28 June, 2007

Images That Changed The World ?

The powerful and controversial photograph provoked feelings of anger, particularly in the United States, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The photo ran only once in many American newspapers because they received critical and angry letters from readers who felt the photo was exploitative, voyeuristic, and disrespectful of the dead. This led to the media's self-censorship of the photograph, preferring instead to print photos of acts of heroism and sacrifice.

On February 1, 1968--during the Tet Offensive--General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, director of South Vietnam's national police force, executed a Viet Cong prisoner on the streets of Saigon. Photograph by Eddie Adams, Murder of A Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief (Vietnam, 1968)

.The first atomic bomb, released on August 6 in Hiroshima (Japan) killed about 80,000 people, but it didn't seem enough because the Japanese didn't surrender right away. Therefore, on August 9 another bomb was released above Nagasaki. The effects of the second bomb were even more devastating - 150,000 people were killed or injured. But the powerful wind, the extremely high temperature and radiation caused enormous long term damage.

"The Kiss", at the end of World War II, in US cities everybody went to the streets to salute the end of combat. Friendship and unity were everywhere. This picture shows a sailor kissing a young nurse in Times Square. The fact is he was kissing every girl he encountered and for that kiss, this particular nurse slapped him.

Phan Thị Kim Phúc known as Kim Phuc (born 1963) was the subject of a famous photo from the Vietnam war. The picture shows her at about age nine running naked after being severely burned on her back by a napalm attack.

This is the picture of a student/men going to work who has just had enough of what he has saw the days before of killing of protesters done by their own government. He tries to stop the tanks in Tiananmen Square by standing in front of them and climbed on top of the tank and began hitting the hatch and yelling (presumably for the drivers to come out), the tank driver didn't crush the man with the bags as a group of people came and dragged him away, we still don't know if the men is alive of dead as the Chinese government executed many of the protesters involved. China is still controlled by a communist regime, but while there are strong willed men like this the country still has hope.

Images That
?????? Malaysia

" Regularly, every day he does his daily dozing . He always looks forward to the yawn of a new day."

"If the community (Chinese) is still afraid of the keris, then, I believe they are not able to compete in today’s globalised world, which is talking about atomic bomb, nuclear and scud missile." (Bernama)

The Altantuya murder trial might just open a Pandora’s box.
Who is Najib Razak that reported in Malaysiakini ?


12 June, 2007

And Now, The End Is Near..

And now, the end is near, and so I face, the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.
I've lived, a life that's full, I've traveled each and every highway.
And more, much more than this,I did it my way.

Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention.
I did, what I had to do, and saw it through, without exemption.
I planned, each charted course, each careful step, along the byway,
and more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew,
When I bit off, more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up, and spit it out.
I faced it all, and I stood tall,
and did it my way.

I've loved, I've laughed and cried,
I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.
To think, I did all that, and may I say --- not in a shy way,
"Oh no, oh no not me,
I did it my way".

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things, he truly feels,
And not the words, of one who kneels.
The record shows, I took the blows ---
And did it my way!

I did it my way.

One year, more than 500 posts, this blog will enter a temporary hiatus now.

Just when Malaysia’s Government servants will be getting a confirmed pay rise, effective July 1, I am in the process of being made redundant from a company that I am working at for the past 20 years. In fact, more than a thousand have been retrenched since March this year.

I need to find a job !

Job hunting needs a lot of time, especially these days, where vacancies are on a slump.

Downsizing, making employees redundant is inevitable and part of co operative life in Malaysia., there can be no denying that it is a necessary evil since the reign of Abdullah, the sleepy PM !

Initially, I had mixed emotions about being retrenched when announced, but I know I have to face this inevitable truth.

Dear friends, wonderful readers, pray for me, wish me Good luck with the job hunt.

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with more Rojaks and Cocktail, of which "I did it my way" !

Until then, it is bye bye from now!

10 June, 2007


(Video clip taken from YouTube posted by travelling84)

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was married to Jeanne Abdullah yesterday in a private ceremony attended by their families.

The akad nikah, conducted by Putrajaya Mosque imam Abd Manaf Mat, at 2.50pm, was witnessed by Abdullah’s son, Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah, and son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, according to a statement issued by the prime minister’s family to Bernama.

Abdullah declared his marriage vows at the surau of his official residence, Seri Perdana.

Guests said that after having been formally pronounced as Jeanne’s husband, Abdullah slipped a solitaire diamond ring on his wife’s left ring finger before kissing her on the cheek.

Jeanne then slipped a wedding band on Abdullah’s finger before taking his hands together into hers and kissing them.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah will attend the royal wedding reception of Sultan Brunei's daughter Anak Puteri Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah with Pengiran Khairul Khalil Pengiran Syed Haji Jaafar on Monday.

An official source here said Abdullah and his wife are expected to arrive here at about 5.15pm on a government executive jet to attend the reception of the couple who were married on Thursday.

Abdullah and his wife would be attending the reception of Anak Puteri Hajah Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah, the fourth daughter of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, at Istana Nurul Iman on the invitation of the Brunei government.

It will be the first official function to be attended by Abdullah and Jeanne Abdullah after their marriage today.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - has his wish of having a low-key wedding granted. But his decision to keep the ceremony low-key was also, understandably, baffling to some.


09 June, 2007

A “Settled” Abdullah

A Whole New World
(from Aladdin)

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
Now I'm in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don't you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath - it gets better
I'm like a shooting star
I've come so far
I can't go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I'll chase them anywhere
There's time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That's where we'll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

The marriage between Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah was solemnised at Prime Minister's official residence in "Seri Perdana" here today, Saturday.

The akad nikah ceremony was solemnised by the Imam of the Putrajaya Mosque, Haji Abd Manaf Mat, at 2.50pm. It was witnessed by the prime minister's son, Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah, and son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin.

The ceremony was attended by close relatives, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's family to Bernama at 3.40pm.

"The prime minister and his wife would like to thank the people for their good wishes for a happy marriage," the statement added.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Friday extended congratulations to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on his marriage tomorrow to Jeanne Abdullah.

Dr Mahathir said he hoped that Abdullah and Jeanne would have a happy married life together.

"As he (Abdullah) has lost his wife, it is `harus' (allowable in Islam) for him to get married again and I wish to congratulate him and pray for him to have a happy married life," .

I am thrilled that he has found his new lifelong companion. Jeanne will be a great asset to him, his family, and our country. I have heard nothing but positive feedback on her character and personality. She has excellent people skills, and is comfortable with people from all walks of life. Her personality complements his. She is well organized and has modest taste, a marked contrast to Abdullah. She will be an elegant and competent hostess at Seri Perdana.

With her modern outlook and background as a career woman, Jeanne will be very comfortable accompanying the Prime Minister on his overseas visits. She will hold her own among the wives of other heads of states and royalty.

My hope is that some of Jeanne’s organizational and time management skills will rub off on her new husband. God knows, Abdullah needs them! An injection of self-discipline will also do him good. She has to, otherwise he will continue to be bogged down with useless official trivia, with no time left for her. Alternatively. he may devote so much attention to his new wife to the detriment of his official duties.

I hope she would be successful in imparting to him this central message: Deeds speak louder than words. This is the message you, Raja Petra and others have not been successful in imparting on Abdullah. She needs to bring a much-needed dose of realism to his life. We have had enough of that put-on “feel good” sentiment. We demand results now, nearly four years into his leadership.

Like many, I am torn between in wanting to believe that he can lead, now that he is a “new” man. The reality however, points toward nothing but hot air and NATO (No action, talk only).

Like others, I hope that with Jeanne by his side, Abdullah would now settle down and pay attention to the many problems facing our nation, like making it less corrupt and fixing the economy. In short, I hope she will inspire him not only to be a “new man” but also a “new” leader.

We Malaysians are a forgiving lot; we are willing to give him yet another chance to prove his leadership. I do not know why, as there is nothing in his track record to support our contention. Nonetheless I always have faith that we humans are capable of learning, adapting, changing our mindset, and renewing ourselves. I am going against my better judgment here, but it is my hope that with Jeanne beside him, he would have inner peace and be a leader worthy of our great nation.

Din Merican


There is nothing more heartwarming than to see two people in love declaring their commitment to each other, and sharing that joyous news with us all. Love is always beautiful and precious, no matter how many times around.

The only sour note to an otherwise sweet occasion was when the Prime Minister’s office ordered the mainstream editors to tow the line on what and what not to report. They of course willingly obliged; the force of habit.

We cannot lay the blame solely on the control freaks of the Fourth Floor; they have too many enablers in the editorial floors of our newspapers, radio and television stations. If this is how the boys on the Fourth Floor handle the good news, imagine what they would do when the news is bad!

The last occasion when citizens were engrossed with details of their leader’s love life was the time when President Clinton was busy with that infamous intern in the closet of the Oval Office.

At his age, it is unlikely that Abdullah would have any hitherto hidden talent remaining untapped. The chance of a “late bloom” is remote.

God knows, many sharp minds in Malaysia were taken in by Abdullah! Just ask Mahathir! The difference between Chauncy the gardener and Abdullah the Prime Minister is that Chauncy had no advisors. What he uttered were his own words; he was his own true self. Fool on those who wanted to read or give something more to the simple gardening wisdom he uttered.

Abdullah’s advisors insulate him. Even if he were to be transformed by his new love, his advisors would remain the same, and so would their advice to him.

While the country has no choice but to tolerate his “No action, talk only” stance, Jeanne would definitely not be satisfied with Abdullah’s NATO, husband-wise!

My fear is that with Abdullah totally consumed with his newfound love, his advisors would now become even more emboldened. Abdullah would not be there, at least mentally, to restrain them.

- Dr M. Bakri Musa


08 June, 2007

Why The English Language Is Hard to learn

There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple...
Is cheese the plural of choose?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
In what language do people recite at a play, and play at a recital?
Ship by truck, and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?
Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce, and hammers don't ham?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese?
One index, two indices?
How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
When a house burns up, it burns down.
You fill in a form by filling it out, and an alarm clock goes off by going on.
When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?
.English muffins were not invented in England or French fries in France.
How can 'slim chance and a fat chance' be the same, while ' wise man and a wise guy' are opposites?

We must polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

I did not object to the object.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

The buck does funny things when the does are present.

A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

After a number of injections my jaw got number.

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

The more I learn, the less I know.

Now i know why i failed in English.

It's not my fault but the silly language doesn't quite know whether it's coming or going



06 June, 2007

True Rumour !

Me married? Just rumours, says PM. Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi laughed off talk that he has got married, dismissing it as mere rumours.

Speculation that Abdullah had remarried or was about to do so has been rife after recent postings on the Net, especially after one blogger published a fictionalised movie poster with a picture of the Prime Minister posing with a woman.

Subsequently, the blogger posted his “wholehearted apology” which stated, among other things: “At this particular instant, I can only assume that the speculation is true until it is proven beyond reasonable doubt, fictitious.”

“Harap Datuk Seri tak marah. Rumour dalam Internet mengatakan Datuk Seri akan berkahwin (Hopefully, Datuk Seri will not be angry. There are rumours in the Internet saying that Datuk Seri is getting married),” said the reporter.

Abdullah drew laughter from the floor by replying : “You kata ini nak bagi I marah? That’s why you say harap I tak marah? Itu rumours, rumours, rumourslah. (Are you saying this to make me angry? That’s why you say ... hopefully I won’t be angry. They are rumours)

Pressed further on whether he was planning to get married in the near future, Abdullah said laughingly : “Rumours, rumours.”

The exchange of questions ended with the Prime Minister saying once again: “Rumour-lah” with a grin before asking to move on to another topic.

“Ada lagi soalan lain? Siapa lagi nak kahwin? (Any other questions? Who else wants to get married),” he said in jest. (Star March 7th 2007)

Barely three months ago !! And now, "Confirmed! Pak Lah to re-marry"

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who lost his wife to breast cancer, will remarry this Saturday, the premier's office said in a statement Wednesday.

The announcement comes amid rumours of Abdullah's recent romance with his future wife, Jeanne Abdullah. The premier had in the past refused to comment on the relationship.

The wedding on Saturday is scheduled to take place at the official residence of the prime minister and will be attended by close relatives only, the statement said.

Jeanne was born in Kuala Lumpur on July 29 1953 and is the eldest of four siblings.

She was educated at Sekolah Menengah Assunta and has wide experience in administration and hotel management and has worked as supervisor of the official residence of the deputy prime minister and manager of the Seri Perdana Complex.

Jeanne has two daughters, Nadiah and Nadene.

Khairy Jamaluddin, the son-in-law of the prime minister, says Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's marriage to Jeanne Abdullah is an event that will bring lots of meaning to the family.

Khairy, popularly known as KJ, said he was very happy with the news.

"I, my wife, Nori, my brother-in-law and his wife are happy with the news. We fully support his (Prime Minister's) decision for the marriage.

"We have known auntie Jeanne for a long time and we are very close.

"He (Prime Minister) consulted all of us and we have given our blessing. It is going to be a simple wedding among family members," the Umno Youth deputy chief, told reporters .



05 June, 2007

Special TV1 tribute to Loga of Alleycats

Those wishing to pay homage to Loganathan Arumugam of the Alleycats who passed away on Monday can do so by sending an SMS message during a special tribute programme, Loga Dalam Kenangan (Loga in Memory).

TV1 will be airing the three-part special programme in memory of Loganathan, better known as Loga, at 8.45pm Wednesday night.

The 54-year-old singer-flautist died Monday morning from lung cancer

The 45-minute programme would be conducted in Bahasa Malaysia and would aired on the same slot over three weeks, said RTM TV production director Rokiah Norma Mohd Ramli.


Anwar: "We must encourage open debate"

Aliran Monthly gets Anwar Ibrahim to speak frankly about Islam and the judiciary, including the state of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in the light of recent conversion cases and the aborted Article 11 Coalition road-show last year. He goes on to discuss his own efforts at encouraging intra-Muslim dialogue.

AM: That was one of the weaknesses of the Opposition in the 2004 election. Between 1999 and 2004, Pas mistook what was a fight for constitutional government to be a victory for their own vision of an end to secular government. This time around, how will the Opposition deal with these other things – the Article 11 problem, the issues of apostasy, of certain kinds of conversions. These things bedevilled inter-religious relations the past year. Will the Opposition offer something different from what the government is offering?

Anwar: First, we must encourage open debate and a public discourse contrary to the government’s position of sweeping it under the carpet or denying the right of Malaysians to engage. Secondly, when we have a problem – particularly with some elements in the Islamic groups that tend to consider it blasphemous and will not allow open debate; we have strongly encouraged them to reverse their stand.

I have taken the initiative to convene an intra-Muslim dialogue recently. Other than Keadilan, Pas, JIM, Abim, and Muslim Professionals were there. And the consensus was that we must allow for this open discussion. I told them, “Listen to them (the groups you disagree with); you can take very strong positions and argue the case out.”

We even invited the conveners of Article 11 (Coalition), the IFC (Inter Faith Commission) to attend, and Sisters-in-Islam; they refused for a number of reasons.

But one major success is that there was a willingness for dialogue among the so-called Islamists, who were condemned in the past for not being willing to engage in any dialogue.

AM: We in Aliran have never been very fond of condemning people. We remain not only one of the few multiethnic civil society organisations, but we are one of the very rare organisations that monitor ISA detainees who have been detained on allegations of being members of unknown groups such as KMM. We have, on principle, refused to accept the incarceration of people on unproven grounds. Nonetheless, we participate in forums like Article 11’s. Then we found that some people, who were quite happy to be with us protesting outside Kamunting Detention Camp, suddenly disrupt other forums we had a legitimate right to hold. While it is nice to hear that some of these groups would be open, their idea of dialogue is a bit peculiar.

Anwar: We know. That (disruption of the Article 11 Forum) was an unfortunate incident, but then it has been overtaken by events. In the discussions there was this consensus. I am not claiming credit because there was this consensus built in the forum. We must allow for this.

But some of the concerns of the Muslims are real – at least the perceived threat – because there is a new small group of fundamentally secular elements – backed by the national media which publicize the positions of these few elites, backed by Sisters-in-Islam, backed by the forces of ministerial authority.

And whenever there is an attempt by any of these Muslim scholars to rebut, they are sidelined. So, there is resentment. It is a perception issue now. There is no attempt to engage them in a moderate stance.

I want to advise, I’ve said publicly. Take the IFC. I wouldn’t say I’d welcome the approach it represents. Of course, if you ask me, it’s a free country. I consider myself a liberal. If they want to speak, although I disagree with them, it is their right. But, given a choice, I’d have said that they should try and engage, take a more moderate position themselves, try and understand the views and concerns of the other side.

Now we have Muslims feeling they are threatened, non-Muslims feeling they have been compelled.

I remember the Moorthy case. It is a classic. Finally, believe it or not, there was a consensus, among the Muslims, at least those that I met who represented the Muslim groups. I said, “Look, the intention of Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution is to allow Muslims to seek adjudication in the Syariah Court.”

But the problem for Moorthy’s wife, for whom Azizah had a lot of sympathy, was different. Azizah met and assured her, “You have every right to go to the civil court.”

When I discussed this with the Ulama Association, Abim – JIM was also there – their concern was, “These fellows not only want the right for Moorthy’s wife, they want to close down the 121(1A) avenue in our courts.” Do you see the perception problem here?

Some non-Muslim elements, however, say, “Our position and our faith, our freedom, basic rights are being affected.”

Nobody is taking the initiative to meet them. IFC will not work; nor will it be credible because it is seen to be hostile against the religious elements. I’d suggest, therefore, if at all you want to advance, the approach has to be moderated by a softer line. Because religion can become very emotional, and exchanges become rancorous.

That was why when I proposed the intra-Muslim dialogue, some of my non-Muslim friends in Keadilan said, “You have been talking about inter-religious dialogue all along; suddenly, you say intra-Muslim.”

It is difficult to get a consensus among the Muslims; why don’t we try to get a minimum consensus? A minimum consensus, to my mind, is the higher objective even for the Muslims – it means freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, sanctity of life and property and the dignity of men and women.

AM: This problem of perception doesn’t arise out of a reality of rising inter-religious confrontation. That’s our interpretation. Even if there is insecurity within the Muslim community in Malaysia – no matter what the perception - we can’t see how anyone can say the status of Muslims is being threatened.

Anwar: I agree with you but that is their perception. I said to them, “You are in the vast majority. You are leading – Malay leadership in the ruling elite, Malay leadership of the Opposition.” But they say, “Contrary to all this, this is what’s happening. 100,000 [apostates].”

I say, “We have to establish the facts.” Not defending or condoning, I am just stating. We have to deal with this problem. I want results. The result for me is to be seen to be willing to speak to the left and the right.

In fact, I told the Muslim crowd, “I object when everybody is critical of the so-called liberals. Because in many ways I am a liberal. And I think Muslims should be liberal.”

They say, “What liberal?”

I reply, “I am not talking about being fundamentally secular. But being liberal means you have to be prepared to listen; you have to accept that people differ; you have to learn to tolerate differences. Not that you agree; you can disagree very strongly.”

I was just forwarding to some friends this morning a New York Times article about this new reaction towards anything (with a) slightly religious connotation by the fundamentally secular. There is a big debate. They are trying to get this debate ongoing.

But what we lack in this country is a discourse; a healthy vibrant discourse is absent.

AM: Progressive Muslims don’t seem to be speaking out; that’s a tragedy. Take the Mufti of Perak. He said, one, 150,000 people left Islam; two, the ‘Deepa Raya’ celebration was unIslamic; three, Datuk Azhar allegedly appearing in church to convert Malays into Christianity. All these have been reported. Nobody condemned his statements. Why is he still occupying his position? People who spread disunity and discord shouldn’t be in a position of influence, in a position of power.

Anwar: I don’t want to be personal with regard to the Mufti of Perak, who happens to be a personal friend and has been in many ways liberal and tolerant. I’m quite amazed how this concern has arisen. He did explain through a friend that he had evidence of a massive effort to forcibly convert Muslims.

To which I said, “Then you report.” There are ways, there are procedures.

Ultimately the issue of faith is a personal issue, a personal choice. It is very difficult. I’m not saying this to appease the non-Muslims. I believe that Islam has a lot to offer. But I’m not here to compel. I’m not in a position to do so. I have neither the power nor the influence. Nobody has the power on earth to influence, to compel in terms of faith.

As to articulating the issues in public, we have done it. I’ve done so with the Moorthy case, I was very open about it. Mind you, it coincided with the Pas Muktamar, where there were about 40,000 people. Hadi was on my right and Nik Aziz was on my left. I was speaking about the Moorthy case. It wasn’t easy. I was just testing the ground. I said, “ I am a Muslim. I am a committed Muslim. I pray, I fast, I don’t drink. That is a fact, right?”

Then I moved on, “Here’s Moorthy’s wife, Kaliammal. She’s clearly non-Muslim. Okay, you can say Moorthy’s religious status is a question mark. But how can you deny her the right to go to court? She was legally married to Moorthy.”

According to Azizah who went to see her, Kaliammal was really emotional. She took care of Moorthy for months. Azizah said, “Give her at least this right.” But was that reported? No. Did the PAS leadership object to that? No.

So I agree with you: Some of us must have the courage to deal with these matters head-on. That’s why I was very disappointed with the failure of Malik and the Sisters to appear at the intra-Muslim religious dialogue for whatever reasons. It was a very good opportunity: I could persuade Pas, Abim, JIM, Muslim Professionals to agree to listen to them – which is a major shift, because in the past they were accused of disallowing people even to speak in a public forum.

AM: If not the IFC, which has all this baggage, what kind of mechanism or approach would you use to handle this kind of situation? Is there a need for an institutionalisation of the process?

Anwar: We must move towards that. There is no choice. How, in what form, to get more friendly groups to start discussing – that’s what I tried with the intra-Muslim dialogue. I don’t know whether you saw part of the resolution where the issue of commitment to democracy and free expression was agreed by all parties. Or the issue of tolerance and how it was tied to governance and accountability. These are broader issues on which we should have a unified commitment. Others may say, “They may agree but then sometimes their rhetoric need not necessarily be that consistent.” But it was a meaningful beginning.

AM: Perhaps one of the problems with Islam in Malaysia is the close association between being a Malay and being a Muslim.

Anwar: Ya... well, it's a reality. It can be a source of strength but also of flaws if we are not careful. We have to educate the Malays. The issue of Malay-Muslims is constitutional, not Islamic. But they must realise there’s a difference between a constitutional position and a Muslim position. There are more Muslims in China than in Malaysia, more Muslims in India than in Malaysia. They must understand that difference.

AM: Many of your problems over the past years coincided with some of our problems: we all had to appear in one way or another before the judiciary. Many calls have been made by various groups – the Bar Council, Aliran, etc – to have an inquiry into the 1988 judicial crisis which opened the floodgates for the erosion of confidence in the Judiciary. You yourself have some suits pending … do you feel comfortable...

Anwar: I’m very comfortable with the judiciary. It is very relevant contrary to Augustine Paul’s dictum (laughs). I came out publicly and in my blog as well on the report of Tun Salleh’s position that an independent commission is an imperative. Not as part of a personal agenda against Mahathir, but to reverse the erosion of confidence. There were weaknesses prior to 1988 because the judiciary tended to be a bit biased in favour of the government, even prior to Tun Salleh’s case.

But the disruption came under Tun Hamid Omar. Hamid Omar was the main culprit used by Mahathir to destroy the independence of the judiciary. Hamid was followed by Eusoff Chin. This continues to a varying degree; it has not been resolved.

Putting an independent commission to look at it is also an issue of justice. People say you should be able to forgive. It’s true. But here’s a clear case of injustice perpetrated against the Supreme Court, Federal Court, against justice. This needs to be corrected.

Tun Salleh is absolutely right when he says he wants his name to be cleared. It’s regrettable that Prime Minister Abdullah has taken an irresponsible position in this particular case. He talks about Hadhari. What is Hadhari when you don’t respect the basic principle of the rule of law and justice? When injustices are perpetrated against people? It needs to be corrected. Whether you institute criminal action against the perpetrators of the crime – that’s for him to decide – Tun Salleh’s name must be cleared.

Take Mandela, the ANC [African National Congress]. There was a truth commission, reconciliation, a process. Here, that is absent. People just come out, promote their views, some on their websites, and say, “Oh, let’s forget the past and move on.” And they start highlighting Mahathir’s role and forget the crimes perpetrated against so many people in the past. Not just my personal case; there were hundreds of other cases ... the banning of magazines and journals, thousands detained etc. But correction begins with the judiciary, which is the last bastion.

AM: It’s difficult to believe that a one-man army could ride roughshod, destroy this institution, and do in innocent people through lies and distortions. Yet the entire Cabinet kept quiet.

Anwar: No, let me clarify. That was in 1988. There was no consensus on both the assault on the judiciary and the detentions under Operasi Lalang. I took the matter up with Mahathir – it is known to Datuk Ahmad Sebi and Chandra Muzaffar.

What I have been criticised for, and I don’t think I can be absolved entirely of blame, is that I did not resign then. Okay. But for the record I did bring the issues up. But that was a system in which the Prime Minister hardly referred to the Cabinet: just the procedural thing went to the Cabinet. There was no discussion about it.

Read the interview here .

Mean time, I quote a letter published in Malaysiakini :"Malaysia need not go Lebanon’s way" by Neil Khor, Cambridge :


The Lina Joy case has brought into light Malaysia's U-turn from being a secular state. It is an acknowledgment of a reality that many find unpalatable and I believe, an equal number may find comforting.

Just before he left office, Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that PAS' platform was no longer relevant. Malaysia was, by all accounts, an Islamic state. Of course, to the fundamentalists, this was nonsense but today, reality speaks louder than words. We are an Islamic state in the most awkward sense of the term. Malaysia is an Islamic state when it comes to its Muslims and a secular state when it deals with its non-Muslims. Through adaptation to local conditions, this strange double-feature of our legal system has emerged. But this is an untenable bifurcation as the civil service, including the law courts, are increasingly dominated by Muslims.

Today, the problem is not felt by non-Muslims but by some Muslims themselves. Why, a Malay friend asks, should Malays be restricted by another set of rules? The answer is quite simple (again in Mahathir's words): it is the price a Malay pays for his privileges. This view is based on the fact that Malay rights and Umno dominance cannot be upheld without the pairing of religion and ethnicity. PAS will never come to power if the Islamic state it promotes gives equality to all Muslims regardless of ethnicity for then, the non-Muslims might convert and then where will the Malays be?

But this is not a long term solution. Optimists will say that this is but another example of Malaysian adaptation, its flexibility that has so far ensured its survival. Think of our two educational systems, our public and private sectors, our mutually exclusive lives.

There was another country, some decades ago, that had a similar bifurcation in many aspects of its national life. It flourished for a while but then got mired in larger international wars. Lebanon was one of the Arab world's most progressive states but today it is in shambles.

Recent history has shown that Malaysians are a docile lot. A people who ‘forget easily’ the mistakes of government, the trespasses of politicians. We all have what the Malays call a ‘tolak ansur’ (push and retreat) attitude.

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04 June, 2007

Temporary marriage to relieve lust ?

It is said that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world.

To prostitute means to give someone the right to use the body for a sum. Do all the prostitutes sell their bodies for money only?

Some might be selling their body for food, or a gift or something else. So, we can say that prostitution means selling the right to use the body for something in exchange.

Marriage or Prostitution ?
Iran Minister favours temporary marriage to relieve lust

Iran's interior minister has challenged a social taboo by urging the revival of the ancient Shia practice of temporary marriage to give young people easier legitimate access to sex.

Moustafa Pourmohammadi, the minister, said the tradition, known as sigheh, should be promoted to offset a trend towards later marriage, which he said was depriving Iran's youth of sexual fulfilment.

The custom of sigheh, which allows couples to establish unions lasting from a few minutes to 99 years, is permitted under Shia Islam, but has been likened in Iran to prostitution.

But Pourmohammadi, a conservative cleric, described it as "God's rule" and said it was an acceptable alternative to pre-marital sex, which is forbidden under Islamic law.

"The increase in the marriage age in this country has caused many problems," he told a conference in the city of Qom.

"Is it possible that Islam is indifferent to a 15-year-old youth into whom God has put lust? We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage. Islam is a comprehensive and complete religion and has a solution for every behaviour and need, and temporary marriage is one of its solutions for the needs of the youth."

He called on religious schools to study the possible side effects of an increase in the practice.

Roughly half of Iran's 70 million people are under the age of 30. Increasing numbers are delaying marriage under monetary pressures, including rising inflation and house prices.

Pourmohammadi's plea echoed a similar call in 1990 by Iran's president at the time, Hashemi Rafsanjani, who said temporary marriage was preferable to being "promiscuous like the westerners."

However, the idea has been attacked by women's groups.

Rafat Bayat, a fundamentalist female MP, said the custom had to be strictly supervised and limited. "Do you accept, yourself, to tell to your daughter's suitor that your daughter has already made temporary marriage several times?" she asked Pourmohammadi.

As it clashes with a cultural tradition favouring women being virgins until marriage, sigheh has been unpopular among Iranians. It allows Muslim men to have temporary marriages with non-Muslim women, but Muslim women can only have such relationships with co-religionists. Sigheh children are classed as legitimate.

The custom is thought to have originated among pre-Islamic Arab tribes. The Prophet Mohammed recommended it to his companions and soldiers, though it was later banned under Sunni Islam.

(The Hindu)

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Delay in murder trial

Politically charged trial of three accused murderers is delayed as prosecution team is suddenly changed

With the prosecution team abruptly changing hands Monday, a Malaysian High Court judge has granted a two-week postponement of the politically-charged trial of three defendants for the gruesome murder last October of a 28-year-old Mongolian beauty.

Adding to the confusion, Zulkifli Noordi, a defense attorney for one of the policemen charged in the case, quit, saying there were "serious attempts by third parties to interfere with the defence I proposed." He didn't elaborate, but said the interference would compromise his ability to act in the case.

Zulkifli Noordin, former counsel of Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, said there was serious interference by third parties in his preparation of the defence and trial which put him in a position of not being able to carry out his duty to defend his client to the best of his ability.

“In addition, there were serious attempts by third parties to interfere with the defence that I propose to establish on behalf of my client for the purpose of protecting and for the benefit of certain parties

“I strongly believe therefore that to continue to act further for my client in the conduct of this case would compromise my principle and position as an officer of the court with my main task to uphold truth and justice without fear and favour,” he said in a statement distributed to the local and foreign media, reported in Malaysiakini here.

Mongolian Model Altantuya Murder Case Postponed To June 18, Razak Denied Bail

SHAH ALAM, June 4 Jun (Bernama) -- The Mongolian model Altantuya murder case which started in the High Court here Monday was postponed to June 18 and is expected to last till August in view of the large number of prosecution witnesses.

Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yassin fixed the date after allowing a postponement sought by deputy public prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah who had just taken over the case.

He said the trial would continue if all the prosecution witnesses had not completed their testimonies by August.

The trial was previously fixed for four weeks starting Monday.

Mohd Zaki also rejected an application for bail by Wong Kian Kheong, counsel for political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, who is charged with abetting two policemen in committing the murder.

Tun Abdul Majid told the court at the start of the trial that he was assigned the case by the Attorney-General's Chambers yesterday and needed time to look through the statements of more than 100 witnesses.

He will be assisted by deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup. The case was previously handled by head of the Classified Cases Unit of the AG's Chambers Sallehuddin Saidin and deputy public prosecutor Noreen Badaruddin.

C/Insp Azilah Hadri, 30, and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, are charged with murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, at Lots 12843 and 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year.

Abdul Razak, 46, is charged with abetting them at Bangunan Getah Asli in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, between 9.54am and 11.05am on Oct 18.

They face the death sentence if convicted.

The courthouse was packed with members of the public, the accused's family members, local and foreign media representatives and observers who wanted to follow the proceedings in the high-profile case.

In the meantime, Altantuya's family has filed an RM100mil civil suit against the Government of Malaysia as well as the three defendants.

Read also : Altantuya Murder: Stop Speculating, Let The Court Decide!

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03 June, 2007

All eyes on Razak now

With the trial set to begin Monday, Malaysians hope a basic but still elusive question will be answered: who was behind the murder in October of Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, and why?

1,000 “angry” Mongolian mothers signed a letter addressed to Malaysians on 31 May 2007 via Susan's blog :"Altantuya: 1,000 ‘angry’ Mongolian Mothers"

Images courtesy of Susan Loone

The New Straits Times carries a story today "NewsFocus: All eyes on Razak" :

One of the biggest and most talked about trials in recent years starts tomorrow and tongues will most definitely wag from start to finish. And, beyond.

All eyes will be on High Court 3 in Shah Alam where the murder trial of Altantuya Shaariibuu begins in a quest to determine the culprit and motive behind the death of the Mongolian beauty.

This is because of the gruesome manner in which Altantuya was killed and the "big" names allegedly involved.

One of these "big" names is 46-year-old political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, charged with abetting Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who were both charged with with Altantuya’s murder.

It will be an emotional return to Malaysia for Shaariibuu Setev.

The father of murdered model Altantuya will no doubt be pained by the memories which will be rekindled by the highly-charged murder trial which begins tomorrow.

It will be made especially so as Shaaribuu is one of four witnesses from Mongolia set to testify in the course of the trial.

The others are Altantuya’s cousins, who accompanied her on her fateful trip to Malaysia.

Two of them have been identified as Nirmaa Gerelmaa @ Amy and Ochir.

All four were subpoenaed by the police to testify in the trial. As such, their expenses are being borne by the Malaysian government and they will be put up at a hotel near the Shah Alam High Court for a month.

The trial is perhaps the most high-profile case in Malaysia since Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister, was charged with sodomy and corruption almost a decade ago, and was beaten by the chief of police while in detention.

Like the Anwar trial, the inquiry into Shaariibuu's murder has raised questions about the transparency and thoroughness of this country's judicial system and about the practices of the Malaysian police. One of the bodyguards charged with murdering Shaariibuu bragged that he had killed "between 6 and 10 people," according to an affidavit submitted in a pre-trial hearing.

More than anyone in Malaysia, Anwar has publicly urged a broader investigation into the purchase of the French submarines, allegations of kickbacks in that deal and the role that Shaariibuu may have played.

"The issue is who gave the instructions?" Anwar said in an interview this year. "If the instructions to the commandos were to finish off this girl and any traces because she was a threat to national security, what then is the status of the murder?"

Najib has said little about the trial, except that he never met Shaariibuu and that he wants to let the investigation and trial take their course....read more here

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02 June, 2007

Pak Lah pretending to be pious ?

Malaysia's Islamic opposition party unleashed an unusually scathing attack against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Friday, accusing him of pretending to be a pious Muslim leader and of ignoring corruption that besets the country.

The criticism by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS marked a new push in its campaign to prevent Abdullah's ruling coalition from achieving another landslide victory in national elections, widely expected by early 2008.

"It is shameful that even though he (Abdullah) is famed with his approach of Islam Hadhari (progressive Islam), which has been publicized all over the world, exposures of corruption are increasingly severe in his administration," PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang told the party's annual congress.

UMNO and PAS both vie for the support of ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of a population that also includes ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who follow mainly Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.

Abdul Hadi urged PAS members to prepare for national elections, noting there were signs _ such as a pay hike for government employees _ that indicate Abdullah will call a snap poll soon, even though his mandate only expires in 2009.

Datuk Seri Hadi then called on the party to gear up for snap polls 'The people, including civil servants, the armed forces, the police and others, are being baited...with pay hikes,' he said.

The question now, however, is whether PAS is strong enough to retain control of Kelantan.

Hadi Awang yesterday lashed out at Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, accusing him of, among other things, pretending to be a pious leader while ignoring alleged corruption in the country.

Datuk Seri Hadi alleged that the government had apparently denied, but failed to disprove, opposition allegations of graft, including claims that the country's Defence Ministry paid massive commissions to middlemen in deals to buy Russian aircraft and French submarines.

He was quoted as saying: '(Datuk Seri Abdullah) has not seen this, or perhaps he has fallen asleep.'

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Not To Dance To The Tune Of Foreign Media

"I hope local journalists will not dance to the tune of their foreign counterparts. There are local journalists who think too highly of the foreign media, and to me, this demonstrates their inferiority complex,"

Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin reminded local media practitioners not to follow the style of the foreign media who are prejudiced towards the country.(Bernama)

He said the borderless world nowadays exposed the people to inaccurate and irresponsible news and information that could hurt feelings and lead to disunity.

"It's not easy to overcome this problem but we can educate our younger generation to make them understand about the country's aspirations so that they value the true meaning of independence and harmony," he added.

Admitting that the authorities would not be able to completely ward off attempts to colonise the minds of the people, he said that continuous efforts must be made to mould a society which loved the country, possessed noble values and exercised tolerance in a multi-racial population.

He was referring to the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) article titled "Malaysia Rejects Christian Appeal" on the Lina Joy's court decision carried on its news portal , he said the piece was inaccurate and sensationalised.

Meanwhile, Shad Faruqui, a professor of constitutional law at Malaysia's Mara University of Technology, says Malaysians should have the right to choose their own religion without religious or state interference.

"Now personally speaking, in a very objective way, in a global way, international way, people should not have to seek anyone's approval for a matter of conscience," said Faruqui.

PAS spiritual advisor Nik Aziz Nik Mat likened those who have renounced Islam to army deserters because religion, like other institutions, is bound by rules...more from Malaysiakini here.

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01 June, 2007

Islam not above constitution

Islam is not above the Federal Constitution, and the decision by the Federal Court on Lina Joy's appeal was not politically motivated.

- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

I really dunwanna blog about it anymore.I mean… what’s the point? Nasi sudah jadi bubor.

There’s certainly no joy.

The Federal Court has reaffirmed that the civil court had no jurisdiction over any Islamic matters, even when non-Muslims are involved.

Wednesday's verdict does not end the Muslim, non-Muslim divide, but may cause it to worsen as the tussle for primacy between inherited secular guarantees and a resurgent Islam demanding pre-eminence for Shariah laws continues, said observers.

Two decisions on the same day on Wednesday have delivered huge blows to liberal, plural democracy in Thailand and Malaysia, two relatively prospering and open Southeast Asian societies, reports International Herald Tribune .

Both decisions have been given the appearance of being judicial, but both are highly political and represent efforts by entrenched interests to maintain political control.

The dissolution of Thai Rak Thai, the party of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed as prime minister of Thailand by a coup last September, has caught more headlines. But given the volatility of Thai politics, this may prove less enduring than a decision in Malaysia to deny a woman the right to convert from Islam to another religion.

Meanwhile in Thailand, the decision by a constitutional tribunal to dissolve Thai Rak Thai - but not its main opponent, the Democrat Party - has scant basis in constitutionalism.

The tribunal is a creature of the Council for National Security, which staged the coup last years, abrogating the existing Constitution, which had its own Constitutional Court.

Thaksin without doubt abused his power and was more adept than anyone at Thai money politics. His attempt at populist authoritarianism certainly needed reining in.

But the coalition of military, royalists, senior bureaucrats and some self-proclaimed democrats are not merely attempting to prevent Thaksin's return to power via the ballot box.

They have produced a draft new constitution that limits the power of the executive and expands the role of non-elected senators and judiciary officials at the expense of elected members.

Today's self-appointed rulers have even toyed with the idea of making Buddhism the official religion, which would be bound to upset the Muslims and other minorities. So-called democratic elections are due to be held once the new constitution has been ratified.

The combination of the new constitution and the tribunal's banishment from politics for five years of the top 111 officials of Thai Rak Thai make it extremely unlikely that political stability will be achieved.

The wounds that the monarchy claims to be trying to heal look likely to become deeper unless Thaksin himself decides to retire from the fray, opening the way for the return of some of the money-driven politicians from an earlier era to challenge the Democrat party, now the only significant player in electoral politics.

But it is just as likely that he will be a power for now behind the scene of a new party, and he and his many supporters, particularly among the poor, will harbor the resentment that he has been shut out by an elite and royalist camp anxious to keep power from populist hands.

The themes of Thai politics since the absolute monarchy was overthrown in 1932 - liberal democracy, populist or military authoritarianism and royalism - look likely to be exacerbated, and that at a time when the issue of succession to King Bhumipol, who is 79, is on the minds of many..
read more from IHT here.

Read also Catastrophic, depressing implications of Joy decision. A letter written by
Umran Kadir published in Malaysiakini.

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