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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pakistani Woman Charged with ‘Blasphemy’ for Refusing Islam

Relatives who became Muslims try to force her to renounce Christian faith.

A young mother has been falsely accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, because she rebuffed attempts by relatives who had converted to Islam to force her to renounce her Christian faith, family members said.

Police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district, in Punjab Province, charged 26-year-old Shamim Bibi, mother of a 5-month-old girl and resident of the village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area, under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.

Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.

The young woman’s brother, Ilyas Masih, and her brother-in-law, Shahbaz Masih, told Compass that she had been wrongly accused because she had resisted pressure to convert to Islam four days before her arrest.

“Nazeeran, sister of Shamim’s husband Bashir Masih, and her nephew Nadeem and niece Bella accepted Islam on Feb. 24 and called on her to do the same,” Masih said. “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert.”

He said the newly-converted Muslims persisted in trying to force her to convert, but she resisted.

“Shamim told them that she had complete faith in a living God, and that there was no reason for her to start ‘worshiping graves,’” Masih said.

That remark was not the one deemed “blasphemous.” Rather, on Feb. 27 her neighbors accused her of making derogatory remarks – as yet unknown – on a separate occasion about Muhammad while in her courtyard.

Ansar Ali Shah, a local prayer leader in Chak 170/7R Colony, claimed that Shamim Bibi’s neighbors, Hamad Ahmed Hashmi and Abdul Qayyum, told him and other Muslims that they had heard the Christian woman making derogatory remarks about Muhammad in her courtyard, according to the First Information Report (FIR No. 30/12) registered by the Khichiwala police station. But there is no indication in the FIR of what, exactly, Shamim Bibi was alleged to have said.

As word of the allegation spread, a large crowd of villagers besieged her house and demanded “severe punishment for the infidel,” claiming she had hurt their religious sentiments, sources said.

Shahbaz Masih, her brother-in-law, told Compass that Qayyum, one of the two men named in the FIR as witnesses, has denied hearing anything from Shamim Bibi that supports the charge.

“Qayyum told police that he wasn’t even present in his house at the time of the alleged incident and had come to know about it from Hamad, the other witness,” Shahbaz Masih said.

Hamad Ahmed Hashmi, a motorized-rickshaw driver, also was not present at his house at 3 p.m., the time of the alleged remark, Shahbaz Masih said, based on information gathered from Shamim Bibi’s neighborhood.

“Hamad transports schoolchildren and could not have been in his house at the time of the incident, as it was just after school closing hours,” he said.

Bahawalnagar Superintendent of Police Investigation Irfan Ullah acknowledged that one of the two witnesses had admitted to not being present at the alleged “crime” scene at the time of the alleged remark.

“Qayyum told us that he hadn’t witnessed the incident and his name had been included in the FIR by the locals, but still that does not prove that Shamim did not commit blasphemy,” Ullah told Compass by phone. “The other witness is standing by his claim, and she has produced nothing so far which can prove her innocence.”

He vehemently denied that police had caved in to pressure from local Muslims and had registered a case in undue haste.

“I visited the village twice, and so far nothing has come up that suggests that the people have accused Shamim wrongly,” Ullah said. “We registered a case against her on the directions of the district police officer.”

Bahawalnagar District Police Officer Salman Ali Khan could not be reached for comment.

Shamim Bibi’s family and her infant daughter, meantime, may have to wait for a long time for her return. While no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, most are freed on appeal after suffering for years under appalling prison conditions.

Vigilantes have killed at least 10 people accused of blasphemy, rights groups estimate.

Section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy law states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Dewan kecoh, Najib elak jawab soalan SBPA

Estate workers want Sime Darby to settle woes

The families claimed the GLC had neglected their welfare after it sold part of the estate land to a private company.

E 1SHAH ALAM: Some 46 families of Subang Estate want Sime Darby Plantations to look into their welfare as the government-linked company (GLC) seems to have washed its hands off them.

Speaking at a press conference on behalf of the workers, Dr Nasir Hashim, the Kota Damansara assemblyman, called on Sime Derby, the owner of the estate, Selangor state executive council member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar and the National Union Plantation Workers (NUPW) to assist in solving the workers’ grievances.

Nasir, who is also Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) president, said Sime Derby had neglected the workers when it sold part of the estate land (45 hectares) to a private company.

“It is unfair because currently there are 46 families still staying at the estate… in fact, 19 of them are still working here while the remainder have retired from Sime Darby.

“Sime Darby is responsible for these workers although it has sold the land to NPO Builders Sdn Bhd,” he said.

He added that although Sime Darby claimed to have sold off the land, there was no evidence of the sale.

“If a party wants to sell any estate land, it must obtain a letter of authorisation from the Estate Land Board, which is under the purview of the state government.

“Until today we have not been provided with this letter. So, technically, Sime Darby is still the owner of the land and it is its duty to solve problems faced by the workers,” he added.

A former Subang estate worker, identified as Ganeshan, said Sime Darby had demolished several old estate quarters when some former workers had moved out.

“After the management demolished the houses, it failed to remove the rubbles and this causes heavy flooding.”

He also said the workers also have to bear with dirty water from their taps and deplorable conditions of the old estate houses.

“We need an immediate solution from Sime Darby to clean up the estate,” he added.

Ganeshan said if Sime Darby wanted to sell the land, then the company should provide low-cost houses to the workers for free.

“We do not want money from them. We are want low-cost houses for free,” he said.

Bribery charge: 11 cops transferred

The 11, including five officers, had allegedly solicited bribe from a businessman after the latter and his friends were caught for driving under the influence of alcohol.

KUALA LUMPUR: Five police officers, including a DSP, were transferred out from the city traffic police department with immediate effect over an alleged bribery case.

Six other rank and file personnel from the same police station also suffered a similar fate.

A senior police officer told FMT that the 11 were transferred either to the General Operations Force (GOF) or Federal Reserve Unit (FRU).

It is learnt that the transfer order was issued following an internal investigation over a police report lodged by a businessman recently.

The businessman alleged that he and several of his friends in three cars were stopped at a roadblock and ordered to take a breathalyser test.

“When the test confirmed positive, one of the police personnel ‘offered’ to settle the matter in return for cash,” added the source.

After being forced to pay the “bribe”, the businessman had contacted a high ranking officer in Bukit Aman and informed him about the incident.

A special task force investigated the complaint and recommended that all those involved in the roadblock operation be transferred out.

However, City traffic chief ACP Rosli Mohd Noor confirmed that 11 of his men had been shifted out, but claimed that it was “normal transfers”.

“No truth in those allegations. It (the transfers) were for ‘mobility’, to switch the men from an old place to a newer one,” he said.

He added that the officers had been given new positions in various other departments in the Klang Valley including Bukit Aman and other divisions.

The latest disciplinary action comes in the wake of another police officer, with the rank of Supt, being placed in “cold storage” at the Police Training College in Cheras after a masseuse had allegedly accused him of sexual harassment.

The officer was well-known as a “crime buster” and his last posting was as district police chief in Negeri Sembilan.

When contacted, Negeri Sembilan police chief Osman Salleh dismissed the allegation as “mere rumours” and claimed that it was a routine transfer.

Appeal filed against Ramasamy verdict

RSN Rayer and A Tanasekharan submitted a joint appeal against the not-guilty verdict delivered by DAP's disciplinary committee yesterday.

GEORGE TOWN: An appeal has been filed against the DAP decision to clear the party’s deputy secretary-general, P Ramasamy, of all charges of breach of internal discipline.

State assemblymen RSN Rayer of Seri Delima and A Tanasekharan of Bagan Dalam submitted a joint appeal today against the not-guilty verdict that the party’s disciplinary committee delivered yesterday.

“We have filed an appeal against the decision by the disciplinary board to clear Ramasamy from the charges of organising a disgraceful demonstration against Karpal Singh, and also the charges of breaching a gag order,” the assemblymen said in a brief written statement to the press.

The party’s central executive committee is expected to deliberate on the petition soon.

Ramasamy was charged with organising a demonstration against party chairman Karpal, Rayer and Tanasekharan before the Penang DAP convention last Dec 11.

The charge of breaching a gag order was related to a Dec 23 article in The Star.

Ramasamy has filed a RM10 million suit against the daily and the reporter who wrote the article, which he said was defamatory.

The disciplinary committee began its investigation after receiving complaints from Tanasekharan, Rayer and 31 other members. A three-member panel headed by Tan Kok Wai held an inquiry on the allegations at party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 16. Fifteen party members testified against Ramasamy.

In announcing the verdict yesterday, Tan, who is the MP for Cheras, said Ramasamy was not behind the demonstration against Karpal.

“The committee holds that Ramasamy did not commit any disciplinary wrongdoing,” he said, adding that the demonstration was carried out by non-DAP members.

Shahrizat not big enough a scapegoat to save BN: NFC still a 'weapon of mass destruction'

Shahrizat not big enough a scapegoat to save BN: NFC still a 'weapon of mass destruction'What is now the RM250 million NFC debacle was once part of a grand plan by the Agriculture ministry to make Malaysia self-sufficient in food, which was a good and feasible plan and could have been very successful. But unfortunately, it was hijacked by UMNO and turned into a money-making scheme for its elite leaders.
The same goes with the New Economic Policy and whatever that the nation's planners have so far come up with for the government to implement so as to benefit the country. All have either been hijacked by UMNO or passed on to its BN partners. It is for the reason that while the UMO led government loudly proclaims 'progress', what the citizens really feel is 'regress'.
With self-sufficiency in food, Malaysia would be able to save billions in the long term and even be a net food exporter. If the NEP had been implemented properly and diligently, the goals would have been achieved by now and the policy abolished. Malaysia could have been a success story for the rest of the world to emulate.
Unfortunately, UMNO spoiled everything. How? Well, they meddled, shortchanged, cheated, siphoned out and stole everything that they could put their hands on. It is not for nothing that UMNO is described as a pirate ship. So those thieves in Somali, watch out - UMNO Mari!
Classic example of an UMNO money-making scheme
The NFC mess is a classic example of an UMNO  money-making scheme at its slickest - until of course internal infighting made the rival factions in UMNO turn against and spill the beans on each other. From the UMNO president, deputy president all the way down to the top guns in the youth and Wanita wings, they all willingly supported Shahrizat Jalil - the Women's minister and head of the Women's wing - as her family dug a huge hole for themselves with the National Feedlot Centre cattle breeding project.
So it is not surprising that Shahrizat got very angry when her UMNO colleagues later turned their backs on her and her family. After betraying her, they forced her and her family to step out and take on the full blame. Remember, someone leaked out those secret details to the PKR, some in UMNO claim it came from Prime Minister Najib Razak's camp but in the end he had to beat a hasty retreat because the scandal got completely out of hand.
Then as if to show their gratitude, the duplicitous UMNO elite rushed out one by one to publicly thank her for her 'sacrifice' and her 'magnanimous' spirit in accepting responsibility and not tarring them in the process!
But if Shahrizat is smart, she should repent sincerely and fully. She should also blow the whistle on the other elite for their thievery. After all, she has gone on several Umrahs (trips to Mecca) in the past few stressful months alone and she should know very well that corruption is illegal and a sin in the eyes of God and Islam.
Tried to fight back
For a while, Shahrizat tried to fight back. Her famous giveaway comment that 'which BN leader has no problem' was meant to keep the wolves and fickle friends at bay. But in the end, it was just too much for the UMNO elite to handle. Loyalty has never been a quality they are known for anyway. It has always been money that was their common denominator. And when Najib, who is also the UMNO president, found his own 'transactions' in NFC being exposed, that's when he finally started to move in on Shahrizat.
Being a trained lawyer, the Women's minister must have made sure that the paper trail did not lead to her and her name is not in any of the documents. But the paper trail against her husband and three children is just too great for the usual UMNO runaround tricks to work here - not with the 13th general election looming and Najib facing the risk of another public tarring if his Kazakhstan connections in the NFC are exposed.
Remember, Najib has pitched to the UMNO warlords that BN can only win based on his popularity alone because the individual components like MCA, Gerakan, MIC and UMNO itself have all lost their credibility with the people. This is why he must protect himself at all costs - so as to protect them! That the UMNO-BN can fall for it and agree is a sign of how desperate the once-mighty coalition has become!
Crocodiles pit
One may wonder, why Salleh Ismail, the NFC chief and Shahrizat's husband, did not engage a real full-fledged professional team to manage the project. Critics point out that such a move would have defeated their purpose. Managing the project by himself, helped by his own family, made the alleged plundering easier.
The NFC at the end of the day was just another UMNO money-making vehicle. Stealing is always the main agenda in UMNO projects and these include Proton, Malaysian Airlines, Port Klang Free Zone, Tenaga, Telekom, the Independent Power Producers and so on. For the past 5 decades, plundering has become what UMNO does best. It has become a well-honed art, with the UMNO elite also assuming a new skill -  shielding, deflecting and protecting their colleagues who slipped up.
But for those who could not be saved - like the Shahrizats - these ruthless businessmen had no compunction in mercilessly withdrawing their support. Such is life in a crocodiles pit.
Najib's hand in NFC flushed out
It is not surprising that Najib has said very little on the NFC case as the last bit of spicy NFC news involved the purchase of a RM1.7million luxury apartment in Kazakhstan. His daughter married into a powerful political family there and he is believed to have sanctioned a memorandum of understanding between NFC and a Kazakh party when he visited the nation on an official trip in June last year.
Firstly, such a deal is illegal as the NFC is not authorized to invest overseas. Secondly, why did Najib, who is also the Finance minister close an eye? Did he or his Kazakh friends get something out of it? No doubt, whatever 'goodie' Najib may have picked up in Kazakhstan would pale in comparison with the commission that he was accused of corruptly getting from the Scorpene submarines bought in 2002, but Najib is facing the battle of his life.
Najib knows he has to win GE-13 and does not need any more negative publicity. On the contrary, he needs to make himself out to be a hero and this is what he is now trying to fool Malaysians into thinking. That he is a corruption fighter, while poor Shahrizat is to be pitied and forgiven because she was 'sabotaged' by the Opposition.
Yes, Shahrizat faces seeing her husband and children being jailed. To the tender-hearted in UMNO, many of whom are rural housewives, this may be enough to make them take off their aprons and march to the ballot boxes and vote for the BN. But will it also fool the urban and educated members in UMNO? Certainly, the ruse won't cut it with the other Malaysians.
New political dilemma - UMNO's inability to tackle corruption
So, for now, Najib reckons he has done enough to save UMNO and to pacify voters. He hopes that such a move will also take the wind out from the sails of PKR and its strategy director, Rafizi Ramli, who has been at the forefront of the barrage of revelations made against the Shahrizats.
But here, Najib may have got it wrong. Whether Salleh is found guilty and jailed or not is by now secondary. The most important thing as far as Malaysians are concerned, is how Najib and the government cleans up the NFC mess.
The manner in which the Shahrizats bought condos and a supermarket in Singapore and their sale of a Singapore-incorporated firm has blown the whistle on how the UMNO elite have been siphoning national money overseas. Malaysians are now hungry for more juicy tidbits. They want to know how it was done and what will Najib do to make sure that the money is recovered.
This of course puts Najib in a new political dilemma. If he begins to clean up the government and UMNO, he can expect to face immediate resistance from other factions including from Mahathir Mohamad, the former premier who ruled Malaysia and UMNO for 22 years. Given that Najib has his own huge 'baggage' to carry, this is one task that he could never achieve - and that is to weed out corruption. In fact, no UMNO leader could, even if he had no baggage at all.
Those who have baggage in UMNO outnumber those who are clean and they will make sure that all attempts to 'reform' Malaysia are frustrated. This is the situation and this is why when former premier Abdullah Badawi was asked what were the main issues facing Malayia in a recent Bloomberg interview, Badawi only dared to mention race and religion.
Weapon of Mass Destruction
So, no - neither UMNO or Najib is safe yet. Shahrizat is a good scapegoat but not a big enough scapegoat to absorb all of the UMNO-BN's misdeeds. Furthermore, the backlash from the Shahrizats and the other UMNO factions to Najib's latest handling of the NFC - charging Salleh for CBT - have yet to be seen.
Malaysia's Cowgate debacle remains the “weapon of mass destruction” for the PKR and Pakatan Rakyat to use to defeat the corrupt UMNO-BN in GE-13.
Malaysia Chronicle

RM500 buys…

The Malaysian Insider

MARCH 13 — It is not surprising that PM Najib Razak says that the government will give cash to Malaysians if revenue goes up. He has found out that his disbursement of RM500 has been a success. Nothing it seems keeps Malaysians happy than some lucre in the pocket.
Najib knows this and if it means emptying the coffers to win the election he will do it. The PM a great believer in deal-making knows that RM500 will…
•persuade many Malaysians to have amnesia and forget the catalogue of flip-flops and mistakes from Najib who has inherited mantle of flip-flop king from Abdullah Badawi.
•make Malaysians forget about the string of corruption issues and dodgy deals from the development of land near Martrade (Naza TTDI) to the rm9 billion patrol boats to the super sweetheart West Coast Highway deal (60 year toll concession) to the RM2.2 billion Kidex highway.
•help Malaysians forget about how the power and might of the state was brought to bear on ordinary citizens who were marching for clean elections.
•lull Malaysians into complacency that they forget that Indonesians, Bangladeshis and other foreigners are being “allowed” to vote.
•convince Malaysians that Najib is a decent chap, despite allegations that the powerful and connected and people from his inner circle are making much hay while the sun shines. Forget about the RM24 million ring and the shopping trips.
•get Malaysians to focus on material wellbeing instead of focusing on fighting evil and injustice.
•persuade Malaysians that the government is really prihatin and has the welfare of Malaysians at heart, instead of asking why the national debt has reached unheard of levels and pondering about a government which has to buy its way to power.
•hope that Malaysians forget that everything about this government is about announcements and launches and where consultants are paid mega bucks to recycle ideas as Government Transformation.
Yes, the government hopes that the occasional RM500 will be like a drug to Malaysians and they want us hooked for life.

Kenyataan Akhbar: Pindaan Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah Yang Baru Untuk Komen Dan Maklumbalas Dari Peguam Dan Masyarakat Umum

Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa Jawatankuasa Kaedah-Kaedah yang ditubuhkan di bawah seksyen 17 Akta Mahkamah Kehakiman 1964 dan seksyen 3 Akta Kaedah Mahkamah Rendah 1955 yang dipengerusikan oleh YAA Ketua Hakim Negara telah membuat pindaan terhadap Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah Tinggi 1980 (Rules of the High Court 1980) dan juga Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah Rendah 1980 (Subordinate Courts Rules 1980) untuk digabungkan supaya menjadi satu kaedah yang terpakai untuk Mahkamah Tinggi dan Mahkamah Rendah iaitu Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah 2012 (Rules of  Court 2012). Tujuan Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah 2012 ini dibuat adalah untuk memudahkan dan menyeragamkan prosidur kes sivil di Mahkamah serta meningkatkan mutu penyampaian sistem keadilan di Malaysia.

Draf Kaedah tersebut telah dimuat turun di dalam laman sesawang seperti berikut untuk komen dan maklum balas daripada pengamal undang-undang dan juga orang ramai dalam masa satu (1) bulan iaitu pada atau sebelum 11 April 2012:


Komen, cadangan dan maklum balas boleh terus diemelkan kepada atau difaks ke nombor 03-8880 3507 atau diposkan ke alamat Pejabat Ketua Hakim Negara, Aras 5, Istana Kehakiman, Presint 3, 62506 Putrajaya.
Disediakan oleh,
Pegawai Khas I kepada
YAA Ketua Hakim Negara