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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shahrizat felt humiliated by 'cow minister' tag

(Malaysiakini) Former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil described in detail in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today her humiliation at being called "Cow minister of the year" by parliamentarian and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin.

No one, even politicians, deserved to be called in such a manner, the former women, family and community development minister told Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera when testifying on the RM100 million defamation suit she filed on Jan 19.

NONE"Surely nobody deserves to be insulted in such a manner. This is beyond acceptable ‘political bantering'.

"It is obvious that Zuraida realises the reference to ‘lembu' is a deragotory remark and in the colloquial Malay sense suggests stupidity, and this is slanderous and insulting," Shahrizat said.
A minister for 13 years, she described the words uttered as meant to humiliate and tarnish her reputation as a woman and that this went beyond the permissable extent, even in the political arena.

Zuraida made the remark during the PKR delegates conference last year, Shahrizat said in the suit she filed against PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli and Zuraida for implicating her in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) Sdn Bhd fiasco.
Rafizi and Zuraida have filed a counter-claim against the former minister.
The Umno Wanita leader and seasoned politician also said the Internet had resulted in the allegations "to be unstoppable", despite she being cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
'Internet a strange creature... unstoppable'

"The Internet is a strange creature in that once it has built sufficient momentum, it becomes unstoppable. Reading about a politician being allegedly corrupt is sensational and creates interest.

"However, reading any publication subsequently declaring the innocence will often go unnoticed.

"You must understand that if abused, the Internet can be an unchecked and uncontrollable weapon to spread rumours and lies, until such time a euphoria of hate is created among the public," Shahrizat said.
She said these accusations against her became a topic of conversation even in the Internet and on social networks.

Shahrizat said the very nature of social networks, when one posts comments, invite others to comment.

“This is when embellishment takes place. In fact, I was informed the allegations against me spiralled into suggestions and accusations that the National Feedlot Corporation funded holidays for me in Phuket.

NONE“My whole family and I have never ever been to Phuket. This is a ridiculous and blatant vicious lie orchestrated to produce anger and hatred towards me and my family,” she said of the allegation raised by Rafizi.

Rafizi at in one of his press conferences, Shahrizat said, claimed that the NFC booked a holiday through travel agency Impian Global Network Services. However, Shahrizat said, as a travel agency, Impian Global arranged tickets for business and pleasure as well.

“Let me explain how mischievous Rafizi is. In his press conference, he identified that payments were made through the travel agent by NFC. He then produced a print-out of their website, which revealed that this travel agent also advertised holiday packages to Phuket, Bandung, etc.

“He then made this insidious and deceptive conclusion that since these packages were advertised, NFC must have bought packages to Phuket, Bandung and other advertised holiday destinations.

“In all honesty, NFC never bought me any holiday packages but instead, merely used the travel agent for its ticketing for business travel,” she said.
'Rafizi planted seeds of doubt and suspicion'

Shahrizat said Rafizi planted seeds of doubts and suspicion in his press conference by referring to the website advertisements for holiday packages and concluded that NFC bought holiday packages for her.

The former minister and Umno Wanita chief said hundreds of articles were now circulated on the Internet on the NFC issue, along with widespread postings on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

She also touched on her decision to resign from the cabinet when her term as senator expired.

“As a responsible leader, I wanted to do the right thing. I do not want the opposition to use me as the wife of the NFC chairperson to malign or cast aspersions on the government while I hold public office.

“I was being investigated by the MACC, judged by the court of public opinion as a result of the lies orchestrated by the defendants (Rafizi and Zuraida).

“It was not tenable for me to carry out my public duties so I resigned as minister at the end of my term as a senator. However, I am still the Wanita Umno and Wanita BN chief,” she said.

Shahrizat is expected to be cross-examined by lawyers for Rafizi and Zuraida on Friday before Justice Vazeer Alam. Also present in court today was her husband and NFC chairperson Mohd Salleh Ismail and their children.

Men with weird hairstyles risk arrest in Saudi

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police warned men they could be arrested if they are caught in public with a weird hair style deemed against Islamic tenets.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said it has plans to enter schools next academic year to warn teen age boys against styling their hair in a way that violate tradition in the conservative Gulf Kingdom.

The Commission’s chairman, Abdul Latif Al Sheikh, was reacting to reports about what newspapers described as a widespread phenomenon involving teen age Saudis wearing weird dresses and styling their hair in a bizarre way.

“Hair is a personal thing in which we should not intervene directly,” he said, quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily Okaz.

“But if the young man wears strange clothes and his hair style violates Islamic tradition and tenets, then he will be stopped…if we find that this boy’s aim is to harass women and hurt the society in a way that will make us a subject of sarcasm among other societies, then we have to prevent and deter him.”

‘Christian’ Indonesia a big threat to Malaysia, says Muslim academic

Tee has long styled himself a champion of Islam.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — A Christian-majority Indonesia could be a threat to a small Muslim nation like Malaysia, controversial academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah has said as growing Christian proselytisation in the Southeast Asian giant fuels fears of Islam’s followers leaving the religion.

The Chinese-Muslim convert was weighing in on a recent furore in the world’s most populous Muslim nation that is experiencing a growing wave of converts to Christianity — as many as two million people a year — that had sparked a recent campaign to reverse the religious trend called “Save Maryam”.

Indonesia used to be 90 per cent Muslim, he said, but was now recording only 200 million Muslims out of a total population of 240 million.

“Mengikut jangkaan, jika sesuatu tidak dilakukan, pada 2035, Indonesia akan menjadi negara majoriti Kristian (According to estimates, if nothing is done, Indonesia will become a Christian-majority country by 2035).

“Jika perkara ini berlaku, ini satu ancaman besar kepada negara Islam kecil seperti Malaysia (If nothing is done, this will be a huge threat to a small Muslim nation like Malaysia),” said the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia lecturer, in his column “Buka Minda (Open Mind)” published today by Malay daily Sinar Harian.

Tee, who is a member of the Islamic Consultative Council and Wasatiyyah panel in the Prime Minister’s Department, has long styled himself a champion of Islam.

He noted that many Muslim Indonesians converted to Christianity due to a variety of factors including the high poverty rate there that caused some to “sell out” their faith and the lack of laws to protect Muslims against Christian proselytisation in contrast to Malaysia.

But the columnist, who also writes for Umno-owned Malay broadsheet Utusan Malaysia, said the Christianisation movement was on the upswing here.

Tee appeared to suggest that Christians were the “enemy” of Muslims, citing a passage from the Quran, Surah Al-Anfal.

He said Christians had great financial power around the world and the Malay archipelago was now their main target after they had “failed” in their missionary attempts in the West.

He warned that Christian evangelical movements could attempt to employ similar tactics here as they did in Indonesia and called on Muslim Malaysians to “save” their brethren in the archipelago.

“Ingatlah wahai saudaraku, orang Indonesia itu juga adalah saudara kita (Remember my brothers, the Indonesians are our brethren too).

“Selamat mereka, selamatlah kita (If they are safe, we too are safe),” he said.

In multicultural Malaysia, non-Muslims are barred by the law from proselytising their faiths to Muslims even as they are constitutionally guaranteed the freedom to practise their religions.

However, several right-wing religious groups have accused churches here of converting Muslims to Christianity and turning them into apostates, which is viewed as a serious offence and which has strained Christian-Muslim ties here over the past few years.

Hudud: Is Karpal fighting lone battle?

With the clock ticking away, it is imperative that the DAP-PAS verbal war over the hudud issue be dealt with as quickly as possible.

The DAP-PAS row over the latter’s refusal to budge from the hudud issue has reached a boiling point and, if not dealt with quickly and wisely, this altercation is going to deal a severe blow to Pakatan Rakyat’s mission of becoming the next federal government.

Leading the objecion to PAS’ determination to implement the Islamic law should Pakatan win the coming 13th general election is DAP national chairman and seasoned lawyer Karpal Singh.

Karpal remains steadfast in rejecting any plans by PAS to put in place the hudud law. And to prove that he means business, Karpal recently once again warned PAS to drop any idea of turning its dream of setting up an Islamic state and instituting hudud laws into reality.

The aggressive lawyer is worried that PAS’ stubborness in wanting to do so will only sabotage Pakatan’s chances in the coming polls.

Karpal had said: “PAS is only scuttling Pakatan Rakyat’s march to Putrajaya in the coming election with contradictory statements on its stand on Islamic state. Hudud is not included in the Pakatan’s common policy framework, Buku Jingga. Likewise, it will not be included in the common manifesto of Pakatan.”

Prior to Karpal’s remarks, PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi claimed that those rejecting God’s laws would be considered “kufur”, an Arabic word often translated as “disbelievers”.

According to the New Straits Times, Nasrudin, in a posting on Twitter, had said: “Karpal is consistent in rejecting hudud because he is a kufur. PAS must continue with its struggle to uphold Islam.”

That led to the DAP-PAS scuffle, with Karpal urging PAS to “stop supplying cannon fodder to the Barisan Nasional to be aimed at Pakatan”, saying that it was “counter productive and politically naive”.

Karpal also cautioned Nasrudin to “mind his language” and also questioned if the latter was the “spokesman of PAS”.

“I must warn this political upstart to mind his language. No one, no party, no organisation can claim to have a monopoly on God. I must state with all the force at my command that I believe in God. There is only one God and all religions reflect that,” Karpal shot back at Nasrudin.

Is PAS clear on what it wants?

Karpal is worried that PAS’ ambiguous “yes” and then “no” and “yes” stand on its hudud laws and Islamic state agenda will spoil Pakatan’s chances in the 13th general election.

The lawyer, better known as the “Tiger of Jelutong”, for his 20 years of service as the MP for Jelutong, recalls that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had on June 3 last year publicly stated that the Quran mentioned a “welfare state”, not an “Islamic state”.

“This reflects beyond the pale of a doubt that PAS has given up its aim to set up an Islamic state. PAS has, clearly, opted for a welfare state,” Karpal said.

To Karpal, as hudud was a component of the Islamic state, “any attempt by PAS now to espouse the introduction of hudud in the country would badly reflect on the decisions made during the last PAS muktamar – shifting its agenda for an Islamic state to a more inclusive ‘welfare state’”.

Another point that Karpal raised was that on June 8 last year, the New Straits Times quoted PAS spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat as saying that the party was right in shifting its focus from

“Islamic state” to “welfare state”.

Clearly, PAS’s inability to make up its mind might just worsen the debate over the hudud issue, with Karpal left wondering what more would it take for PAS to come to its senses instead of confusing and worrying supporters of Pakatan.

Does Karpal have the support he needs

While Karpal continues to defend DAP’s refusal to entertain PAS’ hudud and Islamic state agenda,

ironically, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and his son and party secretary-general Guan Eng have been silent on the Islamist issue.

This is equally worrying for it makes one wonder whether Karpal actually has all the support he needs in putting an end to PAS’ hudud and Islamic state controversy.

Or is Karpal fighting a lone battle here?

It does not seem so, going by the support shown by DAP Bagan Dalam state representative A Tanasekharan who reproached Terengganu PAS Youth chief Mohd Nor Hamzah for “being rude” by calling on Karpal to quit politics over the Islamist party’s hudud issue.

Mohd Nor also claimed that Karpal’s “outdated views” had become a liability to Pakatan” The Bukit Payung assemblyman claimed that Karpal’s media outbursts against the implementation of hudud had strained the relationship among Pakatan parties.

To this, Tanasekharan said: “Who is he to call Karpal to quit… is he qualified to do so in the first place? It’s rude, uncalled-for and unjustifiable.”

Tanasekharan said Karpal was consistently the most vocal elected representative to voice out against any threat against the secular ideals of the Malaysian constitution.

To Tanasekharan, it was about Karpal being duty-bound to criticise PAS’ unconstitutional and extreme Islamist agenda, which posed a threat to national unity in the long run.

And he further admonished Nor Hamzah, saying he had to learn to show respect to elders like Karpal, given the DAP leader’s political experience.

With the clock ticking away, it is imperative that the DAP-PAS verbal war over the hudud issue be dealt with as quickly as possible; otherwise, the Islamic agenda being harboured by PAS would throw a spanner in the works as far as Pakatan’s objective of gaining control over Putrajaya is concerned.

As for Karpal, be it a lone battle or otherwise, what is evident is that he has regularly spoken against the PAS Islamic brand, a move which the Islamic party’s leaders refuse to accept, claiming instead that Karpal is all alone in the DAP opposing it.

Does PAS’ claim that Karpal is all alone in rejecting the hudud and Islamic state issue hold water? Or, for that matter, will the DAP and Pakatan stalwarts take a stand and lend Karpal the much- needed support?

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

Bukan warga di negara sendiri

Selagi polisi tidak diubah, selagi itulah masalah dokumen pengenalan diri tidak akan selesai.

Sejak hampir setahun lalu, saya sering mendengar dan membaca mengenai kempen pendaftaran dokumen pengenalan diri yang diterajui pihak tertentu. Kempen dan jerayawara (roadshow) diadakan di pelbagai tempat, khabarnya untuk membantu orang ramai mendapatkan kad pengenalan dan sijil kelahiran.

Bagaimanapun, dua perkara membuatkan saya ingin tahu lebih lanjut mengenai usaha berkenaan. Pertama, adakah “kempen” itu bersifat sementara atau masalah yang timbul benar-benar diteliti pada peringkat akar-umbi lalu diselesaikan sepenuhnya.

Dengan erti kata lain, apakah benar-benar dilakukan dengan ikhlas atau sekadar kempen bagi kepentingan politik pihak tertentu. Selepas tempoh kempen selesai, mangsa tetap kekal sebagai bukan warganegara di negara sendiri.

Persoalan kedua yang muncul dalam fikiran saya adalah mengenai penglibatan Persatuan Jaringan Pembangunan Manusia Luar Bandar, Malaysia (DHRRA Malaysia).

Setahu saya, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) itu terlibat secara aktif dan berterusan sejak 2003 dalam usaha-usaha menyelesaikan masalah dokumen pengenalan diri. Lalu, mengapa nama DHRRA Malaysia tidak muncul langsung dalam kempen dan roadshow kali ini?

Saya bertemu presidennya, Saravanan M. Sinapan untuk mendapatkan penjelasan berhubung persoalan itu serta beberapa isu berkaitan.

Menurutnya, isu ketiadaan sijil kelahiran, kad pengenalan dan kewarganegaraan (statelessness) sesungguhnya diketengahkan oleh DHRRA Malaysia dengan kerjasama ERA Consumer Malaysia sejak 2003.

“Kami menjalankan pelbagai kempen untuk membantu anggota masyarakat yang menghadapi isu dokumen pengenalan diri. Kami berusaha mendaftar mereka agar mereka mendapat hak-hak asasi mereka,” katanya sewaktu ditemui di pejabat DHRRA Malaysia di Petaling Jaya pada 2 Ogos 2012.

Saya difahamkan bahawa suatu seminar diadakan pada 2005, melibatkan sekitar 250 individu yang menghadapi masalah dokumen pengenalan diri. Sambutan daripada Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) sendiri didapati kurang baik kerana gagal menghantar wakil ke seminar berkenaan.

“Tetapi kami mendapat wakil dari UNHCR dan pelbagai NGO lain yang menghadiri seminar polisi itu untuk berkongsi pengalaman cara-cara mengatasi masalah dokumen pengenalan di Thailand, Sri Lanka dan sebagainya. Selepas itu, kami cuba berhubung dengan agensi kerajaan terbabit dan menegaskan bahawa salah satu isu dalam kalangan masyarakat India di Malaysia adalah dokumen pengenalan diri,” Saravanan menghuraikan.

Kempen MyDaftar

Sambil mengakui bahawa pihak-pihak tertentu tidak mengambil serius isu tersebut, beliau menegaskan bahawa DHRRA Malaysia tetap meneruskan usaha dan kempen secara berterusan bagi membantu masyarakat pelbagai kaum.

“Selepas Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12, kerajaan persekutuan di bawah pimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Razak menubuhkan satu pasukan khas yang dipengerusikan beliau sendiri dan bertujuan mengenal pasti apakah punca-punca masyarakat India tidak menyokong (mengundi) Barisan Nasional pada 2008,” katanya.

Agak menarik bahawa salah satu isu yang turut dibangkitkan oleh DHRRA Malaysia dalam perbincangan Rancangan Malaysia Kesepuluh adalah isu dokumen pengenalan diri. Tentulah amat wajar kerana tiada gunanya segala RMK sekiranya rakyat negara ini tidak mempunyai dokumen pengenalan diri yang membolehkan mereka mendapat apa-apa kebaikan daripada RMK itu.

Hasil daripada saranan itu, Special Implementation Task Force (SITF) ditubuhkan dan dipengerusikan Datuk Dr S Subramaniam, lalu memulakan kempen “MyDaftar”.

Wajar disebutkan bahawa jawatankuasa itu mengundang DHRRA Malaysia untuk melatih pegawai terbabit supaya kempen “MyDaftar” dapat dijalankan dengan berkesan; dan bukan hanya hangat-hangat tahi ayam atau indah khabar dari rupa.

“Semasa perbincangan dengan kumpulan SITF, kami telah tegaskan bahawa masalah dokumen pengenalan ini tidak boleh diselesaikan dalam masa singkat kerana isu sebenar adalah berkenaan dengan polisi,” Saravanan menegaskan.

Perkara ini amat penting kerana kebanyakan individu yang berdepan dengan masalah ketiadaan dokumen pengenalan tidak mempunyai bahan bukti yang cukup; sekali gus sukar untuk diselesaikan dalam masa yang singkat – misalnya dalam tempoh kempen selama dua minggu.

Maka, suatu hakikat yang perlu diterima adalah bahawa walaupun kempen “MyDaftar” diadakah secara besar-besaran selama beberapa minggu di seluruh negara, isu sebenar yang dihadapi “mangsa” masih belum selesai.

Sebagai sebuah NGO yang bukan mementingkan “hasil” dan “nama” dalam masa yang singkat, DHRRA Malaysia meneruskan pula kempen berterusan yang dinamakan “My Document” dan mendapat sokongan Jabatan Perdana Menteri (JPM).

Turut dilancarkan adalah “My Search” iaitu talian Pusat Panggilan Komuniti yang beroperasi sepanjang tahun, dari 9:00 pagi hingga 9:00 malam. Dengan menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia, Inggeris dan Tamil sebagai bahasa pengantar, DHRRA Malaysia sedia membantu masyarakat pelbagai kaum di seluruh negara untuk mengatasi masalah yang dihadapi.

Saya sendiri sentiasa mengikuti perkembangan aktiviti DHRRA Malaysia melalui laman sesawang dan Facebook. Namun, di media arus perdana, kredit sentiasa diberikan kepada pihak lain; khususnya politikus atau agensi kerajaan.

Apabila dikemukakan pertanyaan itu, Saravanan menjelaskan bahawa akhbar-akhbar Tamil sering memaparkan berita mengenai usaha-usaha yang dilakukan NGO itu dalam membantu masyarakat.

“Dalam akhbar-akhbar dan media lain, mereka menumpukan pada inisiatif yang diambil oleh kerajaan. MyDaftar adalah salah satu inisiatif seumpama itu, maka keutamaan liputan media arus perdana lebih menjurus ke sana,” katanya.

Negara asal: Malaysia

Ringkasnya, DHRRA Malaysia tidak mendambakan pengiktirafan atau liputan meluas di akhbar dan media arus perdana atas sumbangan dan inisiatif yang diambilnya. Sebab itulah juga ramai yang tidak tahu bahawa wakil DHRRA Malaysia pernah membentangkan kertas kerja di Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu (PBB) mengenai peranan NGO dalam menyelesaikan isu-isu dokumen pengenalan diri.

Apakah cara terbaik dan paling berkesan untuk mengatasi masalah rakyat negara ini yang tidak mempunyai dokumen pengenalan diri seperti sijil kelahiran, kad pengenalan dan dokumen kewarganegaraan?

“Saya percaya, Ahli-ahli Parlimen dan Kerajaan Persekutuan harus mengadakan seminar polisi dan seterusnya menukar polisi sedia ada. Contohnya, apabila seorang individu diminta mengemukakan bahan bukti kelahiran dan saksi, dia tidak dapat berbuat demikian kerana estet tempat asalnya sudah tidak wujud,” Saravanan menghuraikan.

Saranan DHRRA Malaysia adalah supaya kes-kes seperti ini diberi sedikit kelonggaran. Jika tidak, generasi demi generasi keluarga itu akan kekal tanpa dokumen pengenalan diri dan tanpa kewarganegaraan. Misalnya, individu yang disahkan “negara asal: Malaysia” tetapi hanya diberi taraf “pemastautin tetap”.

“Kami mencadangkan supaya mereka yang lahir di Malaysia, ibu bapa mereka juga orang Malaysia, dan mereka tidak mempunyai sebarang kerakyatan lain, maka harus diberi kewarganegaraan secara automatik mengikut peruntukan Perlembagaan,” katanya.

Maklumat lanjut mengenai DHRRA Malaysia boleh diakses di laman web atau talian 03-78747680.

Peneroka India Felda turut syukuri bantuan k’jaan

Kerajaan bercadang menaik taraf dua kuil (di Felda Sungai Tengi) sedia ada dalam masa terdekat bagi memberi keselesaan kepada penganut Hindu beribadat.

Oleh S. Kisho

HULU SELANGOR: Manfaat menjadi peneroka Felda bukan sahaja dinikmati kaum Melayu bumiputera tetapi juga segelintir keturunan India yang bersyukur dengan pelbagai bantuan dan imbuhan yang diberi kerajaan.

Bagi M. Letchumy, 72, dari Felda Sungai Tengi di sini, beliau mahu menghabiskan sisa hidupnya di kawasan Felda itu sekalipun kesemua anaknya yang bekerja di luar, mendesak beliau tinggal bersama mereka.

“Semua kemudahan ada di sini, kenapa saya perlu tinggal di luar?

“Kawan-kawan saya semua di sini. Lagi pun sekarang kerajaan memberikan pelbagai insentif kepada penduduk Felda, macam mana saya nak tinggalkan kawasan ini? Saya akan tetap tinggal di sini sampai ke akhir hayat,” katanya kepada Bernama selepas menerima agihan ‘durian runtuh’ fasa kedua untuk isteri peneroka, baru-baru ini.

Katanya, pihak pengurusan Felda dan penduduk di situ saling membantu dan menjaga kebajikan serta keperluannya, lebih-lebih lagi mereka yang tahu beliau tinggal berseorangan.

Letchumy berkata sejak menetap di situ pada 1973, hatinya sudah terpaut dengan keharmonian masyarakat dan keindahan bumi bertuah yang banyak membantunya dan suami menyara membesarkan anak-anak.

Sebanyak 1,900 isteri peneroka menerima bayaran RM5,000 seorang pada majlis itu termasuk sembilan berketurunan India.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pada Mei lepas mengumumkan durian runtuh kepada peneroka berjumlah RM1.689 bilion untuk diagihkan kepada 112,635 keluarga peneroka di seluruh negara sempena penyenaraian Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV) di Bursa Malaysia.

Pemberian durian runtuh berjumlah RM15,000 itu dilakukan dalam tiga fasa iaitu RM5,000 bagi setiap fasa meliputi ketua keluarga, isteri peneroka dan generasi kedua Felda.

Baru-baru ini Najib mengumumkan 103,597 peneroka atau 91.9 peratus yang bersama Felda akan menerima duit raya RM400 seorang melibatkan peruntukan berjumlah RM41.4 juta, manakala 9,038 orang atau 8.02 peratus peneroka yang tidak bersama Felda masing-masing menerima RM200 melibatkan peruntukan berjumlah RM1.8 juta.

Mengulas lanjut, Letchumy berkata sejak Najib meneraju negara, pemimpin negara itu mengotakan janjinya bertepatan dengan slogan ‘rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan’

Kerajaan prihatin

Bagi peneroka P.Muthaiah, 65, semua itu membuktikan keprihatinan kerajaan terhadap golongan peneroka dan perhatian yang diberikan kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) itu juga berjaya mengubah persepsi saudara-maranya terhadap kerjaya beliau.

“Dulu, lebih kurang 20 atau 30 tahun lepas, saudara-mara kami tak nak datang melawat kami sebab mereka kata kami semua tinggal di hutan. Tempat itu jauh dan tak ada kemudahan.

“Tapi sekarang selepas banyak bantuan dan kemudahan disediakan, mereka mula datang melawat kami dan kami juga mudah untuk keluar melawat mereka,” katanya.

Katanya pada peringkat awal penyertaan pada 1972, beliau mengharungi kesukaran untuk menyara isteri dan enam anak dengan pendapatan bulanan sebanyak RM60.

“Tiada kemudahan yang disediakan pada masa itu, nak pergi ke pekan pun kena fikir dua kali. Begitu susah kehidupan kami dulu,” katanya.

Kini kata Muthaiah, banyak pembangunan pesat berlaku di kawasan itu berbanding zaman 1970-an dan jalan yang dahulunya bertanah merah sudah berganti jalan berturap tar yang selesa.

“Kalau nak pergi ke kawasan bandar raya, sekarang kami ada Lebuhraya Karak. Kemudahan perubatan juga disediakan di sini… jadi hidup kami di sini semakin senang berbanding dulu. Terima kasihlah kepada Datuk Najib,” katanya.

Bagi Anggota Parlimen Hulu Selangor P. Kamalanathan pula berkata kerajaan mempunyai pelbagai pelan pembangunan bagi meringankan beban dan meningkatkan lagi keselesaan hidup peneroka Felda yang tinggal di kawasan pedalaman.

“Buat masa ini kami sedang berusaha untuk mengatur lebih banyak pengangkutan awam ke kawasan ini kerana jika dilihat sekarang, kekerapan bas keluar masuk adalah hanya sejam sekali,” katanya.

Katanya, bagi peneroka keturunan India pula, kerajaan bercadang menaik taraf dua kuil sedia ada dalam masa terdekat bagi memberi keselesaan kepada penganut Hindu beribadat.

Three more Sabah politicians to quit BN

Malaysian Digest) - An additional three Sabah politicians are set to leave Barisan Nasional for the opposition. The three, all key members of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) are expected to join in the footsteps of Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing, who left the coalition a week ago to become Opposition-friendly politicians.

Sources within the party told Malaysian Digest that the individuals are expected to announce their decision soon.

One of the Upko members, claimed the source, is a senior politician and holds a key leadership position within the party.

“These are people who hold crucial positions within Upko. Their departure will throw Upko will create a massive void within the chain of command and throw the leadership structure of Upko into disarray.

“These individuals are also grassroots leaders, which means that Upko’s supporter base will be torn on who they should follow,” claimed the source.

The source claimed that while things have yet to be decided, the names of the three could be announced during an upcoming rally on August 12 in Kota Marudu, which would feature Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Last week, Lajim and Bumburing announced their decision to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to form the Sabah Reform Party, a new entity aligned to Pakatan Rakyat. The new party would supposedly champion the illegal immigrants issue as well as poverty matters in the East Malaysian state.

Recent reports had suggested that BN senator Maijol Mahap, is set to announce his intention to leave the BN. The Upko vice president had been quoted in several Sabah political blogs as saying that he “no longer had faith” in BN.

"I no longer had faith that the BN can or will resolve critical issues in Sabah, such as the issue of illegal immigrants which are long lasting, high poverty rate in Sabah, the elimination of racial KDM (Kadazandusun Murut) from the public service and scholarship awards, the land problems, 5% oil royalty, 'Borneo-nization' and the Cabotage Policy,” he was quoted as saying.

Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had last week remained cryptic on the resignations and refused to be drawn into discussing who would leave next.

“I don’t know, there is a lot of speculation,” he was quoted as saying. “But this is a free country; you can join any party you like and people will also be joining us at Upko,” he had told the media.

BN has sought to play down the impact of Lajim and Bumburing’s resignations, maintaining that it would not have an effect on the political scenario in Sabah. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak

Najib had on Friday said Lajim and Bumburing’s exits would not affect the date of the coming general election, as had been widely speculated, and added that BN was taking measures to strengthen its presence in Sabah.

He also said that despite rumors that several more would follow in the duo’s footsteps by leaving, BN was more than capable of dealing with the matter.

“We are able to face this challenge and will be taking appropriate steps to remedy the situation and strengthen Umno’s and BN’s position,” he was quoted as saying.

Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had also put up a brave front of the resignations, and said Lajim and Bumburing had left BN to seek higher positions within the Opposition.

He told Mingguan Malaysia yesterday that the duo’s departure would not threaten BN or Umno’s position in the state.

The state BN chief told Mingguan Malaysia in an interview published today that the duo's departure would not threaten Umno or BN's position in the state.

"I think they (Lajim and Bumburing) wanted greater positions than what they had. There are some with big ambitions and surely this is what they would do... this is every individual's right.

"Umno and BN is not threatened. Sabahans are smart enough to gauge who is right,” he was quoted as saying

'Tiada kebebasan punca malapetaka di negara Islam'

Dengan memetik karya terbaru ulama tersohor Yusuf al-Qaradhawi bertajuk 'Kebangkitan Rakyat' yang ditulis selepas kejatuhan regim Hosni Mubarak , Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata, punca malapetaka di negara Islam adalah disebabkan oleh tiada kebebasan diberikan kepada rakyatnya.

NONE"Al-Qaradhawi kata mereka nak kepada Islam, maka kena hormat rakyat di bawah. Ini tidak, nak kepada Islam, tetapi perangai macam Firaun.

"Rakyat jangan jadi bodoh, (mesti) merdekakan rakyat. Tidak ada maknanya Islam itu, apabila rakyat tidak ada kebebasan.

"Ini tidak, ada kuasa apa-apa pun boleh buat... Ini yang menyebabkan malapetaka dalam negara Islam," kata Anwar yang juga ketua umum PKR dan bekas presiden Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM).

Dalam buku itu juga, Anwar berkata Al-Qaradawi juga menganggap pihak tertentu yang menyatakan demonstrasi adalah haram disebabkan mereka "tidak membaca sirah Islam".

NONEJelas Anwar yang juga ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh, dalam buku itu, al-Qaradhawi berkata demonstrasi itu dibolehkan sekiranya tujuannya baik serta untuk kebajikan rakyat.

"Kalau tujuan itu jahat, maka jadilah jahat, tapi kalau baik, untuk kebajikan boleh," katanya sambil menambah dua sahabat Nabi Muhammad SAW - Umar Al-Khattab dan Saidina Hamzah - pernah berbuat demikian sewaktu peringkat awal Islam dengan membuat demonstrasi berjalan ke Kaabah.

Sebelum itu, Anwar mengimamkan solat Isyak berjamaah di Surau Al-Rasidiyah, Taman Bukit Angkasa, Pantai Dalam serta bertarawih bersama dengan kira-kira 100 penduduk di situ.

Turut hadir dalam majlis tersebut ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai yang juga anak sulungnya Nurul Izzah Anwar.

NONESempena bulan Ramadan ini, Anwar mengajak umat Islam menghayati kandungan Al-Quran dan mengajar rakyat mencontohi keperibadian Nabi Muhammad SAW dan nabi terdahulu yang menunjukkan akhlak yang terbaik, gigih dan memikirkan rakyat bawahan.

"Contoh terbaik adalah para nabi dan rasul, bukan (seperti hari ini) sekat majlis kita, guna SB sekat kita... Ukurannya bukan kuasa dan kekuatan, tetapi (melihat) kepada budi pekerti.

"(Kita kena) takut kepada Allah, bukan takut hilang projek atau kerusi (DUN atau Parlimen)," katanya.

OIC Keen To Send Mission To Myanmar On Rohingya Muslims

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 (Bernama) -- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will ask the Myanmar Government to allow an OIC fact-finding mission to be sent to Myanmar, said OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

He made the remarks in an OIC statement at the conclusion of the Executive Committee meeting to discuss the Muslim Rohingya issue at the Permanent Representative level at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah over the weekend.

Ihsanoglu has expressed disappointment over the failure of the international community to stop the tyranny and discrimination by the Myanmar Government against the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan, formerly known as Rakhine state.

He suggested looking into the possibility of considering the formation of an Islamic fact-finding committee to seek the best solution to the issue among all parties, including the Myanmar Government, as well as international and regional organisations.

The secretary-general said the indifference of the international community to the rights of the Rohingya people, and fragmentation of the 25 Rohingya organisations, had motivated the largest Muslim organisation to make efforts to unite the organisations at the OIC headquarters in May last year. "OIC has directed its offices at the United Nations in New York to work in coordination with the Member States that are also non-permanent members in the UN Security Council, namely, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo, to urge the Council to look into the suffering of the Rohingya Muslims," he added.

He also urged the OIC Permanent and Independent Human Rights Commission to study the crisis of Myanmar Muslims and its human rights implications during its next session in Turkey at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Ihsanoglu hoped that Bangladesh could review its position on the Rohingya Muslims, although he understood Bangladesh's position and the sensitivity of the issue.

Violence, which erupted in June, this year, in the Rakhine state between Buddhists and Rohingya, left about 80 people dead on both sides, official figures showed.

Reports said the Myanmar Government's restrictions on humanitarian access to the Rohingya community had left many of the over 100,000 people displaced and in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care.

Modern, moderate Malaysia moves to criminalize non-Muslims proselytizing among Muslims

Sharia advancing in Malaysia, as it is everywhere else. "Action against non-Muslims for spreading their religion to Muslims," from the Bernama, August 5 (thanks to Nicolei):

YAN, Aug 5 — The Islamic Religious Council in the states can take action against non-Muslims for trying to spread their faith among Muslims in the country.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharum said this can be done based on existing enactments that prohibit non-Muslims from doing so.

"Distribution of reading materials and in the form of audio video is disallowed as it will lead to dissatisfaction of Muslims," he said at Yan Hospital here today.

A newspaper reported that two men believed to be foreign tourists tried to spread Christianity as Muslims were preparing to break their fast in Penang on Thursday.

Jamil said the case of a man who was fined and jailed in Pahang in 2002 for trying to spread his faith to Muslims should serve as a lesson to non-Muslims. — Bernama