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Friday, September 21, 2012

Suaram lodges police report against minister


Bomb explodes in French kosher store


Members of the Jewish community talk in front of the kosher grocery store after the attack. Photo / AP
 
Members of the Jewish community talk in front of the kosher grocery store after the attack. Photo / AP
A small package bomb exploded inside a kosher grocery store in a Paris suburb Wednesday, wounding at least one person, according to an agency that tracks anti-Semitic attacks in France.

The reason for the attack was unclear, but it rattled nerves amid global tensions surrounding a U.S.-produced film insulting to Islam. The French grocery store attack came a few hours after a satirical French weekly published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, prompting anger from French Muslim groups.

The Jewish Community Protection Service, set up to register anti-Semitic attacks in France, says on its website that two individuals dressed in black threw an explosive device inside a kosher supermarket in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles at lunchtime Wednesday. It says one person suffered small injuries, without elaborating.

Yves Jannier, the state prosecutor in the Val d'Oise region where Sarcelles is located, cautioned that evidence was still being compiled and it was too early to draw any conclusions about motives behind the attack.

"We'll need to analyze, quantify and measure all these elements, such as to know perhaps the type of explosives used," he said at a news conference.

"But for now, we should avoid any extrapolation or hasty conclusions."

The Sipa news agency reported four injuries. It said the two assailants fled after throwing a rock through the shop's window shortly before the explosion, and that the victims are being treated for wounds to their arms and legs from the explosion and broken glass.

A French Jewish umbrella organization, CRIF, said in a statement that "it fears this attack" is connected to violent protests in recent days from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film "Innocence of Muslims," which ridicules Prophet Muhammad. CRIF criticized those who are linking Jews to the making of the film and said "nothing can justify the wave of violence that has hit the world since its release."

France, which has western Europe's largest Jewish population, sees sporadic but persistent anti-Semitic acts, often vandalism of gravesites and synagogues. The nation also has the region's largest Muslim population, and mosques and Muslim gravesites are periodically desecrated.

Fears of a new wave of anti-Semitism in France resurfaced after a gunman claiming ties to radical Islam killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse in March, the worst such attacks in France since the 1990s.

- AP

Convert to Islam arrested for bomb threat at UT-Brownsville made in retaliation for derogatory comment about Islam

HenryMcFarland.jpgThe jihadist formerly known as Henry Dewitt McFarland III

See? If it were illegal to make derogatory comments about Islam, Henry Dewitt McFarland III, convert to Islam, would never have had to make his bomb threat. He would be free today, and all would be well. Repeal the First Amendment! "Derogatory comment against Islam motive in UTB bomb threat," by Sergio Chapa for ValleyCentral.com, September 17:
Court records show that a derogatory comment made against Islam was the motive in a weekend bomb threat at the University of Texas at Brownsville. UTB police arrested 25-year-old Henry Dewitt McFarland III on a terroristic threat charge on Sunday afternoon.
The Harlingen man is accused of phoning in a bomb threat to the UTB campus early Sunday morning.
Court records released on Monday show that McFarland made the threat to the National Veteran's Crisis Hotline.
McFarland allegedly told the operator is a Marine Corps veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and in the process of converting to Islam.
According to the records, McFarland was planning to detonate a bomb in retaliation to a classmate making a derogatory remark against the Muslim faith.
McFarland told the operator that he had a pressure plate bomb in his living room.
The Harlingen veteran told the operator that he receiving counseling for anger management and domestic violence....
Oh, good. That'll fix everything.

Waytha: I am being bullied in my own country

Hindraf leader says he will not retract police report as the charge of him being a national threat is a serious one.

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy will not retract his police report even though his travel ban has been lifted.

He was barred from travelling to the Philippines yesterday and he lodged a police report against Home Minister Hishammuddun Hussein, Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar and Immigration director-general Alias Ahmad .

Waythamoorthy said he is a bit concerned at the way the Immigration dealt with his case.

“The authorities have been observing me for months on my activities on grounds of national security.

“They [authorities] are satisfied that I am not a threat to national security, so the travel ban on me has been lifted,” he said.

Waythamoorthy only returned to Malaysia on Aug 1 after spending about five years in exile in England. He left Malaysia three days after the historic Hindraf rally of Nov 25, 2007.

In March 2008, the Malaysian government had revoked Waythamoorthy’s passport. Following this, he applied for and was granted political asylum by the British government.

“In 2007, they saw me as a national threat up until yesterday. If I am not a threat anymore , then I think they should approve the registration of Hindraf and remove the criminal charges against 54 Hindraf members.

“I will not withdraw my police report because the allegation that I am a national threat is a serious matter.

“No matter whether it is a new or old allegation, it is still a serious allegation against me. How can a human right activist become a national threat?

“This is not right, it’s like they are bullying me. I have been made a prisoner within my own country and the allegation against me is serious an action must be taken against them,’’ he added.

Police reports lodged against meddling minister

Suaram says Ismail Sabri Yaakob's statement that it would likely be charged this week was done in bad faith.

PETALING JAYA: Suaram and several of its supporters today lodged police reports against Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for “interfering” in the investigations against the human rights body by the Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM).

Suaram said Ismail’s statement that the NGO would likely be charged this week was done “in bad faith, interfered and influenced the prosecution process” and meddled in the investigation process of the CCM.

“While investigations are ongoing, the minister came out with a statement that we will be charged. He is pre-empting and usurping the powers of the Attorney-General,” said Suaram executive director E Nalini, who lodged the report this morning.

Seven others who also lodged reports were supporters S Arutchelvan, Masjaliza Hamzah, Heng Kiah Chun, Ekhsan Bukharee Badarul Hisham, A Jayanath, S Barathidasan, and Mandeep Singh.

They hoped that with more reports, police would be pressured into taking action against the federal minister.

“What the minister is saying seems to interfere with a decision that lies solely with the Attorney-General [Abdul Gani Patail]. We need to ensure independence as the AG acts for the people,” said Suaram lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.

Suaram, in a copy of its report, questioned why Ismail Sabri could make statements when Suaram’s staff were still being interrogated, and investigations were “far from complete”.

It also noted that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had a day later told the media that investigation papers were returned to CCM, ordering it to investigate further.

“This clearly shows that the minister was meddling in the investigations, pressuring CCM by ordering it to charge Suaram even before investigations are complete,” said Fadiah.

“Defaming Suaram has trivialised the whole judicial process and the duty of the AG. With his statement, it is as if the decision to charge has already been made.

“It looks as though it is a political decision and not the result of investigations as a basis to charge Suaram,” she added.

Investigation papers

On Tuesday, Ismail Sabri said that six government agencies are taking action against Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, the operating entity of Suaram, under five sections of the Companies Act 1965.

“CCM has no power over Suaram as it is not registered as a society. As such, we are taking action against Suara Inisiatif Rakyat for its misleading accounts,” he said.

The six agencies, which included CCM, Registrar of Societies (ROS), Bank Negara, the Home Ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commissions (MCMC), were not interested in the source of the organisations’ funds, the minister said.

But he said the scope of their investigations would be based on Sections 364(2), 166A(3), 169(14), 167(1), 167(2), and 132(1) of the Companies Act 1965.

Ismail Sabri also said that the final decision as to whether Suara Inisiatif would be charged was with Gani. Yesterday, it was reported that the AG’s Chambers had returned investigation files to CCM seeking additional work.

Since July, Suaram has been facing public scrutiny over its funding and organisational structure, with pro-establishment Malay rights groups demanding to know why Suaram was registered as a company, Suara Inisiatif, with a paid-up capital of RM2.

Suaram’s “independence” was questioned after some quarters revealed that it received funds from foreign countries. Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) and Perkasa accused the NGO of being funded by foreign powers to “destabilise the peace of the country”.

Suaram has consistently denied any wrongdoing and in defence claimed that the timing of the investigations was the direct result of its action in bringing the Scorpene submarine scandal, which implicated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, to the French courts.

The CCM raided Suaram’s offices on suspicion that it had breached the Companies Act and carrying out activities unrelated to the purpose of its establishment as a business.

It is now being investigated under the five sections of the Companies Act, and could face charges in court with “misleading accounts”. Several government agencies, including the Registrar of Societies (ROS) and Bank Negara, are contemplating action against it within their own jurisdictions.

Since then, over 130 NGOs, which include Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Tenaganita and Sisters in Islam, have since rallied around Suaram, pledging their support.

PAS, Abim condemn French magazine

PAS Ulama council deputy chairman Dr Mahfodz Mohamed says the publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad is disrespectful to Islam.

PETALING JAYA: PAS Ulama council deputy chairman Dr Mahfodz Mohamed condemned the publication of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in a French magazine.

“Their actions are so disrespectful. Never have we done such acts. We believe in the same lineage of prophets too,” said Mahfodz.

He was commenting on French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, that published caricatures, among others, entitled “Mohammad: A Star is Born” that portrayed a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks.

The publishers of the magazine claimed that it is an attempt to poke fun at the American movie, “Innocence of Muslims”, that had triggered an uproar among Muslims worldwide.

“I am afraid that the Middle East would be in further chaos,” said Mahfodz who is also Johor PAS commissioner.

There has been an ongoing series of protests in Muslim countries ever since the American movie was released last week.

“We are lucky to be able to hold peaceful protests in Malaysia. In Johor, it will be held at Masjid Taman Perling, Johor Baru,” he said.

Muslim youth organisation, Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim), wants the French government to curb freedom of speech and media freedom.

“The French authorities need to be more sensitive. Last week a magazine published topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and now it is this,” said Abim secretary-general Mohd Raimi Abdul Rahim.

On Abim’s next action, Raimi said: “We will send a protest memorandum to the French Embassy.”

Sukan 1 Malaysia (Parody)


Actress sues California man behind anti-Muslim film


(Reuters) - LOS ANGELES: An actress in an anti-Islam film that triggered violent protests across the Muslim world sued a California man linked to its production yesterday for fraud and slander, saying she had received death threats after the video was posted on YouTube.

Actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who also named Google Inc and its YouTube unit as defendants, asked that the film be removed from YouTube and said her right to privacy had been violated and her life endangered, among other allegations.

It was the first known civil lawsuit connected to the making of the film that has circulated online as a 13-minute trailer, including under the title “Innocence of Muslims.”

The film, which portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer and a fool, helped generate a torrent of violence across the Muslim world last week. The US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack in Benghazi. US and other foreign embassies were stormed in cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by furious Muslims.

Garcia accused a producer of the movie, whom she identified as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula along with the alias Sam Bacile, of duping her into appearing in a “hateful” film that she had been led to believe was a simple desert adventure movie.

“There was no mention of ‘Mohammed’ during filming or on set. There were no references made to religion nor was there any sexual content of which Ms. Garcia was aware,” said the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.

For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnation from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians.

“This lawsuit is not an attack on the First Amendment nor on the right for Americans to say what they think, but does request that the offending content be removed from the Internet,” the lawsuit said.

The suit accuses Nakoula, Google and YouTube of invasion of privacy, unfair business practices, the use of Garcia’s likeness without permission and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A representative for Nakoula’s criminal attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“We are reviewing the complaint and will be in court tomorrow,” said a Google spokesman.

India Seeks to Keep Iran Crude Option Open


India's taste for oil
India's taste for oil
(Asia Sentinel) Delhi needs oil from Iran, military goods from Israel
India is caught in an unenviable crunch between the western powers and Iran, quietly attempting to keep its back channels open for oil imports despite increasing efforts by the United States, Israel and the European Union to block exports from the Islamist republic.

In recent weeks, Israel’s truculent prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has goaded the reluctant western powers closer to attempting militarily to take out Iran’s fledgling nuclear weaponization program. The western powers have continued to tighten the screws on Iran’s oil exports, attempting to cut the country’s biggest export lifeline. Earlier this week, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also said they had confiscated shipments of items that could have uses in the country’s nuclear program.

The US-EU sanctions have thus put India in a difficult position. The world’s fourth-largest oil importer, India imports more than 80 percent of its crude and remains Iran’s biggest oil customer after China.

Conversely, India has close and growing relationships with Israel, Iran’s most implacable enemy. New Delhi is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment, accounting for nearly 50 percent of Israeli defense sales. It is also Israel’s second-largest Asian trading partner. The two countries have growing relationships in agriculture, research and development and tourism in addition to defense technology.

India’s energy imports from Iran have fallen considerably in line with Washington’s demands because of Tehran’s continuing insistence on pursuing an independent nuclear program. However, recent events highlight that New Delhi is seeking to maintain its long-standing engagement with Tehran.

The country has continued to occupy a major space in India’s energy import basket although at a lower level as a supplier of crude. Among other reasons, India doesn’t want to depend too heavily on Saudi supplies, which could weaken New Delhi’s position in future price negotiations. It is, however, also apparent that India’s foreign policy stand on America and Iran is to try to back away from an extreme view or stand for or against either side.

Apart from the need to keep superpower America happy on this issue, India’s interests with the US run the gamut from defense procurement to atomic energy and, more recently, the transfer of know how in shale gas exploration.

India has thus so far kept away from the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline that Tehran and Islamabad continue to pursue. New Delhi has also made it a point to side with USA and Europe in taking a tough stand against Iran at international forums against its atomic efforts while at the same time it doesn’t want to eliminate Iran from its energy equations, given its rising needs to sustain a growing economy.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh thus made it a point to travel to Iran for the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, met the Iranian top leadership there and emphasized the need to enhance business relations between the two nations. Back-channel activities and meetings between officials also underlined the keenness of the two nations to engage.

That could include the possibility of setting up a barter mechanism to maintain the bilateral US$15 billion trade levels with Indian imports a big US$12 billion and mostly oil. Under the system, India could pay in kind in the form of goods, commodities, investments in infrastructure projects in exchange of oil imported.

This is because finance and payment problems via usual channels have become difficult as banks fear being slapped with sanctions. Logistical bottlenecks linked to insurance of cargo and availability of ships for hire are also creating issues.

It is in this context that India and Iran re-focused attention on exploiting the Chabahar port in southeast Iran that would give India access to Central Asia and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan overland, where security is a major concern.

A significant trilateral meet ahead and on the sidelines of the NAM summit involved top officials from India, Iran and Afghanistan discussed ways to commercially exploit the Chabahar facility.

A joint press statement said: “the objective of the meeting was to explore ways to expand trade and transit cooperation starting with the Chahbahar Port. A Joint Working Group will meet within next three months to take the discussions forward.”

The English-language daily The Times of India quoted unnamed official sources saying India could invest Rs3-4 billion in the port. “Almost 70 percent of the work in the first phase has been completed. Iran has invested about US$340 million in the venture. Our role would be in the second phase,” a shipping executive was quoted to say. Iran plans to ramp up capacity of the port in five phases to 20 million tonnes by 2020.

Another comment in a top media outfit reads: “India's planned investment in Chabahar port will help Delhi solidify ties with the energy-rich Iran, which already serves as a commercial partner and a bridge for India's trade with Middle East.”

Even though the option of Chabahar is being probed Indian refiners continue to reduce their exposure to Iran to escape sanctions and operational problems in importing such oil. The refiners have been active in seeking new contract from Kuwait, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Nigeria and Venezuela, among other nations.

Overall, India’s oil imports from Iran fell more than 40 percent in July (201,860 barrels per day (bpd) from June (346,600 bpd). India shipped 338,900 bpd from Iran in July 2011, according to trade data.

Iran stood sixth in the list of India’s suppliers of oil in July, compared to second position earlier this year. India has officially declared its intention to cut Iran oil imports by 15% fiscal year ended March 31, 2013.

In a recent note, the oil ministry wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office saying: “Apart from the difficulties arising from the US and EU sanctions, the delay in operationalizing of rupee payment mechanism has also contributed to reduction in imports.”

While it is difficult to do business with Iran, India does not want the momentum to completely shift away.

(Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.com)

14 tahun ‘20 September’

20 SEPT — “I’m bad with numbers — so I can’t tell you if it was 100,000 people. It certainly was very easily in the tens of thousands. Also pretty difficult to tell when the whole stretch of the road from Dataran Merdeka to the National Mosque was an ocean of people, they were spilling into the side streets, and in the mosque compound, in the nearby Pusat Islam compound.” — Sabri Zain
Tanggal 20 September 14 tahun lepas mengubah banyak hal di Malaysia. Mahu tidak mahu fakta ini harus diakui. Seluruh rakyat Malaysia terkesan. Tanggal 20 September tercatat sebagai detik hitam dalam sejarah Malaysia apabila Anwar Ibrahim ditangkap di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri setelah bersama puluhan ribu rakyat berhimpun di Dataran Merdeka dan Masjid Negara. Walaupun Anwar dipecat pada 2 September, bagi banyak orang 20 September dianggap tanda mula kebangkitan.
“Tidak hari ini, minggu depan. Tidak minggu ini, minggu depan, tidak bulan ini bulan depan, tidak tahun ini, tahun depan, lawan tetap lawan.”
Suasana di pilihanraya kecil Lunas tahun 2000.
Empat belas tahun berlalu, itulah kata keramat yang sering dilaung Anwar Ibrahim dan kekal tersemat di tubuh para pejuang buat azimat perjuangan yang entah bila akan menuai hasil. Apa yang pasti perjuangan berliku-liku dan memerlukan daya tahan yang luar biasa. Melihat kembali, 14 tahun terasa pendek dan dengan pencapaian sehingga kini, tabik saya berikan kepada semua yang konsisten dalam perjuangan. Kejayaan sepertinya semakin hampir tetapi jangan dilupa ia boleh menjauh seandainya terlalu angkuh. Berikut adalah peristiwa-peristiwa penting yang menurut saya mencatur perjalanan reformasi hingga kini.
Oktober 1998 — perhimpunan mingguan di Sogo dan sekitar Jalan TAR. Saya sempat menghadiri beberapa walaupun akan mengambil SPM penghujung tahunnya. Pengalaman yang tidak dapat dilupakan dan banyak membentuk sikap saya seterusnya.
24 Oktober 1999 — PAS, DAP, Parti Keadilan Nasional (KeADILan) dan Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) membentuk Barisan Alternatif. Pertama kali dalam sejarah DAP dan PAS berada dalam satu gabungan politik.
4 April 1999 — Parti Keadilan Nasional dilancarkan.
14 April 1999 — Anwar Ibrahim dihukum penjara 6 tahun atas empat pertuduhan rasuah. Lantas digelar “Black 14”.
19 September 1999 — Perhimpunan di Masjid Negara berkait dakwaan Anwar Ibrahim diracun dengan arsenik sewaktu dalam tahanan polis. Perhimpunan terbesar selepas 20 September 1998 menggegarkan Kuala Lumpur dan berakhir rusuh.
29 November 1999 — Pilihanraya umum yang ke 10. Terengganu jatuh ke tangan PAS dan Kelantan terus gagal dirampas Umno-Barisan Nasional. Keputusan yang menurut saya anti-klimaks kepada parti pembangkang yang bergabung di bawah Barisan Alternatif melihatkan api kemarahan rakyat sebelumnya sangat meluap-luap. Umno terjejas di banyak kawasan akibat peralihan undi Melayu kepada PAS dan PKN. Umno diselamatkan oleh pengundi Cina dan India yang barangkali masih takut dengan momok 13 Mei dan terpengaruh dengan idea tentang kestabilan yang dicanang saban masa. Kesimpulannya reformasi gagal menarik sokongan bukan Melayu.
5 November 2000 — Perhimpunan 100,000 rakyat yang sepatutnya diadakan di Kampung Jalan Kebun, Klang tetapi disekat polis akhirnya menjadi detik bersejarah apabila Lebuhraya KESAS menjadi lokasi pertama demonstrasi di lebuhraya. Ribuan berarak di Lebuhraya KESAS menuju tempat berkumpul berhampiran Plaza Tol Kemuning dan menyeru Perdana Menteri, Dr Mahathir Mohamad untuk berundur. Seperti lazim, perhimpunan berakhir kecoh apabila FRU menyembur air asid dan gas pemedih mata bagi menyuraikan peserta.
29 November 2000 — Pilihanraya kecil Lunas dimenangi calon Keadilan, Saifuddin Nasution Ismail mengalahkan calon BN, S. Anthonysamy. Kemenangan ini diharap dapat mengekalkan momentum reformasi supaya terus subur.
Perhimpunan Black 14 tahun 2001.
14 April 2001 — Perhimpunan “Black 14” tahun 2001 diadakan di perkarangan Suhakam. Beberapa hari sebelum itu 10 aktivis ditahan di bawah ISA; Tian Chua, Mohammad Ezam Mohd Nor, Saari Sungib, N. Gobalakrishnan, Hishamuddin Rais, Raja Petra Kamarudin, Abdul Ghani Harun, Dr Badrul Amin Baharom, Lokman Adam dan Badaruddin Ismail. Menurut saya penangkapan ini telah sedikit sebanyak meruntuhkan momentum reformasi yang diakibatkan perbezaan pandangan yang muncul setelah pembebasan mereka. 21 September 2001— Barisan Alternatif bubar dengan pengunduran DAP akibat sengketa dengan PAS berkaitan isu negara Islam.
3 Ogos 2003 — Parti Keadilan Nasional dan Parti Rakyat Malaysia bergabung menubuhkan Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
21 Mac 2004 — Keputusan pilihanraya umum ke 11 adalah kiamat kecil kepada parti pembangkang apabila Umno-BN menang besar dan berjaya merampas semula Terengganu serta hampir menguasai Kelantan. Aktivis dan parti pembangkang masing-masing berpecah belah.
2 September 2004 — Anwar Ibrahim dibebaskan. Semangat baru bertiup semula.
7 Januari 2007 — Mood rakyat dibangkitkan semula dengan menggelar perhimpunan anti tol di Sunway Pyramid.
4 Februari 2007 — Agenda meniup semangat diteruskan dengan perhimpunan anti tol di IOI Mall, Puchong.
10 November 2007 — Mood rakyat berjaya dibangkitkan dengan jaya pada Perhimpunan Bersih menuntut pilhanraya bersih dan adil apabila sekitar 30,000 rakyat turun ke Kuala Lumpur.
8 Mac 2008 — Pilihanraya ke 12 adalah detik bersejarah apabila parti pembangkang yang bertanding tanpa bergabung dalam satu koalisi berjaya menumbangkan Barisan Nasional di Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Kedah dan Perak serta mengekalkan Kelantan. Majoriti 2/3 Barisan Nasional juga berjaya dinafikan.
1 April 2008 — Pakatan Rakyat yang terdiri dari PKR, PAS dan DAP ditubuhkan dan membentuk kerajaan di 5 buah negeri.
14 April 2008 — Black 14 dirayakan dengan suasana berbeza apabila Anwar Ibrahim secara rasminya kembali aktif di dalam politik Malaysia. Puluhan ribu memadati Kelab Sultan Sulaiman di Kampung Baru.
26 Ogos 2008 — Anwar Ibrahim kembali terpilih sebagai Ahli Parlimen setelah memenangi pilihanraya kecil Parlimen Permatang Pauh.
1 Ogos 2009 — 20,000 menyertai Perhimpunan Anti-ISA di Kuala Lumpur. Masih didominasi Melayu.
9 Julai 2011 — Perhimpunan Bersih 2.0 disertai sekitar 30,000 rakyat dan mulai disertai banyak kaum bukan Melayu.
28 April 2012 — Perhimpunan Bersih 3.0. Kemenangan rakyat apabila puluhan malah mungkin ratusan ribu rakyat berbilang bangsa turun ke jalan raya di Kuala Lumpur menyatakan tuntutan menuntut pilihanraya bersih dan adil. Bukan sahaja di Kuala Lumpur, Bersih 3.0 turut diadakan di bandar-bandar lain di Malaysia seperti George Town dan Johor Baru serta lebih 80 kota di seluruh dunia.
20 September 2012 — Perjuangan berterusan dan syukur dimensinya lebih luas serta merentas kaum dan agama.
Bulan-bulan mendatang menjelang pilihanraya umum ke 13 merupakan saat-saat penting untuk negara kita. Pilihan di tangan kita untuk mencatur Malaysia seperti apa; Ketuanan Melayu? Ketuanan Islam? Ketuanan Cukong? Ketuanan Rakyat? Semoga 15 tahun “20 September” pada 2013 akan dirayakan dengan semangat kemerdekaan dan kebebasan yang baru serta semangat persaudaraan bangsa Malaysia yang lebih utuh.
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

In Solidarity with Suaram

Borders case highlights clash of legal systems, lawyers say

The Malaysian Insider 
by Ida Lim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 ― The competition between Malaysia’s dual legal systems is again under the spotlight with the civil courts’ review of the Federal Territories Islamic Department’s (JAWI) seizure of books from a Borders bookstore without a ban from the Home Ministry, lawyers have said.
Malaysia has two legal systems that exist in parallel, civil laws and Islamic laws, with the large Malay-Muslim population in the country also being bound by the former.

But there have been clashes in the courts over which set of laws prevail, particularly in matters affecting both Muslims and non-Muslims, such as freedom of religion and conversion of faith.

On June 25, Borders’ owner Berjaya Books together with two Borders employees won leave for judicial review of the actions of JAWI, the home minister and another minister, for the seizure of books by liberal Muslim author Irshad Manji, among others.

In the home minister’s affidavit filed on September 5, he stated that JAWI has powers to seize books that are not banned by the Home Ministry but are in violation of “hukum syarak (Islamic laws)”.


He also wrote that “although there had been no Prohibition Order on the date on which the book was confiscated by JAWI, JAWI is empowered to seize the book because the book had contravened Section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997. Seizure can be done by JAWI under the applicable laws without any prohibition order from KDN (Home Ministry).”

Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan said that the home minister’s affidavit is “actually the correct position in terms of the law”.

He said that in this case, the home minister and JAWI derive their powers from different legal jurisdictions, but yet share some overlaps of power.

“The jurisdiction to declare a publication as ‘undesirable’ and thus ‘banning’ a publication given to the home minister is different from the jurisdiction of JAWI under those Syariah provisions.”

“JAWI, from the reports, acted based on those Syariah provisions even when there is no order by the home minister, of any sort, upon the book.”

“Clearly, there is an overlap between what the home minister can do and what JAWI can do. This is not new. Only recently the spotlight is cast upon this and it is under scrutiny.”

Andrew Khoo, a lawyer and human rights activist, agreed with Syahredzan. “This issue highlights the challenges that our society faces when two different legal systems interconnect.”

“Our society can no longer be easily pigeon-holed or compartmentalised such that laws exclusive to one community have no impact or consequence for other communities.”

He said that under the Federal Constitution, the country’s supreme law, “Islamic enactments can only apply to those professing the religion of Islam”.

“But it has never been the case in this country that only Muslims are interested in Islam. Non-Muslims also want to read about Islam.”

“So what happens when a company that runs a bookshop offers for sale a book on Islam that the public may want to read, but that does not meet the approval of the religious authorities?”

“So do those religious authorities have a right to enter the company’s premises and seize the offending publications? What is the extent of their power and jurisdiction?” he asked.

Both Khoo and Syahredzan said that religious bodies such as JAWI only have control over individuals who profess the religion of Islam, and this did not include companies.

Khoo also said that “all Malaysians deserve to enjoy” the “fundamental freedom of thought, conscience and belief.”

“We should not have to subscribe or conform to the official views of authorities, be they civil or religious,” he said.

Khoo added that “contestations” between the two legal jurisdictions in Malaysia “have become increasingly more frequent” as “Islamic religious authorities... attempt to expand and enlarge the writ of their powers and jurisdiction in the public sphere.”

He said that “this is not the only area of contestation”, saying it also happened in other areas of the law such as family law, as well as in schools and educational institutions.

“We need to come up with a comprehensive solution if both these two systems of law are to co-exist amicably,” Khoo said, adding that this can only happen if “all stakeholders are prepared to sit down as equals to discuss the issues.”

Appointment of Prime Minister

The Star 
Reflecting On The Law By Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi

When the House has no one commanding a majority, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s discretion can change the course of the nation’s history.

OF all the constitutional functions of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the most critical and controversial is the appointment of the Prime Minister.

In exercising this function, His Majesty is bound by Article 43(2)(a) which imposes two requirements: the PM designate must be a member of and have the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

Membership: Unlike in Australia where the PM can belong either to the House of Representatives or the Senate, our PM must be an MP in the Dewan Rakyat.

It is conceivable, however, that in some extreme circumstances we may follow the Douglas Home precedent from the UK.

In the 60s, Sir Alec Douglas Home, a peer in the House of Lords, was elected leader of the Conservative Party.

When his party won the elections, he resigned his peerage and was appointed PM. Soon thereafter, a vacancy was created in the Commons which he contested and won.

In Selangor in the 80s, Datuk Abu Hassan was similarly appointed Mentri Besar of Selangor even before he was elected to the State Assembly.

Confidence: The wording in Article 43(2) that the PM must be a person who, in the opinion of the monarch, enjoys the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat, creates the impression that the King has a wide, subjective discretion to anoint any MP with the premier’s post. The truth is quite different.

If there is a party or coalition enjoying an absolute majority in the Dewan Rakyat, the King has no choice but to appoint its leader as the PM.

Unlike the Constitutions of nine states with Malay Rulers where the basic law explicitly mentions that the MB must be a Malay/Muslim, the Federal Constitution imposes no requirement of race, religion or region.

However, there is a constitutional convention in favour of a Malay appointee. Conven­tions are not rules of law and this convention may face pressure in the future from a bumiputra aspirant from Sabah or Sarawak. We must remember that the two states together possess 56 parliamentary seats.

In the appointment of a PM, his support in the Dewan Negara is irrelevant. His party’s or coalition’s total popular vote at the elections does not count. It is his seats in the Dewan Rakyat that determine the King’s choice. Some factors that may trigger the King’s personal discretion are as follows:

Death or illness of the PM: If a vacancy arises in the office of the PM due to death or illness (as happened on the demise of Tun Razak in January 1976), the proper course for the monarch would be to wait for the ruling party or coalition to choose its new leader.

However, His Majesty may elevate the Deputy to the top post right away without waiting for the party leadership decision.

Lack of unanimity: If the ruling party is hopelessly divided on the choice of a leader, it is conceivable that the monarch may make a personal choice from the parliamentary party. Alternatively, as in Australia many times, the King may appoint a person from another party to hold the post temporarily till the majority party makes up its mind.

Caretaker government: Malaysia follows the British convention that the PM who advised dissolution, and his Cabinet, remains in office in a caretaker capacity without the need for a new swearing-in.

However, if during the dissolution, the PM dies or suffers serious illness, then Article 43(2) permits the Yang di-Pertuan Agong wide discretion to appoint any person who was a member of the last House of Representatives to helm the nation.

Hung Parliament: A hung Parliament is one in which no party or coalition commands an absolute majority in the House of Repre­sentatives.

The government in power can lose its majority in the House for a number of reasons. It may suffer deaths, resignations or defections causing its membership to dip below the 50% + 1 vote. Or, the general election may result in a stalemate and no party or grouping may emerge a clear victor.

In such a situation when the House has no one commanding a majority, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s discretion assumes a critical, central role and his decision can change the course of the nation’s history. What are his choices?

First, he cannot run the country on his own. That would be contrary to the overall spirit of the Constitution.

Second, His Majesty cannot order another general election after the just completed indecisive one.

The Constitution is clear in Article 55(4) that after a dissolution, the new parliament shall be summoned not later than 120 days. This means that after an election, a PM must be appointed, the House must meet, and a vote of confidence must be taken.

Third, if election results are indecisive and no majority government can be installed, the King can follow the “incumbency rule” and allow the caretaker PM to remain at the helm till Parliament is summoned within the 120 day rule.

Fourth, in some countries like Nepal the rule is that in hung Parliaments the party with the largest number of seats is given the first chance to form a coalition government.

The fifth choice for the monarch is to indulge in broad consultation with all parliamentary factions to see if any one of them can form a viable coalition government capable of enacting the budget and pushing through critical legislation.

In such a scenario it is not uncommon for the head of state to require the PM-designate to supply written lists or letters to prove his support and to subject himself to a vote of confidence within a stated period.

If no viable coalition can be cobbled together, the sixth choice for the monarch is to allow a minority government or a unity government to lead the nation till new elections are called.

> Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of law at UiTM

Palanivel Launches MIC Veteran Club

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel Thursday launched the MIC Veteran Club aimed at appreciating their struggle and experience in line with strengthening support for the Indian community.

He said the group should not be sidelined in the party's struggle because they could still offer suggestions on how to boost the confidence of the Indians, following the political changes, after the last general election.

Palanivel, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Department was talking to reporters after launching the club, here, which was also attended by former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

He said MIC planned to organise a gathering of 20,000 members at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium to show that the party still received the support of the community.

Umno General Assembly From Nov 27 To Dec 1, 2012, Says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- The Umno General Assembly this year will be held from Nov 27 to Dec 1, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Thursday.

Najib, who is also Umno president, said the five-day assembly would begin with the presidential briefing on Nov 27 which would be followed by the official opening of the assemblies for the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings at night.

"From Nov 28 to Dec 1, the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings will have their assemblies while the Umno General Assembly will be held from Nov 29 until Dec 1," he told reporters after chairing the Umno Supreme Council meeting at Menara Dato' Onn, here Thursday.

Also present was Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Najib also said that as of Sept 18, a total of 176 divisions had held their meetings while the remaining 15 divisions were expected to do so during the weekend.

The Prime Minister said the Supreme Council had also received suggestions from the party's Management Committee on the procedures for accepting membership at the divisional and branch levels.

He said that in line with Clause 5.4 of the Umno constitution, any application form received by the party headquarters without being signed by the branch committee would be returned to the committee and it must be resolved within two months of the date the letter was issued by the party headquarters.

"Anyone holding position who is found to have abused his power, by deliberately rejecting the membership, could be penalised under article 8 of the members' code of ethics.

"This is to ensure that the Umno open door policy is implemented fully and no one can be obstructed from becoming an Umno member," he said.

Asked whether the party election would be held at the forthcoming Umno General Assembly, Najib said: "Party election is postponed until after the general election.