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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Why not many Indian M'sians are judges

Indian Malaysian lawyers are not much interested in judicial service, preferring the affluence of private practice to the sequestered lives of judges, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, has claimed.

NONE"Because of the affluence of private practice, and the lifestyle of judges who cannot socialise, they seem less interested in becoming judges," the de facto law minister told the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time today.
The minister said prominent Indian Malaysian lawyers had been invited to serve as judges, but to no avail.

Nazri was replying a supplementary question from John Fernendez (DAP-Seremban) who asked why not many Indian Malaysians are sitting as judges.

Fernendez, in his main question, had asked Nazri to state the number of judges in the Federal Court as well as their racial and gender composition.

Nazri said nine judges have been appointed to the Federal Court, two of whom are women, one is a non-Malay and one is from Sabah and Sarawak.
‘Merit, not gender’
Fernandez expressed the hope that the judiciary will become more gender sensitive and appoint more women judges.
Nazri said that, while the government is sensitive to the need to increase women’s participation in the judiciary, it would be better to appoint judges based on merit rather than gender.
The two women judges in the Federal Court also make up “almost 30 percent” of the bench - the minimum target set by the government for appointment of women to decision-making positions - he said.

Nazri added that the reason for the larger number of Malays and other bumiputeras on the bench is that many of the appointees are drawn from the civil service, which itself is dominated by this group.

Samy Vellu at Batu Caves temple protest

Facebook friends in sex trial

Dubai: A student admitted in court on Monday that she cuddled and kissed with her lover consensually at his flat nearly 20 times after he promised to marry her.

Prosecutors have accused the Pakistani student and her Indian lover, both aged 24, with hugging and kissing consensually without being married.

“Yes it’s true. We hugged and kissed several times but that was after he promised to marry me,” the student claimed when she entered a guilty plea before the Dubai Misdemeanor Court.

The Indian, who works in customer services, entered a guilty plea as well but denied that he promised to marry the woman.

Prosecution records said the man’s family reported to police that the student repeatedly harassed them and kept coming to their flat wanting to coerce their son into marrying her.

The couple admitted that they became friends after they were acquainted on Facebook. They claimed that they used to spend long hours at each other’s residence and watch movies or meet in coffee shops or restaurants.

Records said the friendship developed into a love relationship and the couple started exchanging hugs and kisses every time they met.

“Our love affair blossomed in 2010. We had consensual sex several times at his residence in Dubai International City. The last time we slept together was at my residence in the same area in August. We cuddled and kissed and had protected sex. We slept together more than 20 times, I slept with him after he promised to marry me,” the student claimed to prosecutors.

Meanwhile the man confessed during prosecution questioning that he cuddled and kissed with the student but denied sleeping with her.

“We had a love affair more than two years ago, but I never slept with her. However her claims that we hugged and kissed are true and factual. We did so several times at my place and her place but I cannot recount how many times. She constantly asked me to hug and kiss her whenever she felt depressed. I persistently refused to sleep with her whenever she begged me to do so. Once she revealed to me that her ex-boyfriend abused her love and slept with her, she was hinting that she wouldn’t mind having an affair with me.

“But I strongly refused, then I stopped communicating with her. Since then, she visited our house several times wanting to pressure me to marry her. She claimed before my parents that I promised to marry her, but that was a lie,” claimed the Indian.

Records also quoted the student alleging that she doesn’t mind marrying the man despite religious differences.

The defendants remain in custody meanwhile the trial continues.

Sharia in action in Somalia: Woman stoned to death for adultery

Stoning adulterers is not "extremist"; it is Islamic law. The caliph Umar, one of Muhammad's closest companions, even maintained that it was originally in the Qur'an:
'Umar said, "I am afraid that after a long time has passed, people may say, "We do not find the Verses of the Rajam (stoning to death) in the Holy Book," and consequently they may go astray by leaving an obligation that Allah has revealed. Lo! I confirm that the penalty of Rajam be inflicted on him who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if he is already married and the crime is proved by witnesses or pregnancy or confession." Sufyan added, "I have memorized this narration in this way." 'Umar added, "Surely Allah's Apostle carried out the penalty of Rajam, and so did we after him." (Bukhari, vol. 8, bk. 82, no. 816)
"Allah's Apostle" is, of course, Muhammad, who did indeed carry out stonings. Here is the hadith in which he challenges the rabbis about stoning, and in which there is amidst the barbarism and brutality a final act of love and compassion:
The Jews came to Allah's Apostle and told him that a man and a woman from amongst them had committed illegal sexual intercourse. Allah's Apostle said to them, "What do you find in the Torah (old Testament) about the legal punishment of Ar-Rajm (stoning)?" They replied, (But) we announce their crime and lash them." Abdullah bin Salam said, "You are telling a lie; Torah contains the order of Rajm." They brought and opened the Torah and one of them solaced his hand on the Verse of Rajm and read the verses preceding and following it. Abdullah bin Salam said to him, "Lift your hand." When he lifted his hand, the Verse of Rajm was written there. They said, "Muhammad has told the truth; the Torah has the Verse of Rajm. The Prophet then gave the order that both of them should be stoned to death. ('Abdullah bin 'Umar said, "I saw the man leaning over the woman to shelter her from the stones." (Bukhari, vol. 4, bk. 56, no. 829)
Even the monkeys practiced stoning, according to another hadith:
During the pre-lslamic period of ignorance I saw a she-monkey surrounded by a number of monkeys. They were all stoning it, because it had committed illegal sexual intercourse. I too, stoned it along with them. (Bukhari, vol. 5, bk. 58, no. 188)
Muhammad's example is, of course, normative for Islamic behavior, since "verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much" (Qur'an 33:21).
"Al-Shabaab order woman stoned to death for sex offence," by Abdulkadir Khalif in Africa Review, October 26 (thanks to Blazing Cat Fur):
A young woman was stoned to death Thursday in Somalia after being convicted of engaging in out-of-marriage sex, reports say. Residents of Jamama town, 425km south of Mogadishu in Lower Juba region, said that militants loyal to Al-Shabaab carried out the stoning at the town’s main square in late afternoon.
“Many residents were called to attend the execution of the punishment,” a resident who requested anonymity for own safety told Kulmiye, an independent broadcaster in Mogadishu.
He added that Al-Shabaab officials in the town witnessed the stoning.
“The woman admitted having out-of-marriage sex,” said an Islamist official who talked to the crowd after the stoning was completed.
This type of punishments that are compatible with Sharia (Islamic laws) will be administered,” said the official....

Umno hopefuls fret return of old warriors, says sec-gen

Tengku Adnan said Mubarak members should be well acquainted with the behaviour of their Umno comrades. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 ― Some Umno members are concerned that the possible return of their retired colleagues may intensify competition for seats in the coming general election, party secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor revealed today

“I ask that they (former MPs) don’t take this to heart. You know full well how our comrades behave,” he said while addressing the members of Council of Former MPs (Mubarak) today.

Mubarak President Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Rahman later confirmed that the organisation has started campaigning for the party through non-mainstream outlets, such as reaching out to non-government organisations (NGO) that represent pensioners from the police, Armed Forces and former politicians..

“(Our campaigning) has already started. That was why the suspicions arose,” Abdul Aziz told reporters.

“We’re holding programmes that tell stories of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) success so far,” he added. “That is our role. We have absolutely no ambition to put ourselves forward as candidates.”

“If, however, one of us were to be chosen as a candidate ... it would be because of his personality, which is accepted by his constituency.”

Tengku Adnan also explained the BN was looking into fielding public-friendly candidates for the coming general election.

“We want contestants that the citizens want, not candidates who are chosen by the party or certain individuals in the party,” he stressed.

“Even our president himself (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) has said that he is not looking for a candidate desired by a president, but instead candidates whom the public wish to represent themselves.”

He also confirmed that BN intended to win every seat it contests, and not just those in the four states won by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the last election,.

“We want more than a two-thirds majority in the Parliament, so we can make all the changes that need to be implemented.”

Earlier today, The Malaysian Insider reported Tengku Adnan as expressing confidence that the ruling coalition will do as well as it did in 2008, during a recent talk with the Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia, despite uneasiness over risky seats in the coalition’s “fixed deposit” states of Sabah and Sarawak.

According to government sources, BN expects to win more than the 140 federal seats it took in Election 2008 despite the onslaught and talk by PR that it can capture Putrajaya in the next general election.

BN politicians concede that as many as seven parliamentary seats in Sarawak and six in Sabah are vulnerable to PR, but maintain that their bastions in rural areas remain strong.

There are 222 parliamentary constituencies and 505 state seats up for grabs in the coming 13th general election, which must be held by April 2013.

A waterfall of tears in Frasers Hill

Hindraf and HRP leader meets a cleaner by chance during his holiday, and the encounter reinforces his belief of the discrimination faced by Malaysian Indians.

By P Uthayakumar

My wife Indra and I made a one day trip to Frasers Hill during this Aidil Adha holiday weekend to get away from the daily routine of attending to especially Indian poor issues which we monitor, document and report on a daily basis.

We bumped into Parameswary, 48, and we learnt that despite 23 years, she remains as a cleaner in the very same hotel, denied skills training and upward mobility opportunities and is paid merely RM600 per month.

About one third of her pay ie RM180 goes for her low-cost flat rental. Her Myanmar colleagues are paid higher than her at RM700 to RM1,200 per month – thanks to the government’s foreign workers policy. Her Malay colleague of six years standing earns more than her at RM700 per month – thanks to the racist spillover effect even in the private sector.

Parameswary tells us that she is a single parent and her husband has secured custody of all her three children. After work, she walks home into a lonely, dark, gloomy and cold concrete pigeon hole. She gets up the next day and is back at work right up to about 10pm doing overtime. She is a hard worker but living in a racist country, her painful day to day mysery is a reality she and some two million Indian poor face.

As we checked out the next afternoon, our hotel, food and beverage bill came up to RM800. I wondered that this one day expense was more than Parameswary’s one month salary.

Parameswary’s dream of owning a roof over her head during her sunset years was shattered when told that because of her mere RM600 salary, a housing loan for even a RM45,000 low-cost flat was rejected. Even the much touted Special Government Housing Loan Scheme for the poor through BSN does not filter down to Parameswary and tens of thousands of Indian poor. Her scores of applications to join the local council as even a sweeper and with the hope of getting a government housing loan was also shattered.

She was not granted any welfare help or the single mothers’ financial aid. But the RM251.6 billion 2013 Budget allocates RM1.2 billion for welfare and RM50 million for single mothers but which again does not flow down to Parameswary and the tens of thousands of the Indian poor. And when we protest this level of racism, Umno prosecutes us for Sedition while Pakatan Rakyat brands us as racist.

Lack of a safety net

When asked, I explained to Dr Francis Jana, an Orang Ulu holidaymaker from Sarawak who also stayed at our hotel, that unlike almost all the tens of thousands of Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban poor etc who have their village safety net, the Indian poor do not have this. Even the Chinese poor are blessed with 508 Chinese New Villages nationwide.

Even in her old age Parameswary has no village to go back to. Her family and community are in no better position financially to accommodate her. Even the Indian elite do not care. There is no community support system unlike in poverty stricken India where clansmen would somehow accommodate their poor.

Francis conceded that the Indian poor are poorer than the Orang Asli and Orang Ulu who can toil on almost as much land as they want to earn a living.

As we bade farewell, Parameswary suddenly broke out in tears and told us that both her breasts had been removed due to cancer and that even her three children hardly visit her. Almost all her income was spent on medical bills, cheomotherapy and her monthly check ups at Hospital University.

She is even contemplating suicide.

Changes must be effected

We drove down Fraser’s Hills feeling depressed and helpless knowing that Parameswary’s sad story is just the tip of the iceberg of the plight of about some 70% or some two million of the Indians in Malaysia.

I walked into the Hindraf office today (Monday morning) only to see yet another letter by post from retirees N Nallathamby and N Pannirsilvam who are suffering from various illnesses. The latter wrote that even his Socso denied to cover his dialysis treatment.

They wrote for help after being denied government welfare aid or any other National Welfare Foundation, Lembaga Urus Zakat, Yayasan etc help which is accorded to any Malay poor. Neither was any other “cari makan” opportunities granted for these families for example like the 10 acre Felda etc land ownership scheme. The Indian poor are prepared to work hard and do not expect free money.

I had told Dr Francis that our only hope is change by the Malay and Chinese top political leaders from both sides of the political spectrum that eliminates all forms of racism victimising in particular the Indian poor.

The Indian elite and even the alternative offer very little help. And we are not sure if Pakatan would care enough to effect changes to also include the likes of Parames, Nallathamby, Pannirsilvam and the tens of thousands of Indian poor into the national mainstream development when they get to Putrajaya judging by their rule in Selangor, Penang and Kedah.

P Uthayakumar is the pro-tem secretary general of Human Rights Party and a Hindraf leader.

Cancel Bt Caves condo project, says MNS

Malaysian Nature Society representative Teckwyn Lim says the Minerals and Geoscience Department considers the zone surrounding the base of the hill as 'very dangerous zone'.

PETALING JAYA: An environment group has joined the foray in urging the Selangor state goevrnment to cancel the proposed condominium project near the Batu Caves temple.

In a statement, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) representative Teckwyn Lim said that it was unsafe to erect buildings at the land as it received a ‘very high hazard rating” from the authorities.

“The Minerals and Geoscience Department also considers the zone surrounding the base of the hill as a ‘very dangerous zone’, he said.

Last Friday, about 300 people, led by the Sri Subramaniar Temple chairman R Nadarajah, staged a demonstration against the proposed 29-storey condominium project at a land adjacent to the temple.

They feared that the project may cause damages to the cave and the idols in the temple.

The Selangor state government had issued a temporary stop work order on the project and blamed the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) state government for approving the project in 2007.

Selangor exco for local government Ronnie Liu also said that no environmental impact assessment (EIA) was done before the approval was given.

“The development includes a 29-storey service apartment, a 25-storey service apartment, and in front are shophouses that have already been built,” Liu was reported saying.

Lim said that Batu Caves in one of Asia best sampled limestone hills in Asia that also provided habitat to 310 unique species of animals which could not be found elsewhere.

“And there are numerous species that have yet to be formally described and are probably new to science.

“It is surprising that no EIA was done on the proposed project to probe on how it will impact the flora and fauna there, as well as the area’s air and water quality,” said Lim.

He added that the proposed high-rise project would also block the view of the iconic limestone hill which may affect its national heritage status.

“The authorities should recognise the importance of preserving the appearance of this natural heritage monument for its aesthetics and tourism value,” said Lim.

Bipartisan committee

Meanwhile, MIC central working committee member, S Vell Paari called for all parties affected to form a bipartisan committee to find an amicable solution to the matter.

“The committee should include people from BN, Pakatan Rakyat and the temple committee. Let us leave aside political bickering to find a solution to this mess,” he said.

Offering a solution, Vell Paari said that the state government could use legal channel to stop the project as no EIA was done before approval was given.

“It’s a shady deal and the state government could scrap the project. The state government should also consider converting the land into a field for the use of a Tamil school nearby,” he said.

Vell Paari also urged the bipartisan committee to investigate on the people responsible in giving the approval without proper documentation.

He also said that it was obvious that the land was not suitable for high-rise building and may endanger people’s lives should the buildings collapse in years to come.

“This is serious matter. Obviously those who gave the approval got something in return for it. Haul them up and make them accountable for their actions,” said Vell Paari.

Kamalanathan mahu Ronnie minta maaf

Ekoran dakwaan Liu bahawa Kamalanathan merupakan salah seorang ahli Majlis Perbandaran Selayang yang meluluskan projek kondominium 29 tingkat.

KUALA LUMPUR: Ahli Parlimen Hulu Selangor P Kamalanathan mahu Exco Selangor Ronnie Liu meminta maaf melalui media ekoran dakwaan Liu bahawa Kamalanathan adalah antara ahli Majlis Perbandaran Selayang yang meluluskan projek kondominium 29 tingkat di Batu Caves.

“Saya harap Ronnie Liu akan memohon maaf secara terbuka dengan kadar segera. Saya juga sedang merujuk dengan rakan peguam saya,” kata Kamalanathan yang menerangkan bahawa beliau menjadi ahli Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS) sejak 2004 hingga Disember 2006.

“Dalam tahun 2007 saya tiada hak untuk mengambil bahagian mahupun membuat keputusan di dalam mesyuarat MPS,” tambah beliau sambil merujuk kepada laporan FMT bertajuk “Stop work order for Batu Caves condo project”.

Menurut beliau, dakwaan Liu bertujuan untuk mendapatkan kelebihan politik.

“Beliau hanya ada satu hasrat untuk mencemar nama baik saya dan mendapatkan kelebihan politik. Ini fitnah kelas pertama. Mereka bagus untuk perkara begini,” kata Kamalanathan.

Pemimpin MIC tersebut turut menyoal mengapa kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat tidak mengambil tindakan menghentikan projek tersebut walaupun sudah berkuasa di Selangor.

Kamalanathan menyoal: “Mereka mempunyai empat tahun dan enam bulan untuk memastikan projek tidak terlaksana. Mengapa tidak mengambil tindakan?”

Beliau turut menjelaskan bahawa beliau tidak membalas dakwaan Liu sebelum ini kerana menghadiri mesyuarat persidangan ahli parlimen Asean di Bangkok.

Cabbies take their grouses to Parliament

Action group submits memorandum and blames government for a system they say does not favour taxi drivers

KUALA LUMPUR: Aggrieved taxi drivers have criticised the government over a system which they say is the worst of its kind in the world.

Metered Taxi Drivers Action Group (BBPTB) chairman Amran Jan said that Malaysia’s convoluted system caused the public to view cabbies in a negative light.

The group had earlier claimed to represent 21 taxi associations, or 2,000 taxi drivers.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament today, Amran, who was accompanied by several of comrades, said: “Taxi drivers are not to blame. It is the failure of the system itself.”

Among the issues raised by Amran included a dispute over the number of taxi permits issued, the taxi coupon system, alleged neglect by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and the Transport Ministry, as well as being taken advantage of by taxi companies.

They addressed these issues in a memorandum, which they handed over to Pakatan Rakyat MPs, including PKR-Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, PAS-Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli and PKR-Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani.

The cabbies appeared to be frustrated with SPAD, claiming the commission was turning a deaf ear to their concerns.

At the same time, Amran asked why the Transport Ministry had failed to make a statement on local cabbies, criticising Minister Kong Cho Ha over the matter.

‘A lot of baggage’

He also asked why queries over taxi driver issues had been handed over to the Prime Minister’s Department, citing their responses in Parliament.

These factors led him to denounce SPAD, adding that he and other cabbies intended to meet with the Transport Ministry over their grouses in the next three weeks.

Amra’s colleague, S Manugaran, also attacked the local media for not taking their side.

“We have a reputation. My children can’t go to school and say that their father is a taxi driver…don’t destroy our image,” he said.

Pakatan Rakyat MPs who were present also lent their support to these cabbies.

Blaming the government, Abdullah said: “They are not given EPF, Socso…This is a flawed system we cannot accept. The Transport Ministry has to take charge.”

Taxi drivers were recently catapulted into the national spotlight when more than 200 of them demonstrated along Jalan Bukit Bintang over alleged government neglect.

In a response, a SPAD source told FMT that it was trying to fix taxi driver system. He said SPAD had inherited problems that were present before the commission’s formation in 2010.

“When we took over (from the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board), there was need to rationalise the whole thing, relate back to the Public Transport Masterplan and look at it from a holistic point of view,” said the source.

The source admitted that SPAD was saddled with “a lot of baggage”, and that many of the problems were not as straightforward as most people thought.

There are about 37,000 taxis in KL, along with 70,000 across the country, inclusive of limosuine taxis, rental cabs and budget models.

Kayveas: We want seats lost by BN parties

The PPP chief also warns Gerakan and MIC of a backlash if they attempt to sabotage his party's chances as he claims they did in 2008.

TAIPING: The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wants to field its winnable candidates in areas that other BN component parties lost in the 2008 general election.

Party chief M Kayveas said: “We want to contest in BN areas that were lost to the opposition in the last general election as our chances of winning these seats are bright.”

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s said he wants winnable candidates liked by voters and has warned component parties that there was no guarantee they will get the traditional seats.

PPP has been assured of a two parliamentary and two state seats but it has proposed another two parliamentary seats and four other state seats for Najib’s consideration.

Kayveas said this to FMT after a recent visit to his Taiping PPP office but declined to name the seats as he fears possible sabotage by other BN component parties.

He claimed that Gerakan and MIC had stabbed him in the back when he stood in the Taiping parliamentary seat in the 2008, causing him to lose the seat to DAP’s Nga Kor Ming.

Kayveas warned them of a backlash if they again tried to sabotage PPP’s chances in the polls as PPP has a membership of 600,000 in the 3,000 its branches nationwide.

PPP was badly mauled when it lost both the parliamentary and state seats allocated to it in the last general election.

To strengthen its chances in the polls, PPP has launched the ‘Mission 510′ voters which requires each branch recruiting 510 people as assured voters for BN.

More seats sought

Meanwhile, party insiders say that PPP wants the parliamentary seats of Gerik in Perak, Batu or Bandar Tun Razak, both in the Federal Territories.

The party is also eyeing the Pasir Bedamar state seat in Perak and Kota Laksamana in Malacca. PPP has appealed to Najib for more seats in Pahang, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

During the last general election, Umno’s Gerik parliamentary seat was loaned to Gerakan when their traditional Taiping seat was given to PPP.

The Gerik seat was then won by Gerakan Wanita chief Tan Lian Hoe and now PPP is eyeing this safe seat after Gerakan took back Taiping for Tan to contest in the polls again.

In 2008, the Batu seat was contested by Gerakan Youth Chief Lim Si Pin but he lost to PKR’s Tian Chua who won by a 9,455 majority votes.

In the last polls, MCA’s Tan Chai Ho lost the Bandar Tun Razak seat to PKR’s Abdul Khalid Ibrahim by a 2,515 margin.

PPP national information chief A Chandrakumanan is expected to contest either the Batu or Bandar Tun Razak seats in the polls.

The former PPP Pasir Bedamar state seat was given to MCA’s Lee Heng who lost to DAP’s Seah Leong Peng by a margin of 7,914 votes in the 2008 .

Also, in 2008, MCA’s Lee Kiat Lee lost the Kota Laksamana seat to DAP’s Betty Chew by a 7,242 margin.

Local Councils must be accountable for their decisions

Senator S.Ramakrishnan, 26/10/2012  

The Malaysian nature society must be commended for monitoring and protecting the dark caves and lime stone structures within the Batu Caves. In 2007, the federal government had declared the 272ha Batu Caves Reserve as national heritage site, affirming the status of Batu Caves as a unique site of national interest. Yet the Selayang municipal council on 26 Sept 2007 approved the Dolomite Park Avenue condominium project close the Batu caves. The company through its website has been selling and promoting this condominium project.
In 26/1/2010 the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) express their alarm at proposed plans to convert part of Batu Caves for a high-density housing development.

This incident also highlights the level of unaccountability and non transparencies in local councils. Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim menteri besar of Selangor was telling that local councils need to be reformed. 50 years of BN rule has made local councils a lord unto themselves without any accountability and transparency. To undo this insulation from public consultation is not easy. UMNO has lost the moral authority and leadership to reform them. There must be change of government to initiate reforms and accountability of local councils to rate payers.
Through the effort of MNS, this matter has come to the open. Temple committee should work with MNS and save Batu caves and not play politics using BN against PR. The beauty of Batu Caves is its caves and hill structure. This project was approved in 2007 without any environmental impact study. The caves house many varieties of flora and fauna which are unique and inimitable. Therefore a relook and reevaluation of this project is a must.
In 1930, the Batu Caves Hill was reserved as a site for public recreation (Federated Malay States Government Gazette Notification (G.N.) No. 4712-30, part-revoked by G.N. 652-54; and the Selangor State Government Gazette G.N. 312-59), while in 1980 the state government agreed to stop quarrying at Batu Caves and protect the remaining hills and caves.

Mahamariaman temple committee should make use of this public outcry and sentiment to save the temple, caves and limestone hill structures. Every crisis will provide an opportunity. Temple must make use of the current uproar and safeguard the hills and temple. Never follow MIC leaders for they are incapable of anything.

Voting for an “Islamic state” Umno than PAS Members of Parliament (MPs) we interviewed said Malaysia should be an Islamic state. Out of the 24 Umno MPs who responded, 13 said Malaysia should be an Islamic state. In fact, most of the 13 said Malaysia was already an Islamic state.
Jacqueline Ann Surin, The Nut Graph
ACCORDING to MCA, a vote for DAP equals a vote for PAS equals a vote for an Islamic state and hudud. The Chinese-based political party has over the past weeks resumed its warning to voters that any vote that allows Pakatan Rakyat to occupy Putrajaya in the next general election will inevitably result in Malaysia being turned into an Islamic state because of PAS’s ideology.
This would be detrimental to Malaysians because there would purportedly be a loss of at least 1.2 million jobs if hudud was implemented, and non-Muslim women who don’t cover up apparently deserve to be raped by Muslim men. We can expect that this argument against voting for DAP and/or PR will be ramped up as the general election approaches.
What’s wrong with MCA’s fear-inducing scenario? Is there truth to any of these charges and predictions? And is MCA being completely honest about what the Barisan Nasional (BN) itself, of which it is the second largest component party, has been responsible for?
How about Umno? [i]
As far as I’m concerned, we already have an “Islamic state” in the making.  We are already living in a state with an expansion of religious bureaucracy and controls.
And this expansion of religious bureaucracy is abundantly evident in the amount of controls exerted on citizens’ rights in Islam’s name. There is the prohibition of the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims to the arrest of publishers and book store managers over a translated title that was banned for contravening “teachings of the Al-Quran and Hadith”. And let’s not forget the ongoing and painful issues of conversion affecting Muslims and non-Muslims, whether adults or children, deceased or alive.
And although various kinds of moral policing happened in the past especially in relation to khalwat, women’s dressing and prostitution, these have all intensified since the mid-1990s. And citizens of different sexual and gender identities have, over the past years, been villified and threatened with violence, and had their rights denied, all in the name of religion.

These examples should not come as a surprise because there has been an increase in syariah laws in Malaysia, just as there has been a rise in the size, scope and budget allocations for government Islamic authorities.
Prior to 1980, only one religious law existed — the Administration of Islamic Law Enactment. Today, there are other syariah laws, including Islamic Family Law, the Syariah Criminal Offences Act, the syariah civil and criminal procedure codes and the Syariah Court Evidence Enactment.
Government Islamic authorities have also been given more muscle. In 1970, for example, federal expenditure on Islam focused on two items — the National Mosque, and the annual Quran reading competition. In 2010, the national Islamic budget is estimated to be the third largest budget component of the Prime Minister’s Department.
Additionally, in the past, what existed was the Majlis Kebangsaan bagi Hal Ehwal Islam (MKI). The MKI still exists and its secretariat eventually grew and morphed into the Department of Islamic Development or Jakim in the 1990s.  Today, Jakim has for company several other national Islamic bodies. These bodies include the Jabatan Kehakiman Syariah created in March 1998, the Attorney General’s Chambers’ syariah section introduced in 2003, and the Jabatan Wakaf, Zakat dan Haji founded in 2004. The AG’s Chambers’ syariah section was set up, among others, to ensure that civil laws are consistent with Islamic laws, even though we’re not a theocracy. Additionally in 2009, a Jabatan Penguatkuasaan dan Pendakwaan Syariah was proposed.
Mind you, Islam is a state matter. And this is what makes the evidence above even more compelling. Although religion falls under states’ jurisdictions, in all these instances, it is the Umno-led federal government that has clearly invested in expanding Islamic bodies’ powers and scope in what may be described as a slow boil.
Hence, MCA can charge all it wants that it is PAS that will bring about an Islamic state if voted into power. The evidence shows it was under Umno where there has been a steady inflation in the way Islam is and can be used to control citizens’ lives.
And if Umno is clearly a culprit, what is MCA doing supporting Umno? Shouldn’t MCA and other BN component parties also be held accountable for the state Malaysia is in today since obviously, they did little or nothing to stem Umno’s Islamicisation of the government bureaucracy?
Umno and PAS: What’s the difference?
Yes, it is true that PAS’s raison d’etre is to set up an Islamic state. And while MCA tries to unconvincingly distinguish the difference between PAS’s and Umno’s brand of Islam, there are more similarities between the two than MCA is admitting.
Read more at:

PR Mampu Bentuk Kerajaan Pusat Tanpa Rasuah, Politik Kotor

KUALA LUMPUR 29 Oktober: Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yakin Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) mampu membentuk Kerajaan Pusat yang baru tanpa politik kotor dan rasuah.

Katanya, kemenangan berlandaskan politik matang dan bersih lebih signifikan berbanding budaya fitnah dan penindasan.

“Saya tidak datang untuk mencerca Najib (Razak), Rosmah (Mansor) dan Umno. Saya nak (Pakatan) menang dan rakyat bangkit menolak rasuah dan fitnah,” katanya di depan 400 penduduk di Warung Ibu Nasi Ambeng, Kg Sungai Gulang-Gulang, Permatang, Tanjung Karang pada Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat semalam.

Ketua Umum KEADILAN itu berkata, Umno BN terus goyah dan banyak isu yang gagal dipertahan melainkan memburukkan Pakatan, meskipun mereka menguasai seluruh jentera kerajaan termasuk media.
Beliau mengingatkan rakyat jangan terkeliru dengan dakyah yang dimainkan media yang terus-menerus memutarbelitkan fakta sebenar.

“Sebab apa dia (Najib) takut? Dia punyai televisyen, jentera dan wang kerana dia ada rasuah. Sebab itu dia tidak mampu jawab,” ujar Penasihat Ekonomi Selangor itu dipetik MediaSelangorku.

Anwar sekali lagi mengulangi ikrar untuk menurunkan harga minyak dalam tempoh 24 jam selepas Pakatan menawan Putrajaya selain membatalkan pinjaman Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN).

Jelajah itu turut disertai Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim yang tiba pada jam 12.30 tengahari bersama rombongan dengan menaiki bas Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat sambil diiringi motosikal berkuasa besar.

Hadir sama, Timbalan Presiden KEADILAN, Mohamed Azmin Ali; Ketua Penerangan Negeri, Shuhaimi Shafiei; Adun Kota Alam Shah, M Manoharan dan Penyelaras DUN Permatang, Yahaya Saari.

Terdahulu, Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat mengunjungi penduduk Pekan Sungai Besi.
Selepas selesai di DUN Permatang, rombongan kemudian ke Bagan Nakhoda Omar, Sabak Bernam.
Jelajah diteruskan dengan solat dan tazkirah maghrib di Masjid Abu Bakar Ali Bashah, Taman Bunga Raya, Bukit Beruntung sebelum bergerak ke Pekan Rasa.

Pada jam 9 hingga 12 tengah malam, program diteruskan dengan Ceramah Perdana Merdeka Rakyat di Pusat Bandar Baru Batang Kali, Ulu Selangor.

Penceramah terbabit termasuk Anwar, Khalid, Azmin, Ketua Wanita KEADILAN, Zuraida Kamaruddin dan Naib Presiden, N Surendran.

Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia

The latest report to emanate from the Barisan Nasional camp is that in the 13th General Election, it expects to win more than the 140 parliamentary seats it took in the 2008 General Election and that its worst-case scenario is winning just over 120 seats.

But this is only one of the many projections making their rounds with the worst-case scenario for the Barisan Nasional ranging from the bleak one of losing majority control of Parliament to the even more dismal one which would give Barisan Nasional a total of less than 100 parliamentary seats.

For the first time in the nation’s 55-year history and in thirteen General Elections, Malaysian voters have within their hands the power to decide whether the time has come for a change of Federal government although this would be heavily dependent on whether the next general election is a free, fair and clean one.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not confident that he will survive unscathed to continue as the sixth Prime Minister after the 13GE, and this is why he had dillied and dallied for almost two years over when to call for general election although he cannot be unaware of the pressure from the ignominy of being the longest unelected Prime Minister without his own national mandate for the highest office in the land.

Whatever the electorate’s verdict in the 13GE, what is becoming increasingly evident is that Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia because it is prepared to undermine the Malaysian nation-building process with contradictory lies, deceit and hypocrisy when campaigning to different racial groups.

To the Malays, UMNO leaders and propagandists spread lies and falsehoods as warning that DAP will be the real power if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government in the 13GE, that the Malays will lose political power and become “beggars in their own land”, the position of Islam as the official religion of the country would be displaced with Malaysia becoming a Christian state, the Rulers would be abolished and Malaysia become a Republic.

To the Chinese, MCA leaders and propagandists spread lies and falsehoods as warning that PAS will be the real power if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government in the 13 GE, hudud laws would be implemented resulting in the further undermining of non-Muslim rights and interests while non-Muslim women would no more be safe as they could be raped by Muslims – all reminiscent of the MCA and Gerakan lies and falsehoods in the 1999 General Election that a vote for DAP was a vote for PAS and an Islamic State where there will be no pork, no alcohol, no temples, no Chinese schools, beautiful women would not be able to find jobs and there would be a chopping of hands and feet.

UMNO leaders and propagandists do not believe in the lies, falsehoods and deceit perpetrated by the MCA among the Chinese, just as MCA leaders and propagandists do not believe in the lies, falsehoods and deceit perpetrated by UMNO among the Malays – but they are not prepared to expose or deny the respective lies and falsehoods as it serves the objective of trying to frighten the different racial groups and stampede them to vote for Barisan Nasional in the 13GE.

This is where Pakatan Rakyat differs from Barisan Nasional. We do not send out different messages to different groups of Malaysians, whether racial, religious or geographical.

Pakatan Rakyat and the component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS have only one and the same message for all Malaysians – to restore justice, freedom, democracy and good governance and to uphold the fundamental features of the Malaysian Constitution.

In contrast, Barisan Nasional continues its divisive and destructive role to perpetuate its “divide and rule” tactics, sowing the politics of hate and conflict with conflicting and contradictory messages for different ethnic and religious groups in the country.

How can the Barisan Nasional reconcile the lies, falsehoods and deceit spread by UMNO among Malays with the lies, falsehoods and deceit spread by MCA among the Chinese?

This is why I say that the Barisan Nasional has lost all credibility, legitimacy and moral authority to continue to rule in Malaysia because it is prepared to undermine Malaysian nation-building with contradictory lies, deceit and hypocrisy when campaigning to different racial groups – which tear into smithereens Najib’s high-falutin but meaningless 1Malaysia slogan and policy!

This is also why Barisan Nasional deserves to be defeated and replaced by Pakatan Rakyat as the new federal government in Putrajaya in the 13GE.

Case Of Two Malaysians Detained In Lebanon To Be Rementioned Wednesday

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama) -- The case of two Malaysians detained in Lebanon on suspicion of having ties with militant group Al-Qaeda, will be rementioned at the Military Tribunal in Beirut on Wednesday.

Malaysian ambassador to Lebanon, Ilango Karuppannan said Rafik Mohd Ariffin, 28, and Mohammed Razin Shaaban, 21, were brought to the tribunal today on a charge of being terrorists, with connections to Al-Qaeda.

Nevertheless, the charge against them did not proceed when the judge found they were unrepresented, he said when contacted by Bernama at the Lebanese capital.

"The judge then ordered that they engage a lawyer to defend themselves and the judge decided that the case be rementioned on Wednesday," Ilango said.

Last week, the Lebanese authorities detained Rafik and Mohammed Razin at a hotel in Beirut because they were believed to be suicide bombers and suspected to have links to Al-Qaeda.

Ilango said no family members of Rafik or Mohammed Razin were present at the tribunal today although both families were informed by Wisma Putra on their detention and that they should engage the services of lawyers.

In the meantime, he said, two embassy officials had met Rafik and Mohammed Razin at the Army Tribunal Detention Centre in Beirut.

"They were well and healthy. They were also properly treated," he said.

Ilango said the embassy was investigating the background of the two Malaysians with the cooperation of the Lebanese Immigration to determine if they entered the country as tourists, students or professionals.

Meanwhile, Bukit Aman said based on investigations and surveillance carried out, no trace of Al-Qaeda movement has been found.

Bukit Aman Special Task Force director Datuk Mohamed Fuzi Harun said police have not received any information of Al-Qaeda presence in the country or any recruitment activity to join the group.

"We have not come across any Al-Qaeda activities but we cannot disregard such activities (recruitment) conducted by neighbouring countries," he said.

Rafik's father Mohd Ariffin Abdullah meanwhile, when contacted said he was still waiting for details with regard to his son's detention in Lebanon.

Mohammed Razin's mother Sharifah Asma said she does not know how her son was detained for his alleged involvement with Al-Qaeda.

She said her son lived in Melaka and studied in Trolak, Perak while she and her husband lived in Putrajaya.

Penan blockade highlights rich-poor gap

By now you may be aware of the peaceful blockade by the Penans along the road to the Murum Dam site in Sarawak – despite a virtual blackout in the mainstream media.
The Penan blockade – Photograph: Scane
The odds are stacked against the Penans in this David vs Goliath test of wills.
On one side are the Penans, a community that is among the poorest and most marginalised in the country. On the other are powerful corporate interests backed by a few of the wealthiest politicians in the country and their cronies. A stark reminder of the wide gap between the rich and the poor in the country.
Development for whom? This is not holistic development but pure economic development (for whom? large politically connected corporation or local communities?) which ignores the social, cultural, ecological and spiritual dimensions of local communities and their habitat.
And let’s not forget the issue of whether there was free, prior and informed consent and participatory decision-making at the local level.