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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Save Tasik Chini or lose our votes, warn Orang Asli

The Tasik Chini indigenous community has warned Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob that if the state government does not attempt to save the second largest natural freshwater lake, it would cost the BN their votes in the coming general election.

"Even if I were in front of Adnan, I dare to say this, if he needed my help and said to me, 'Help! Tell your people not to vote other (parties)', but they (my people) did not listen to me, don't be angry with me," said Kampung Gumum Tok Batin (village chief) Awang Alok at a press conference yesterday.

Awang, who leads the Kampung Gumum Orang Asli action committee, was responding to Adnan's purported statement on Wednesday denying the existence of mining and logging activities around the lake.

NONEHe claimed that Adnan had made the statement during a programme over Asyik FM.

"We would like to stress that these (logging and mining) activities are being carried out in the territory and lands of Kampung Gumum," said Awang in a statement released during the press conference.

The action committee invited Adnan to the Orang Asli settlement to witness the activities.

The community had highlighted the logging and mining activities in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on April 10.

"The Orang Asli here can no longer enter the jungle affected by the mining activities to search for roots to produce medicines, and we have lost our source of resources such as rattan, roots and so on, due to the logging activities," read the statement.

NONEAwang reiterated that they are not influenced by any political party as alleged by Senator Mohd Olian Abdullah, the Orang Asli representative in the Dewan Negara.

"We are not like 55 years ago when we only blindly obeyed without realising our own rights to our lands as stated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," he said.

Tasik Chini is part of Najib's parliamentary constituency of Pekan, which he won by an overwhelming majority of 26,464 votes against a PKR candidate in the last polls.

Out of 77,663 registered voters in the constituency, the five Orang Asli villages closest to Tasik Chini have some 130.

NGOs: Social Inclusion Act needed

Home minister expects low turnout at 'Janji Bersih'

Judge attacks forced marriage that put disabled woman 'at risk’

A judge has said the forced marriage of a Muslim woman with learning difficulties should be annulled and condemned the “insulated” families who arrange them.
Daily Life: 3rd prize singles: Andrew Biraj, Bangladesh, Reuters. Overcrowded train approaches station, Dhaka, Bangladesh
An overcrowded train approaches station, Dhaka, Bangladesh Photo: Andrew Biraj, Bangladesh, Reuters
Mrs Justice Parker also criticised doctors and social workers for failing to raise the alarm when the woman was sent to Bangladesh to be married to a cousin, which allowed him to settle in England.

She said video of the wedding ceremony showed the bride was “almost comatose” and needed help to repeat vows she did not understand, while her relatives had made “false and misleading” statements about her condition.

And the judge brushed aside claims by the woman’s parents that having her marriage annulled would bring shame upon their family, in a case that was even considered at by the Government’s most senior lawyer, the Attorney General.

Mrs Justice Parker said that forcing marriage on someone who lacks mental capacity is a “gross interference” with their dignity and autonomy, particularly as it means having sex and possibly becoming pregnant without being able to consent.

Under the far-reaching powers of the Court of Protection, which can make life-or-death decisions on behalf of those deemed unable to understand them, the judge ruled that the woman’s foreign marriage should not be recognised as valid in England. She also declared it would be in the woman’s “best interests” for a nullity application to be issued.

The judge concluded: “In my view it is the duty of a doctor or other health or social work professional who becomes aware that an incapacitated person may undergo a marriage abroad, to notify the learning disabilities team of Social Services and/or the Forced Marriage Unit if information comes to light that there are plans for an overseas marriage of a patient who has or may lack capacity.

“The communities where this is likely to happen also need to be told, loud and clear, that if a person, whether male or female, enters into a marriage when they do not have the capacity to understand what marriage is, its nature and duties, or its consequences, or to understand sexual relations, that that marriage may not be recognised, that sexual relations will constitute a criminal offence, and that the courts have the power to intervene.”

According to the recently published judgment, the woman – known only as DD to protect her identity – has a “very significant degree of learning disability” and needs help with almost all daily tasks.

In 2003 she married a cousin in Bangladesh and after two failed attempts he was granted a spousal visa in 2009, allowing him to move in with his wife at her family home in an English town.

“Eventually” the local authority found out about the situation and police obtained a Forced Marriage Protection order, leading to experts giving evidence on her capacity.

The judge said the council has “accepted its failures” while the woman’s GP had not raised concerns despite being asked on at least three occasions about “marriage and pregnancy”.

At a hearing in 2010 the judge ruled, “in the face of very strong resistance” from relatives, that DD lacked the capacity to marry or consent to sex and that it was unlawful for her husband to have intercourse with her.

Evidence was then considered as to whether or not the marriage should be annulled, leading to the latest ruling.

The judge said the woman lived in a “very traditional family” in a “close-knit community” that was not integrated with other Bengalis in the area.

“Her parents are very largely insulated from mainstream English society and are mistrustful of non-Bengalis. They do not communicate well in English: her mother understands and speaks almost none. They are devout Muslims.”

The judge said DD was a “loved and valued member of her family and that her parents are devoted to her”, and that in their culture it is seen as parents’ duty to arrange marriages and find spouses for disabled children.

Her mother, father and husband “begged” the judge not to quash the marriage as “there would be considerable stigma in Bangladesh for them”.

But Mrs Justice Parker insisted the bride “does not have even the most basic understanding of marriage” and she “rejected” her family’s account of how the wedding came about.

She said the union had “exposed her to great risk” and led to family tensions as well as conflict with social services who look after her.

‘Janji Ditepati’, but no water, road or electricity

According to Barisan Nasional assemblyman Johnical Rayong, rural villagers in Sarawak are 'light years away in development'.

KUCHING: Rural kampung folk in Sarawak who have been living in poverty for decades are being told to vote for Barisan Nasional if they want development in their areas.

According to Engkilili assemblyman Dr Johnical Rayong, the opposition is “only good at making promises” but BN keeps its word, alluding to Prime Minsiter Najib Tun Razak’s “Janji Ditepati’ slogan.

Najib’s slogan, however, is out-of-sync in Sarawak and in Sabah where poverty, poor infrastructure, lack of healthcare and basic necessities are a norm.

Both states, despite their immense natural resources and oil, are among the poorest in the country.

Sabah in fact was declared the poorest by the World Bank and Sarawak is third. The bulk of rural Sarawak is still devoid of clean piped water, electricity and decent roads. Life is ridiculously tough and cost of living higher than in Peninsular Malaya.

The BN coalition under Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has “ruled” Sarawak for decades and its publicly espoused “development agenda” has not trickled down to the masses.

The elite have become richer while the rural natives live under the shadow of land grabs, displacements (due to deforestations), gangsters and rogue politicians.

‘Light years behind development’

But the 2008 political storm in Peninsular Malaya and the subsequent outcome of the state election last year have been a cold shower for local leaders who until then lorded over the state.

Opposition DAP and PKR made dramatic inroads wresting 12 and three seats respectively from Sarawak BN. PKR lost Senadin by a contentious 58 seats.

Many other seats were retained by BN but with small majorities making the 13th parliamentary election a precarious one for BN.

Except for Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu-held 14 seats, the rest of the coalition’s partners – Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) – are up against a tougher opposition.

Sources predict that BN will lose up to 10 seats in Sarawak. SUPP, PRS and SPDP collectively hold 17 seats.

The bulk of these seats are in Chinese-centric areas and rural interior; the very folk whom Rayong targeted when he said “BN is the most ideal and democratic government in Malaysia.”

Said Rayong at a meet-the-people session in Lidong, recently: “The rural people… they still need the BN government. (They) are still light years behind in the development wave.

“What is the use of supporting the opposition to fight the BN… the opposition is only good at making promises, they cannot do anything to improve the people’s livelihood… vote for BN candidates.”

Rayong is not the only one desperately trying to convince an increasingly sceptical rural audience who are beginning to see themselves as victims of unscrupulous and arrogant politicians who behave like “gods” or in PRS president James Masing’s words like “towkays”.

Free money, projects

The amount of projects being spun and of cash disbursed under the Minor Rural Projects (MRP) is immense – RM10,000 here, RM7,000 there and RM3,000 everywhere. Every village security committee and localised women and youth groups are getting some form of “spending” money for their activities.

Yesterday, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang said that 48 agriculture stations throughout the state will be reactivated or newly set up.

He said more than 100 agriculture assistants would be recruited to man these stations, meaning there will jobs to look forward to but according to him “it will take more than a year to recruit them”.

Earlier this week, State Public Utilities Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said Ba Kelalan constituency will finally have electricity.

An ironical statement, seeing the constituency was under BN before PKR wrested it last April.

According to Awang Tengah, “RES (Rural Electricification Scheme) funds are now ready for areas in Ba Kelalan”.

Apparently the “focus” of the RES has now been “switched” to Ba Kelalan because most of Bukit Sari is served by main lines.

Awang Tengah is Bukit Sari assemblyman and both Ba Kelalan and Bukit Sari fall under the Lawas parliamentary constituency, which BN intelligence has identifed as a “grey” area.

This aside, the Sarawak Welfare, Women and Family Development Ministry has also been doing its bit with the cash handouts – having spent over RM60 million in the last six months.

Some 47,097 poor and less fortunate people – voters no less – have allegedly benefited.

According to minister Fatimah Abdullah, the grant is for target group “to provide them with the means to carry out projects or business that can increase and improve their income and living standards”.

The giveaways now are just the tip of the iceberg. The bigger handouts will come as the

PKR rubbishes MIC man’s claim

There is also no truth in Kumar Amman's claim that he interviewed Anwar for his Tamil tabloid.

PETALING JAYA: PKR today denied that MIC central working committee (CWC) member G Kumar Amman held a discussion with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim over issues effecting the Malaysian Indian community.

Rubbishing the MIC leader’s claim, PKR national strategy and policy bureau secretary, S Gobi Krishnan, said Kumar Amman, who is also the editor of Makkal Aathi (a newly launched Tamil monthly tabloid), also did not conduct any kind of interview with Anwar when they met some time ago.

“I was there in the meeting and I am very sure Kumar Amman never spoke anything about the betterment of Indian community,” he told FMT.

A news report published by the latest edition of Makkal Aatchi quoted Kumar Amman as saying that he met Anwar to ask the opposition leader to look into issues besieging the Indian community.

He said the meeting, arranged by him, was held at the PKR headquarters in June.

“I was told by my friend that Kumar Amman was interested in joining PKR. He was very adamant to meet Anwar, despite meeting a party vice-president earlier. Thus, I arranged for him to meet Anwar,” added Gobi.

Gobi claimed that during the meeting Kumar Amman made a few demands including asking for a parliamentary seat for him to contest under the PKR banner.

“He also set a condition that PKR must form an Indian bureau and that he lead the bureau,” he alleged.

However, Gobi said, Anwar dismissed the demands, saying that PKR was a multi-racial party and that there was no room for any race-based politics in the party.

Gobi also claimed that Kumar Amman had said that he was vexed with the current MIC leadership since the party had refused to give him a seat in the upcoming general election.

“He also promised to bring in a veteran CWC member and a prominent Youth leader, if PKR was willing to fulfil his demands. However, Anwar decided against bringing him in. I am exposing details of the meeting because Kumar Amman has twisted the issue,” claimed Gobi.

Kumar Amman has failed to respond with comment for this article despite repeated requests.

Don’t be a hypocrite, Lim told

Gerakan's Baljit Singh criticises the DAP sec gen for his vacillating stand on party hopping.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan called DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng a hypocrite for his ‘consistent inconsistency’ in condemning political frogs from both sides of the political divide.

Its legal and human rights bureau head Baljit Singh recalled that Lim had swiftly condemned Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives hopping to Barisan Nasional as “frogs.”

He said Lim, the Penang Chief Minister, had also been quick to criticise those who defected from Pakatan to become a BN-friendly independent MPs.

However, he said Lim had strangely been voiceless when the hopping trend switched from BN to Pakatan.

He recalled that Lim’s silence was deafening when Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim was openly touting defections from BN to help him to seize federal powers on Sept 16, 2008.

Unlike Lim, he said that DAP national chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh was the only Pakatan leader to condemn Anwar’s desire to takeover Putrajaya by defections.

“Where was Lim then? Why he was so quiet? The cat got his tongue?” asked Baljit.

“Perhaps he was more keen to know who is going to be the first non-Malay deputy prime minister of the country,” he told a press conference here today.

Also present were Penang Gerakan’s vice-chairman Dr Lim Boon Han, deputy youth chief Tan Kah Leong and bureau heads Dr Thor Teong Gee for publicity, information and communications, and Rowena Yam for political training.

Gerakan was responding to Lim’s statement in vernacular newspapers on Monday, in which he touched on Sabah’s political scenario.

In the last two weeks, Tuaran MP Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing, Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin and Senator Maijol Mahap have defected from BN and declared their support for Pakatan.

They said they had lost confidence in BN for its failure to resolve the illegal immigration problem in Sabah.

Blaming BN
Baljit Singh

Lim reportedly said that he could not understand on why the BN condemned the defectors as “frogs” when it was BN that encouraged the culture.

Lim has said the defectors could not tolerate the federal and Sabah BN ill-treating locals and ignoring their rights.

Lim has also stressed the need for the country to have an anti-hopping law to stop defections among elected representatives.

“When a rep quits a party, the seat must be elected again,” said Lim.

But he said BN would not enforce such laws because the coalition would need to buy reps.

On this, Baljit asked Lim to reveal “how much was in offer” when Anwar blithely encouraged defections from BN for his 916 coup agenda.

Baljit also asked whether the Sabah defectors can be called as “toads” since Lim hypocritically refused to term them as “frogs.”

He said he was also curious to know where Lim was when the parliamentary select committee for electoral reform came to Penang to receive feedback, recommendations and proposals.

“Gerakan pushed for an anti-hoping law to stop defections by all elected representatives. Why didn’t Lim say anything then? He has been consistent in his inconsistency,” said Baljit.

All we want for Raya

If Najib wants to give us a real Raya present, then let us have a referendum on hudud and settle the issue once and for all.

We despise more taxpayers’ money being wasted on the buying of votes in the guise of duit raya, but a nice Raya gift for the rakyat would be an end to incompetence and hypocrisy.

Of all the ministers, whom we choose to mock, the Minister of Education, Muhyiddin Yassin, must be in the top 10.

On Aug 15, Bernama reported that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had received visitors from abroad who praised Malaysia for being a “special and much admired Muslim country” and “the best example of a progressive Muslim nation”. These representatives had also wanted to use Malaysia as a template to further improve their own nations.

As ordinary Malaysians, we would have shared in Muhyiddin’s ebullience – until we read that the views had been expressed by people from Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia.

Muhyiddin talked about Muslim unity and compared the situation in Syria with Malaysia, where Malaysians, he said, lived in peaceful harmony because of its responsible leaders.

He said, “…What is important is that Islamic unity must be placed at the pinnacle of our effort to develop the nation.”

Did the DPM not have visitors from more progressive Muslim nations, such as Indonesia or Turkey, and would their views have been the same as those of the conflict-ridden and war-torn nations?

One wonders what Muhyiddin’s guests would have thought about the desperate attempts by Umno to “unite” the Malays using, race, religion and the sultans. In the latest fiasco, the May 13 film – “Tanda Putera” – is used to incite hatred of the Chinese, and frighten the Malays.

Would the foreigners be impressed with our corrupt Muslim leaders? Would they admire the ingenious methods used to cling onto power? Would they marvel at the symbiotic relationship of Umno and the VVIPs used to retain control?

Some of these nations got rid of their own VVIPs decades ago to become republics. What is their impression of an Education Minister, who appears to condone the actions of racist teachers? Would they have praise for the way Malaysia treats its Muslim women, who are in contact with beer and books?

Minister’s tasteless joke

Another minister who attracts an equal amount of opprobrium is Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. He told an online news portal that fighting crime has never been considered a priority in the 55 years of Malaysian independence. He hinted that society was partly to blame for rising levels of crime.

In May 2010, Hishammuddin met 100 students at the Malaysian Students Department in London, and said that idle gossip fuelled the perception of a much higher level of street crimes, than in reality.

He said, “Most victims are women. What do women do? They go to the hairdressers… they chit-chat and suddenly it is everywhere and cause people to fear.”(sic.)

His tasteless and sexist joke backfired. Hishammuddin seems oblivious to the concerns of the public – men who mysteriously fell off buildings, people who had “sudden death” syndrome during their time in the police lock-up and teenagers who died after being shot by policemen.

If Hishammuddin had taken his duties seriously and improved morale in the police, enhanced the standards of policing and increased public confidence in the police, we would not be demanding his removal now. Instead, he made it a priority to hound opposition leaders and people who attend “democracy marches”.

It’s not just ministers who are unproductive. The Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali, warned the DAP chairman Karpal Singh to respect the Muslims’ right to hudud. He claimed that the majority of Malaysians were Muslim and that the majority wins, in a democracy.

“If the majority want hudud, he [Karpal] cannot oppose it… hudud is the fundamental right of Muslims.”

Ibrahim described the people who opposed hudud as “stepping on the heads of Muslims”. He lumped “liberal Muslims” in this group and called them irresponsible.

“When other races insult Islam, they [the liberal Muslims] don’t speak out against it. Why didn’t they say something when pig heads were hurled into a mosque?…But when paint is splashed onto a church, they make a lot of noise…”

Umno’s scapegoats

This is where Ibrahim is wrong. His listening skills are selective – like the switching on or off, of a hearing aid. His memory also seems somewhat selective. Has he forgotten that the pig heads were allegedly thrown into the mosques by Muslim fundamentalists who were fomenting unrest?

A few liberal Muslims have been brave enough to condemn attacks against people of other faiths. The others are petrified about saying anything in public because the thugs, who are controlled by Umno, are not people whom one can easily reason. Umno intimidates, rather than impresses with knowledge. Umno attacks rather than articulates with facts.

With the 13th general election approaching, Umno is in trouble. Scandals, exposé, corruption and incompetence are making headline news, in the alternative media, on a daily basis.

Instead of acting on the various tip-offs about corruption and abuse at the highest levels of government, Umno wants to make scapegoats out of the whistle-blowers and those who expose the scandals.

One such person Umno targeted is Rafizi Ramli. His arrest is to act as a deterrent. No more. No less. His arrest is intended to scare others who have damaging information about our corrupt leaders.

That is why hudud is a non-issue. It is merely a distraction, like the many other distractions which are thrown in the public arena to confuse us, and draw attention away from scandals, in the run-up to the general election.

Both the non-Muslims and the majority of Muslims, not just the liberal ones, oppose hudud. We wouldn’t want a Cabinet staffed with ministers who have only one hand and foot each.

If Najib wants to give us a real Raya present, then let us have a referendum on hudud and settle the issue once and for all. The hudud distraction seems to resurface whenever Umno is in serious trouble.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

Nasharudin says not leaving Pas, accuses Karpal of anti-Islam

(NST) - Former Pas deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa said he is not leaving the Islamic party amidst amounting pressure over a photo of him taken with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Mecca recently.
Speaking to reporters upon his arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the Bachok member of parliament said the meeting was non-partisan and that he was invited on a request by Saudi clerics.

"The clerics are my friends and they requested if I could arrange a meeting with the prime minister. After the prime minister agreed, I was invited on a special visa to attend the meeting," he said.

Nasharudin explained that the meeting did not touch on any matters pertaining Pas or Umno.

"What we discussed was issues surrounding crises in Syria and Rohingya The clerics talked about what role Malaysia can play to help these countries," he said.

He stressed that he never had any intention to leave Pas for Umno.

"After the meeting, people suddenly said I would join Umno. For the umpteenth time, I have never had any intention to join Umno. I just consider them (the leaders in Umno) as my Muslim brothers.

"Differing views in politics shouldn't be a reason why we cannot sit down and talk about the society," he said.

Earlier, Nasharudin accused DAP chairman Karpal Singh as anti-Islam for his refusal to accept hudud law and that Pas should make a decisive stand against him.

"Pas should make a strong stand on this issue. It is our fight for Islam that makes people support us. However, with continuous objection by Karpal, many are still waiting what Pas would do about that," he said.

Who have conned the Chinese in Malaysia?

CPI introduction

We are reproducing below an excerpt from a former MCA insider who has left the country for good. The excerpt is from his letter responding to a request from his friend asking him to consider a return to Malaysia.

The excerpt provides a personal but important perspective of the role of non-Malay parties in the Barisan Nasional. It has been reproduced with the consent of the writer whose identity we’re withholding.

An article from The Star provides the background to this disclosure.

YONG PENG: DAP's long-term political agenda is to join Barisan Nasional in a bid to protect its supreme position in Penang, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

“DAP politicians are like any other politicians, for them it is the thirst for power.

“Penang has limited resources and how long can (Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng tender his land?" Dr Chua said, adding that the DAP hoped to see the MCA disappear and be replaced in Barisan.

He urged the Chinese community not to be conned by the Opposition party.

(extract from the newspaper on Aug 4)

Excerpt from letter by the MCA insider

From my experience with MCA and the people whom I had worked with in the party, I can only say that most of them (from Lee San Choon, Koon Swan, Liong Sik, Kim Sai, Ka Ting, Tee Keat and all the other people at federal and state level) KNOW that the Chinese in Malaysia is not ever going to be in a position to influence the direction of how the country is to be governed, i.e. to say anything that affects MAJOR policies.

There’s just this denial syndrome that non-Umno parties are just there for window-dressing; so the next best thing to do is scoop up the scraps Umno throw their way... except Taib and PBB who take the lion’s share as well!

From the many, many sessions of central committee meetings and brainstorming, seminars, courses, etc, the one main thing to emerge is to only defend or safeguard Chinese position in education and economic sectors ... we’re down to TAR College, Utar and Chinese business interests which, sad to say, …is playing to Umno whims and patronage… macam crony business.

The rest in the SME (small and medium industries) can pray to God and hope to survive and are at the mercy of the idiots who run the bureaucracy.

There is NO hope ever under Umno that Chinese position will improve because the OVERRIDING philosophy since May 13 is that non Malay/Muslims are to be assimilated (much like the Borg in Star Trek).

That is why MCA is always fighting ghosts; Umno is always lying, even when the truth is exposed about their true intention.

MCA people know this and pretend to fight for Chinese when they know they are only protecting their personal interests/financial gain, through Umno patronage.

The BN was never a coalition; it is and always has been an illusion created by Umno to present an imaginary front to the world that the people represented by the various races and parties support them.

[Our elites] cheat and bribe their way in elections and steal what they can, when they can, with impunity. They not only do that, they find ways to criminalise the victims!! That takes them ten levels above the Somali pirates!

To cut a long story short, and to answer your question about going back, even if Penang booms further under DAP, the short answer is NO; I’ve burnt my bridges … It’s just too hard to ever hope that they will ever understand the meaning of a civil society, let alone try to forge one in the years ahead, even if PKR takes over Putrajaya... my prediction is that the worst is yet to come. I hope I’ll be proven wrong in my lifetime.

Hudud has always been used as a weapon to frighten the Chinese and some extremists in PAS may have been used by Umno/Perkasa to split PKR, so MCA is just playing the propaganda game to try to win back some Chinese votes. Umno on the other hand is using [the Malay fear of] Chinese political power to frighten Malays.

Be Firm In Upholding Islam, Dr Mahathir Tells PAS

ALOR SETAR, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- PAS should be firm in its struggle to uphold Islam and not keep changing its stand in order to gain favourable political mileage, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"Previously, some people left Umno to set up PAS because they were not chosen as elected representatives, not really to uphold religion. So it is not surprising that their struggle now is the same as before.

"Umno has declared Malaysia an Islamic state. It's alright if PAS cannot accept it.

"But if they want to leave the opposition to be with us in upholding Islam, we have no problem of accepting them," he told reporters after handing over aid to 900 poor and elderly people, and orphans at the Al-Taqwa Mosque, Kampung Jerlun near here Thursday.

He was commenting on the DAP-PAS row over the latter's refusal to budge from the hudud and Islamic state championed by PAS.

Released ISA Detainees No Longer Pose Threat, Says Hishammuddin

SUNGAI BULOH, Aug 17 (Bernama) -- Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the government was satisfied that the 12 individuals released under the Internal Security Act (ISA) Friday no longer posed a threat to national security.

Speaking after a one hour visit to the Sungai Buloh prison here, he said today's number did not include the three people, a local, and a Pakistani and Sri Lankan, who were released earlier at the start of Ramadhan.

The 12 individuals had been involved in human trafficking and terrorism, he added.

"They comprised seven locals, three Indonesians and two Pakistanis. They were released after the government felt they had repented as a result of undergoing a comprehensive rehabilitation process," he said.

"The decision was not based on political pressure but made after due consideration and study of security aspects.

"This shows the government doesn't act on political considerations or emotional demands but strikes a balance between national interest and security, and the rights of an individual," said Hishammuddin.

Commenting on the 11 locals and 19 foreigners still in detention, he said the government needed to scrutinise the matter before making a decision on them.

A total of 25 individuals have been released since the enforcement of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, on July 31.