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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wakil bukan Islam puji kesederhanaan PAS


Hindus reject Jagaddhatri Puja Celebrations at Tehatta (Nadia, West Bengal) in a protest to Islamic Pro-activism by the State Administration.

Tehatta Jagaddhatri Puja Coordination Committee resolved to postpone all ‘Jagaddhtri Puja’ at Tehatta Town.

Tehatta | 19th Nov. 2012 :: Tehatta Jagaddhatri Puja Coordination Committee resolved to postpone all ‘Jagaddhtri Puja’ in Tehatta town this year in a protest of ‘trigger happy’ Police Firing on 14-11-2012 and ‘Obstinate Pro-Muslim’ Administration.

On Monday evening the meeting between administration and police led by Sri Sudipto Bhattacharjee – SDO, Tehatta and the Tehatta Jagaddhatri Puja Coordination Committee led by Sri Amarnath Biswas found no amicable settlement as the Puja committee of PWD Para Baroari Puja Committee wanted to perform a symbolic ‘Ghat Sthapan Puja’ at least in the very place of last year Puja and the Administration and Police negated it out rightly.

This year Shri Shri Jgaddhatri Mata Puja falls on and from 19th Nov to 23 Nov according to Bengali Hindu Calender and Chandan Nagar (Hoogly) and Tehatta (Nadia) are the most renowned places in West Bengal for conducting the same with special grandeur and most spectacular celebrations.

For the obstinate and pro-Muslim decision of the Tehatta administration and the policy of TMC (Total Muslim Congress as the people of Bengal usually name the Trinmool Congress), compelled the Puja Coordination to all 56 ‘Barowari’ and Sarvojanan’ Jagaddhatri Pujas of Tehatta, including the PWD Para Barwari Puja where TMC – MP (Member of Parliament) and eminent Benagli Film star , Sri Tapas Pal came to inaugurate the puja just last year.

A senior member of the Puja Coordination Committee told the Hindu Existence Team that “the land of ‘Eidgah’ and ‘Barowari Puja Place’ both are part of Vested and PWD lands. The Muslims are allowed to encroach the land permanently with boundaries under the blessed State Islamic policy, but a symbolic ‘Ghat Sthapanam Puja’ is not allowed in the previous year’s puja place by the same administration and ‘trigger happy’ police. This is too much. PWD lands, roadsides, most of market places and crossings places are under the clutch Muslim public and land grabbers in Nadia. But, police and administration have now perhaps directed to uproot all the rights of Hindus in Nadia to make Nadia a Muslim majority district.” However, Nadia (Tehatta is one of the four subdivisions in the district) is a bordering district of West Bengal, adjacent to Bangladesh, where the Muslim infiltration, cross border smuggling, illegal cow and arms trading, net of fake Indian currency and obviously Islamic fundamentalism are seen in a very optimum level.

After the police violence and firing upon the peaceful demonstration of Hindus lead by the Tehatta Jagaddhatri Puja Coordination Committee and ‘Tehatta bandh’ convened by Tehatta Business Owners Association on 14th Nov at Haulia (spelt as Howlia also) Crossing (where a person Ashoke Sen was died at Police Firing by SDPO himself), the insane SDPO, Dr Shailesh, IPS lodged a FIR (Police Case No. 825/2012) against 18 Hindu persons by their particular names in Tehatta police station in Nadia. It has been reported that Police is trying to connect RSS and other Hindu organisation in that violence unreasonably under the instruction of State Administration from Writers’ Buildings, Kolkata.

Marvellously, the SDPO, Tehatta has determined Sri Pintu Sarkar, a sub-inspector of Tehatta police station as the investigation officer into the case. This Pintu Sarkar, SI, himself is an accused of police firing case in which a housewife was killed at Bogula of Hanskhali in Nadia in a Vijaya Dashmi Immersion procession on 7th Oct. 2011. A case is going on under section 302 of IPC against Sri Sarkar in the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in this matter, so far the reports gathered by Hindu Existence Forum.

Both the state leaders of Congress and CPIM of West Bengal, vehemently opposed the recent police firings in West Bengal under a TMC ruling and macaronic Mamataz Banu Arjee advocating ’Change’, ‘Development’, ‘Party Discipline’, ‘No Confidence Motion in Parliament with BJP support’ and obviously for her fantasy of an Islamic West Bengal.

While leader in opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Dr Surjyokanto Mishra (CPIM) accused Mamata Banerjee for playing her Communal Cards for Muslim votes in the ensuing WB Panchayet election, Sri Adhir Ranjan Roy Chowdhury, veteran Congress leader and Rly Minister of State, GOI blamed the West Bengal Chief Minister for her inappropriate steps in which the communal situation in WB is rapidly engendering the public in her culpable regime.

Spread of pluralism concept in Malaysia worrying - Islamic scholars

ISLAMIC thinkers today expressed their worry on the spread of religious pluralism in the country which according to them if left unchecked could waver the faith of Muslims, especially among the younger generation.

Therefore, they hoped all Muslims irrespective of their professions and status in the community should play their roles with the Islamic religious authorities in the states to fight the concept so that the position of Islam as the official religion continued to be preserved as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Former Kedah Mufti, Datuk Syeikh Hassbullah Abd Halim, who expressed his concern, said the understanding of religious pluralism concept was that all religions had similar values in the eyes of God.

"This is against the Islamic faith and it could lead to disbelief.

"I see the effort to disseminate religious pluralism among Muslims getting more widespread. As Muslims who love their religion, they should act within their own capacity," he told Bernama.

Syeikh Hassbullah said to fight the concept, Muslims in the country should unite and return to the true Islamic path as prescribed by Prophet Mohamad.

Young Scholars Secretariat (Ilmu) working committee chairman, Ustaz Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya said pluralism was an understanding which adopted extreme tolerant attitude based on western perspective.

"I am waiting for the National Fatwa Council to issue a clear fatwa (edict) on the understanding for Muslims to refer to," he said.

He said the fatwa need to be implemented with strict religious action and enforcement to eradicate such ills effectively.

National Mosque Imam Azhar Tuarno said the younger generation should be careful with the concept of freedom, especially involving the Islamic faith.

He said this was in view of the development of borderless technology now which enabled communications among people to be easier and more liberal. -Bernama

Over the last several decades 6000 Shia children killed in Pakistan

Over the last several decades 6000 Shia children killed in Pakistan + PicSince mid-1980s, more than 20,000 Shia Muslims, thousands of Sunni Sufi (Barelvi) Muslims, hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have been killed in Pakistan by Takfiri Deobandi terrorists sponsored by Jihadist-minded generals of Pakistan Army.


(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Since mid-1980s, more than 20,000 Shia Muslims, thousands of Sunni Sufi (Barelvi) Muslims, hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have been killed in Pakistan by Takfiri Deobandi terrorists sponsored by Jihadist-minded generals of Pakistan Army.

According to an estimate, at least 30 per cent of the 20,000 Shias killed are children or minors (age 18 or below). This makes their number at least 6,000.

There is completely no mention of the 6,000 Shia children killed by Saudi-funded Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba) who are not only killing Shias but also Sunni Sufi (Barelvis), Ahmadis and Christians, on mainstream media and social media.

In the present post, we are providing a collection of only a few of thousands of Shia children killed by Takfiri Deobandis in the last few years in Pakistan.

Things to note:

Many Pakistani and international groups remain silent on Shia genocide in Pakistan. In fact while the same groups clearly mention the identity of the killed and the killer in Palestine, they make every possible effort to hide or obfuscate the identity of the killed (Shia Muslims, Sunni Sufis) and the killers (Takfiri Deobandis and their Saudi masters) in Pakistan.

Supporters and enablers of Takfiri Deobandis dishonestly misrepresent Shia genocide and murder of Sufi Sunnis in Pakistan as Sunni-Shia sectarian violence in order to justify and hide the violence.

Pakistan’s and the entire world’s Shia and Sunni Muslims should realize that Saudi-sponsored Takfiri Deobandis and Takfiri Salafist are bigger threat to Islam and Muslims than any other country or group. It is high time that we set our priorities in order and focus our attention on Saudi-funded Deobandis and Salafist, the biggest threat to humanity, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews.


Four school children (Shia Muslims) killed by Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban & Sipah-e-Sahaba) in Hangu on 27 Feb 2009

A man carries a dead child from the site of a suicide attack during a Shia procession in Quetta September 3, 2010.

This Shia child, who was injured with his mother in an attack on Shia Muslims’ bus, is carried by his father after receiving treatment in Quetta in June 2011.

Twenty Shia and Sunni Barelvi Muslims were killed by Takfiri Deobandi Taliban & Sipah-e-Sahaba in a suicide attack on Bari Imam Shrine in Islamabad on 27 May 2005.

A Shiite child injured in a bomb attack on Shia Muslims in D.I.Khan in 2009.

At least 20 Shia Muslims including many children and women were killed by Takfiri Deobandis in Khanpur (Punjab) in January 2012
At least 26 Shias including many children were killed by Takfiri Deobandi Taliban & Sipah-e-Sahaba in Balochistan in September 2011
25 Shia Muslims were killed, 150 injured, in an attack by Takfiri Deobandis in Lahore in September 2010
This Shia youngster, Akmal Rizvi, was killed along with his father in Karachi in March 2012.
An injured boy lies bleeding in the aftermath of a Sipah-e-Sahaba suicide attack on a procession of Shiite pilgrims in Lahore in January 2011.
This Shia girl was injured in an attack on Shia Muslims in Lahore in September 2010.
This girl was injured in Taliban’s attack on a commercial district in Peshawar on Sept. 26, 2009. Many Sunni and Shia Muslims were killed or injured.
At least 34 Shia Muslims including many Shia Hazara children were killed by Takfiri Deobandis (Taliban, Sipah-e-Sahaba) in an attack in Kabul in December 2011.
Shia Hazara school children mourn the death of their friends and class mates.
A Shia child injured by Takfiri Deobandis
On 19 January 2012, Takfiri Deobandis invaded the house of a Shia Muslim in the area of New Karachi and beheaded an innocent boy named Ehtisham Israr (age 15). This barbaric incident was completely ignored or misrepresented in Pakistan’s mainstream media.
Sikandar Ali was killed in Quetta on 4 October 2012
Aqeel Raza and 5 other Shia students were killed in Takfiri Deobandis attack on a university bus in June 2012.
A Shia child remembers his slain father at his grave in Quetta.

Fearing the cops

The Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar must move fast to restore the lost faith the people once had in the police.
COMMENT

I’m not against the police. I’m just afraid of them. – Alfred Hitchcock, English film director

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein will bend backwards, if necessary, to assure the rakyat that the three policemen-turned-rapists in Penang will not escape the wrath of justice.

The disturbing truth is, does the rakyat trust him on this?

The doubt comes about because this is not the first time the country’s cops have abused their authority and outraged the modesty of a woman.

On June 18, 2008, a policeman on duty at the Putra Heights (in Subang Jaya) police station raped a 17-year-old pillion rider after detaining her boyfriend at the police station for riding the motorcycle without a licence.

The girl was forced to perform oral sex on the cop-rapist who afterwards threatened her to keep mum about the incident. However, thanks to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, the incident was brought into the open.

But the case failed to perturb the country’s authorities, from the prime minister to the inspector-general of police.

Then in November last year, a 39-year-old finance accountant, who had highlighted her plight of being allegedly molested by a group of 11 policemen seven years ago, found herself in the dock instead, with the charge being related to the incident that took place seven years ago.

Last year, too, the nation’s cops forced female Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists who were detained to undress in the presence of male police officers.

(Thirty-six of the PSM activists were detained while carrying out their “Udahlah Bersaralah” – Enough already, Retire Now – campaign in Perak, to remind Malaysians of the pitfalls of returning Barisan Nasional to power in the 13th general election.)

Complaints of sexual misconduct by police were made by detainees in Kepala Batas, Penang, and Ipoh, respectively and PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said a police officer told them they needed six months to investigate the report.

Clearly, the policemen of this land seem to have become a law unto themselves, perpetrating crimes against women and fearing the ensuing repercussions.

Don’t play politics, BN

The latest incident that has further smeared the image of the nation’s 205-year-old Royal Malaysian Police happened in Seberang Prai when three policemen gang-raped an Indonesian woman whom they had detained for failing to produce her passport.

They also warned her not to tell anyone about the rape. The woman, however, mustered all courage and made a police report against them, leading to the trio being nabbed.

For sure, this incident has placed Malaysia in a negative light in the eyes of her neighbour Indonesia which not too long ago was sore with the former over numerous complaints of maid abuse by Malaysian employers, prompting a freeze in 2009 on Indonesian maids being despatched to Malaysia.

It was after much assurance that Malaysia managed to persuade Indonesia to lift the freeze. And now with the gang-rape of an Indonesian woman, the Malaysian government has a lot of explaining to do to Indonesia.

Maybe that is why the Barisan Nasional government, which manages the affairs of the nation, is all pins and needles over this latest rape incident. If the BN is giving “prominence” to this case by trying to pacify the rakyat that justice will take its course, it is simply to prevent Indonesia from severing ties with Malaysia.

Otherwise, as seen from the previous rape and molest cases perpetrated by the police and that failed to receive any attention from the Home Ministry and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, it is obvious that the BN government has no empathy for rape survivors; in fact, the gang-rape of the Indonesian woman has been turned into a political charade by BN.

The cops and BN equally to blame

It is not only the three policemen who are the perpetrators; just as guilty is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s government which views rape cases involving authorities lightly.

Justice must be meted out irrespective of ethnicity and nationality. To pick and choose which case to focus on exposes the insincerity on the part of the federal government.

Also, the consistent refusal by the BN leaders to implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) gives rise to the question of whether the government is working hand in glove with the police, allowing the the police to escape unpunished for certain crimes.

Looks like the nude squats and rapes in police lock-ups have made no impact on the government, looking at its wishy-washy reasoning in dismissing the IPCMC.

So long as the government refuses to take a stand in dealing with the atrocities committed by the police against the rakyat, no amount of assurance from the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar can restore the lost faith the people once had in the police.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

List for reforms remains long in Burma

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim pens his thoughts on US President Barack Obama’s visit to Burma and what it means for democracy in the region.
COMMENT

By Anwar Ibrahim

As one of his first official acts overseas upon his re-election to office, President Obama’s visit to Burma will indeed be a historic moment and will have major implications for the future of freedom and democracy not just for Burma but for the region.

Is the visit intended to signify Washington’s recognition that Burma has made some significant progress towards freedom and democracy? While this question may not be definitively answered yet, there is no doubt that some reforms have been put in place.

Among them are the relaxation on curbs to press freedom, allowing workers to form unions, and the legitimisation of opposition political parties including most significantly the freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi.

While these changes are palpable steps in the direction of freedom and democracy, it needs to be stressed that issues of human rights remain far from resolved. So, if Obama’s visit is meant to be an endorsement of the reforms carried out, then it must perforce be a very conditional endorsement.

The progress made so far may be encouraging but the laundry list for reforms remains long and freedom and democracy advocates as well as other civil society groups in the region are watching this closely.

The ethnic conflicts that have plagued this nation and the response by the Burmese government in dealing with them remain troublesome. The renewed outbreak of violence recently in Rakhine State which has seen the slaughter of hundreds of the stateless Rohingya Muslims and the destruction of entire settlements is a matter of grave concern.

There have been reports that security forces were complicit in the killing or at least did nothing to stop it. Attempts to rationalise the massacres as inevitable consequences of ethnic strife cannot absolve the Burmese government from blame.

In this regard, Washington has remained somewhat muted in response having failed to voice in the strongest terms its condemnation of these acts of murder and mayhem and to take to task the Burmese authorities for their failure to protect the minority Rohingya population.

This is an ethnic community that has been rendered stateless since 1948, and constantly under attack from both sides and has been culturally and economically marginalized for decades.

A state visit by President Obama under the circumstance without putting the Rohingya problem on the table would be interpreted as Washington soft-pedaling on such a crucial issue.

Make good of your pledges

As we have said before, America must not repeat the errors of the past in consorting with dictators and autocrats just so it may reap the benefits of realpolitik. It is true that under Obama, American foreign policy has improved considerably not the least of which is the departure from the glaring policy of selective ambivalence prevalent under President Bush.

Nevertheless, vestigial linkage remains of such a policy as became apparent when the Arab spring unfolded.

Having made that historic Cairo speech and the promises held out for the Muslim world, there were great expectations generated for freedom and democracy. But when the Arab spring took hold particularly in Egypt, Washington failed to seize the moment, constrained no doubt by its long standing ties with Mubarak.

You can’t drop your long time friends like a hot potato at the first sign of trouble. Similar stances of self-restraint are being seen in respect of certain other countries in the Middle East whose remaining autocrats are fighting tooth and nail to maintain the status quo using every means to brutally stamp out any manifestation of a renewed spring by their people.

In this regard, we would once again remind President Obama that it is still not too late to make good the pledges made when he first came to office particularly to the Muslim world.

If one bothers to listen, the calls for freedom, democracy and justice reverberate not only in the Middle East but very much so in Southeast Asia as well.

In this region, there are Muslim nations whose people too aspire for true freedom and democracy though any mention of an Arab spring will provoke brutal reprisals of the powers that be. For example, street demonstrations for clean and fair elections are considered treasonous and the authorities have no qualms in meting out summary punishment by tear gassing, water bombing and beating unarmed participants including women and children.

As for Burma, it is of paramount importance that the State Department impresses upon the government that there can be no real reform as long as the rights of the Rohingyas as well as other ethnic minorities continue to be violated with impunity.

The lessons of the Arab Spring tell us that inaction when action is called will land us on the wrong side of history. Having been rendered stateless and economically marginalized for so long, the granting of citizenship and full rights to the Rohingyas is a condition precedent to lasting peace and reconciliation.

Similarly, the persecution of the Shan people in Shan State and Kachin State must not be allowed to continue. Democracy and freedom cannot thrive while ethnic minority groups remain oppressed and dispossessed.

Vibrant civil society

On other fronts, the Obama administration needs to do more to nurture a vibrant civil society and an effective opposition to keep in check the excesses of the powers that be.

The high powered dialogue on human rights held last month with the Burmese government is of paramount importance as a first step in that direction. However, to be effective it should not be a mere charade of civil exchanges, but a no-holds barred discourse where the areas of contention are frankly and decisively discussed.

In any event, dialogues on issues such as rule of law, political reform, and justice can have little import when those affected are not properly represented. In this regard, there is no overstating the role of Aung San Suu Kyi as the chair of the legislative committee on the rule of law.

As an icon for the human rights cause, she has to send a strong message against the killing of innocent women and children in the Rohingya massacre.

Having championed her cause for democracy and consistently pushing for her freedom ever since her house arrest, we do not regard it as a matter of moral self-righteousness to call on her to now play a more prominent role in resolving the Rohingya problem.

Positioned as she is now and with an outstanding track record in the fight for human rights, we believe Aung San Suu Kyi is the best person to lead this initiative.

It is true that changes cannot occur overnight especially for a country that has been under military dictatorship for five decades. The fact that the State Department was able to convey the concerns of the minority groups, the voices of civil society and parties concerned for the fight for human rights, speaks volumes for its role in this continued strategy of constructive engagement and involvement.

Furthermore, the release of more than 700 political prisoners is significant even though full freedom is still being denied as many continue to labour under travel restrictions and curbs on participating in the political process.

Even as Rome was not built in a day, the foundation of rule of law must be built without a day’s delay. Without rule of law, reforms may crumble overnight in Burma as the executive brow beats the judiciary into submission, a state of affairs with which we are not unfamiliar. Parliamentary reforms must proceed in tandem with legal and judicial transformation.

The repealing of outdated and restrictive laws will be an exercise in futility if these laws are supplanted by new ones equally draconian and oppressive, as is the case with certain sham democracies in Southeast Asia.

It is reassuring that the State Department has recognised that serious human rights abuses against civilians continue and the condition of hundreds of thousands of refugees has reached crisis point.

While we remain firm in applauding the American people in making the right decision by re-electing a man of principle and integrity, a leader reflective of the nation’s cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, and no doubt capable of taking America to the next level at home and abroad, we urge President Obama to do the right thing when he meets with the leaders of Burma.

Yes, it’s true that a nation’s reforms will succeed only if the people themselves put in their best efforts and there is no gainsaying that obstacles and challenges abound along Burma’s road to freedom and democracy.

The writer is Malaysia’s Opposition Leader.

BN seeks Samy’s help in Sg Siput

The PM believes that the former MIC chief, who held the parliamentary seat for 34 years, can help turn the tide, say sources.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chief Najib Tun Razak has sought the assistance of former MIC supremo and ex-Sungai Siput member of parliament S Samy Vellu in a bid to recapture the constituency in the forthcoming 13th general election.

Sources reveal that Najib met Samy Vellu end of last month asking for help to ensure the ruling coalition won back the seat, which it had lost at the 2008 general election.

“Yes, they met and the PM wanted Samy Vellu’s help in getting back Sungai Siput. Samy Vellu still has a good amount of support in the parliamentary seat. A new candidate would face an uphill struggle.

“The PM felt Samy Vellu’s presence in the constituency could clinch the seat. He can guide the candidate, whoever it may be, in the run-up to the elections,” said a source who did not want to be named.

They also revealed Samy Vellu’s two-year term as the country’s special envoy for infrastructure to India and South Asia, has been renewed. His term was to have run out at end of this year. The post comes with ministerial status.

Last Saturday, Najib visited Sungai Siput alongside Samy Vellu. MIC president G Palanivel, who was also present during the visit, made the announcement that Samy Vellu has been appointed the BN coordinator for Sungai Siput, replacing R Ganeson.

While it is unclear if Palanivel made the announcement through a press conference or otherwise, only Tamil Nesan, a vernacular daily run by Samy Vellu’s family, published the report. FMT could not reach Samy Vellu for comment.

Palanivel tight lipped

Samy Vellu lost the Sungai Siput seat, which has about 52,000 voters, to PKR’s Dr Michael Jeyakumar by a 1,821 vote majority in 2008. The seat is Chinese majority with 24,000 voters followed by Malays (14,000), Indians (11,000) and Orang Asli (3,000).

Palanivel has been tight lipped over who the candidate for the seat would be. There were speculations over the candidate for the seat and among those mentioned were MIC vice president SK Devamany and MIC secretary general S Murugesan.

Devamany is the Cameron Highlands member of parliament. Sources said Palanivel would replace Devamany, who is also deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, as the BN candidate for Cameron Highlands at the next general election.

Sungai Siput has always been in the hands of the MIC until the last general election. It has been traditionally contested by the MIC president under the BN ticket.

Samy Vellu contested the seat for the first time in 1974 and the constituency became his fort for 34 years until 2008. There have been calls within the MIC for Palanivel to contest the seat at the next general election.

But indications are that Palanivel, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was not keen on the seat, preferring a safer Cameron Highlands instead.

Hong Kong willing to re-open RM40m case

Chief prosecutor Kevin Zervos says the only thing needed is fresh evidence.
EXCLUSIVE

PETALING JAYA: Hong Kong’s chief public prosecutor today expressed his willingness to re-open the case involving the controversial RM40 million that the Malaysian government claims was a “political donation” to Sabah Umno.

Kevin Zervos, Hong Kong’s Director of Public Prosecutions, told FMT that his office would require fresh evidence to revisit the case.

He added that his office and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) would welcome information from anyone.

“In relation to this case, it was more of a jurisdictional matter,” he said. “Material that was obtained from Malaysia was that it was political donations. If anything comes up now to show that this wasn’t the case, the matter would definitely be looked into.”

Any additional information or evidence should be brought to the ICAC’s attention, he added.

Referring to the earlier investigation, he said the money “was claimed to be political donations. We didn’t have additional evidence that was forthcoming that would enable us to deal with it.”

He declined to comment when asked whether he meant that the Malaysian side was not cooperative in the investigations.

Earlier, in an email to FMT, Zervos confirmed that funds in bank accounts in the name of a Malaysian national were suspected to have been held on behalf of a Malaysian government official.

He said Hong Kong authorities withheld the funds towards the end of 2008 while the ICAC and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) conducted a joint investigation.

The investigations looked into suspected breaches of Hong Kong’s Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

“Later in the investigation, information was supplied from Malaysia that the monies under restraint were political donations,” Zervos said. “As no further information or evidence was forthcoming with respect to the nature of the monies, there was insufficient evidence at that stage to take the case further.

“Accordingly, the restraint of the monies was lifted towards the end of 2011.”

Asked if he would consider the case closed, Zervos said the question was for the ICAC to answer.

He declined to comment when asked if he thought the investigation was adequate, or if there was anything to substantiate the claim that the funds were political donations.

On whether his office had the authority to call for further evidence, Zervos explained that in Hong Kong the prosecutors would guide enforcement authorities but would not take charge of investigations.

However, he said he was open to being questioned further, adding: “I firmly believe in being accountable. That’s a policy we have in Hong Kong. When we make a decision about a matter, we explain it.”

Rafizi’s Hong Kong visit

Asked for his thoughts about PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli’s plan to travel to Hong Kong tomorrow, Zervos said: “I’ve made it very clear that if there is any further information or evidence that would assist us, of course the authorities here would receive and evaluate it and deal with it accordingly.”

Rafizi said today that he would meet with the ICAC Operations Review Committee as well as Hong Kong politicians. He will be travelling with PKR MPs William Leong (Selayang) and Hee Loy Sian (Petaling Jaya Selatan) and state assemblyman Chang Li Kang (Teja).

The purpose of the trip is to find out whether the Malaysian government stonewalled the ICAC’s investigation of timber tycoon Michael Chia, who was carrying the RM40 million, and to seek a re-opening of the 2008 case.

In 2008, news reports said Chia, a Sabah businessman, was arrested at Hong Kong airport on suspicion of trying to smuggle out Singapore currency worth RM40 million. He reportedly told ICAC that the money was meant for Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.

In October this year, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz told Parliament that the money was political funding for Sabah Umno. He announced that both Hong Kong and Malaysian corruption authorities had closed the case.

Nazri disputed news reports about the case, saying Chia was never arrested by the ICAC. He also said the RM40 million seized from him was wired into an account and was not in the businessman’s possession.

Previously, it was also alleged that ICAC’s investigation had been dropped after three years because of a lack of cooperation by the Malaysian government. It was also reported that leaked MACC files revealed that Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had shelved files on the investigations and refused to prosecute Musa.

Pakatan rep wants Liu to resign over Batu Caves condo controversy


(The Star) -  State Local Government committee chairman Ronnie Liu has been challenged to resign if he is not able to stop the controversial 29-storey condominium project in Batu Caves.

The dare came from his Pakatan Rakyat ally, Kota Raja assemblyman M Manoharan, at the state assembly sitting on Tuesday.

"The temple is a national heritage. It is obvious that the people do not want the project or any other projects to be build next to the temple complex.

"Therefore, if the project is not scrapped, will you resign?" Manoharan said in a supplementary question.

Liu replied saying resignation should not be the issue. "What is important is that the project must be stopped and the state (government) is doing its best."

"There is a lot to consider. For instance, the project cannot be scrapped as more than 60% of the units had been sold.

"If the project is stopped, the state and federal government will have to compensate the developer," he said.
Liu pointed out that the federal government also had the power to stop the project by revoking the developer's advertising license and sales permit.

Isn’t it better not to have a religion?

But what a shame indeed! Because Sia Ka Tian refuses to follow Muhammad, the Muslims say he is going to hell, and because Sia Ka Tian refuses to follow Jesus, the Christians say he is going to hell, although he did something not many of the two billion Muslims and Christians would have done -- return RM3 million that he found accidentally left in his taxi.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Singapore cabbie returns US$900,000 to Thai couple
(AFP) - SINGAPORE: A Singaporean taxi driver has been heralded as a hero after he returned Sg$1.1 million (US$900,000) in cash to a vacationing Thai couple who left the money in his cab.
Sia Ka Tian, 70, was shocked to find the money in a black paper bag on the back seat on Monday after he dropped the couple off at a shopping centre.
“When I saw the money, I thought, trouble is here. I was sure there was at least $200,000 in the bag,” the Straits Times quoted the 31-year veteran in the taxi business as saying.
But when he brought the money to transport company ComfortDelGro’s lost-and-found office, his stunned colleagues counted Sg$1.1 million in thousand-dollar bills.
“The money is unimportant to me. It doesn’t belong to me, so how can I use it?” he told the newspaper.
The Thai couple reported the loss to the transport company and Sia was waiting for them when they arrived to claim the money.
The report did not say what the couple were doing with that large sum.
The driver received an undisclosed cash reward from the grateful couple, whose names have been withheld, and the company also plans to give him an award for good service.
“Finding one million dollars in cash is not an everyday affair and in fact, we wonder how many people would have possibly been tempted” to pocket it, company spokeswoman Tammy Tan told AFP.
“We are immensely proud of him and are glad that the passengers recovered their money.’
It was the second most valuable item returned by a cabbie working for the company. In 2009, another taxi driver returned fives kilos of gold bars worth Sg$377,000.
***************************************
His name is Sia Ka Tian and he works as a taxi driver in Singapore. I assume he is not a proud Muslim because his name is not Muhammad Sia bin Abdullah. I also assume he is not a proud Christian because his name is not Alexander Sia. Judging by his name, he must be a pagan idol-worshipper whom both the Muslims and Christians say is going to end up in hell for ‘not believing in the truth’.
Sia Ka Tian discovered about RM3 million accidentally left in his taxi and he went and returned the money to the rightful owner. Not many of the two billion or so Muslims and Christians would have done this. In fact, you are more likely to be robbed or cheated, or your pocket picked or bag snatched, in one of the Muslim or Christian countries.
You face more risk of becoming the victim of crooks when praying in front of the Ka’bah in Mekah or at the Vatican in Rome. Some people have even been stabbed and killed during a purse-cutting crime gone wrong at these two ‘holy’ sites.
But what a shame indeed! Because Sia Ka Tian refuses to follow Muhammad, the Muslims say he is going to hell, and because Sia Ka Tian refuses to follow Jesus, the Christians say he is going to hell, although he did something not many of the two billion Muslims and Christians would have done -- return RM3 million that he found accidentally left in his taxi.
Sia Ka Tian did exactly what Islam and Christianity says people must do. But Sia Ka Tian is neither Muslim nor Christian. Hence what he did does not count. He will still not earn a place in paradise and instead will be sent to hell because he refuses to follow Prophet Muhammad or Jesus Christ.
You should listen to how the Muslims and Christians talk. If you listen to them talk you will know what you need to do to avoid hell and to get into paradise. But that is all they do -- they talk. They don’t really practice what they say. People who practice what the Muslims and Christians say are people like Sia Ka Tian who did the proper Muslim-Christian thing. Nevertheless, he is still going to end up in hell.
It is nice to be able to follow a religion where you can talk without having to practice what you preach and still get to go to heaven while others like Sia Ka Tian who do the right thing get sent to hell.
Hidup Islam! Hidup Christianity! Hidup Munafiq! Mampus kafir!

Malaysia's Internet Conundrum


Mahathir reconsiders
Mahathir reconsiders
Authorities would like to shut opposition sites, but former PM promised it would stay free
In August of 1996, when he launched the 50 km-long Multimedia Super Corridor between Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s new international airport in an attempt to lure high-tech startups to his country, then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a promise to prospective international investors that the Internet would remain forever free from political interference.

It is a promise that successive governments – and belatedly perhaps Mahathir himself – have had trouble keeping or wish had never been made, as exemplified by the raid last week on Malaysiakini, with 300,000 daily readers the biggest of the flock of independent or opposition news sites that have altered Malaysia’s political landscape.

Fifteen policemen showed up at the news organization’s offices in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Petaling Jaya to demand information about a writer who posted a long argument that basically asked why ethnic Malays had to be Muslims, among other things.

That was just the latest in a continuing list of actions against Malaysiakini. Others have included various police threats and DDOS (directed denial of service) attacks, in which hundreds of responses to a story or other item on the site flood servers and clog them up, shutting down the site. Steven Gan, the editor of Malaysiakini, and Premesh Chandran, the business director, have been called to give statements to the police on the site’s funding.

Nor is Malaysiakini alone. Three other news sites – Malaysian Insider, Free Malaysia Today and the Sarawak Report say they have come under varying degrees of harassment. A fourth site, Malaysia Today, is published by Raja Petra Kamarudin from outside the country after he was threatened with criminal libel and sedition charges.

There are plenty more opposition sites as well. With the mainstream media completely in government hands, Malaysia has grown one of the most intensive opposition online communities anywhere.

Now with the country having been gearing up for months for elections scheduled for April next year, the presence of these particular news sites, none of which are pro-government, has become a major preoccupation for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The sites are considered to have played a major role in the 2008 election which ended the Barisan’s 50-year stranglehold on the Parliament, for the first time breaking its two-thirds lock which allowed it to pass legislation at will.

The sites provide the only independent or pro-opposition news in the country. The mainstream papers and television channels are all owned by the major political parties, reporting in Chinese, Tamil, Malay and English languages. The papers, particularly the Malay language ones, provide a steady diet of hagiographic if not outright sycophantic coverage of pro-government politics and do their best to skewer the opposition.

The opposition sites have continued to break a long series of stories that are antithetical to the political aims of the government, often taking particular aim at such figures as Rosmah Mansor, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s wife, whose reputation for outsize spending on jewelry, deserved or not, has become a major point of controversy.

The blogs also carried voluminous materials on the so-called Cowgate scandal, in which the family of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the head of the Women’s wing of UMNO, was accused of misusing RM250 million (US$83 million) in funds for a cattle feed lot to pay for condominiums, vacations, a Mercedes–Benz sedan and other items having nothing to do with feeding cattle. A long series of other scandals has continued to dog the government, faithfully reported by the opposition media.

Asia Sentinel’s reporting on a €150 million scandal in which the French government-owned defense contractor DCN allegedly paid massive kickbacks to Malaysian politicians in exchange for picking DCN subsidiaries to supply submarines to the defense ministry has also been given wide play in the country. Asia Sentinel was hit by one DDOS attack which shut the website down for several hours and is regularly attacked by what obviously are paid letter-writers.  The stories have also been attacked by pro-goverment bloggers reportedly paid for by political party funds.

The government wasn’t particularly concerned with the blogs until recently, said Jahabar Siddiq, the editor of Malaysian Insider, because the majority of voters read publications or watched television in their own language. But more recently as many as 1 million overseas Malaysians, most of whom deal in English as the lingua franca, also are internet-savvy and read English.

“In the last year, they have started to look at the English language publications,” Siddiq said. “Most of the new voters are educated overseas. They can’t contain what they read.” The government has made a few feints at attempting to control the internet, including amending the Evidence Act to include internet publications, but has backed away under pressure.

Mahathir himself – who published his widely read blog Che Det on the Internet and played a major role in bringing down Abdullah Badawi, the successor he came to loathe, has also publicly questioned whether Internet freedom is a good thing. But mostly the government has confined itself to going after the sites in a variety of ways instead of closing down the news organizations themselves.

“Unlike Malaysiakini, we have so far not had any direct pressure from the government,” said K. Kabilan, the managing editor of Free Malaysia Today. “We have not had any phone calls asking us to stop any critical writings. However we have had the indirect approach. We have had phone calls from people close to the PM, asking us to tone down our writings.

“We have had UMNO MPs sulking and refusing to talk to us, simply because we have been critical. We have had MIC leaders threatening us with legal suits for articles showing corrupt practices. And we have had big players suing us over articles linking them with corruption. There have been police reports lodged against us over our articles too. Pro-Umno bloggers too at times take swipes at us, trying to discredit us.”

A whole corps of pro-government responders has grown up, eager to post pro-government responses to critical stories. Siddiq says he has friends who are making great money posting such responses to stories that run in Malaysian Insider.

“So many of them now, a few of my friends are making good money writing this stuff – even lawyers. They write really good letters. They’ve been around for about a year.”

He has been called in to give statements to the police, he says, “but there have been no raids on us like on Malaysiakini. I have been hassled by the cops, the securities commission, the laws are stiff on that, they put pressure on our advertisers, who tell us if we write things in a certain way, we won’t get advertising.”

Claire Brown, who publishes the Sarawak Report from London, has made it a particular crusade to bring down Abdul Taib Mahmud the chief minister of the state of Sarawak, who has been accused of taking billions of dollars in kickbacks from timber companies while denuding his state of primary forest.

“The harassment of Malaysiakini is unbelievable and my guess is they will try and bring it to a standstill before the election,” Brown said. “It is stupid, because the information is already out and will go through other portals anyway. As for me, I presented a more awkward proposition being located safely out of their jurisdiction in the UK.”

Taib, she said, has hired public relations flacks in the west to attack and defame her and used a whole variety of other tactics, including threats of lawsuits by Taib’s son-in-law if she didn’t retract the entire body of work she has posted.

“But I guess I have more confidence in the British jury system than he does and ignored it - that was well over a year ago!”

The politics of accommodation in PAS

Bridget Welsh

COMMENT

Islamist parties throughout the world are grappling with new roles and responsibilities. PAS is no exception.

The discussions at the party’s muktamar held in Kota Bharu last weekend highlight that PAS is adapting to new conditions globally and nationally, and in fact embracing reform.

Perhaps more than any party in Malaysia, PAS is engaging in accommodation.

Despite news reports focusing on the comments of one or two individuals – a common feature, especially in the reporting of Malaysia’s Islamic party – PAS is moving towards a more nationally-oriented position in which it can play a prominent role as a partner in an alternative government.

In fact, judging by its actions and the meeting taken as a whole rather than the words reported, the muktamar highlights that PAS is continuing to embrace more progressive positions, especially among its leadership.

Its challenges, however, have more to do with winning over its more parochial and conservative membership that is reluctant to change and struggling to adapt and understand a more complex and demanding political environment.

We are for Pakatan

One message that resounded at the muktamar was PAS’ commitment to Pakatan Rakyat. Every component of the party – from the ulama and the spiritual leader to the women’s wing – stated categorically that PAS was an integral part of the alternative coalition.

In fact, those linked to the alternative position of ‘unity’ with Umno were conspicuously absent. The unity group has been marginalised in PAS, and even faced open criticism for taking positions in public that conflict with the consensus of the leadership.

The surprising person leading the charge in this criticism was no other than one of the most conservative ulama, Harun Din. Definitively, PAS has taken a stand: we are for Pakatan.

This message was apparent in other ways as well. Rather than present its own alternative vision of governance – as has happened in the past with the welfare state concept, for example – the thrust was on reaffirming connections to the common platform, notably the Buku Jingga.

This sense of collaboration was repeatedly echoed in the inclusion of non-Malays (whose support is essential for the party to hold onto its current seats and make electoral gains in states like Negeri Sembilan and Johor) and in engagement with the artistic and cultural communities.

Importantly, discussion on the decisive, dividing issue of hudud was muted as its leaders aimed to show that, in the spirit of consensus, they would seek common ground. Repeatedly, the call for political consensus, tahaluf siyasi, was made – a consensus that its Pakatan partners will find essential.

The PAS at this muktamar was not wedded to the past, but engaged in outreach for the future. The image of PAS as a group of mullah defending narrow conceptualisations of tradition and religion, banning social activities and limiting freedoms is no longer fair. The identity of PAS as a political party is changing.

While some in the old guard and their protégées in the Youth wing are uncomfortable with PAS’ more modern open approach, the leadership as a whole, presided by Abdul Hadi Awang and reinforced by an overwhelming majority of progressives in the central committee and as members of parliament, embraced collaboration and greater tolerance.

The repeated attacks on Umno and Najib Abdul Razak’s tenure further illustrated that their sights are focused in its partnership in Pakatan. Closing the meeting on the last day with a prayer for Umno’s defeat in elections was a powerful signal.

The affirmation of a Pakatan commitment has been overshadowed by questions arising from mainstream media reports on the muktamar, namely the issue of whether Hadi Awang wants to be premier and whether he supports Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in that position.

Attention continues to centre on possible points of division, with the hope of driving a wedge among parties that have worked and governed together for four years.

Hadi Awang repeated that he does not want the premiership. Many people, however, refuse to accept his response.

Tackling trust deficits

Globally, Islamist parties face trust deficits. PAS faces this on multiple fronts – from whether the party is truly loyal to the opposition to their goals in office. PAS is also hounded by its past, when it joined Umno in the 1970s, only to lose its credibility, and its soul. Memories of PAS’ betrayal of the trust of voters run deep, especially among older voters.

Even more suspicion exists among liberals and/or non-Muslims who believe that PAS is the driver of religious intolerance, curbs on religious freedom and limits on women’s rights.

Years of media socialisation and PAS’s own record in places like Terengganu underscore this anxiety and it only takes a few trigger words such as “hudud” or “ulama leadership” to open the floodgates of possible additional trauma.

The fact is that trust once broken is very hard to rebuild. In this muktamar, PAS’ challenge of building trust manifested itself clearly as focus continued to be on the triggers of division rather than on cohesion. A question that arises from this muktamar is whether PAS can overcome this trust deficit with those who are inclined toward suspicion. Are doubts so embedded that views cannot change?

What is not always clearly understood is that PAS’s current young leadership is also facing a trust deficit from the old guard in the party. The proponents of internal distrust come from the protégées of the old guard ulama in the Youth wing.

While the rank-and-file are committed to Pakatan, some of the PAS’ delegates at the muktamar are uncertain about the progressive path adopted by the current leaders. This was evident in the attack on party organ Harakah for its open coverage of news. It was also evident in personal attacks on progressive PAS leaders who espouse tolerance.

The source of this distrust is multiple – many in the old guard are staunchly conservative and resist reform. PAS is not the only party with old fashioned outlooks, but disproportionally the party has many of them. The more cutting element of distrust comes from the fact that some of the progressives have openly called for an end to the ulama leadership of the party.

Some of the ulama feel under attack and this reinforces their defensiveness and, in some cases, reactionary responses. The ulama are uncomfortable with displacement and accepting accommodation as they feel this leads to their marginalisation. They are uneasy with the dissolution of their influence and this feeds into the distrust from within.

Political tests and risks

Bringing a party toward reform is never easy, especially when old mindsets persist. It is compounded when there are interests involved. It was thus clear that the progressive PAS leadership is facing its biggest test in the next election battle. They have to show with electoral victories that their approach is earning support.

It is not enough for the progressives to point to coalitions between Islamists and other groups in countries like Tunisia and Turkey, for the PAS progressive leadership has to deliver at home. A failure to win seats will allow the traditional, conservative old guard to return to the leadership.

This election is as much about Pakatan as it is about the future of Islamism in Malaysia. Voters will decide whether PAS is more tolerant, more democratic and inclusive, or whether it returns to the dark ages and pushes Malaysia away from a modern future.

Make no bones about it, the dark forces in PAS are waiting for the chance to come back to power at any sign of weakness of the current progressive leaders in the party.

On some fronts, they have interests in the failure of the PAS progressives. The old guards and their protégées want a return of stronger conservative ulama leadership, and are uncomfortable with the spiritual role that the ulama currently hold. They know that if PAS does well electorally, it will minimise the possibility of ulama taking on more positions in the helm of the party.

They also fear further displacement with greater electoral gains and winning government. Many ulama lack the skills to take on technocratic governing positions, and those with old guard mindsets are often too closed in outlook to win over the support needed for electoral victory. Insecurity among some inside the party fuels the internal distrust.

PAS delegates are also frustrated that they are on the firing line electorally. Many feel that PAS is competing in the most difficult seats, in Felda areas for example, and has uphill battles to win seats.

As the pouring of goodies continues in the Malay heartland in the rural constituencies dominated by state-owned media, PAS faces a serious struggle to win over voters.

Many delegates felt that the obstacles they face electorally in winning Malay votes was not appreciated within Pakatan and some even worried that the coming general election could lead to their marginalisation in the governing coalition.

The new role in Pakatan is not just about commitment to the coalition, but confidence that the party will continue to have a place and prominent position. Many delegates expressed the desire to be better treated in Pakatan, as an asset and partner.

Three-pronged approach

While seats are competitive for all the parties, disproportionally PAS as a party does have serious obstacles in making electoral gains. The party is locked in a battle with Umno for Malay votes, and grappling with effective approaches to woo and reach non-Malay voters. What is telling is that advocating for hudud is not prominent among these approaches.

Instead there are three prongs in PAS’ contemporary engagement.

Foremost, PAS centres on the issue of corruption. This is the moral core of its campaign, the call for voters to reject abuses of power. The steps taken to declare assets within the party at the muktamar reveals that it is building safeguard procedures within the party.

Second, PAS has emphasised greater representativeness in its slate of candidates. It is bringing in more technocrats, former civil servants, entrepreneurs and security personal, and women. PAS is extending its umbrella to include more pluralism is its prospective candidates.

Finally, PAS has reaffirmed its adherence to democratic principles. When speaking to the delegates in his closing speech, Hadi Awang emphasised a premiership based on electoral performance, consensus and representativeness. Motions from the floor supported electoral reform movement Bersih and continued the commitment to electoral reform.

What was perhaps more telling in democratic governance was the willingness to allow open views from delegates to be expressed. This muktamar was not a controlled event as delegates were allowed to raise concerns, and some of the points from the floor bordered on the bizarre.

Unlike Umno, PAS has held party elections in the last few years and its leaders do have a party mandate. The leaders within the party faced criticism openly, a sign of strength not weakness.

One of the most striking elements in this muktamar within PAS was the appreciation of difference. The reality is that the delegates know there are different views, but these differences were acceptable. The tolerance of difference within PAS has grown in its evolution in Pakatan.

To judge a party based on its party congress is ultimately a flawed exercise. At best, the muktamar is a venue to assess trends and directions. Pakatan loyalty, progressive leadership and strengthening democracy stood out. This said, there are differences within PAS over many issues, from hudud and ulama leadership to electoral strategies.

But differences are normal. What is important is the way differences are addressed – through debate, engagement and adherence to principles. The 58th muktamar showed that the PAS is not shying away from these tough issues, an important evolution for any party hoping to win support to govern nationally.

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DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University and she can be reached at bwelsh@smu.edu.sg. She was an observer at the 58th PAS Muktamar in Kota Baru.

10 Staunch PAS Supporters Join Umno

PASIR PUTEH, Nov 20 (Bernama) -- A family of 10 in Kampung Tok Khamis, who proclaimed themselves as staunch PAS supporters, have quit the party for allegedly deviating from the actual struggle for Islam.

The members, led by Mohd Norudin Saman, 60, pledged to join Umno and support Umno candidates contesting in the 13th general election.

"I've been with PAS for more than 40 years because I believed the party wanted to uphold a Muslim country," he said before Pasir Puteh Umno division chief Zawawi Othman at the village Tuesday.

However, Mohd Norudin said PAS' struggles have since deviated from its original basis to form a welfare country and were conspiring with the DAP, which is clearly anti-Islam.

He said he was also disappointed by the latest move by PAS, praying for Allah to destroy fellow Muslims (Umno), because it was against Islamic teachings and would invite Islamic disunity.

PM’s duty to ensure independent judiciary, says CJ

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 ― Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria reminded Datuk Seri Najib Razak today of his duty as prime minister to uphold judicial independence, urging him to ensure a clear separation of powers between the judiciary and the remaining two arms of government.

The country’s top judge pointed out that the Judicial Appointment Commission Act (JACC) stipulates that the prime minister must ensure the judiciary acts independently of the executive and the legislature to ensure fairness and justice.

“Furthermore, he (prime minister) must also defend the need to that independence, ensure the judiciary have the support necessary to enable them to exercise their functions and ensure the needs for public interest to be properly represented to the judiciary, the administration of justice related matters,” Arifin was quoted as saying in Malaysiakini today during his speech in the Integrity 2012 lecture here.

“Therefore, it is incumbent on the PM to defend the independence of judiciary. That is not to say that it wasn’t so in the past, because it has always been the constitutional duty of the PM to do so,” he added.

Arifin also reportedly boasted of improvements in public confidence over the country’s rule of law, pointing to the number of judicial review applications between January and October this year.

Explaining, he said that judicial reviews are means of controlling the government’s actions as they are directed to protect an individual against any illegal action taken by the administration.

“Between January to October 2012, a total of 220 judicial review applications were filed in Kuala Lumpur alone. If anything, this is clearly a positive indication of the public confidence in the rule of law in this country,” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

The independence of the Malaysian judiciary has come under criticism following allegations that the institution was being used as a weapon to silence opposition dissent against the government.

Earlier this year, former chief justice Tun Mohd Dzaiddin Abdullah agreed that the judiciary has been subservient to the higher-ups in the government since the late 1980s after former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad clipped its wings with an amendment to Article 121 of the Federal Constitution.

Dzaiddin called the change repugnant because Parliament could now decide what powers the judiciary should be given, altering in a very fundamental way the basic structure of the Federal Constitution.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee later agreed that the 1988 amendment to Article 121 had effectively tampered with the judiciary’s independence, forcing the courts to be subservient to the executive arm of government.

He explained that the amendment had removed the words “the judicial power of the Federation shall be vested in two High Courts” from Article 121, effectively deleting the provision that judicial power of the federation is vested in the judiciary.

Instead, he said, it was stipulated that “the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law”.

Lim recalled that when the Bill was being moved through Parliament, Dr Mahathir had stated that its intent was to clarify the separation of powers, namely that the judiciary was to be prevented from interfering with the acts and functions of the executive.

In his defence, Dr Mahathir had denied this, insisting that the amendment had not altered judicial powers but merely gave the Attorney-General the responsibility to choose which court should hear a case.

“The rights and functions of the judiciary have not been subservient to the politicians or the prime minister before or after the amendment.

“This is because the amendment involves only the procedure in which the A-G was given back the responsibility to transfer cases. It did not give the prime minister any authority to overrule the courts,” he had written in a blog posting in February this year.