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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ikrar Sokong Pelan Induk HINDRAF

Female students forbidden from exercising near mosque (Geneva Switzerland)

ANDRÉ-CHAVANNE school. “Their teacher evokes an incident that happened in 2009 to justify her decision” say the parents

In 2009 the students of the school, Andre Chavanne were insulted by the mosque congregation.
Gymnastics teacher of Andre Chavanne school, prevented her students last month from participating in a gym course on the athletics area. The reason? The stadium is close to the mosque of Petit-Saconnex and were insulted by many of the congregation. This explanation shocked the parents.
“I find it inadmissible that my 16 year old daughter cannot go and run in a work-out dress under the pretext that the mosque is found in proximity of the school” says the father of a  16 year old student and the mother of a family says, “why would you want to pour oil on a fire? Our children did not understand the real motivation of their professor. The incident that she evokes is ancient and since then there has been no problems!”
But lets come back to this Friday, the beginning of Oct. this day of prayer. The girls insisted to run outside like the boys. To justify her refusal the teacher reminds them that 2009 a class of girls out equally to run on Friday was insulted… the result from the dept. of public education and from the mosque, the mosque leaders presented their apologies and promised to put everything to work so that no other incidents would reoccur and on it’s site the dept. of public education renounced their complaint.
Now, three years later, it reappears. “It is not a decision of the school but that of an isolated teacher” Patrick Netuschill, wanted to emphasize that fact. “The teacher had planned her course for inside. He details it is true that she argued her refusal by reminding notably what has happened in 2009 and she has the right to do it. Mostly if she estimated that the outdoor activity could put her course in danger. And this at the same title as her refusal to go for example to a museum if her students are rebellious.
On it’s side the direction of the cultural Islamic foundation of Geneva wants to have known “we have not had any knowledge of such events having ever happened. However if that was the case, the position of the mosque and its directors has not changed. We categorically disapprove of the behavior of its congregation including the poor behavior and the incivility that are contrary to the teachings of islam.”

Pack rapists still on the loose

Abdinor Abdi, left, and Mohamed Bashir in the dock for their sentencing at the Auckland High Court. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Abdinor Abdi, left, and Mohamed Bashir in the dock for their sentencing at the Auckland High Court. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Two men have been sentenced over the pack rape of a woman snatched off an Auckland street but police says another two are still on the loose.

Abdinor Abdi, 29, and Mohamed Bashir, 25, were sentenced in the High Court at Auckland today to 16 and 15 years in prison respectively for their part in the continued rape of the woman.

Neither will be eligible for parole until they served at least half of their sentences.

A jury earlier found them guilty of rape and three counts of being party to rape. Abdi was also convicted of abduction and threats to kill.

Abdi - who refers to himself as Canada and 2pac - was identified by his gold teeth. Both men were also charged after DNA samples found on the victim matched samples already held by police.

Outside court, Detective Martin Friend said DNA samples from two other men were found in the victim's underpants and police are still looking for the pair.

"I believe we got the main ringleader in Abdi, he was the main instigator in what took place but obviously there is a concern given the whole pack [rape] scenario."

The survivor of the ordeal was at court today and watched proceedings from behind a screen. She was sick and had to keep a bucket close by.

Crown prosecutor Sam Wimsett said the woman had been with friends at a bar on Auckland's Karangahape Rd on June 4 last year.

She started playing pool with four men and lost contact with her friends.

The woman left the bar to go looking for them but instead of getting help from the four men, they grabbed her by the wrists and forced her into a car.

She was taken to a garage at an unknown location, forced to lie on a mattress and held down while each man raped her.

"Having to dance in front of the men, having them giggle, laugh and chatter must have made this particularly degrading," Mr Wimsett said.

Abdi threatened to kill her if she did not dance.

She was allowed to go to the bathroom once and called out but no one came to help her. She was then taken back to the mattress and raped again.

"I felt degraded as these guys raped me one after the other," she said in her victim impact statement read by Crown prosecutor Michael Walker.

She said she had put on 10kg on purpose to make herself less attractive to men and slept during the day in an effort to avoid flashbacks.

The woman also pleaded with the men to get help while they were in prison.

Abdi's lawyer Peter Kaye said his client was born in Somalia but had been living in New Zealand for the past 16 years.

Mr Kaye said while there "isn't any room for remorse", his client did feel sorry for the position the victim found herself in.

Bashir's lawyer Nicholas Leader said his client maintained his innocence.

He said his client moved to New Zealand when he was just 6 and was only one of two survivors from a village in a war-torn area.

In sentencing, Justice Ailsa Duffy described the crime as "inherently brutal and callous".

"You maintain your innocence despite DNA evidence of your semen being found on the victim's underwear," she told Abdi.

She told Bashir that his views on women were "dangerous for society".

"I also note that you espoused no remorse for your offending and indeed, you said the victim was going along with the fun."

Police are still looking for the other two men involved. Anyone with information should phone Mr Friend at the Auckland central police station on 302 6400 Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.


What more reforms do Malaysians want? Dr M asks

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared today to suggest that government has done its best to reform the country and reinvent itself, even asking, “What more reforms do you want?”

Dr Mahathir (picture), who served as prime minister for 22 years during his time, pointed out that Umno has pandered to many of the public’s demands for greater civil freedom apart from staying true to its objectives of protecting the welfare of the “nation, race and religion”.

“What reforms you want them to accelerate? You asked them to remove the ISA (Internal Security Act), they took it off... you asked them to support all kinds of things which we never supported before and we have.

“At one time, you remember in this country we cannot have lion or dragon dances but now, we allow. And we give money to churches... so what more reforms you want?

“You tell us... I will convey to the prime minister and he will immediately do it,” he said.

He added that Barisan Nasional (BN) has also ensured inclusiveness, dispelling criticisms that Umno’s partners in the ruling coalition were subservient to the Malay party.

“We have first three parties ― MCA, MIC, Umno; then we accepted Sabah and Sarawak parties, and then after the May 13 tragedy, we accepted PPP, Gerakan and even PAS.

“So how much more inclusiveness do we want?” he asked.

But Dr Mahathir also noted that despite Umno’s efforts, the opposition would never admit that the government has done enough.

He said that even if BN retains Putrajaya in the coming polls, the opposition would likely insist that its performance was unsatisfactory.

Dr Mahathir declined to comment when asked if he felt that the time was now ripe for elections to be held, only saying that the decision was up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to decide.

The Najib government embarked on a whirlwind of reforms over the past year of its administration, agreeing to relax restrictive laws and earning bouquets for slackening its leash on civil freedoms.

In the span of two Dewan Rakyat sittings and about six months earlier this year, the government had pushed through a record number of critical amendments to laws long described as draconian by civil society groups and those in the opposition camp.

Key among these was the repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA), the 1960 anti-Communist insurgency law that critics have accused the government of misusing to threaten and quell opposition dissent.

A new legislation, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, was introduced in its place, removing the government’s power under the ISA to detain a person indefinitely without trial.

Last November, both Houses of Parliament approved the Peaceful Assembly Act 2011, a fresh law mooted by the government to permit public gatherings after the authorities arrested over 1,600 individuals and sprayed tear gas and chemical-laced water to disperse what had been a peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally for free and fair elections last July 9.

The government has also lifted the over four-decade-old ban on student participation in politics after approving amendments to the highly-criticised University and University Colleges Act 1971.

Adding to the growing list, Dewan Rakyat also agreed earlier this year to nominally loosen government control over media freedom by passing amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

Despite the Bill’s harried manner of approval and uproar from the opposition bench, the amendment effectively clips Putrajaya’s wings over the granting of publishing permits and scraps the annual permit renewal requirement earlier imposed on publications in the PPPA.

Other significant legislative reforms include earlier amendments to the Police Act, the repeal of the Banishment Act 1959 and Restricted Residence Act 1933, the lifting of three Emergency Declarations and the tabling of the Malaysia Volunteers Corps (RELA) Bill 2012 ― a new law that removes the organisation’s powers of arrest and firearms possession.

‘Political links behind inaction on 6P mess’

Tenaganita's Irene Fernandez says that political links is one of the reasons why the government is being silent on exploitation of foreign workers under the 6P programme

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government’s inaction in solving the 6P amnesty programme “fiasco” is due to strong political links between errant agents and the BN, Tenaganita’s Irene Fernandez alleged today.

The migrant rights NGO’s executive director was commenting on the revelation that former Home Minister Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, is a director of a government-appointed agent which is being investigated by the police for several human trafficking related offences.

“The presence of a former minister in a company that has been found to have committed so many alleged crimes speaks volumes. This is yet another reminder of how urgent and imperative it is that investigations into allegations of corruption and state complicity in fraud involving the 6P programme be carried out independently, and openly,” said Fernandez.

“This tells you why there has been inaction. It is because of the strong political links to the regime and the government of the day. This is blatant fraud, but nothing is done,” she said.

Fernandez also called upon Mohd Radzi, currently MP of Kangar, to declare his assets and how much money he has made from the company, SNT Universal Corporation Sdn Bhd.

“I find it strange that a lawmaker does not know what his responsibility is in a company,” she said.

She alleged that Radzi, during his tenure as minister, was himself responsible for the victimisation of thousands of Bangladeshi workers.

In 2006, the government lifted a 10-year freeze on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. Thousands were then recruited and cheated through an outsourcing process, said Irene.

She said that the same “fraudulent” outsourcing companies were now given the opportunity to cheat again when they were appointed to act as agents under the 6P amnesty programme.

“More than one year after the 6P was announced, thousands who have paid between RM3,000 to RM4,000 to these companies to be legalised remain undocumented. They are open to arrest, detention and whipping under the Immigration Act,” she said.

Bogus employers

Fernandez said that many migrants continue to be threatened and abused by these agents, who insist on obtaining fradulent work permits through “bogus employers”. Police and official reports have been lodged but nothing has come out of it.

On Nov 23, FMT reported about Mohd Radzi’s directorship in SNT Universal Corporation, which is being investigated for exploiting about 200 foreign workers, mainly Bangladeshis.

SNT had allegedly falsely claimed that it is able to register foreigners under the 6P programme and getting work permits for them, setting up dozens of bogus employment agencies, and assaulting job-seeking foreigners.

The last allegation is based on CCTV recordings.

According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Radzi became a director of SNT on May 17, 2011.

However, Radzi’s response was that “some friends” roped him into being an SNT director and denied knowledge of its activities.

“I’m not involved in human trafficking,” he said. “People ask me to become a director in all sorts of things. I have no connection with the company.”

Under the 6P programme, illegal foreign workers will either be legalised or deported without punishment. The six Ps represent the Malay words for registration, legalisation, amnesty, monitoring, enforcement and deportation. The government has appointed more than 300 companies to handle registration.

Abused and assaulted

Meanwhile, FMT spoke to several Bangladeshi workers who protested at the Bangladesh High Commission this morning against the 6P programme.

Md Shipun alleged that SNT Universal Corporation not only verbally abused workers going through them to apply for work permits, but frequently resorted to violence.

“Babul is no good. He just beats us. He has beaten more than 100 people. He goons hit my cousin and many of my friends. He and his people only know violence,” he said.

“Babul” is the nick name of one of the directors of SNT Universal Corporation who is a Bangladeshi. It’s a mystery how his company was appointed as an agent.

MD Rokan Uddin (left) said people from SNT Universal Corporation had threatened to kill him. “We found out we were cheated and wanted to find another 6P agent to help us get permits, but they would not give us back our passports. He told me: ‘if you go back, I will kill you’.”

Mohd Zakir Hosain, a Bangladeshi businessman now a permanent resident here, said that he had brought a group of his countrymen to be registered by SNT but everyone is now caught.

“They trusted me, I feel bad. The Malaysian government, the Immigration Department and Home Ministry must solve these issues. If possible, allow them to find another employer.”

Another Bangladeshi who applied for work permits under another 6P company said he too, was physically abused when he and a friend were cheated and confronted them.

“I have been working here since 1993. Last year, my friend and I paid about RM8,000 to get permits from this company Akhwan Group,” said MD Mahbub Moullik (right).

“But then one year later I didn’t get anything, and when I went there with my receipts, the man just tore the papers in front of us.”

“I tried to return home twice but they have kept my passport and refuse to return it. When I ask for it I was hit on my chest and shoulders.

“They asked for more money. My father passed away three days ago, but I can’t return to pay my respects. I have nothing(no documents and no employment), what can I do now?”

Ambiga to Najib: Debate with Anwar

The Bersih co-chairperson wants the prime minister to accept the opposition leader's challenge to a debate, saying it will allow Malaysians to judge who is best qualified to lead the nation.

PETALING JAYA: With the next general election being described as the most poignant in the nation’s history, Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga feels that a debate between Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is imperative.

Now that Najib had indicated that the polls could be called even next month, she said the debate must be held as soon as possible.

“It is absolutely necessary that a debate takes place. It will give Malaysians the opportunity to gauge which political coalition is best qualified to govern the nation,” she told FMT.

Noting that Najib was fond of talking about United States president Barack Obama, Ambiga urged the former to emulate the latter with regard to the practice of presidential debates in the US.

“As far as Bersih is concerned, Najib ought to take a leaf out of his [Obama's] book and agree to the debate with Anwar,” she said.

She added that the debate could prove beneficial to both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat as it would provide a platform to put their respective policies and manifestos to the test.

Anwar had repeatedly challenged Najib to a public debate but the latter had refused, citing among others that political debates was not part of the Malaysian culture.

Sharing her views on this, Ambiga said the prime minister’s refusal to engage in a verbal jousting match with the opposition leader spoke for itself.

“When a leader refuses to debate, it means that he is not confident about his policies and manifesto, perhaps he can’t defend [BN's policies], only he can answer [why he refuses to debate],” she added.

Ambiga said that Bersih would consider initiating a public petition to determine if Malaysians wished to see the two leaders debate on issues of national importance.

It is understood that the BN camp was also concerned about Anwar’s renowned oratory skills and therefore pitting Najib against him in a televised debate would be political suicide.

Meanwhile, Ambiga also took Najib to task for stating that the general election could be held next month during his address at the launch of the Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia on Saturday.

The Bersih leader was aghast that the prime minister continued to tease the nation with regard to the election date.

“I find it very disconcerting and irresponsible. The prime minister should not toy with the citizens,” she said, adding that Najib had placed the nation on election mode for years now.

Why fear international observers?

On another matter, Ambiga also expressed astonishment over the prime minister’s critical remarks concerning Anwar’s request to Canberra to observe the election process here.

Najib had asked why the opposition leader had remained silent when Pakatan captured five states in the 2008 general election and dismissed the latter’s plea to Australia as shameless.

“I am astounded that the prime minister thinks it is embarrassing,” said Ambiga. “It is only embarrassing if there is something wrong with the electoral system,” she stressed.

Furthermore, she said that if the election was clean and fair, Putrajaya should not be concerned about the presence of foreign observers.

Pointing out that Malaysia had participated as an observer in other elections, she asked: “Why do we participate in something which we do not believe in?”

“I am very concerned when a government says it is strongly against international observers as it leads me to believe that the polls will not be clean and fair,” she added.

Ambiga also stressed that it was not up to the prime minister to decide on the matter of international observers as this was the prerogative of the Election Commission.

“And the EC previously said it will consider this. If the EC wants to show its independence, it will take a different stand. Any EC worth its salt will have no problems with international observers,” she said.

Clarifying an earlier statement issued by Bersih, Ambiga said while the electoral watchdog was pleased with the EC for setting up a special unit to rid the voter roll of dubious entries, it would
however be meaningless if the unit was not composed of the right individuals.

“We do not trust the EC, we suggest that representatives from each political party be in that unit.

“It is not rocket science, we have enough qualified people who understand the process and can help in cleaning up the roll. The civil society has always offered to help,” she added.

Ambiga also recalled how EC chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof had in April described the Malaysian electoral roll as the cleanest in the world.

“After so many quarters slogged akin to pushing a boulder uphill and presented evidence, now on the eve of the elections, the EC admits the existence of discrepancies.

“So it seems that the public, who do not have the resources, must unearth the problems and only then, the EC will rectify them. In my opinion, this is just eyewash!” she said.

Is Pakatan really ready to govern?

If what Anwar has done in PKR and Pakatan is testimony to what he is capable of doing, then he is not acceptable to the Malays.

The thing with a general election is this: politicians stand in front of us minus their arrogance, minus their latest Mercedes, minus their mansion in their gated community, minus their secretaries, aides, friends and all the trappings that money can buy to humbly ask you for your votes.

And no matter who they are, in politics there will come that moment when doubt enters their mind and they will nervously ask themselves if maybe this will be the time when karma will hit them in the face.

Will they raise their arms in triumph after the returning officer have declared them the winner or do they gamely extend their hands to their opponent to congratulate them for their victory even as they desperately look for an exit to go commiserate with themselves for their loss?

But before they arrive at that moment in time, there is still a life to be lived and an election to be won by these politicians. The nation is their oyster! And what they have done or promised to do to our nation bears reflection – be it Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat or the Independents – before you decide whom to vote for.

Today we are a nation in a flux. There are verbal and physical political scuffles, racial unrest, religious turmoil and, some say, our economy is in free-fall while others insist that we are poised for growth.

The ebb and flow of political rhetoric emitting from within BN and Pakatan is deafening and impossible to ignore and the 13th general election hangs like a cloud threatening to bring floods to low-lying areas or much-needed rain for farmers – take your pick!

Over all this presides Najib Tun Razak. He is confident of electoral victory and why should he not be? He makes Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s attempts at reforms look unimaginative. His pace in announcing, initiating and implementing reforms is robust but his disregard for fiscal propriety is worrying.

But in an election year he will do what he must to try and ensure that a public sated with BN largesse will reciprocate by casting their votes for BN.

BN believes that electoral victory is at hand, but Najib is still unsure if BN can retake Selangor and so for now he waits to find a way to do so before calling for the games to begin.

Has Pakatan enough push?

For the opposition, the Internet chatter and a perceived surge of support from the people point to a glittering final furlong in the run-up to the 13th general election. But all that glitters is not gold.

Pakatan claims it is in ascendancy politically – not yet totally able to fully dominate all that it surveys but there are reasons to think that Putrajaya beckons.

After all, Pakatan ceramahs are well attended and the juggernaut of Anwar Ibrahim seems to cut a swathe even through the rural areas where Umno dominates.

Johor totters invitingly towards its side of the divide and the defections of once Umno stalwarts is heartening. Surely, Pakatan says, the people of this nation have had enough of a BN government.

Pakatan says it is time for change. DAP, PAS and PKR will overcome their distrusts for each other and work for their common good – that of trying to take political power from the Umno-led BN.

But in politics trying is never enough. In politics what matters are the numbers that you methodically accumulate. Vote by vote, constituency-by-constituency, state-by-state, one MP at a time marshalling them all into a momentum of sorts that moves in tandem towards ensuring ultimate victory at the polls.

This is no easy task. It requires organised manpower, adequate financial resources, an electoral machinery in synch with the tasks demanded of it by its political masters and yet able to gauge and accommodate the nuances of a fickle electorate.

Put all this together and you will have the general election handed over to you on a plate. Huh… easier said than done.

Now who, between BN and Pakatan, have done that? Both sides of the divide are desperately positive that their side will triumph.

Both sides are desperately optimistic that they have the numbers to ensure that enough of their MPs will be elected to enable their side to form the government.

Of course, you need to be optimistic and positive… but desperately so? Why desperately so?

Let me tell you why.

Is Pakatan really ready?

Pakatan has asked that we give the opposition alliance the mandate to form the government, but who from Pakatan will govern our nation? Or more to the point, who do we want from Pakatan to govern us?

Who will be prime minister, deputy prime minister and who shall be in Cabinet? Who will be the menteris besar and who will be governors and datuk bandars? What are the policies they will implement? How will the sharing of power between PKR, DAP and PAS be reflected in reality?

Surely not with three deputy prime ministers and enough ministers to field five football teams (and reserves) without outside help.

All these questions we have asked of Pakatan leaders but they have yet to answer to our satisfaction. We ask and Pakatan tells us:

“Let us get into government first and then we will see! We will know what to do.”

How can they know what to do in Putrjaya when they do not know what to do with PKR and Anwar – or are they in denial that there is a problem with PKR and Anwar?

They know that it is Anwar who calls the shots in PKR, not Azmin Ali. If Azmin talks about Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s “promotion” into Cabinet, then it is Anwar who wants Khalid to be in the Cabinet.

Then what of Selangor? Who does Anwar want to be menteri besar of Selangor? If Pakatan is unable to resolve this at state level, then the matter of who will become what at federal level only portends ill for Pakatan – what more for our nation.

This is but one issue that Pakatan has failed to address. There are others.

Umno’s game plan

Meanwhile, BN declares that the Pakatan coalition has failed even before it talks of forming the government. The temptation to embellish this with my own thoughts is overpowering, but my instinct tells me that I must not do so. And so I shall be quiet.

Pakatan and BN are not yet able to articulate clarity of purpose and how they intend to achieve these purposes and certainly none has yet to clearly state what good government entails from its perspective.

And so we the people can only be desperately optimistic that our hopes and aspirations of politics without greed, corruption and arrogance will also be that of BN and Pakatan, but the prognosis is grim.

The three political entities under the Pakatan banner are now in a race with each other to protect their own vested interest in their own backyard with hardly enough effort put into working together to overcome BN.

BN is desperate no more. If what Anwar has done in PKR and Pakatan is testimony to what he is capable of doing, then a government with Anwar at its head is not acceptable to the Malays. And so for the Malays, it is again Umno.

What Umno is doing now is to reassure the Malays that they will go back once again to what the Malays are comfortable with – the status quo of the Malays in charge of government. Everything else will flow from there.

For the non-Malays, there is still DAP, PKR, MCA, MIC, and for those in Sabah and Sarawak a multitude of political choices.

CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.

Taklimat kes Scorpene ke Singapura

Ini berikutan arahan daripada Speaker Dewan yang enggan membenarkan kehadiran peguam Perancis di Parlimen.

KUALA LUMPUR: Taklimat kes Scorpene yang sepatutnya diadakan di Parlimen esok dipinda ke Hotel Changi di Singapura berikutan arahan daripada Speaker Dewan yang enggan membenarkan kehadiran peguam Perancis.

Taklimat akan bermula pada 11 pagi sehingga 2 petang esok dan dijangka akan dihadiri majoriti ahli Parlimen Pakatan Rakyat.

Tambahan, taklimat yang sepatutnya dilakukan oleh dua peguam Perancis, William Bourdon dan Joseph Brohem terpaksa dibatalkan dan hanya diwakili peguam bersekutu mereka, Apoline Cagnatn.

Cagnatn dikatakan sudah berlepas daripada Perancis pukul 3 petang tadi (waktu Malaysia) dan dijangka tiba di Singapura pada pukul 7 pagi esok.

Speaker Dewan Rakyat Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia dalam responnya berkata, keputusan itu dibuat beradasarkan kuasa mutlaknya untuk menentukan, memberi kebenaran atau arahan bagi membolehkan seseorang masuk ke kawasan Parlimen.

Menurut Pandikar, keputusan itu turut dilakukan kerana mendapat bantahan rasmi daripada Majlis Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional (BNBBC) demi menjaga kedaulatan dan nama baik institusi Parlimen supaya kekal terpelihara.

“Kalau pun ada bukti baru yang perlu diperjelaskan kepada mana-mana pihak khasnya ahli Parlimen, pada hemat saya, ia masih juga berstatus tuduhan, bersifat fan berunsur politik yang bukan ‘bipartisan’.

“Sehubungan itu, saya amat bersetuju dengan pendirian BNBBC jika agenda peribadi ini hendak diperjelaskan, bolehlah menggunakan ruang lain seperti ibu pejabat parti, pejabat Suaram atau lain-lain premis awam yang bersesuaian tanpa melibatkan institusi Parlimen Malaysia.

“Keputusan muktamad ini juga sejajar dengan keputusan saya dalam Majlis Mesyuarat Dewan Rakyat pada 8 November 2012 mengenai ‘Isu
Keselamatan Parlimen Malaysia dan Penggunaan Ruang Sidang Media’ dengan mengambil kira keistimewaan dan hak ahli Parlimen dibawah Peraturan Mesyuarat 93 dan 94 demi memastikan tahap integriti, keluhuran dan kedaulatan institusi Parlimen Malaysia terpelihara sepanjang masa,” katanya.

Tambah Pandikar, setakat ini tiada sebarang permohonan rasmi yang diterimanya, sebaliknya hanya surat makluman mengenai hasrat untuk membawa tetamu undangan (peguam Perancis) masuk ke Parlimen.

Pandikar berkata demikian dalam satu surat jawapan rasmi kepada pejabat Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hari ini.

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Batu Tian Chua dalam sidang media berkata, William dan Joseph tidak dapat hadir kerana enggan mengambil risiko yang tinggi apabila Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) tidak memberikan sebarang jaminan keselamatan kepada mereka.

“KDN kata tertakluk kepada syarat-syarat imigrasi yang akan ditentukan Jabatan Imegresen…tugas mereka hanya nak masuk dan buat taklimat ringkas. Mereka tak berminat nak buat kecoh pun,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu Tian Chua berkata pihaknya mengalu-alukan kehadiran ahli Parlimen BN termasuk ahli Senat ke Singapura esok dan berusaha untuk menyiarkan taklimat tersebut secara langsung termasuk melalui laman sosial Facebook.

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Subang R Sivarsa berkata keputusan Speaker itu merupakan langkah terbaru untuk mengurangkan ruang bagi rakyat menyuarakan pendapat dalam Parlimen.

“Secara langsung menunjukkan adaperkara yang tak mahu didedahkan. Ada perkara yang mereka tak mahu rakyat tahu,” katanya.

Govt complicit in worker abuse, says Tenaganita

Irene Fernandez denounces the 6P programme as a fiasco causing the suffering of thousands.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government was today accused of complicity in the abuse of foreign workers, especially Bangladeshis.

Criticising the 6P programme of amnesty for illegal migrant workers, Tenaganita chief Irene Fernandez called it a fiasco that had caused hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to suffer ill treatment.

She was speaking outside the Bangladesh High Commission, where about 100 Bangladeshis were protesting against being cheated under the 6P programme.

Earlier today, Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh that marked the end of a ban on the South Asian country’s workers that Putrajaya imposed in 2007.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam and Bangladesh’s Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment signed the document at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had earlier said that the agreement was also a means of combating human trafficking.

Fernandez denounced the Bangladesh government for “wilfully entering into this agreement when thousands of their citizens continue to be exploited in Malaysia.”

She was surrounded by Bangladeshi nationals holding up banners alleging fraud under the 6P programme. They were under the watchful eyes of about 50 policemen.

Some 1,000 migrant workers have filed complaints of fraud with Tenaganita and other local NGOs, including Selangor Anti-Human-Trafficking Council (Mapmas). The complaints name 55 government-approved 6P agencies.

Bangladesh nationals are the second largest foreign work force registered in the 6P programme. They number about 400,000.


Fernandez estimated that at least half that number had been cheated by the agencies. She said her estimate was based on testimonies given to Tenaganita.

She said the government’s continued silence over the issue demonstrated its complicity in the abuse of rights and in the fraud that had led to human trafficking.

She asked: “What is the Malaysian government hiding? Who is it protecting, and how are they benefitting from these fraudulent practices?

“The Malaysian authorities have had ample time to act on the numerous complaints filed and evidence received.

“The Malaysian public now demands that the authorities answer for their inaction.”

Fernandez submitted to the embassy a memorandum addressed to Bangladesh’s Minister of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.

The memorandum demanded that the Bangladesh government ensure the following:

i. Bangladeshis in Malaysia are immediately granted valid work permits;

ii. The names of their employers are stated on the work permits;

iii. That all 55 agencies involved in cheating migrants through the 6P programme be held accountable;

v. The practice of using agents for the recruitment and placement of migrants be abolished;

vi. The immediate enforcement of a migrant recruitment and placement policy that protects workers’ rights and dignity;

vii. That the Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia be proactive in addressing complaints and that the labour attaché ensure the protection of rights and the representation of workers seeking redress.


Fernandez noted that the Malaysian government had lauded the 6P programme as a “goodwill gesture”, but she said the realities had shown it to be otherwise.

“The experiences of migrant workers and employers in the past 18 months demonstrate how seriously fraud, abuse and corruption have festered throughout this programme,” she said.

“Whatever the stated objectives of the 6P programme may be, the Malaysian government cannot claim ignorance of the realities of what the 6P has become: a fiasco whereby migrant workers are cheated, abused and remain undocumented despite making substantial payments of between RM3,000 and RM4,000 per person to 6P agents approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

She said thousands of migrants continued to be swindled of their money and left in an undocumented status, open to arrest, detention, whipping and deportation.

DAP likely to field Indian candidate for Labis

Speculation is rife that Senator S Ramakrishnan may take on MCA chief Dr Chua Soi Lek's son, Tee Yong, for the parliament seat.

JOHOR BHARU: Johor DAP is likely to field two Indian candidates in the Segamat and Labis parliamentary constituencies in the next general election.

This is part of Pakatan Rakyat’s strategy in gaining more support from Indian voters in the state.

Senator S Ramakrishnan has been shortlisted for Labis whereas for Segamat, a businessman from Johor Bharu is being favoured by the state leadership headed by Dr Boo Cheng Hau.

Party insiders told FMT that the DAP leadership had endorsed 10 Indian candidates for the coming election compared with only eight in the last election.

Ramakrishnan, 52, would be challenging incumbent Chua Tee Yong, the son of MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek.

The Taiping-born accountant had been attending several functions over the last few months in Labis and its surrounding areas as part of his efforts to introduce himself “unofficially” to the voters.

When met recently, Ramakrishnan declined to confirm his candidency but admitted that he had been frequening Labis.

“It is too early for me to say anything since the party leadership has not finalised the list yet,” he added.

Several local DAP members in Labis and Cha’ah told FMT that the candidate’s race was not an issue as long as he or she could serve the constituents well and usher in development.

“Look at towns like Muar and Batu Pahat, they have developed but Labis has remained the same for the last 30 years,” said a retired headmaster, who declined to be named.

The Labis parliamentry seat has two state seats (Tenang and Bekoh) with nearly 50 % of its voters being Chinese, followed by Malays 35% and Indians 15%.

Meanwhile, DAP chairman Karpal Singh said the party had more or less decided to field an Indian candidate for the Labis seat.

“For Segamat however with the high percentage of Chinese voters there, it’s better to field a Chinese candidate,” he added but declined to name the candidate.

The state party leadership had also proposed to the central excutive committee (CEC) that at least two or three Indian candidates be allowed to contest for state assembly seats.

In a related development, Segamat incumbent MP and MIC deputy president S Subramaniam would likely step aside for a new face from Umno to contest the seat.

Local leaders had been speculating that Umno would swap the seat with MIC, and this would see Subramaniam contesting in Malacca or Negeri Sembilan.

No need for foreign observers, says Pak Lah

The former prime minister described Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's invitation to the Australian government as a waste of time.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that there was no need for a foreign country to observe the Malaysian general election.

“No need for it. It’s a waste of time,” said Abdullah, who served from 2003 till early 2009.

The Kepala Batas MP said this at a press conference after the launch of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (Ideas) interim research report on Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Malaysia.

Two weeks ago, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim invited the Australian government to observe the upcoming general election, claiming the electoral list was marred with irregularities.

The former deputy prime minister promptly received brickbats from the Election Commission and several Barisan Nasional leaders, who said that the electoral body has carried out many improvements to the voting system.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr had also turned down Anwar’s invitation, saying Australia would not interfere with Malaysia’s electoral system.

On the upcoming Umno annual general assembly, Abdullah urged Umno members to show a united front and stop any infighting in the party.

“I hope the assembly will focus on bringing positive changes to the party so that we will become a capable organisation with integrity,” he said.

“Umno is a party that has brought a lot of progress to the nation. It is important for us to reinvent ourselves at all times,” he added.

Meanwhile, Abdullah said that a sound judiciary system was vital to combat the scourge of corruption.

He also said good governance was a key factor in eradicating graft in the country.

“That’s why we should continue to improve the judicial system and promote reforms in our governance.”

However, he stopped short of saying the judiciary was not independent, stating that the judicial system has improved since 2008.

“That was the time I initiated three important reforms in the country; namely, converting the Anti-Corruption Agency [ACA] into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission [MACC], setting up the Judicial Appointment Commission (JAC) and establishing the Integrity Commission of Malaysia,” said Abdullah.

On why he did not give the MACC the power to prosecute, Abdullah said, “It was too drastic of a change. I’m a cautious man; from the feedback I got from government officials, they said MACC has improved a lot.”

Readers pick Anwar for PM

A week-long FMT poll revealed that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang was the least favoured among three personalities.

PETALING JAYA: A majority of FMT readers would like to see PKR de facto leader and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister should Pakatan Rakyat form the government after the 13th general election.

The question of Pakatan Rakyat’s Prime Minister candidate arose following suggestions from PAS Ulama Wing that the party’s president Abdul Hadi Awang be made the prime minister.

The suggestion was made during PAS’ 58th meeting in Kelantan.

Out of 7,269 who took part in week-long FMT poll, 72% or 5,246 vouched for Anwar.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who is also DAP secretary general clinched the second spot with 15% or 1,079 votes.

Interestingly Hadi who had the Ulama wing’s backing had the least amount of support. He clinched the last spot with 292 votes, or just four percent.

There were more votes for the fourth option – None Of The Above. Nine percent of FMT readers (652), chose not to vote for any of one the three leaders.

The poll ran for a week from last Monday.

Karpal leaves political fate to party delegates

(The Star) - DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who is contesting for a seat in the central executive committee, is leaving his political fate to the delegates.

“I have offered myself but it is up to the delegates to elect the best at the CEC election.

“My fate is in the hands of the delegates everyone has a right to speak (but) I cannot please everyone,” he said here yesterday.

The Bukit Gelugor MP was commenting on a report claiming that a “grand design” by the “Lim Dynasty” faction aligned to party adviser and Ipoh Timur MP Lim Kit Siang and son, secretary-general Guan Eng, to oust him from the committee in the party's national elections next month.

The report quoted former DAP grassroots leader Tan Tuan Tat as saying that the plan was hatched to protect the interest of a few as “the warlords don't want the Singh to be their king”.

He had said that they were extremely upset with Karpal's insistence on a “one man, one seat” electoral formula to face the next general election.

Karpal said each time a party election came up, groups would be out to create

Pesky French Lawyer Seeks to Return to KL

William Bourdon
William Bourdon
Sub scandal lawyer, booted out in 2011, scheduled by opposition to address parliament
French lawyer William Bourdon, the leader of an investigation into a long-running scandal involving €150 million in kickbacks over the sale of submarines to the Malaysian defense ministry, was due to land in Kuala Lumpur today to testify on the probe before the Dewan Rakyat, or house of parliament.

It was questionable, however, whether Bourdon would be allowed into the country. He was unceremoniously bundled out by authorities in July of 2011 after giving details of the alleged scandal in a speech in Penang to hundreds of people at a fundraiser to continue his investigation. Bourdon was taken off a flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by immigration officials and was put on another plane out of the country over his protests.

Bourdon and his team, who had been hired to by Suaram to look into the scandal in dissatisfaction over the government’s investigation of the 2006 murder for hire of the Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu, were asked by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to answer questions in parliament tomorrow about the affair.

Bourdon and Suaram have been battered by both the mainstream press, which is largely government-owned, and an army of bloggers who say the scandal has been overblown and that no trial had been ordered by French authorities. Neither Bourdon, Suaram nor Asia Sentinel, which has reported extensively on the case, have ever said a trial was imminent. But the investigation is continuing and investigating magistrates have been appointed by the French courts.

As Asia Sentinel reported in June 2012, French police acting on a request from Bourdon’s legal team raided the headquarters of the state-owned defense giant DCN and its subsidiaries and came up with a wealth of detail that enmeshed former French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and a host of others in the scandal, as well as top officials with DCN.

On June 25, Asia Sentinel published 133 confidential documents from the French court giving exhaustive details on the scandal and uploaded them here. An accompanying story explaining the documents, which were written in French, can be found here.

In the succeeding weeks, and with what is expected to be an extremely close election, the United Malays National Organization and media aligned with it have initiated an unprecedented attack on Suaram, its director Cynthia Gabriel, and independent news organizations that have carried the story, particularly the popular website Malaysiakini, which has 300,000 daily unique viewers. Suaram has been investigated under the companies act, allegedly because its funding is suspect. Malaysiakini editor Steven Gan and publisher Premesh Chandran have both faced police questioning over Malaysiakini’s funding . At one point 15 policemen were sent to the website’s offices to investigate the writer of a letter that the government found objectionable.

The allegations of kickbacks have surrounded the sale of the submarines virtually since the transaction was completed in 2002. However, the case, which could have the potential to bring down the Malaysian government, has been kept under wraps by a government apparently anxious to protect the man who engineered the transaction – then-Defense Minister Najib. The case involves the payment of €114 million in “commissions” to Perimekar Sdn. Bhd., a company wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, then a well-wired security consultant and one of Najib’s best friends, as well as additional payments to a Hong Kong-based company called Terasasi HK Ltd, which was wholly owned by Razak Baginda and his father.

Enmeshed inextricably in the case – and playing a major role in keeping it alive -- is the gruesome murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006, the jilted lover of Razak Baginda, by two of Najib’s bodyguards. According to a confession by one of the two, they were to be paid RM50,000 to RM100,000 to kill the woman and two friends who had accompanied her from Mongolia to confront the security consultant.

Altantuya had acted as a translator on latter element of the deal, according to documents seized by the French police. According to a letter found in her Kuala Lumpur hotel room after her death, she was asking Razak Baginda for US$500,000. In the letter, she expressed regret for attempting to blackmail Razak Baginda.

Details have been leaking out over recent months after a long period in which the case appeared to be closed. Razak Baginda, immediately after being cleared of complicity in the 28-year-old woman’s murder, fled to the UK, where he has remained ever since.

Suaram reportedly was organizing dinners in three Malaysian cities to seek to raise funds to prosecute the case in France when Bourdon was deported in 2011. Bourdon and his team have been providing legal services for free up to this point, but costs are expected to skyrocket when court hearings begin. Suaram said at the time that it hopes to raise about RM100,000 to cover the legal costs.

Khairy fails to shoot down RM100m Anwar suit

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — The High Court today dismissed the application by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to set aside the court’s order to strike out his defence in the RM100 million defamation suit filed against him by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng rendered the decision in chambers in the presence of both parties.

Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah, Anwar’s lawyer, told reporters that the court was of the opinion that Khairy’s (picture) affidavit had no merit and had also ordered him to pay RM30,000 in cost.

The court then fixed December 26 for the hearing.

Meanwhile, Khairy’s lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said his client will appeal the matter at the Court of Appeal.

The application was filed on November 9, following his failure as defendant, to obey a June 29 court order to enter his defence.

He had earlier been ordered by Hue to file his defence but both he and his lawyer had failed to appear in court on August 13, which had been scheduled for case management.

Khairy, who is also Rembau member of parliament, had further stated that his failure to obey the order was unintentional.

On March 7, 2008, Anwar, filed the suit against Khairy, claiming that the latter, who was then Umno Youth deputy chief, had uttered defamatory words and caused a video clip entitled, “Anwar and kin no threat” to be posted on websites, including

The opposition leader also claimed that the video clip on included parts of Khairy’s speech at Lembah Pantai on or around February 20, 2008.

Nurul Izzah’s statement in the Kaum Muda-Kaum Tua context

by AB Sulaiman - CPI

The case of Nurul Izzah Anwar, the PKR vice president, making the statement that there is no compulsion in religion and that this should apply not only to non-Malays but to Malays as well is now commanding the public domain.

Thanks to Utusan Malaysia and the Internet, the speed at which Nurul’s statement spread was staggering. The very next day, it appeared as a front-page headline in the Malay daily but with a twist: it was reported that she had been ‘suggesting’ Malays could commit apostasy; or showing the way to do so. (Apostasy is considered the greatest sin in Malay reckoning.)

To the Malay-Muslim, she has committed a grave offence for which she must be taken to task.

I will try to identify what really is at issue by way of asking some pertinent and relevant questions.

Cutting through the confusion

First question: Nurul quoted the Quranic edict that “there is no compulsion in religion”. Is she right? The answer is yes, she is, as in Surah 2.256.

Following question: Did she state that this edict should apply to Malays as well? Her words spoken at the Nov 3 forum held at the Full Gospel Tabernacle church in Subang Jaya, according to the transcript provided by Malaysiakini, were:

“How can anyone really say, ‘sorry, this only applies to non-Malays.’ It has to apply equally.”

Her statement can be understood as meaning that the Article 11 constitutional provision on the freedom of religion must apply for Malays as well. Since nowhere in the Quran does it mention the Malay ethnicity, we should logically infer that Nurul’s remark was a comment on Malaysian law rather than on Islamic jurisprudence.

Next: why then did former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa reportedly say that the Surah was not applicable to Malays? I do not wish to answer for him, but according to the reports it is because as a religious scholar he feels qualified to comment on such things while others are not.

Sri Gading Member of Parliament Mohamad Aziz raised the Nurul issue in the House on Nov 7 saying

“Apa hukum dari segi syariat Islam atas kenyataan Ahli Parlimen Lembah Pantai yang menyatakan orang Melayu Islam bebas memilih agama yang diminati? Dalam erti kata lain, boleh keluar daripada agama Islam yakni murtad. Kenyataan ini seolah-olah meraikan orang Islam menjadi murtad.”

Translated into English, the MP had described Nurul’s remark as more or less as a statement to celebrate Malay conversion because apostasy will now be permitted among Muslims.

You might ask: Did she actually encourage apostasy for Muslims? The answer is no.

Syariah augmented by civil laws

In her reply to Mohamad Aziz, Mashitah Ibrahim – the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs – said that under the law, anyone found guilty of mocking or maligning Islam could be sentenced to prison not exceeding two years, fined RM3,000 or both.

If wielded, this piece of prohibitive legislation portends a conflict and tussle pitting a reformist and progressive Malay-Muslim mind such as Nurul Izzah’s on the one hand, and the orthodox and conservative mind represented by Mashitah, Nasharudin, Mohamad Aziz and the rest of them on the other.

This conflict is common enough in any religion and Islam is not spared. In Islam, this conflict stemmed from the tussle between Revelation and Reason, which I shall delve into immediately.

For this discourse, I will refer to a scholarly work Crisis in the Muslim Mind by Dr Abdul Hamid Ahmad AbuSulayman who was a Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). In his 1993 book, the author explained the relationship between Revelation and Reason.

Which takes precedence?

Revelation in Islam decrees that all knowledge comes from God via His Revelations found in the Quran which is ‘God’s word’. Reason is Man’s ability to rationalise by using his God-given intelligence and memory. Reason is God’s way of making mankind understand Revelation.

As Revelation is ‘stored’ in the Quran, mankind must use his reasoning ability to adhere to all of the edicts, rules and regulations inherent in this holy book. It is at this point that there appears a split in understanding between the orthodox and the progressive.

To the orthodox, as the Quran is God’s Words, its entire contents are to be the ultimate Truth. The Quran has to be adhered to without any hesitation, doubt, scepticism.

To progressives the Quran might indeed be God’s Words but mankind has been given intelligence by God. The Muslim can and should employ thought and rationality to everything, even to the Quran.

Bow and obey

An illustration taken from Islamic history might help you to understand the point. For this I will refer to the writing of Pervez Hoodbhoy’s work, Islam and Science (1992) from where I take the case of Abu Yusuf Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi or better known as al-Kindi (801-873 CE) – a philosopher, mathematician, and musician during the Caliphate of Al-Mutawwakil in Baghdad.

Al-Kindi pointed out that Surah 55.5 of the Quran states that the sun, moon, stars, mountains, trees and beasts ‘bow themselves’ before God. For the unsophisticated, this invokes an idea wherein all creation literally bends in prayer – a bowing tree, a bowing mountain (for example) bending in prayer.

He had some doubt over this term in its literal sense. After a long mental search, al-Kindi interpreted that ‘bow’ could mean ‘obey’ – the mountains and trees and all other creations obeyed God’s Words but did not bow in doing so.

A point to note is that al-Kindi lived during the period when human civilisation was rudimentary and the literacy rate was low. The aristocratic class was all-powerful and feudalism was the norm. There was also an emergent clergy or ulama class of citizens, usually aligned with the aristocracy. In the event, al-Kindi’s radical views had to be acceptable to the rulers and the ulama class.

Apparently in this specific ‘bowing’ case, they did not agree and deemed his opinion a heresy.

The reaction was swift to his heretic and dangerous beliefs. The Caliph had al-Kindi flogged in public and confiscated his library the ‘Al-Kindiyah’. The old philosopher fell into depression and silence, and died a broken man.

Revelation had won over Reason. God’s Words (and by extension the Syariah) are an immutable set of rules which cannot be modified according to the times.

Sure enough when the four Imams – Maliki (d.795 CE), Hanafi (d.767 CE), Shafii (d.820 CE), and Hanbali (d. 855 CE) – codified the Islamic jurisprudence that is applied right up to today, they were all under the influence of Revelation over Reason.

“There were slight differences in weight they attached to various Quranic verses and degree of validity they assigned to various Prophetic traditions”, says Hoodbhoy. Nonetheless their philosophies were otherwise uniform: Revelation over Reason.

The orthodoxy and conservatism of Islam was later strengthened by the immensely influential Al-Ghazzali (d.1111 CE).

Islamic commentators claim that by the end of the 11th century, all major problems of Islamic jurisprudence had been resolved between these Islamic schools. After that, all the doors for discourse or Ijtihad were slammed shut.

Bolting the Gates ofIjtihad

Let’s pause a little over the points made in the last paragraph. Before the closing of Ijtihad, the flame of learning had burnt bright in Islamic civilisation. Scholars like al-Kindi, Ibn Sina, Omar Khayyam and many others were leading the known world in intellectual development and study. Modern day scholars and adherents of Islam will not miss the opportunity to remind the non-Muslim world of Muslim contributions to human knowledge and science.

But after this glorious era, there was the ascendency of an ossified religiosity making it harder for secular pursuits to exist. It appeared that the closing of Ijtihad had also closed the minds of the Islamic civilisation.

Partly because of this closed mind, the Muslim civilisation missed out in the subsequent human intellectual developments: the thoughts of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton and a long list of illustrious names that had led to the explosion of science and scientific thinking; the growth of democracy, capitalism, the Industrial Revolution. It missed out from the burgeoning economic, social, political, intellectual and technological opportunities and advancements faced and undertaken by the universal human civilisation.

When Islam was brought into this country (circa 1403 CE), it was this orthodox and conservative version that arrived. I have not come across of any record of any meaningful intellectual development from the Malay civilisation from this date.

Kaum Tua, Kaum Muda

Malay intellectual discourse began in the early 20th century, as shown by recent Malay social history. During this time there appeared the tussle between the Kaum Tua and Kaum Muda. Farish Noor has written a concise and fairly authoritative account of these factions under an article titled Pre-Net Reformists in Malaysiakini (22 March 2001).

According to Farish who is presently a senior fellow at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the Kaum Tua comprised mainly the traditional ruling elite led by the royals and aristocrats of the Malay sultanates on the peninsula while the Kaum Mudawere the modernist reformist Malay and Peranakan intelligentsia based in the more cosmopolitan centres on the West coast.

Both groups were worried about the future development of the country and their collective fate under British rule.

The royal families and aristocrats, Farish writes further, launched a number of initiatives that were aimed at protecting the interests of the local communities against the onslaught of British political and economic hegemony. One such effort was the Majlis Agama Kelantan (Kelantan Religious Council) that was formed in 1915. But the Majlis and many other bodies like it soon came under the leadership and patronage of Malay rulers who were more interested in protecting the interests of the traditional ruling elite than the Malay masses.

Another source quoted the conflict between Kaum Muda and Kaum Tua as centring on the validity of Reason to verify religious matters (or Ijtihad) versus those who blindly followed the teachings of early scholars (or Taqlid), see Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 7 (special issue of ‘Diversity of Knowledge on Middle East’: 07-13, 2011 © IDOSI Publications, 2011).

The advocators of taqlid, Kaum Tua, rejected the use of reason in religion as they claimed that the practice conflicted with the Quran. The task of genuine social reform and political organisation therefore devolved instead to the new generation of Malay reformers and modernists who came to be known as Kaum Muda, writes Farish Noor.

Kaum Muda had this modernist opposition towards blind imitation (taqlid) and their emphasis was on the dire need to use Reason. To them, instead of simply accepting the words and opinions of the religious scholars, Man is required to make use of Reason to distinguish between the valid and invalid opinions, or to reinterpret them.

Those arguments are strikingly familiar and from this I can safely deduce that they refer to the tussle of Revelation over Reason in the Malay social context.

In that pre-Internet era, the Kaum Muda was trying to disseminate the new mental order via newspapers, journals and magazines. One prominent personality, Syed Sheikh al-Hadi who hailed from Penang went over to Singapore and Malacca to open madrasahs or religious schools hoping to spread progressive Islam.

The win goes to Kaum Tua

From what I can gather, the inter-generational tussle was ‘won’ by the orthodox Kaum Tua, replicating the win by the clergy over al-Kindi in the early years of Islam as mentioned earlier.

What could have caused this loss by the Kaum Muda? Again I would attribute it to the social environment surrounding the Malay community during the material time or to borrow Farish’s label, the ‘pre-Net’ period.

During that era, the country was under colonial British rule and the rural Malays were an agrarian society. Coupled with this were a low literacy level and the great influence of informal education which centred religion, Malay customs and local traditions.

I remember Malay schools teaching students just the rudiments of reading and writing, basic arithmetic and some history and geography. There was this glaring absence of imparting to the students the ability to think and intellectualise – an endeavour which requires the ability to look for alternatives in the search for truth. There was no teaching them to be critical, innovative, creative, and imaginative.

Without these abilities they had very little capacity to accept change.

Post-Net and info-have era

All this brings us back to the present ‘post-Net’ also known as the ‘info-have’ era. What do we have and where are we today?

We have an independent Malaysia, a higher level of formal education and literacy, knowledge, the ability to analyse and an open mind that can roam far and wide. We have economic progress and a huge middle class.

We are living in the ‘info-have’ era of the second decade of the 21st century.

We have the potential and opportunity to give Reason precedence over Revelation. We have the opportunity to join the Reason-based post-modern universal human civilisation. And within this context, I feel that in addition to Nurul’s answer to the question being spot-on, she is also a true champion of the progressive Kaum Muda of today.

Her Kaum Tua detractors appeared inadequate in clear and independent thinking. Utusan Malaysia had to use the power of suggestion to smear the truth. Nasharudin had to add his own prejudice to corner Nurul by claiming that Surah 2.256 was not meant for Malays. Mashitah had to admit that Malaysian legislation prohibited missionaries to proselytize other religions to Muslims but our law failed to cover Nurul’s situation.

In their ‘Revelationist’ enthusiasm (or blindness) to ‘protect’ Islam, they had all been intellectually dishonest.

Nurul Izzah seems to me to be a victim of the type of criticism levelled by the Kaum Tua mentality that overtly and habitually champions Revelation over Reason in any religious dispute.

Capitalizing on the orthodox and conservative Kaum Tua mindset, it is no surprise that her political enemies seem to be seizing the opportunity to dampen and destroy her promising political career.

The Malaysian government is “broken” and that’s why it must be “fixed” in 13th GE

Over the weekend, in his speech to the state-sponsored NGO gathering “Himpunan Barisan 1Malaysia” at the Putra World Trade Centre, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said:
“Why fix it (the government) if it’s not broken? It’s not broken, far from it. Our country is the envy of many other nations.”
Both at the thousand-people Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat dinner in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday night and the People’s Green Assembly at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the conclusion of the historic 14-day 300-km Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur trek, I had posed the same question whether the “Malaysian government is broken and needs to be fixed?”, and the answer is a thunderous, powerful and united affirmative!
Fortunately, the Malaysian government has not broken down completely, all the more why it must be “fixed” immediately before it reaches a point of no return.
There is a long list why the Malaysian government is “broken” after 55 years of UMNO/BN rule and needs to be “fixed”, but I will only refer to the following instances:
1. Truly independent judiciary and just rule of law.
Malaysia has yet to regain its international reputation as a land where there is truly independent judiciary and just rule of law.
Twenty-four years after the initial and most heinous assault on the judiciary in 1988, resulting in the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two Supreme Court judges, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman and Datuk George Seah and the cowing of more than a generation of judges, public confidence in the professionalism, independence, impartiality and integrity of Malaysian judiciary has yet to be restored.
2. Subordination/subversion of key national institutions.
A major example of a “broken” government that needs to be “fixed” is the subordination/subversion of the independence, impartiality and professionalism of key national institutions, whether the public service, Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Police, the Election Commission or the Anti-Corruption Commission.
3. World’s best education system.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is now talking about having the world’s best education system. But this was promised by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak 17 years ago when he was Education Minister and introduced the Education Act 1996 to replace the Education Act 1961.
The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 has however admitted the failure of the Education Act 1996 to ensure that Malaysia has the world’s best education system, with the growing gap between Malaysia’s education system with those of other countries in student performance and attainments.
When Malaysia first participated in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) in 1999, its average student score was higher than the international average in both Mathematics and Science. By 2007, the last published cycle of results, the Malaysian system’s performance had slipped to below the international average in both Mathematics and Science with a commensurate drop in ranking. Critically, 18% and 20% of Malaysia’s students failed to meet the minimum proficiency levels in Mathematics and Science in 2007, a two to fourfold increase from 7% and 5% respectively in 2003.
The results of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009+ were also discouraging, with Malaysia ranking in the bottom third of 74 participating countries, below the international and OECD average.
A comparison of scores shows that 15-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Shanghai are performing as though they have had three or more years of schooling than 15-year-olds in Malaysia.
4. Among World’s top universities.
In the sixties, University of Malaya was recognised as one of the world’s top universities. Today, we are struggling to get at least one Malaysian university accorded recognition as one of the world’s top universities to rectify the perception and reality that “the best education is only available abroad”.
5. Economic Performance and Competitiveness
Malaysia fell four places from 21st to 25th spot out of 144 countries in the latest Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 of the World Economic Forum. But even more ominous is the country’s losing out to more and more countries although the country was the most developed in Asia after Japan when we achieved independence in 1957, ahead of others like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong but now at risk of being overtaken by other countries like Thailand, Vietnam and even Indonesia.
6. Worsening crime and Safety of Person and Property
Despite claims that Malaysia is the safest country in the region and that the fear of crime is a problem of public perception, the fact is that the increasing incidence of crime, the lack of personal safety and security of property have become major problems affecting not only Malaysians but also investors and tourists.
As a result, crime and the fear of crime have become major problems in the country which have yet to be seriously addressed by the authorities.
7. Worst corruption problem than under any previous Prime Minister
Despite the GTP and NKRA priority to fight corruption, corruption today under Datuk Seri Najib Razak is in a worse condition than under any previous Prime Minister, as testified by the 17 annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index since 1995.
Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries in 1995, but it has fallen to the worst 60th placing out of 183 countries in 2011 with the lowest-ever score of 4.3 – in sharp contrast both to improved rankings and scores of other countries whether in South-East Asia, Asia-Pacific or other Islamic countries in Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
8. Flight of two million of the best and brightest Malaysians abroad in the past four decades.
“Chronic and sustained human flight” is one of the indices of a “failed state”. There will be a renewed exodus of the best and brightest Malaysians abroad if Malaysians prove to be incapable of “fixing” a “broken” government in the 13GE.
9. Respect for human rights and environmental/ecological heritage.
The refusal of the Prime Minister or anyone of the Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs to engage with Himpunan Hijau at the People’s Assembly at Dataran Merdeka this morning at the conclusion of the 14-day 300-km Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur trek to oppose Lynas, affirm sustainable development and halt/review hazardous projects like the gold mine in Bukit Koman, Pahang, the high-tension electrical tower in Rawang, Selangor, refinery and petrochemical integrated development project (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johore is powerful proof that the government is “broken” and needs to be “fixed”.
10. Clean, free and fair elections.
Are the Umno/BN leaders prepared to foreswear conducting the dirtiest election campaign in the forthcoming 13GE?
Najib said Malaysia is the “envy of many other nations”!
What is there for Malaysia to be proud that we are the “envy” of nationals in “failed states” like Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Chad, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan or Haiti.
Malaysians can only hold their heads high if they are the “envy” of successful developed nations like Scandinavian countries, the advanced European countries or others like Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada.
Najib said that a change of government is not necessary for the country as the ruling BN government is ready to change.
Let Najib prove that the Umno/BN government is still capable of “big change” by meeting three challenges in his UMNO presidential speech later this week, to set forth the case that the government is not so “broken” that it needs to be “fixed”, viz:
• Firstly, declare that corruption is the No. 1 problem in UMNO and the country and introduce an Automatic Enforcement System (AEA) to fight grand corruption with unaccountable and extraordinary wealth of political leaders deemed in law as corruption with the ill-gotten wealth to be confiscated by the state unless the accused could prove their lawful origins in a court of law;
• Secondly, establish the Prime Minister’s sincerity in his 1Malaysia concept and slogan where every Malaysian regards himself as Malaysian first and race, religion, socio-economic status or region second by declaring that Ketuanan Rakyat Malaysia is the overarching UMNO objective and not Ketuanan Melayu; and
• Thirdly, demonstrate full democratic credentials and loyalty to the objective to make Malaysia “world’s best democracy” by declaring UMNO’s respect of the right of voters to choose the government they want and full commitment to transfer power peacefully to Pakatan Rakyat if this is the voters’ verdict in the 13th General Elections.

Resolve Disputes Through Negotiation, Not War - Dr Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stressed that conflict between countries should be resolved through negotiation, arbitration or legal process, rather than through war.

As each country has conflicts with other countries, he said war was not a solution for it would not bring any benefits, including economic growth.

He said civilised people should not use war or killing to get things done.

"On the contrary, civilised people should exercise patience and use peaceful means, namely through negotiation or by considering the views of a third party as a facilitator or refer any dispute to the international court," he said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking at a luncheon hosted by him for the participants of the International Forum on 'Conflict and Conciliation in People's Politics - Looking Back or Looking Forward' in conjunction with the Umno General Assembly 2012 here Monday.

K'tan govt firm on implementing Islamic law on non-Muslims

KOTA BAHARU (Nov 25, 2012): The Kelantan government remains firm on implementing Islamic law on non-Muslims despite strong objection from DAP national chairman Karpal Singh.

State Housing, Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the state government was prepared to face the risk of being sued by non-Muslims as each policy made in Kelantan was in line with the provisions in the Constitution.

"I don't want to comment on Karpal's statement. Firstly, I did not hear it directly from him, and secondly, if Karpal sees this legislation, he will agree with me. He's a lawyer.

"It's his right to sue the Kota Baharu Municipal Council (MPKB)...but read this law carefully, otherwise he (Karpal) will have to pay the (court) costs. We are not trying to be smart when we draw up a law or an act," he told a press conference at the MPKB building, here, today.

Newspapers reported today that Karpal has called on the Kelantan PAS government to explain the enforcement of Islamic law on non-Muslims in the state.

Karpal had said that non-Muslims in Kelantan who were issued summonses by MPKB based on Islamic law could challenge the summonses in court.

It was recently reported that a Kota Baharu hair salon manager, Ong Lee Ting, claimed that she was issued with a summons 11 times by the local authority since 2010 because her non-Muslim women workers had cut the hair of non-Muslim men. As result, she was fined RM200 to RM350 each time and she also claimed that other hair salons also faced the same problem.

Takiyuddin said the state government implemented the policy to protect women's honour, whether they were Muslims or not, in order to prevent them from being exposed to sexual harassment and prostitution.

He said hair salons had often been reported to be doing business only as a guise but behind that, were involved in illegal and immoral activities.

"Is a father willing to allow his daughter to be sexually harassed while at work or a husband willing to accept his wife being disturbed by male customers?" he asked.

Kelantan refuses to budge from unisex hair salon ruling

The Star 

KOTA BARU: Kelantan refuses to back down from enforcing its gender-segregation rules for unisex salons where women are prohibited from cutting the hair of men and vice-versa.

State Local Government, Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the by-law was enforced by the Kota Baru Municipal Council in line with the Islamic policies propagated by the PAS government more than 10 years ago.

“It is in line with our government's policy to safeguard women and curb sexual harassment at work places,” he said, adding that the rule applied to all districts in the state.

Takiyuddin, who is PAS assistant secretary-general, cited the Local Government Act 171, Section 107 (sub section 2) and the Local Government Act, which stipulate that licences and permits can only be issued based on the local government's rules and conditions and can be revoked at any time.

As far as the state government was concerned, the ruling for unisex salons was a non-issue, he said at a press conference at the council yesterday.

“But we need to clarify the matter because the media has blown it out of proportion.

“We need to provide the rationale behind the introduction of the by-law,” he said while holding up Friday's copy of The Star.

He said the by-law was introduced in 1991 when the councils froze the issuing of licences and permits to unisex salons state-wide in line with the PAS state government's slogan of “Growing with Islam” that applied to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Takiyuddin said the Kota Baru council decided to include stricter conditions in 1999 after it found salon operators continually violating certain conditions stipulated in their permits.

“It is a known fact that hair salons and unisex establishments are the most convenient places for immoral activities. They provide a cover for men and women to engage in illicit activities.

“If I were Chinese, I will never allow my wife to patronise such salons or even consider allowing my children to work in such places because of their reputation as a hotbed for immoral activities.

“And even a Chinese wife will feel uneasy to allow her husband to go to such places. Frequenting such places will always lead to scandals,” he said.

He said there was nothing wrong for a woman salon worker to provide hairdressing services to a female patron or for a male barber to cut a male customer's hair.

“But when a woman worker gives upper body massages to a male customer, one thing will eventually lead to another, ending with illicit activities,” said Takiyuddin.

He said that in Kuala Lumpur, there were special coaches provided by KTM Komuter and Rapid KL for women.

“My question here is when it comes to salons, why is it a forbidden cut and when it comes to trains, why not call them forbidden coaches ... They are not forbidden, it is just man for man and woman for woman,” he said.

Custodial sentence for statutory rape in future

The New Straits Times 

MANDATORY: No more lighter sentence once Section 376 is amended, says Nazri

PADANG RENGAS: A MANDATORY custodial sentence awaits those convicted of statutory rape, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said yesterday.

The de facto law minister said the Attorney-General's Chambers has advised that Section 376 of the Penal Code be amended so that judges can no longer exercise discretionary powers to reduce the sentence for statutory rape.

At present, the law allows judges to invoke Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code to impose a sentence based on their discretion.

Nazri said the mandatory jail sentence would apply to all statutory rapists once the amendment is tabled and passed at the next Parliament session.

"We hope that it will be followed (by the judges) because once we amend Section 376, there can never be a lighter sentence any more."

Section 376 of the Penal Code states that those convicted of rape, including having sex with those under the age of 16, must be jailed for not less than five years and not more than 20 years, and shall be liable to whipping as well.

Nazri also welcomed Penang High Court judge Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam's decision to sentence an electrician to 10 years and six months in jail on two counts of statutory rape against a minor.

"The judge's decision was clearly in line with the public's wish to see a more heavy sentence imposed in the interest of minors," he added.

Chuah Guan Jiu, 22, was convicted by the Penang Sessions Court of raping the girl, who was then 12 years and 10 months old, at his flat in Air Itam between 7am and 1pm on July 18 last year, and between 2.25pm and 2.45pm the next day.

He was spared a custodial sentence and the court instead ordered that he be bound over on a three-year RM25,000 good behaviour bond.

Chuah appealed against his conviction but Zakaria dismissed it and sentenced him to five years jail for the first offence and five years six months jail for the second offence.

Zakaria ordered for both sentences to run concurrently.

Earlier, Nazri, when presenting his keynote address at a gathering with the Perkumpulan Wanita here, said there were about 6,000 reported statutory rape cases between 2007 and 2012.

"This means that there are at least four such cases every day. Many of these cases involved the victims' family members, including their own fathers.

"This is a serious matter and the government needs to do something urgently to protect young girls."

Death in custody – M Ayadurai (Sungai Buloh prison; 26 Nov 2005)

Over seven years ago today, M Ayadurai was found dead at the Sungai Buloh prison. The post-mortem report revealed he had died of injuries inflicted on his chest.

According to a news report, his wife, M Mageswary, received a telephone call on 28 Nov 2005 informing that her husband had passed away due to multiple injuries to the head and body after being assaulted by his cellmates. Police reports were lodged at the Brickfields district police station and Sungai Joram police station.

Despite the requirement that all custodial deaths be investigated by inquiries conducted pursuant to Chapter XXXII of the Criminal Procedure Code, it does not appear that an inquest has been conducted into M Ayadurai’s death.

Every death in custody must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. M Ayadurai’s death must not be relegated to a mere statistic.

Based on the statistics disclosed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, 156 persons died in police custody between 2000 until February 2011.

We express our heartfelt condolences to M Ayadurai’s family and friends on this anniversary of his death.

Penang Island: Paradise … for developers

Many parts of Penang could soon see a three- to five-fold increase in density – without adequate infrastructure to support it, warns Penang Forum representative Dr Lim Mah Hui. This could have a disastrous impact on the quality of life.
These high-density guideline will reportedly affect “only” 109ha. (That’s 270 acres of our tiny island, mind you.) Already 14 projects have been approved in places like Macalister Road, Lorong Perak, Bukit Gambir, Lembah Permai, Jalan Paya Terubong and Pantai Jerejak.
It is not just 109ha that will be affected. Think of the cumulative traffic congestion in all the surrounding areas and approach roads. Remember, all this is being approved and carried out as policy – even before the Penang Transport Masterplan has been made public and even before consultation for ‘Penang Paradigm’ (which increasingly looks like a waste of time) can take place later this week. And there has been very little open consultation with the public over the “fine-tuning” of high-density guidelines.
Why are more and more developers so keen on building so-called small office/home office (Soho) units? Well, they offer the potential of even higher density – up to five times higher!
Before long, as we draw closer to gridlock, Penang will be transformed into a giant car park, with concrete and tarmac wiping out greenery and displacing trees.
Ironically, this comes even as the state government is touting Penang’s green credentials and liveability to overseas investors and target groups.
This is Mah Hui’s speech at the full council meeting of the MPPP today:
I would like to raise two urgent issues – the guidelines for 87 units per acre and for small office/home office (Soho) – that require public consultation under the policy of Competence, Accountability and Transparency (CAT). These two issues will significantly have an impact on the lives of residents in Penang because of the three-fold increase in density (from 30 units/acre to 87 units/acre) for the first set of guidelines and a possible five-fold (156 units/acre) increase under the guidelines for Soho – compared to the (aborted) Penang Global City Centre project of 37 units/acre.
See his full address here.