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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rights group blasts 'repressive' crackdown in Tunisia, birthplace of Arab Spring

By NBC News staff and wire reports

An international rights group called Monday for Tunisian prosecutors to drop charges against two sculptors for artworks deemed harmful to public order and good morals, a legal action seen as part of a clampdown on free speech in the country where the Arab Spring began.

Human Rights Watch said that the prosecution of artists Nadia Jelassi and Mohamed Ben Salem in Tunisia, the country whose protests against its longtime dictator helped set off similar uprisings across the Arab world, violated the right to freedom of expression because the works did not incite or discriminate.

"Time and again, prosecutors are using criminal legislation to stifle critical or artistic expression," Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

"Bloggers, journalists and now artists are being prosecuted for exercising their right to free speech," he added.

Protests
The works by Jelassi and Ben Salem were exhibited in a show in La Marsa in June, according to Human Rights Watch. The two, whose mixed-media work provoked protests during the exhibition, face up to five years in prison if convicted, the rights group said.

La Marsa is a coastal town north of the capital Tunis.

Jelassi's contribution was a work titled "Celui qui n'a pas …" ("He who hasn't …"). It includes sculptures of veiled women amid a pile of stones. Ben Salem’s work showed ants coming out of a child's schoolbag to spell the word "Allah," or God, according to Human Rights Watch.

Mother of Tunisian fruit vendor who sparked Arab Spring is arrested

In addition to protests outside the center, several works of art in the exhibition reportedly were damaged.

The two artists were informed by the investigative judge of the First Degree Court of Tunis in August that they face charges, Human Rights Watch said.

Veiled female news anchor marks wane of secular Egypt

The article of the penal code under which the two artists were charged make it an offense to "distribute, offer for sale, publicly display, or possess, with the intent to distribute, sell, display for the purpose of propaganda, tracts, bulletins, and fliers, whether of foreign origin or not, that are liable to cause harm to the public order or public morals," according to Human Rights Watch.

"Many Tunisians expected that repressive laws ... would not long outlast the dictator who adopted [them]," Goldstein of Human Rights Watch said.

Good Samaritan dies after stopping snatch theft


SUNGAI PETANI, Sept 4 — A father of three died of head injuries at the Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital here today, two days after he gallantly overpowered one of two snatch thieves near here amid a debate on the country’s crime rate.

Kulim National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK) assistant officer Mohd Majdi Abdul Hamid, 33, succumbed to his injuries at about 6am, Bernama reported today.

The victim, who was based at the AADK in Karangan, had fought for his life for two days after the 12.30pm incident in which he leapt at one of two snatch thieves escaping on a motorcycle in Bidong.

Mohd Majdi and one of the thieves then fell on the road, with the former sustaining serious head injuries and being warded at the hospital.

One of the snatch thieves was detained to facilitate investigations while his accomplice escaped.

Relating the tragic incident, Mohd Majdi’s mother-in-law, Che Amah Abdullah, 52, said the victim and his daughter, Nur Asma Nuha, were having lunch at a restaurant when one of the two snatch thieves grabbed a patron’s handbag.

“The thieves tried to make good their escape on a motorcycle but were forced to make a U-turn as their escape route via a train-crossing was closed.

“Mohd Majdi jumped and grabbed one of the duo but he sustained head injuries when they both fell to the ground,” she told reporters at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the victim’s wife, Norbaizura Rohim, 30, said her husband had served with AADK for nine years and that they had three children, Mohd Atib Naufal, six, Nur Asma Nuha, five, and Nahiz Nafiz, two.

“I am still reeling in shock. Nevertheless, I must stay strong to bring up the children on my own.”

Che Amah said she would assist her daughter to take care of the children, and described Mohd Majdi as a good, friendly and helpful son-in-law.

Mohd Majdi was buried at the Kampung Baru Muslim cemetery today.

His death came as opposition lawmakers continue to question crime statistics issued by the police and the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), the government’s efficiency unit, after a spate of incidents that seemed to contradict the image painted by its crime statistics.

The agency, along with the police and Home Ministry, has continued to stand by its claim that the country’s crime rate has dipped considerably since initiatives under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) were put in place two years ago.

PEMANDU’s crime reduction national key results areas (NKRA) director Eugene Teh had in July released fresh statistics to show that index crime in Malaysia dropped by 10.1 per cent from January to May this year compared with the same period last year.

The agency had earlier released figures to show that index crime had dropped by 11.1 per cent from 2010 to last year while street crime dipped 39.7 per cent in the same period.

‘We’ll rape and torture your kids to death’

This is the threat made against an activist, whose husband made a YouTube video criticising the deputy premier and Negeri Sembilan MB.

PETALING JAYA: A social activist in Negeri Sembilan lodged a police report last week alleging that a man threatened to harm her children if they do not leave Malaysia in a week.

S Jaya, 39, who runs the Negeri Sembilan Community Welfare Association lodged the report with the Seremban police station on Aug 30, the same day her husband received the threat via post.

The NGO leader said the threat was related to her husband S Ravinthran’s three-part video series on YouTube criticising Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan.

“My husband highlighted several issues plaguing the people of Negeri Sembilan and Hasan’s mismanagement of the state but this is what we get,” an upset Jaya told FMT.

The letter is signed by one Muzaffir who claimed to be part of Geng Negeri Sembilan and Geng Perdana Menteri.

Muzaffir had threatened to rape and kill Jaya’s three young daughters if Ravinthran failed to apologise to Muhyiddin and Hasan for his criticism.

“Kalau kau tak keluar Malaysia, kami tangkap tiga ekor betina kau. 50 orang rogol setiap anak kau dan seksa anak-anak kau sampai mati [ if you don't leave mlaysia, we will catch your daughters. 50 people will rape each of them and we will torture them to death],” read the letter.

The mysterious sender also told Ravinthran to remove all videos and apologise to Muhyiddin and Hasan..

“Kami bagi kau tujuh hari untuk balik India. Setiap gerak-geri kau 24 jam kami awasi [we give seven days for you to return to India. We are watching your every move 24 hours day],” he added.

Jaya said that she was surprised that Muzaffir knew their house address as they just moved to the new place two weeks ago.

She also said that the sender knew where her three children, ranging from nine to six years old, were studying.

“Tomorrow is the deadline [on the threat] but the police have done nothing yet. What if something happens?” she asked.

Jaya urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to suspend Muhyiddin and Hassan pending an inquiry on the matter.

Husband beats, suffocates pregnant wife

CTV footages of a man beating a woman have been uploaded onto YouTube and Facebook, incurring the wrath of thousands of netizens
VIDEO INSIDE

PETALING JAYA: In a desperate bid to stand up for herself, a bruised and battered 19-year-old has turned to Facebook to share CCTV footages of herself being beaten relentlessly by her husband at a boutique in Ipoh.

“I am Amanda Fong Kim Yen, I’m 19 years old & I’m two months+ pregnant with Calvin Chik Foo Keong’s baby & I’m standing up for myself now,” the young woman wrote on her Facebook profile page at http://www.facebook.com/foxyfong.

“I would like to share my experience with all of you out there how abusive my husband is by beating me up terribly & he had been torturing me.”

The first video Fong uploaded on Aug 30 is almost 12 minutes long and depicts a man hitting, wrestling and throwing a girl around a shop for nearly the whole duration of the clip.

The silent footage, which an unknown user had also uploaded yesterday on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYTOYPJ17Yk , shows the petite, slender girl struggling and attempting to fight back.

But she is easily overpowered by the man, who is a head taller than her.

At one point, he can be seen stripping off his shirt, before proceeding to shove her onto a recliner and apparently smothering her with the shirt for several seconds.

“As you can see in this video he wouldn’t let me out from the shop even I went to press the door access,” Fong wrote in her post.

“He has put me under tremendous pressure, hurt, pain and & suffering. I cannot endure it anymore longer. I’m very tired of living this miserable life.

“I have been accused, suffered from humiliation, physically & mentally anguished.”

Relentless beating


According to the time stamp on the video, the scene took place on Aug 23 at 5.08pm. The boutique is owned by the couple.

The next day, Fong uploaded a second video which revealed a scene that took place an hour after the first ended.

Also over 11 minutes long, the clip, which is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYTOYPJ17Yk depicts the same man working alone behind the counter for a minute.

However, once the girl comes into the room, the couple quarrel and the relentless beating continues, only far more brutal.

“This is the second session after I came out from the toilet after vomiting,” Fong explained on her page.

“As you can see in this video again, he wouldn’t allow me to exit my shop & he snatched my phone to prevent me calling my mother and even beat me with the phone.”

But towards the end of the video, a woman Fong identified as her mother is seen entering the shop. The two hug and the older woman whisks the younger away, while the man stands by and watches.

“My mom had really saved my life, if it wasn’t for her…. I wouldn’t be here anymore,” wrote Fong.

‘You are so heartless’

In her most recent post, written at around 4pm today, Fong announced that she is slowly recovering from the wounds and injuries her husband caused.

“But whenever you see me, there will be scars all over my arms. I just hope things are coming into the right place,” she wrote in a post that received 191 likes so far and a slew of supportive comments.

Fong had previously uploaded 24 photos of the bruises and scars on her arms, shoulders, legs and around her collar bone. The photo album “Is this even called love when you are even becoming a dad” has over 2,000 shares.

But despite the fact that Fong appears to be safe now, the drama online has not abated.

Her husband Calvin Chik Foo Keong also has a Facebook profile
(http://www.facebook.com/calvenchik) which is flooded with comments by
furious users calling for his arrest and throwing around labels such as “stupid abuser” and “mad monster”.

“I could not even bear to watch without breaking into tears! How could you do such a thing!??? All I can say is. Heartless, you are so HEARTLESS,” wrote Facebook user Junyen Chong.

“I dunno you too, but watching the video makes me hardly describe how angry I am to a monster like you,” wrote another user by the name Mic Chew.

Despite the onslaught of furious comments, Chik has not defended himself nor denied his actions on his Facebook profile, preferring instead to accuse Fong’s mother of abusing Fong since she was 15.

Meanwhile, commenters on the Facebook page of the couple’s boutique (http://www.facebook.com/AmandaChikCouture) are expressing disgust at both Fong and Chik.

“Amanda… you real sohai disgrace us woman, next time use your eyes to pick a good lou kung instead of sacrifice your [expletive] for a rich [expletive] who beats woman,” Coco Ping wrote.

“Overall I agree with most people you chimpanzees along those social retards are a disgrace to the world,” wrote Timothy Wong.

‘Why don’t you stand, Ambiga?’

Two groups are calling for the Bersih co-chairperson to contest in the next general election, saying she can raise the standard of Parliament.

PETALING JAYA: She is one of the most adored and abhorred personalities, depending on political vantage points. But even her detractors possess a grudging respect for her courage.

In a nation which struggles with the bane of racial polarisation, she had managed to bridge the divide and her appeal transcended colour and creed.

And despite her poor grasp of the Tamil language, she had also become the sweetheart of the Indian community of all classes, causing concern for the lovelorn MIC.

But S Ambiga refuses to enter the political ring.

And after the 13th general election, the mother of two said she would relinquish her post in Bersih as well in order to allow the next echelon to spearhead the electoral watchdog.

The former Bar Council president said she would focus on other issues as well as concentrate on her legal practice.

Politics is a noble pursuit

However, the Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) was adamant that Ambiga should not fade into oblivion or reduce her role.

According to its president, P Sivakumar, she should contest in the next general election as an independent candidate.

Ambiga, he added, would make an excellent politician and leader as well as serve as an inspiration to others to join in the fight at the frontline.

Commenting on her recent interview with FMT, in which Ambiga had urged voters to reject incompetent candidates, he asked: “Why doesn’t she stand?”

“Instead of telling us ‘don’t vote for this and that candidate’ and stress on the importance of competent candidates, she should stand and Malaysians of all races will vote for her.

“Politics is a noble pursuit but unfortunately it lacks noble people because these people don’t want to get involved. So the door is left open to unscrupulous politicians,” he said.

Sivakumar pointed out that Bersih and other civil society groups comprised numerous respected individuals who could raise the standard of Parliament if elected into the August House.

The current political climate, he said, made it possible to bring in more independent voices to raise the bar in Parliament.

“The civil society should capitalise on this call for change, where the political landscape is gravitating away from the traditional practice of party politics.

“The civil society should look into fielding distinguished Malaysians with a track record of serving the nation, people who are non-partisan,” he added.

He said since these individuals were not members of any political parties, they would receive the support of those who do not subscribe to both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

Furthermore, he added, their views would be constructive for good governance.

No need to campaign

Meanwhile, the coalition of NGOs WargaAman concurred with Miba, stressing that it was time for the “Malaysian Iron Lady” to flex her political muscle.

Its secretary-general S Barathidasan said the country needed people like Ambiga in Parliament to usher in effective changes and to voice out for the people.

“She has proven herself many times to be a leader with nerves of steel when she was heading the Malaysian Bar as well as being the co-chairperson of Bersih,” he added.

Barathidasan also pointed out that Ambiga would not even need to hit the campaign trail should she decide to contest.

“Just make the announcement and put up her poster. She will win,” he said.

Telangana youth duped, stranded in Malaysia

NIZAMABAD, Deccan Chronicle

Almost 100 Indians, mostly from north Telangana districts, have been stranded in Malaysia for the last two days after they were duped by agents.
The gullible youth, most of them belonging to Nizamabad, Adilabad, Karimnagar and Warangal districts went to Malaysia in the hope of employment there, only to discover that they had been cheated.
“I was promised a job in a hotel in Malaysia. The travel agent sent me there, but the experience was a nightmare,” said Sahadev Goud of Gummirial village in Morthad mandal, who returned to his native village from Malaysia on Sunday.
“We landed in Malaysia on a visit visa, but the authorities of Malaysia declared us illegal immigrants and asked us to leave the country,” he said. Others stranded in Malaysia were neither able to stay nor return to India, he explained.
The gullible youth of Telangana are soft targets for conmen posing as employment agents. They have been collecting Rs 80,000 from each person, assuring employment in Malaysia.
Lured by the promises of employment opportunities in hotels and restaurants there, the youth have been paying the demanded amount in the last few months and going to Malaysia.

Najib’s election dilemma — Bridget Welsh

SEPT 4 — When will Malaysia’s 13th general election (GE) be held?

Pundits continue to speculate on the election timing, with views ranging from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak making a surprise announcement to speculation that he will go the full term.

One thing is certain: the polls have to be held before the end of June next year. The person who appears most reluctant to hold the polls is Najib himself. He is now Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister without his own electoral mandate — either from his own party, Umno, that has not held elections since 2008 — or from Malaysians.

The pressure to call the polls and deliver a comfortable majority remains intense. Najib’s predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was forced to resign when he failed to win two-thirds of the parliamentary seats in the 2008 GE.

Based on fieldwork and polling, of the 222 seats up for grabs, 84 per cent of them are “competitive” — and with the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition having about the same number of “safe seats”.

It is thus not surprising that Najib has repeatedly delayed facing the electorate. Multiple windows for the GE have been by-passed. Instead, Najib has worked diligently to earn popular support with the aim of tying his personal popularity to a victory for his ruling coalition.

DIMINISHING RETURNS

His clock is ticking, as there is less than a year left before the GE will have to be called. The longer Najib waits, the more uncertainty he faces, with the real prospect of diminishing electoral returns.

Part of this is a product of the hype surrounding the earlier windows to hold the election. By failing to call the polls on repeated occasions after the election machinery was ramped up and candidate lists forwarded, Najib fuels a possible perception of weakness, as the delays are read as a lack of confidence on his part.

Najib also opens himself up to further uncertainties. Each time the election has been put off, it has either been in the wake of a scandal revelation — such as the National Feedlot Corporation — or after a mass rally such as those involving the electoral reform movement Bersih.

A pattern has set in — where weaknesses in Najib’s political reform efforts have been showcased, only to lead to further efforts to reconsolidate support.

The question Malaysians are asking is what will come next. Most are saturated with stories of scandal and intrigue, but ultimately the longer the delay, the greater the possibility of further revelations and civil society mobilisation.

This was the pattern in 2007-2008 and it is already repeating itself, as illustrated by the recent protest against the controversial amendments to section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950. The changes presume that a person is guilty for anything written on their websites and social media mediums.

STATE OF THE ECONOMY

The most serious unknowns Najib faces with his delaying tactics involve the economy.

Malaysia has performed well in terms of growth under his watch — an average of 5.8 per cent growth in the three years. Yet the economy is closely tied to global trends.

Slowing growth in China, recession threats in Europe and a lacklustre economic recovery in the United States, cast real shadows on Najib’s political fortunes.

A slowdown is already evident, with third-quarter growth figures dropping to 5.4 per cent.

Najib’s government has also been unable to stave off the impact of global inflation. In the first six months of this year, stealthily but steadily prices for fuel have risen, with a 10-sen rise in the month before Hari Raya Puasa alone.

The attention to the economy calls into question Najib’s main strategy of using financial handouts to win support. Billions of ringgit have been doled out to constituents in a variety of forms, from vouchers to disadvantaged families to salary bonuses. More are expected in the upcoming Budget this month, the second year in a row the Budget will have been used as an apparent election primer.

While the influx of public sector cash in the economy has boosted consumption, little attention has centred on the long-term implications of short-term allocations and deficit spending.

Malaysia’s fiscal deficit has grown exponentially under Najib’s tenure from -5.6 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008 to -10.2 per cent last year.

CLOCK TICKING AWAY

In the midst of the myopic election focus, Najib’s efforts have stirred infighting within his own party, Umno.

Candidate hopefuls have been jockeying intensely, and this has intensified after the lists were forwarded this year. Positioning for candidacy has dominated attention, reinforcing the pressures on Najib to call the polls according to when different actors believe is “best”.

The longer the infighting goes on, the greater the political bruising will be within Umno.

Personally, economically and politically, Najib is caught in a political quagmire.

When he goes to the polls, he will face a fierce contest. And he will face real challenges to his position within Umno.

If he delays, conditions will reinforce a process of diminishing returns. The choice to delay has only served to heighten the pressure to perform.

As the countdown to the GE continues, Najib’s clock is ticking louder than ever. The next window ahead is early November and time will tell whether he will use this window to face the electorate. — Today

* Bridget Welsh is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University. She spoke on the Malaysian general election on August 14 as part of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) Seminar Series.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

The Istana influence in politics


The Istana influence in politics and elections should not be downplayed or underestimated. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah understood this well when he said that the Rulers are the symbol of kedaulatan Melayu. Hitting out at the Rulers would be as ‘criminal’ as someone stepping on the Malaysian flag. What harm is there in stepping on the Malaysian flag? Has anything been lost?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Malaysia’s 1990 general election was the worst election performance for the ruling party since 1969. Barisan Nasional won only 53.4% of the votes and 70.55% of the seats. The opposition, which won 46.6% of the votes, performed almost as good as it did in 2008 when it garnered 46.76% of the popular votes. The biggest blow to the ruling party, however, was that it got massacred in the state of Kelantan, which fell to the opposition and has remained opposition ever since.
DAP, which for the first time was in a loose coalition with Semangat 46 -- called Gagasan Rakyat -- won 20 Parliament seats. PBS, another Semangat 46 ‘partner’ in Sabah, won 14 seats while the Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah or APU coalition with PAS won 15 Parliament seats plus the Kelantan State Assembly.
Now, what is so special about the 1990 general election?
1990 was the first general election after the (second) Constitutional Crisis of the 1980s (there were two incidences in the 1980s but Umno lost the first one and won the second one). And in that Constitutional Crisis Annuar Musa, the Umno Chief for Kelantan, called the Kelantan Sultan stupid in a speech he delivered in Kelantan while Anwar Ibrahim called His Highness a smuggler (regarding the Lamborghini incident).
This infuriated the Sultan who openly declared war on Umno and which resulted in Umno getting whacked big-time. Even Umno members voted opposition in huge numbers.
Since then both Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno have learned their lesson. The Monarchy may be only a Constitutional Monarchy and without executive powers, and some may even view the Monarchy as outdated and no longer relevant, but the Malays still regard the Monarchy as a ‘sacred cow’ that should not be dragged though the mud -- just like how they feel about Islam, the Malay language and kedaulatan Melayu.
No doubt ‘modern’ Malaysians cannot grasp this ‘weird’ sentiment and they just do not understand why those ‘old’ values can still have a bearing on how Malays vote. This is, of course, a very ‘rural’ thing -- hence urban Malaysians would not understand this. But if you have lived in a kampong, like I did for 20 years from 1974-1994, then you will appreciate how the Malay mind works and what makes them tick.
I mean, you may not see the significance of Malay ‘values’ just like how Malays would not understand the significance of the colour red over white when you hand out ang pows during Chinese New Year. Every ethnicity has strange ‘values’ that the others do not understand.
The Istana influence in politics and elections should not be downplayed or underestimated. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah understood this well when he said that the Rulers are the symbol of kedaulatan Melayu. Hitting out at the Rulers would be as ‘criminal’ as someone stepping on the Malaysian flag. What harm is there in stepping on the Malaysian flag? Has anything been lost?
It is not the physical loss that people are concerned about but the significance or symbolism of that act. Stepping on the Malaysian flag means pissing on Malaysia. Hence ‘stepping’ on the Rulers (Raja-Raja Melayu) also means pissing on the Malays.
Strange, don’t you think so? I suppose no stranger than believing that white envelopes bring bad luck while red envelopes will make you rich and prosperous -- or that giving someone money in a white envelope during Chinese New Year equates to pissing on the Chinese. And isn’t the crucifix also about symbolism? If not then why can’t Muslims wear a crucifix? What ‘physical’ harm does it do?
I cautioned my friends in the DAP (YB Ronnie Liu can conform this) that the Selangor State Government has to step very cautiously when dealing with the Rulers. You can’t always say yes, no doubt, I told Ronnie. Sometimes you may need to say no. But you must know the ‘correct’ way of saying no so that 'no' is not taken as a rebuke or a snub.
And that is the most difficult thing whenever protocol is involved. And proper protocol ‘education’ is not something you are born with. It is something you acquire along the way. Even the underworld has certain protocol, which you need to observe. Just walking requires protocol as well because walking side-by-side, walking in front, and walking behind, mean different things and will send different messages (read: Rosmah Mansor).
But observing proper protocol requires putting aside egos. Observing proper protocol is an admission that you are subservient to convention. Walking upright into a room where an elder or senior is seated or walking slightly ‘bent’ means two different things. Gesturing or pointing with your finger and gesturing or pointing with your thumb also means two different things.
Those of you who complain that you were extorted or beaten up by triad members back in your schooldays in the 1960s probably failed to understand the importance of protocol -- the correct and incorrect hand gestures, when to and when not to have eye-to-eye contact, etc.
Yes, even the underworld practices protocol, as does the Istana. And if you need to deal with the Istana you had better learn the proper manners or else limit your dealings as far as possible. Of course, when you are in government this is not always a choice open to you.
I know…I know…many of you are now going to say that you don’t care a damn and that this is so feudalistic and outdated and whatnot. That is well and fine maybe from where you sit. But when the majority of the Malays are still feudalistic and when many of the seats are Malay-majority seats it matters. And let us not discover the hard way like Umno did in 1990 that what they thought does not matter, in fact, does matter and then we pay a heavy price for our arrogance and ignorance.
Oh, and one more thing, Anwar Ibrahim, alongside Dr Mahathir, of course, is viewed as an enemy of the Monarchy. Hence it is even more important for Anwar to not rub the Istana the wrong way. Between Najib Tun Razak -- an ‘orang Istana’ -- and Anwar, the Rulers would rather see Najib as Prime Minister. So be warned.
  THE ANTI-MONARCHISTS OF THE 1980S CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

Jangan jadi orang yang 'perkosa' masjid


KUALA LUMPUR: Usaha menghalang masjid daripada disuburkan dengan risalah-risalah Allah merupakan satu usaha yang zalim dan tidak bertamadun.

Pengerusi Sekretariat Himpunan Ulama Rantau Asia (Shura), Ustaz Abdul Ghani Shamsudin, berkata jika seseorang itu melakukan usaha bagi menghalang dakwah Allah, maka ia akan berdepan dengan tindakan Allah itu sendiri d akhirat kelak.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas kejadian serangan di sebuah masjid, di Alor Setar, ketika Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menyampaikan tazkirah Maghrib, baru-baru ini.

"Umat Islam sepatutnya menyedari segala perkara dalam dunia ini berkaitan, orang yang tidak berilmu akan menjadi jahat, dan begitu sebaliknya. Dalam Islam, siapa yang ingin perkasa, perlu dengan Allah, kalau tidak jadi pekasam," tegas beliau kepada Harakahdaily, hari ini.

Tambah beliau, setiap seorang yang ingin memperkasakan diri ia perlu bersama Allah, kerana hanya dengan Allah ia akan jadi perkasa.

Sambil menyatakan kekesalan terhadap insiden berkenaan, Ustaz Ghani yang juga Ahli Majlis Syura Ulama PAS, gangguan terhadap rumah Allah itu satu perbuatan yang biadap, lebih-lebih lagi ketika tazkirah dijalankan.

"Kalau mereka tidak mahu mendengar tazkirah tersebut, keluarlah dengan baik. Ini tidak, setelah membuat bising di dalam dan setelah diminta keluar, berterusan membuat bising. Ini tidak bertamadun," kata beliau yang turut berada di masjid berkenaan.

Sedangkan, tambah beliau ketika itu tazkirah dijalankan oleh seorang yang dikenali dan pernah menjadi pemimpin negara suatu ketika dahulu yang begitu dikenali ramai.

Menurutnya lagi, mengganggu majlis dengan membuat andaian dan tuduhan yang bermacam-macam tanpa sebarang bukti hanya menunjukkan sikap yang tidak bertanggungjawab.

Justeru, beliau menasihatkan mana-mana pihak yang gemar 'memperkosa' majlis agama ini agar menghentikan perbuatan tersebut memandangkan perbuatan tersebut akan berdepan dengan tindakan Allah SWT di akhirat kelak.

"Nasihat saya, jangan jadi orang yang perkosa masjid. Kalau nak jadi perkasa, kena bersama-sama dengan Allah, baru perkasa. Bukan jadi perkosa," tegas beliau.

Police release photos of those involved in brandishing flags

The Sun Daily 
by Charles Ramendran, Alyaa Alhadjri & Hemananthani Sivanandam

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 3, 2012): Police today released photographs of 11 people being sought over incidents at Dataran Merdeka on the eve of National Day, including one where flags were brought allegedly to replace the Jalur Gemilang.

Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk SAC II Ku Chin Wah said those identified by police will be called up to have their statements recorded.

The photos were released as those involved had not responded to a call by police to assist in their investigations.

He said the photos have also been uploaded on to KL police's Facebook account.

Ku said to date a total of 39 police reports have been lodged nationwide on the "Janji Demokrasi" event attended by several thousand people on Thursday night.

Despite police not getting any response, two bloggers have admitted in their weblogs that they had carried the "Sang Saka Malaya" – a red-and-white flag with a yellow crescent moon and 11-pointed star – on Thursday night.

However, they denied they had called for the Jalur Gemilang to be replaced but claimed the flag was brandished to represent the struggles of early left wing political parties against the British during the pre-Independence era.

They also denied being responsible for the distribution of some pamphlets calling for the Jalur Gemilang to be replaced with the Sang Saka Malaya.

Apart from the flag-waving offence which is being probed under the Sedition Act, police are also investigating two other possible offences in relation to acts of indecency and disrespecting a national leader.

Several individuals were captured on photo mooning and trampling on the photos of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi voiced the view that any proposal to amend "semi-sacred" national symbols, including the Malaysian flag, could be "acceptable."

"I do not know for sure what took place or whether the group had any intention to disrespect the flag, but a proposal to replace the national flag is not a constitutional issue" he told theSun.

"A change can be proposed provided it is done respectfully and through the proper channels," said Shad Faruqi, who noted that the tempo of the national anthem had also been changed to make it more upbeat.

"There are other non-emotional ways of doing things ... either through the Parliament, through the judiciary or even raising the idea in letters to the editor in newspapers," he added.

One of the bloggers known only as "Singa Selatan" who admitted to being one of the individuals brandishing the Sang Saka Malaya flag about that night claimed the action was to highlight some historical facts.

He said the Sang Saka Malaya, was first used in 1938 by the Kesatuan Melayu Malaya which later evolved into the left-leaning Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) in 1945.

It claimed to be involved in the struggles for independence, but the PKMM along with several other political parties were labelled as communist symphatisers and banned in 1948 when the state of Emergency was declared.

If the Emergency laws were still in place, the waving of the PKMM flag may be an offence, but several laws enacted as part of the Emergency Ordinance have since been repealed.

As such, Bar Council constitutional law committee chairman Syahredzan Johan said the only possible charge would be under the Sedition Act, but even so, it would be "difficult to prove."

"There are no specific provisions under the Act which says proposing to change the (national) flag is seditious, so they would need to look at other areas to prove if there were any seditious tendencies," he added.

Criminal Investigations Director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin had on Sunday said the incident is being probed under the Sedition Act for sowing animosity among the races.

Bakri said Gabungan Janji, a coalition of 47 NGOs as organisers of the Janji Demokrasi rally, was also being investigated for failing to notify the police of the gathering at least 10 days prior to the event.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said if there was any evidence that the youths have committed the offence, they should be charged as such "despicable behaviour" should not be allowed.

"If they have committed an offence and we do not charge them, we will be giving the wrong signal to the public," said Nazri who is also the de facto Law Minister.

"It is not a trivial matter! It is about the symbols of the country.

"If they carried, say a Manchester United flag, it is okay because it is not displacing our national flag, but this Sang Saka flag does not represent the flag of other countries…

"The only reason I can think of is that they intend to replace our national flag," he added.

Hamzah's Demise A Big Loss For Malaysia - Zolkples

From Farhanah Azmi

LONDON, Sept 5 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has lost a sports icon following the death Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah, said National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong.

"His passing is a huge loss for Malaysian sports. During his lifetime, Tan Sri Hamzah was an influential figure in the sports world.

"He was also highly respected locally and worldwide. His loss is also very sentimental for the NSC because it was through him that the NSC was created," he told Bernama here.

According to Zolkples, the NSC was the brainchild of Hamzah when the latter held the post of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports from 1971 till 1973.

Hamzah, a National sports icon and Olympic Council of Malaysia's Honorary Life President, passed away at 3.30pm today at his house in Staffield Country Resort, Mantin, Negeri Sembilan, due to old age.

What they didn’t tell you about Tg Tokong, Jelutong Expressway land deals

Some details of land deals under the BN revealed.
Excerpt of a statement from the CM yesterday:
BN sold 980 acres of prime land In Tanjung Tokong at RM1 per square foot and 325 acres of Jelutong Expressway reclaimed land at RM20psf.
Land sales by open tender is public knowledge as they are advertised publicly. The open tenders of land sales by PR state government in getting the highest price above market value is a direct contrast to land sales by the previous BN government. For instance in the Tanjong Tokong Reclamation, under Agreements dated 1990 & 1999, the developer was given the right to reclaim and develop 980 acres of land off Tanjong Tokong at the price of RM 1 per square foot!
As for the Jelutong Expressway, under Agreements dated 1997, 2002 & 2003, the developer was given the right to reclaim 325 acres of land in exchange for constructing the Jelutong Expressway at an estimated cost of RM300 million and payment of RM25.4 million. In other words, the total cost is RM325.4 million for 325 acres or the cost of reclaimed land at Jelutong Expressway is RM 1 million per acre or over RM 20 per square feet. What’s more the developer can pay RM 25.4 million over 10 years from 2005 up to 2015 – surely a record for length of payment period.
Then there was the sale of 750 acres of prime land in Batu Kawan, to little known but well connected Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd. The site lies right next to the area where the second Penang bridge begins on the mainland,
Who were all the parties involved in these deals? Were proxies used? I think a thorough investigation is needed to get to the bottom of these deals and to find out how much, if at all, the state has lost as a result of all these deals. This is land that could have been used by the state for affordable housing.

Judges block Malaya killings probe

Relatives of unarmed Malaysian rubber plantation workers killed in 1948 have lost their appeal over the decision not to hold an inquiry

Two High Court judges have blocked attempts to force a public inquiry into the killing of 24 Malaysian rubber plantation workers by British troops more than 60 years ago.
Victims' relatives described the shootings at Batang Kali, Malaya, in December 1948 as a "massacre" and judges said allegations against members of the Scots Guards were "as serious as it is possible to make".
But Sir John Thomas - president of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, who sat with Mr Justice Treacy - said it would be "very difficult at this point in time" to establish whether the shootings were "deliberate executions".
 
Judges said the cost of an inquiry would be "materially greater" than £1 million and said it was "very questionable" whether "much can be learnt".


British soldiers were conducting operations against communist insurgents during the "Malayan Emergency" when the plantation workers were killed, judges heard.

Relatives said there was enough evidence to justify an official investigation and asked judges to overturn a Government decision not to hold an inquiry.

Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond opposed the relatives' application, arguing that the decision not to hold an inquiry was lawful.


Judges on Tuesday ruled in the Government's favour following a hearing in London in May. Relatives said they would appeal.
Sir John, in a written ruling handed down at a hearing in London, said "there are obviously enormous difficulties in conducting an inquiry into a matter that happened over 63 years ago". Sir John said decisions taken by Mr Hague and Mr Hammond not to set up an inquiry were "not unreasonable".
Solicitor John Halford, who represents victims' families, said after today's hearing, that relatives would appeal. Mr Halford, from law firm Bindmans, added: "The survivors and families of the Batang Kali massacre will continue to pursue legal action."