” (2010), “S3RAM” (2011) dan “Boona & Boonie” (2011).
Pemuda yang turut terlibat dalam pementasan muzikal “Terima Kasih Cinta” di Istana Budaya pada Februari-Mac lalu mengakui bahawa terdapat banyak filem kontroversional dari Iran.
Ramai juga pembikin filem dan pelakon di negara itu dijatuhi hukuman kerana terlibat dalam filem-filem yang dikatakan tidak Islamik.
Satu persoalan menarik adalah sama ada filem-filem yang berciri out of the box masih boleh berciri Islamik. Filem-filem tempatan juga banyak menggunakan simbol-simbol seperti masjid, solat, ustaz dan sejadah untuk menunjukkan unsur Islamik yang mahu ditonjolkan menerusi filem-filem bertema Islam.
“Saya sebagai pembikin filem, contohnya, mungkin boleh menggunakan warna hijau sebagai simbol Islam. Kita perlu faham bahawa ‘bahasa filem’ adalah berbeza kerana kita boleh menunjukkan visual untuk menyatakan sesuatu,” Nizam menjelaskan sewaktu kami bertemu di KLCC.
Perlu diakui bahawa kalau seorang pembikin filem boleh melakukan sesuatu secara bersahaja, halus dan dapat menembusi sanubari penonton, itu adalah kejayaan lebih besar bagi sebuah filem Islamik.
“Ramai juga yang bising mengatakan bahawa filem-filem barat cuba menerapkan unsur-unsur Kristian. Misalnya menerusi ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (2006), ‘Lord of the Rings’ (2001, 2002, 2003) dan ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ (2005, 2008, 2010).
“Bukankah lebih jika kita bertanya kepada diri sendiri: mengapa kita tidak cuba menggunakan filem Melayu tempatan untuk menonjolkan unsur-unsur Islam sehebat itu?” Soal Nizam yang menulis dan mengarah filem “Cinta Kura-kura” (2012).
Beliau bimbang bahawa kita masih belum mempunyai sebuah karya seperti itu yang mampu diangkat ke dalam sebuah filem yang menerapkan unsur-unsur Islam secara bersahaja sehingga mampu menarik minat penonton kanak-kanak, remaja dan dewasa sekali gus.
Mungkinkah juga realiti penduduk pelbagai kaum, etnik dan agama di negara bertuah ini menjadi semacam hambatan ke arah menghasilkan filem-filem Melayu yang bertema Islam dan mampu dihayati seisi keluarga?
Nizam Zakaria mendapat pendidikan di Amerika Syarikat.
“Saya rasa tak jadi masalah kerana di Malaysia, masyarakat pelbagai kaum dan agama masih boleh menonton filem-filem bertema Islam. Cuma masalahnya, seperti dikatakan tadi, apabila filem-filem ini ketara berciri dakwah, masuk Islam dan taubat,” katanya. Pada pandangan Nizam, jika mahu bercakap mengenai filem Islamik yang betul-betul berjaya menambat hati semua, tentulah filem “Muallaf” (2008) oleh Yasmin Ahmad.
“Filem itu bercerita mengenai agama Islam melalui pandangan yang amat indah. Apa yang lebih penting, dalam usaha menunjukkan keindahan Islam, Yasmin tidak sedikit pun memburukkan agama-agama lain. Sebab itulah juga arwah adalah seorang pembikin filem yang penting di Malaysia,” pemuda berumur 37 tahun itu menghuraikan.
Berbalik pada karya fiksyen tempatan yang mampu diangkat menjadi filem bertema Islam, Nizam memilih novel “Imam” (1995) oleh Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussain.
“Kalaulah saya diberi peluang mengadaptasi sebuah novel bertema Islam ke filem, saya akan memilih Imam. Walaupun ia sebuah novel yang berat, ceritanya sangat sesuai diangkat ke filem,” katanya.
Pada pandangan saya, satu lagi perkara yang perlu diambil kira adalah bahawa bahan yang diangkat ke filem perlu bersifat universal. Maknanya, sebuah filem Melayu bertema Islam yang dihasilkan di Malaysia mesti masih mampu berkomunikasi dengan penonton di luar negara.
Misalnya bagaimana filem “Children of Heaven” (1997) mampu dihayati dan dihargai penonton seluruh dunia tanpa mengira batas ideologi, politik, kaum dan agama. Kita perlukan sebuah karya yang tidak menunjukkan bahawa filem itu cuba berdakwah per se.
Nizam mengakui dengan memberikan contoh di mana setiap kali menjelang Aidil Fitri, banyak juga filem dan drama bertema Islam yang bercerita tentang orang meninggal dunia.
“Seolah-olah Hari Raya Puasa adalah hari kematian. Cuba bandingkan pula dengan filem-filem menjelang Krismas, misalnya, yang sentiasa membawa kisah-kisah penuh ceria dan harapan positif,” kata Nizam yang antara lain pernah mengarah telemovie “Gaia” (2008) dan “Cikaro” (2011).
Bagaimanapun, katanya, sejak belakangan ini, sudah ada beberapa pembikin filem Melayu yang cuba meninggalkan filem Islamik yang konvensional.
Paling tidak, menampilkan unsur ceria dan gembira dalam filem dan drama hari raya.
Di Indonesia, misalnya, filem “3 Hati Dua Dunia, Satu Cinta” (2010) tulisan dan arahan Benni Setiawan membawa nafas baru dalam industri filem Islamik. Filem berkenaan menampilkan watak budak lelaki berambut Afro yang bercinta dengan seorang gadis Islam dan seorang gadis Kristian.
Filem berkenaan tidak bersifat berdakwah secara langsung dan berterus-terusan. Bagi Nizam, itu adalah antara filem Indonesia yang terbaik sejak lima tahun lalu.
Pasti ada sesuatu yang boleh kita pelajari daripada pengalaman pembikin filem Islamik di Indonesia. Sekurang-kurangnya untuk menyedari bahawa filem-filem Islamik tidak semestinya mengisahkan suatu watak buat jahat dan kemudian bertaubat, atau memberi gambaran negatif mengenai agama lain.
Di Malaysia, pada penelitian Nizam, antara pengarah yang sedang memberikan nafas baru kepada genre filem/drama Islamik ialah Azma Aizal Yusoof menerusi “Hajar Aswad” (2011) dan Shahrulezad Mohameddin menerusi “Antara Garisan” (2010).
Drama ‘Antara Garisan’ menang Anugerah Skrin 2010.
Ternyata, apa yang juga penting dalam pembikinan filem bertema Islam adalah keikhlasan dan kejujuran dalam bercerita. Aspek story-telling itu adalah yang paling utama sementara motif-motif lain — misalnya, berdakwah — hanya datang kemudian. Nizam mengakui bahawa jika motif berdakwah diutamakan, maka aspek bercerita akan cair atau hilang terus. Apatah lagi, apabila tidak dilakukan secara jujur dan ikhlas, apa yang diimpikan tidak akan sampai kepada orang lain (penonton).
“Baru-baru ini, saya membaca kenyataan seseorang menerusi Twitter. Katanya, sesiapa yang menonton filem-filem Islamik seolah-oleh membeli tiket ke syurga,” Nizam menceritakan.
Pemuda itu tidak menolak kemungkinan memang ada orang membaca novel serta menonton filem bertema Islamik dengan kesedaran dan harapan mendapat pahala serta peluang lebih cerah untuk memasuki syurga.
“Kita perlu ingat bahawa sebuah filem tetap sebuah filem. Saya rasa seseorang tidak akan tiba-tiba bertukar menjadi seorang yang alim selepas menonton sebuah filem. Sebagaimana seseorang tidak akan tiba-tiba bertukar menjadi pembunuh bersiri selepas menonton ‘Silence of the Lamb’, misalnya.
“Sebaliknya, filem mampu menjadi umpama tingkap yang memberi ruang kepada kita untuk melihat dan memahami apa yang berlaku dalam kehidupan orang lain,” katanya.
Saya juga amat bersetuju bahawa filem-filem bertema Islam juga mampu — dan sewajarnya — menjadi tingkap untuk membantu masyarakat pelbagai kaum dan agama di Malaysia memahami kehidupan Islam yang sebenar.
Sebab itulah penting bagi sebuah filem berbentuk Islam untuk menunjukkan sesuatu nilai yang bersifat universal. Akhirnya, penonton bukan Islam di mana-mana penjuru dunia akan faham bahawa inilah kehidupan Islam yang sebenar.
Paling penting, seperti kata Nizam, filem berkenaan tidak berciri dakwah dan/atau menyalahkan agama lain dalam usaha mengangkat martabat Islam.
“Dua kesilapan ini akan membuatkan penonton switch-off dan segala mesej yang mahu disampaikan secara tersurat atau tersirat tidak sampai kepada mereka.
“Kalau kita mahu penonton bukan Islam membuka hati mereka dan menonton filem-filem bertema Islam dan melihat cara hidup orang Islam, kita perlu mampu menghasilkan karya yang bersifat subtle dan tidak terlalu berdakwah,” kata Nizam.
Sekali lagi, pemuda itu memberikan filem-filem Yasmin sebagai contoh terbaik. Bakat muda yang disebut beberapa kali oleh Nizam adalah Azma Aizal dan Shahrulezad yang dikatakan menunjukkan potensi ke arah itu menerusi telemovie dan drama.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Inspiring children to dream

Teach For Malaysia (TFM), a new concept programme, aims to take students beyond excellence and into the world of leadership.

In the winter of July 2009, Keeran Sivarajah received a newsletter from the University of Melbourne alumni. In it was an announcement of a partnership between the university and a little known non-profit called Teach for Australia.

The outfit’s concept was arresting. Recruit top Australian graduates, train and then place them as catalytic teachers in some of Australia’s most challenging schools.

The aim is to eventually transform the country’s approach to education and create a new generation of youth who know how to harness their academic and leadership potential.

Sivarajah instantly fell in love with the idea and knew he had to find a way to be part of it.

What he didn’t know was that a similar love affair was unfolding thousands of miles away in the Imperial College of London where Dzameer Dzulkifli was pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering while waiting to find his true passion.

Dzameer had noticed copious amounts of brochures around his college on a programme called Teach First. It spoke of the co-relation between a leader in the classroom and a leader in the boardroom.

Excited Dzameer immediately signed up but was rejected on the grounds that he wasn’t a British or European Union citizen.

That would have been the end of both love stories had the two not crossed paths in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Malaysia a few years later.

Idea awaiting birth

Deciding that their meeting in PwC was more an imminence than a coincidence, Sivarajah and Dzameer embarked on what is now the heartbeat of their lives.

“Our research revealed that both programmes had been long established and there was a solid template for success,” Sivarajah, 26, told FMT in an exclusive interview.

“Knowing this built our confidence to adapt the concept to the Malaysian context.”

The duo snatched whatever free hours their demanding consultant jobs permitted to develop a proper business plan.

In September 2009, the Teach for All network looked it over and gave the business model the stamp of approval.

Next they reached out to the Education Ministry and Khazanah Nasional Bhd for funding and support. Once again they were in the right place at the right time.

“The government’s Economic Planning Unit was undertaking a human capital study at that point and the Boston Consulting Group recommended that Teach For Malaysia (TFM) be run in Malaysia,” Dzameer, 28, recalled.

And with that TFM accelerated forward. In April 2010 Sivarajah and Dzameer were granted a two-month sabbatical from PwC to focus on TFM.

Neither have returned to their former employers since.

Instead they wrote a proposal to Khazanah requesting that it be TFM’s founding partner.

They were hired by Khazanah as consultants in June and within a month TFM was made the first Southeast Asian partner for Teach For All.

“Working with Khazanah has really opened our eyes and allowed us to leverage off its strong relationship with the ministry and corporate partners.

“Khazanah is leading some amazing educational initiatives so being introduced to other key stakeholders in the ministry with its name behind us has lent a lot of value to our role,” said Sivarajah.

Lengthy form-filling process

TFM was officially registered and launched by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in December 2010 as the 10th Malaysia Plan Human Capital Initiative. Now was when the real work began. And not on a particularly encouraging note.

“We held our first intake between January and August this year but by June we only had 200 applications,” Dzameer said.

“So we had to ramp up our cultivation calls, marketing strategies and media exposure. When we closed in August we had 869 applicants vying for 50 spots,” Dzameer added.

Sivarajah interjected here to explain that while the initial number of applicants was large many had baulked at tackling the necessary nine hours to complete the rigorous application form.

But he was unapologetic and unyielding to the suggestion that the form be simplified.

“The form requires applicants to write three to four essays that force them to search their soul for the reason they are applying and whether they are truly prepared for the challenge ahead.

“The reflective questions are very important. Yes we’re looking for a strong academic track record because that is a big indicator of personal investment and the ability to commit. But it isn’t the only factor.”

“We’re also looking for people who will be able to put themselves into the shoes of a leader, teach children from low-income families and deal with people who come with their own sets of challenges,” said Sivarajah.

Gruelling selection

As it turned out those nine hours are only the tip of the iceberg. Shortlisted candidates then face a phone interview and an online critical thinking test.

Sailing through that round earns them a golden ticket to the assessment centre where they will finally be introduced to the actual programme.

But that still isn’t the end.

“There’s an eight week school-based mentor programme conducted by the ministry and the ‘Teach For’ alumni where the Fellows – as they are called – will undergo extensive experiential-based leadership and teaching training before they enter the classrooms,” Sivarajah said, half-laughing at the triathlon-like qualification process.

“The training then continues on the job where they will graduate with a diploma in education at the end of their first year.”

“The process is crucial in identifying and grooming transformational teachers who can shift the life trajectory of a child and contribute to the opportunities that open up to that child in the future.”

It is for this same reason that TFM insists on all applicants being graduates.

Inspiring children

Keeran & DzameerDzameer explained that the academic qualification serves as an inspiration to the children that they can
reach for the stars no matter what their background story.

“It’s about reflecting on what a child really needs, for instance, a proficiency in English and higher levels of confidence and aspiration,” Sivarajah chimed in.

“Many of these children don’t believe that they can attend the best universities in the word.”

“I myself attended government school and found it difficult to imagine enrolling in an Ivy League university. So it’s about pushing kids to really dream big and realise that there is a clear path towards achieving that dream.”

Come Jan 4 next year, 50 young graduates and professionals between the ages of 20 and 30 will be doing just that in 17 selected government schools across Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan.

Once their two years fellowship is over they have the option of continuing along that path or returning to their former careers.

But no matter what they choose the “magic” would have already been spread throughout their schools.

According to Dzameer, the teaching fraternity of these schools while initially wary of the new blood are now keen to learn from them.

“We have spent a lot of time briefing the teaching communities in these schools to have them understand that we need them to make this programme work,” Dzameer said.

He also clarified that the 50 Fellows will be accorded the same treatment, workload and salary scale as government teachers and emphasised that no elitism would be tolerated.

“The core competencies among the Fellows are humility, empathy and respect,” Sivarajah added.

“So star students who have the brains but not the heart or ability to collaborate will not succeed in this programme.”

“When they enter the schools it is all about the mindset. They must adapt and learn.

“As much as they may know, the parents, teachers and students know a lot more about the happenings on the ground.”

Buiding Malaysian leaders

With applications for the second intake closing today (Dec 19), neither Dzameer nor Sivarajah has had time to take a breather despite having gone full steam ahead for an entire year.

And yet the light in their eyes and the exhilaration in their voices never once falter. If anything they are deeper in love with their newfound life path.

“What we are doing is building a movement of Malaysians leaders who are going to be invested in expanding education opportunities for our children,”

“We are part of a movement that will make a difference in the lives of so many children. How can you not be in love with a concept like that?” Sivarajah said.

A slap in the face for Perkasa’s Malay agenda

Withdrawing ‘Interlok’ from schools is a win-win situation and Perkasa should learn to respect the rights of non Malays instead of whining.

When Karpal Singh dubbed Malay right-wing group Perkasa’s anger and objection to Interlok being removed altogether from the school syllabus as ‘weird logic’, he was putting it mildly.

The truth is Perkasa is angry because it failed to keep the momentum of its ‘Malay-agenda’ going.

That Interlok humiliates the Chinese and Indians and only creates hostility among Malaysians of different racial backgrounds is far from Perkasa’s concern.

“It’s wrong for an extremist organisation like Perkasa to criticise the government’s decision to remove Interlok,” Karpal had said.

The novel which chronicles the lives and struggles of three families – a Malay, Chinese and Indian during pre-independence Malaya was made compulsory reading for Form Five students as part of the Malay Literature subject in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan and Putrajaya.

The novel contains racially offensive words such as ‘India Pariah’, ‘Melayu Malas’, ‘Cina Kuai’, ‘perempuan totok’, ‘babi’ and ‘syaitan putih’. It sparked an outrage, especially from the Indian community.

Interlok was also criticised for portraying unhealthy elements such as pre-marital cohabitation, infidelity, spirit worship, trading in humans. And yet, Perkasa found no reason for Interlok to be removed as a reading subject in schools.

Its secretary-general Syed Hasan Syed Ali said the group was very angry with MIC president G Palanivel over the withdrawal of the Form 5 literature text. He expressed Perkasa’s disappointment and regret over the government’s decision.

“The government is too weak and has failed to withstand pressure from a minority group that is big headed. Perkasa is aware of MIC’s need to bank on the Indian vote for the GE13. This is very insolent. Because of the Indian vote, the dignity of a Malay writer is being insulted,” said Syed Hassan.

Such views are far from “weird logic “. They, if anything, are a clear sign that Perkasa has no intention whatsoever of respecting the rights of the non Malays. Unity between rakyat of different racial beliefs is not Perkasa’s concern.

Perkasa has got it wrong – it is Interlok author Abdullah Hussain who has insulted the dignity of the Indians and Chinese, so the issue of MIC and Indian votes does not arise. Clearly, all that Perkasa wants and cares about is safeguarding Malay rights, never mind that it makes this movement a buffoon for its nonsensical views.

Perkasa a threat to 1Malaysia unity

Its consistent track record of threatening and insulting non-Malays has made Perkasa a threat where national security and peace are concerned. Ironically, such bigotry and venomous show by Perkasa time and again has never been a concern with the BN government.

Should the trend of condemning the other races by Perkasa persists, there is no denying the animosity that is bound to erupt. Intervention has to come fast to put a leash on Ibrahim Ali, the face behind Perkasa who calls the shots which are without fail, injurious to Najib’s 1Malaysia unity.

It is baffling that an entity like Perkasa has been granted the right to exist, when all it continues to do is to malign the Indians and Chinese. What is stopping Najib from confronting Ibrahim, cautioning him of the harm Perkasa keeps doing through its extremists beliefs.

It was Perkasa that labelled election watchdog Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga as dajal or antichrist when she agreed to officiate the ‘Seksualiti Merdeka’ festival last month, an event which provided the much needed space to the gay, lesbian, transgender, intersex and queer communities.

In August this year, Ibrahim threatened to “do something” to the Najib-led government if it failed to take action over three outstanding matters – the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally which the government deemed illegal, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s alleged sex video and DAP’s “Christian conspiracy”.

Perkasa’s existence is causing more harm than good and before all hell breaks loose, something “must be done” to make sure Perkasa starts ‘behaving’ or else it is buried for the good of everyone.

Who really is at the losing end with the removal of Interlok from the school syllabus? Does it embarrass or shame its author, Abdullah Hussain, a national laureate that his work has been regarded as harmful to the national unity agenda?

The hue and cry that Perkasa is going about making is simply because of its refusal to accept the fact that Interlok poses a danger by insinuating that only the Malays are superior, that too at the expense of the non Malays.

At the end of the day, withdrawing Interlok from schools is a win-win situation and if Perkasa goes about whining that it a move in the wrong direction, the only reason it is doing so is because the removal of the novel comes as a slap in the face of Perkasa’s Malay agenda.

Perkasa after all, is nothing but a liability and it would be in the best interest of the nation and her people that Perkasa too receives the same fate as has Interlok.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

Dr M again denies seeking aid from World Bank

(Bernama) - Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has again denied that he had sought financial aid from the World Bank during the 1997 financial crisis of thereafter.

Commenting on the disclosure by the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) today which showed three documents which allegedly proved that he had applied for the loan, Dr Mahathir said he had to see whether the documents were genuine or otherwise, and had to seek confirmation from the World Bank on the alleged documents.

"I want to see...I want to ask the World Bank whether this is true...Because nowadays even photos of human beings with someone else's body can be made."

"As far as I can remember, and I have not forgotten, I never sent any request for any money, not during the financial crisis or even after that. I had just criticised the World Bank, then I ask money from them for what? I would be stupid," he told reporters after a meeting with 26 participants of the reality programme, "Adik-Adikku", at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here.

Dr Mahathir also questioned why such documents appeared all of a sudden, whereas Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said that he did not have the documents earlier.

"Why only today they appeared after so many years? It's due to politics, because of the general election, (they) want to criticise others," he said.

Anwar was earlier reported to have claimed that Dr Mahathir had written to the World Bank for financial aid during the financial crisis, when delivering a speech at a dinner to discuss the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) which was also attended by representatives from the foreign missions.

Dr Mahathir in return challenged Anwar to swear on the al-Quran as proof to back the allegation.

Will 1Malaysia TV be the solution or the cause of the “information vacuum” plaguing government credibility?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a very interesting observation when launching 1Malaysia TV yesterday, the existence of an “information vacuum” in Malaysia in the information age with youths turning to alternative online site for news.

But is 1Malaysia TV the solution or it will part of the cause of the “information vacuum” plaguing the government’s credibility?

1Malaysia TV as Internet television is offering inter alia RTM1, RTM2 and TV3, the official channels which evoke intense distrust and low credibility of their information.

Without any change of policy to allow RTM1, RTM 2 and TV3 to be independent, non-partisan and professional tv stations, the primary cause of the “information vacuum” and also why not only youths but Malaysians as a whole are turning to alternative online sites for news and information would not be addressed.

Najib said information on alternative online sites as “sometimes fabricated or untrue”, but these criticisms are equally valid about the official media and now 1Malaysia TV – which is going to repackage the official media on Internet!

Although Najib said that it was essential to provide information to the rakyat rather than to black it out, “as it would only prompt them to seek it from alternative sources”, his administration had been guilty of the “black out” mindset and strategy when confronted with adverse or troublesome developments.

Najib’s own silence in December, which resound through the land, on the following five issues highlight this “black out” mentality and strategy, viz:

• The Cabinet position of Minister for Welfare, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil in the face of the RM300 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) Cattle-Gate/Cow Condominium scandal;

• Malaysia’s worst Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2011 ranking and score – 60th place as compared to No. 23 in 1995 and lowest-ever score of 4.3 when Malaysia scored 5.32 in 1996, which means that Malaysia under Najib is perceived internationally as more corrupt than under two previous Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.

• Call by 17 international and national environmental groups and activists including Greenpeace, Manser Bruno Fund and Fern, for the arrest and criminal prosecution of Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his 13 family members for massive graft and plundering of Sarawak’s rich natural resources;

• Penang High Court judgment against Utusan Malaysia, UMNO official newspaper, for mischievous defamation against Penang Chief Minister and Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng trying to depict Guan Eng as anti-Malay and anti-Islam, with award of RM200,000 for general and aggravated damages and RM25,000 for costs against Utusan; and

• The 2009 report of Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) that Malaysia continues to be one of the top five countries in the world suffering from the highest illicit capital outflow, registering a loss of over RM1 trillion (US$338 billion or RM1,077 billion) in past decade, 2000-2009, as a result of corrupt and misgovernance.

Will Najib demonstrate a change of this information “blackout” mindset and strategy and use 1Malaysia TV to break his silence and speak up to give an accounting and perspective as the nation’s Prime Minister on these five issues?

EC To Use Indelible Ink In 13th General Election

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 19 (Bernama) -- The Election Commission (EC) will use the "silver nitrate" indelible ink in the coming 13th general election, EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof announced Monday.

He said the ink was different from those that had been proposed for the 12th general election.

He declined to state the country where the ink would be sourced from but said that such ink had been used by several countries in their elections.

Abdul Aziz said the EC would also introduce for the first time the "advance voting" system, allowing electorates, particularly armed forces and police personnel, to cast their votes two or three days prior to the actual polling day.

He said that postal voting would remain available during the election but those involved should first apply to the returning officers to do so.

These were among the proposals submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform, he said.

Jemputan : Taklimat Media - (pendedahan bukti) Penyelewengan dalam Persatuan Bekas Polis

19 Disember 2011

Kepada :
wakil - wakil media ;
wakil - wakil organisasi / parti-parti politik ;
wakil Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia ;
wakil Polis Di Raja Malaysia ;
wakil Jabatan Pendaftaran Pertubuhan ;
wakil - wakil pertubuhan bukan kerajaan ;
blogger ;
dan yang berkenaan .

Saudara ;


Perkara di atas dirujuk.

Pihak Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) telah ditemui oleh beberapa 'pimpinan' Persatuan Bekas Polis Malaysia. Selama sebulan telah meneliti dan mengumpul beberapa bahan bukti penyelewengan yang berlaku dalam Persatuan Bekas Polis. Kes penyelewengan ini sebenarnya telah mula muncul lebih dari setahun lalu, malangnya apabila aduan dibuat dengan bukti nyata dan dokumen sokongan perkara penyelewengan ini di diamkan seolah mendapat 'perlindungan'.

Setelah berbincang dengan banyak sebelum ke mahkamah, mereka yang terlibat ini bersetuju untuk membuat satu taklimat media bagi menerangkan serta mendedahkan bukti penyelewengan kepada umum. Satu program penerangan media akan dibuat seperti berikut ;

Majlis Taklimat Media : (Pendedahan Bukti) Penyelewengan dalam Persatuan Bekas Polis
Tarikh : 20 Dis 2011 (Selasa)
Masa : 11.00 pagi
Tempat : Dewan d'Ark, Taman Sri Kasih, Jalan Senawang-Paroi, Seremban (peta lokasi disertakan)

Sehubungan dengan itu kami mengharapkan kehadiran pihak media untuk membuat liputan kepada permulaan satu lagi kes yang bakal menggemparkan negara ini.

Ada beberapa pimpinan kanan parti politik telah mengesahkan kehadiran namun untuk berlaku adil dan demi membantu 'pimpinan' persatuan bekas polis yang mencari keadilan ini maka semua parti diharapkan dapat menghantar pimpinan kanan bagi sama menunjukkan keperihatinan demi mengangkat dan menyelesaikan kes ini. begitu juga kepada wakil - wakil organisasi bukan kerajaan.

Kami juga mengharapkan kehadiran wakil SPRM, Pendaftar Pertubuhan dan PDRM sendiri untuk hadir sama bagi meneliti kes ini kerana sudah tentu ia melibatkan bidang kuasa pihak tuan.

Sebarang pertanyaan sila hubungi 0123696474 Saudara Norazizi, Ko Ordinator Kebangsaan SAMM.

Untuk makluman semua taklimat media ini akan diketuai oleh Datuk Haji Yahya bersama wakil-wakil persatuan bekas polis dari seluruh negara.

Sekian dan terima kasih.

Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia