31 August, 2009

The Myth Of A Moderate Malaysia

The Myth Of A Moderate Malaysia

Sadanand Dhume

Canings, cows' heads and ethnoreligious apartheid.

If you're looking for an image that captures the conflict between fervent Islam and basic human decency, look no further than the Malaysian city of Shah Alam, about 15 miles west of Kuala Lumpur.

On Friday, a group of about 50 men, agitated by plans to relocate a 150-year-old Hindu temple to their neighborhood, made their feelings clear by staging a protest march from a mosque to a government building. Amidst the usual cries of "Allahu Akbar" and "takbeer," the protesters deposited the freshly severed head of a cow--an animal sacred to Hindus--before the building's gate. The group's leaders made threatening speeches and, perhaps caught up in the spirit of the moment, hammed it up for the cameras, stepping and spitting on the cow's head. The police--who have been known to arrest people for such crimes as attending a candle light vigil or wearing black in support of the opposition--stood by and watched.

Ironically, those scanning the globe for a Muslim-majority country that inspires neither dread nor despair often alight upon Malaysia. Until a few years ago, the Southeast Asian nation boasted the world's tallest building, the iconic 88-story Petronas Towers. Powered by electronics, palm oil and petroleum, Malaysia is the world's 20th-largest exporter, ahead of Sweden, Australia and India. Per capita income, about $14,000 in purchasing parity terms, is about the same as in Argentina. Apart from the obvious prosperity of downtown Kuala Lumpur, the casual visitor notices the comforting trappings of a British colonial past--a parliament, a judiciary, a professional police force.

But most strikingly, Malaysia (along with next-door Indonesia) can claim something increasingly rare in the Muslim world: a large non-Muslim population. About four in 10 Malaysians are Buddhist, Christian, Hindu , Sikh or Confucian. (By contrast, Turkey, the poster-child for an Islam at peace with the 21st century, is 99.8% Muslim.) Recognizing the power of this statistic in our multicultural age, Tourism Malaysia promotes the country's allegedly harmonious blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian communities with an odd but nonetheless catchy slogan: Malaysia, Truly Asia.

The reality, of course, is a lot less sunny. Unlike neighboring Singapore, which shares the same colonial past and ethnic mix--albeit with a Chinese rather than a Malay majority--Malaysia has rejected secularism in favor of a kind of ethnoreligious apartheid that belongs more in a medieval kingdom than in a modern democratic republic.

In Malaysia, Islam is the state religion. Higher education, the bureaucracy and vast swathes of the economy are operated as a kind of spoils system almost exclusively for Malays, whom the state defines as Muslim. Race and religion determine everything from your odds of getting into medical school to the amount you're expected to put down for an apartment. The conversion laws, based on sharia, bring to mind the Eagles' classic "Hotel California": You can check in (to Islam) any time you like, but you can never leave.

Over the past 30 years, encouraged by the government and influenced by the Middle East, Malaysia's growing prosperity has gone hand-in-hand with a heightened piety. But instead of making the country more humane, this has had the opposite effect. Friday's protest was part of a larger pattern. A 32-year-old Malaysian Muslim model, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, faces a sharia-prescribed caning, suspended at the moment on account of Ramadan, for the crime of drinking a beer. Muslims have been barred from a Black Eyed Peas concert next month sponsored by Guinness. Two years ago, a Muslim-born woman, Lina Joy, failed in her famous eight-year quest to convert to Christianity to marry the man that she loved. (Interfaith marriages are forbidden.) In another high-profile case, Revathi Masoosai, a practicing Hindu, was forcibly separated from her husband and infant daughter and sent to a religious re-education camp after it was discovered that technically she had been born a Muslim.

Taken together, these cases illustrate two issues--both central to the debate about Islam and modernity--that Malaysia is struggling to come to terms with. Can a Muslim majority live with a non-Muslim minority as equals, or must the former be explicitly dominant--in law as well as in day-to-day life? And can Muslims reconcile piety with a culture where the rights of the individual (say, to order a beer) are given precedence over communal beliefs?

To be sure, not all Malays, perhaps not even a majority of the sharia-minded, approve of the acts of boorishness committed in the name of their faith. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has ordered police to take action against the Shah Alam protesters, and members of parliament have cut across racial and party lines to condemn the incident. The English-language Malaysian blogosphere is alight with outrage, much of it Muslim. Nor are questions about secularism and individual rights absent in non-Muslim societies. In recent years, thuggish Hindu groups have developed a penchant for roughing up women in bars and castigating young couples for the high crime of celebrating Valentine's Day. America has yet to come to terms with a woman's right to an abortion.

Nonetheless, only in Muslim-majority lands are religious bigots given such broad leeway by their secular co-religionists. An Indian feminist is apt to laugh in the face of a pious Hindu who tells her that gender relations need to be ordered by the ancient laws of Manu. In America, the so-called new atheists--most prominently Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins--don't need to think twice about ridiculing religious beliefs or savaging the most powerful priest or pastor. But in Malaysia, as elsewhere, secular liberals tend to tip-toe around Muslim religious sensibilities. They wield the word "un-Islamic" as an insult rather than as a compliment. Unless this changes, unless Malaysians can find a way to treat Islam like any other set of ideas, scenes like those in Shah Alam on Friday aren't about to disappear.

(Source:"The Myth Of A Moderate Malaysia"

Sadanand Dhume is a Washington-based writer and the author of My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009).


28 August, 2009

Cow's Head , 'Moderate' Malaysia's birthday present.

Temple demo: Residents march with cow's head

A group of Malay-Muslim protesters claiming to be residents of Section 23 have threatened bloodshed unless the state government stopped the construction of a Hindu Temple.

Amid chants of "Allahuakbar," the group also left the severed head of a cow at the entrance of the State Secretariat here as a warning to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

The "residents" said that the construction of a Hindu temple in a 90 per cent Malay- Muslim neighbourhood was insensitive because activities there would disrupt their lives.

They claimed that the "noise" from the temple would disturb their own praying, and that they would not be able to function properly as Muslims.

The group of 50 over protestors marched shortly after Friday prayers from the Shah Alam State mosque to the State Secretariat.

“I challenge YB Khalid, YB Rodziah and Xavier Jeyakumar to go on with the temple construction. I guarantee bloodshed and racial tension will happen if this goes on, and the state will be held responsible,” shouted Ibrahim Haji Sabri amid strong chants of “Allahu Akbar!”

It is understood that the protest is an immediate reaction towards the Selangor MB’s visit to the Hindu temple site yesterday, an act seen by the "residents" as disrespectful to the Muslims of the community.

The issue first cropped up when the Selangor government proposed that the Sri Mariamman temple be relocated from Section 19 to Section 23.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has directed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan to investigate an incident in Shah Alam Friday where protestors used a cow's head to vent their anger against the Selangor state government.

According to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, Najib informed him of this after he (Dr Subramaniam) had briefed the prime minister on the incident which took place outside the Selangor state secretariat after the Friday prayers.

"The prime minister has promised to look into it and asked the IGP to immediately act on the matter," he said in a statement here.

"The prime minister said he was very upset over the incident and wants it to be nipped in the bud," Dr Subramaniam said.

He said that while the prime minister was promoting the 1Malaysia concept and racial unity, "this kind of action will hinder the process and put the clock back".


27 August, 2009

Dr Chua wants to take a short break after being sacked from MCA

Dr Chua, writing in his blog, said he wants to take a short vacation with "family and friends" and rest.

I Am Sacked

Today, I am partyless. I served MCA as a divisional chairman since 1985. On the 2nd January 2008 when I resigned from all party posts, I was still an MCA member. Today, I don’t even have a party. So, my position today is worst of than when I resigned on 2nd January 2008. I did not realize that MCA disciplinary board led by an aging lawyer have deemed fit to recommend me to be sacked 21 months after I have resigned from all party and government posts for the same reason as when I resigned in January 2008. If there is provision for sentencing of death physically, I am sure that the disciplinary board would have no hesitation in recommending me to face the gallows. The reason is obvious why I need to be sacked. Will my sacking boost up the image of the MCA? I have to assume that the President today is as clean and clear as crystal. Only time will tell.

Since last night, my phone has not stopped ringing. Today, I spend my time trying to read all the sms. Probably, this is to keep me occupied since I am now partyless. The press has not stopped harassing me. It is actually quite funny and fun.

My family and friends will be going away for a short holiday. I need to enjoy this partyless status. So friends, give me a chance to rest. People will be thinking that I will be working very hard, but as usual; I take everything in my stride. Hopefully I can live longer to see another day and another battle.

It was only a matter of time for the inevitable to happen. And it did late Wednesday night.

MCA deputy president Dr Chua Soi Lek has been sacked from the party with immediate effect. The reason - the damage inflicted upon the image of the party brought about by Chua's sex scandal in 2007.

Announcing the sacking of his deputy, MCA president Ong Tee Keat revealed that the MCA presidential council in a lengthy meeting collectively made a decision to accept the disciplinary board's recommendation to expel Chua from the party with immediate effect.

Ong said that under Article 127 (A) of the party constitution, Chua was allowed to appeal the decision to the central committee within 14 days.

Collective decision

He said according to Article 128 of MCA's constitution, the decision of the central committee on matters of discipline was final and conclusive and shall not be subject to question by or in any court of law.

"We did so with a heavy heart after giving much consideration to the damage inflicted upon the party's image brought about by his sex scandal featured in a DVD. "This decision has been made in the best interest of the party," Ong told a press conference soon after the meeting ended.

Ong also said that he would explain the decision of the presidential council to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman.

"We, as members of the presidential council will stand as one and we shall collectively be responsible for this decision," he added, wihout responding to questions raised by members of the media, who had waited for almost six hours.

Former MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn today urged the party’s presidential council to respect the central delegates’ decision and reconsider its sacking of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Fong, who is Alor Gajah division chief and MP, said the party does not enjoy the luxury of in-fighting and it must project the image of a united party.

He said the central delegates knew Chua’s history and had made their decision in the party election last year to elect him as deputy, with Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as the party president to lead the second largest component party in the Barisan Nasional.

He hoped the presidential council and central committee will reconsider the decision to endorse the disciplinary board’s recommendation to sack Chua after he was found guilty of tarnishing the party’s image through his involvement in a sex scandal.

He had also denied his involvement in the anti-Ong campaign and claimed that he is just a retired politician.

Meanwhile, less than 24 hours after Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was sacked from the MCA, efforts are underway to push for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Puchong division member Datuk Theng Book, who heads the 'Save MCA' committee, said today that committee members would travel nationwide in the next two weeks to secure the support of a third of the party's 2,500 central delegates to convene the EGM.

He said aim of the EGM was to reinstate Dr Chua's membership and pass a motion of no-confidence against party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

At a news conference here, Thean challenged Ong to hold the EGM if he was confident the majority of members supported him.

He denied the 'Save MCA' committee was formed at Dr Chua's behest.

The “Save MCA” campaign had last year pressured former president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting to resign.

To convene an EGM, Theng will have to collect one-third, or 800 MCA central delegate signatures.

“It should be no problem,” Theng told reporters this afternoon, adding that it would take about two to three weeks to go on a nationwide campaign to collect the signatures.

Tee Keat is causing disunity in the party, please come forward to save MCA,” said Theng.

The EGM will have two motions on its agenda — to reverse the decision of the presidential council and reinstate Chua and a vote of no confidence in Ong as president.

Labels: , ,

25 August, 2009

Malaysia: “Land without development is a poverty trap,” ?

Must read article :

" Getting Rich in Malaysia Cronyism Capital Means Dayak Lose Home "

About 30 minutes into the flight to the bustling oil town of Miri, the lush landscape changes, and neatly terraced fields of oil palms take the place of jungle. Twenty years ago, this was forestland. Now, those forests are lost forever.

The shift from rain forest to oil palm cultivation in Malaysia’s Sarawak state highlights the struggle taking place between forces favoring economic development, led by Sarawak state’s chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, and those who want to conserve the rain forest and the ways of life it supports.

During Taib’s 28-year rule, his government has handed out concessions for logging and supported the federal government’s megaprojects, including the largest hydropower site in the country and, most recently, oil palm plantations. The projects are rolling back the frontiers of Borneo’s rain forest, home to nomadic people and rare wildlife such as orangutans and proboscis monkeys.

At least four prominent Sarawak companies that have received contracts or concessions have ties to Taib or his family.

Transforming Malaysia

The government of Malaysia plans to transform the country into a developed nation by 2020 through a series of projects covering everything from electric power generation to education. The country’s gross domestic product, which has been growing at an average 6.7 percent annual pace since 1970, shrank 6.2 percent in the first quarter.

In Sarawak, Taib’s government is following its own development plans that call for doubling the state’s GDP to 150 billion ringgit ($42 billion) by 2020. Sarawak Energy Bhd., which is 65 percent owned by the state government, said in July 2007 it plans to build six power plants, including hydropower and coal-fired generators.

The state government also wants to expand the acreage in Sarawak devoted to oil palms to 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) by 2010, from 744,000 at the end of 2008, according to Sarawak’s Ministry of Land Development. Companies that formerly chopped down hardwood trees and exported the timber are now moving into palm plantations.

( Continue reading here.)

Labels: ,

24 August, 2009

Kartika's Caning Delayed until after Ramadan

Malaysian authorities Monday postponed caning a Muslim woman for drinking beer in a hotel bar, in a case which has drawn international attention to the spreading use of Islamic laws in this traditionally moderate, predominantly Muslim country.

Islamic authorities granted Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno a one-month reprieve to mark the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The 32-year-old mother of two was earlier taken in a van from her Sungai Siput hometown to the Kajang Women's Prison for the punishment but she was brought back within 30 minutes after the Prison Department said there was a breakdown in communication and the sentence could not be carried out.

Pahang's Religious Affairs, Dakwah, Unity and NGOs Exco chairman Datuk Mohd Sahfri Abdul Aziz said the state religious department enforcement officers had issued a warrant of arrest for her to be sent to the Kajang Prison for the whipping.

“At the same time, they received a letter from the Attorney-General’s Chambers advising them to release Kartika temporarily as it was not advisable for her to undergo the punishment during the fasting month,” he said in Kuantan.

“The sentence remains. She will be caned after the fasting month. She has been released but only temporarily,” he added.

Kartika had earlier refused to leave the van that took her home as she wanted to know if it was a temporary reprieve.

“I will not come out without a black-and-white document explaining the status of what has happened. I am surprised and speechless,” Kartika told reporters.

And her father said the change of mind would ridicule Islam, which bans Muslims from consuming alcohol.

“The warrant cannot be executed," Sharafuddin Zainal Ariffin, head of enforcement for Pahang's Islamic Affairs Department, told reporters after Kartika Sari returned to her house.

Both Kartika, a Malaysian who has two children and who had worked as a nurse in Singapore, and her father had called for the sentence to be carried out quickly and in public.

“We had already accepted the punishment,” Shukarnor Mutalib, told reporters.

The severity of the sentence meted out to Kartika – she would have been the first Malaysian woman to be caned – caught many Malaysians by surprise. The 32-year-old mother of two was sentenced to six lashes with a rattan cane after being caught drinking beer at a hotel in Pahang state in 2007.

Kartika's sentence has triggered a debate about whether caning was too harsh and humiliating a punishment for a multiracial country such as Malaysia. Political analysts, meanwhile, said the sentence points to the growing role of Islam in the country's political battles as the ruling National Front and an Islamist opposition party are compete to present themselves as protectors of the faith.

Meanwhile, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, who was sentenced by the Kuantan Syariah Court to receive caning for drinking beer at a public place, today lodged a police report on the "confusion" over her sentencing.

She made the report at the Kuala Kangsar district police headquarters at 12.30pm to state that she had not run away from the sentence.

The confusion arose while she was being taken to Kajang Prison in Selangor today to be remanded for a week before receiving the sentence, but was released 30 minutes later by officers from the Pahang Religious Affairs Department (Jaip).

Labels: , ,

22 August, 2009

'Police, MACC need to get to bottom of mystery letter'

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) called on the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to carry out prompt, thorough and unbiased investigations into the letter which surfaced on Wednesday during the inquest into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

Its secretary-general Dr Loi Kheng Min said in a statement issued here today, the police and MACC "need to uncover the truth and bring any wrongdoers to book."

He also called on the government to have the political will to seriously fight corruption as one of the six National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).

"A good start is to put MACC not only back on track to be an independent body but also to adhere to the principles and procedures of the United Nations Convention on Corruption (UNCAC)," he said.


Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) wants the police and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to conduct a “thorough and unbiased” investigation into the mystery letter which surfaced this week in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.

In a statement today TI-M said it believes that the independent advisory panel committees of MACC must “comprehensively review and revamp” the MACC if the allegations are proven to be true.

“The mysterious letter alleges a very serious crime by a top ranking officer of an institution that should be impartial, just and honourable.

“We expect MACC to be totally independent, managed by professionals with high integrity, to discharge its duty without fear or favour and to use its resources productively to curb and combat corruption,” Dr. Loi Kheng Min said in the press statement.

The TI-M secretary-general also wants the government to make the fight against corruption as one of the six National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).

“A good start would be to put MACC not only back on track to be an independent body but also to adhere to the principles and procedures of the United Nations Convention on Corruption (UNCAC),” he said.

The mystery letter delivered on August 18th to Gobind Singh Deo, the lawyer for Teoh’s family, was sent by anonymous parties claiming to be “MACC officers” who urged the authorities to probe a senior anti-graft officer for corruption and involvement in the DAP political aide’s death.

The letter, written in Bahasa Malaysia and allegedly sent by unnamed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers, named a senior official of MACC as someone who was personally involved in questioning Teoh in the final hours before he died.

The letter does not say how Teoh actually died, but suggested an account of what happened during questioning.

Besides the description of the senior official, a string of allegations against him are also contained in the letter.

The letter accuses the senior official of widespread corruption involving previous investigations.

It also accuses the senior officer of acting on the instruction of Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo from the time he was the Selangor mentri besar to initiate investigations into possible corruption involving the current government.

In the letter, a number of previous investigations purportedly involving Khir’s administration are listed, and the senior officer was said to have covered up those cases.

Khir has denied the allegations or even knowing the senior MACC official.

Magistrate Azmil Muntapha Abas, who is acting as coroner in the inquest into Teoh’s death, had recently ordered the police investigating officer, ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal, to immediately look into the contents of the letter and check all its claims.

Loi said that TI-M was encouraged by the directive of the coroner to the police to investigate the mystery letter and welcomes the MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed’s consideration on an independent complaints committee to look into the allegations.

( Source:"T
ransparency International calls for prompt investigation into mystery letter")

Labels: ,

20 August, 2009

Malaysian Muslim model will be first to be caned for drinking beer !

"The rattan cane to be used on Kartika would be lighter than the one used on men, and its purpose was to 'educate' rather than punish."

A moderate caning in modern, moderate Malaysia. An "educational" one ?

"Muslim model becomes first woman in Malaysia to be caned after being caught drinking a beer,"

A Muslim model will become the first woman to be caned in Malaysia after pleading guilty to drinking beer.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, was sentenced to six lashes by an Islamic court after she was caught with alcohol in a raid on a hotel nightclub in eastern Pahang state last year.

The married mother of two will be caned next week following her decision not to appeal her sentence.

Prosecutor Saiful Idham Sahimi said: 'It is a good punishment because under Islamic law a person who drinks commits a serious offence.'

He added that a rattan cane 'lighter than the one for men' would be used, and that its purpose was to 'educate' rather than punish.

Muslims, who make up two-thirds of Malaysia's 28million population, are governed by sharia law. Although most alcohol offenders are fined, they can also be caned.

Women's rights groups attacked the penalty as being 'too harsh'.

Yesterday the court set a one-week period starting next Monday for the sentence to be carried out in a woman's prison, Saiful said. Prison authorities will decide when to cane her during that period.

He said Kartika will remain in prison during that time and will be released 'as soon as possible' after the caning is carried out.

Caning, administered on the buttocks, breaks the skin and leaves permanent scars. Kartika said earlier that she wanted authorities to cane her as soon as possible so she can resume her life with her husband and children.

Most alcohol offenders are fined, but the crime also carries a three-year prison term and caning.

Non-Muslims are governed by civil courts, which also impose caning for offenses such as rape and corruption. Men over 50, women and children are exempt under civil law.

A Muslim man and woman were also arrested during a series of raids in Cherating, a beach town in Pahang state, on the night when Kartika was arrested.

Both were also sentenced to caning, but have appealed.

Malaysian clubs and lounges typically serve alcohol and are not legally required to check if customers are Muslims before serving them.

The case has outraged some Malaysian women. “Did she harm anyone with her drinking?” asked a writer named Mariam Mokhtar in a letter to the New Straits Times newspaper. “Her crime is between her and her God. Let her receive her punishment when she eventually meets her Maker ... The worse crime is that we, and our society, allow and condone such terrible things to continue under the guise of ‘protecting the religion’.”

Ragunath Kesavan, the president of the Malaysian Bar Council, said: “This would be the first time caning has been meted out by the Islamic courts. We are all shocked and strongly oppose caning male or women offenders.”

Labels: ,

18 August, 2009

Malaysia AH1N1: 67 fatalities and the figures will increase.

Malaysia's total deaths due to Influenza A(H1N1) has increased to 67 to date since the first fatality four weeks ago, with three more fatalities reported today.

The Health Ministry's estimation that the current mortality rate of those infected is below 0.4% may be flawed as the total number of confirmed cases reported on Aug 17 was 4,225 and the total death then was 64. Based on that, the mortality rate has reached 1.5%.

The latest deaths involve a 33-year-old woman, a 10-year-old girl and a 71-year-old senior citizen.

Health director-general Tan Sri Mohd Ismail Merican said in a statement, the woman in the first case was referred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on Aug 7 where her pneumonia worsened after receiving treatment in a private hospital for four days.

"The patient was reported to be down with cough and fever since July 31. She initially received treatment in a private clinic for two days before being referred to a private hospital due to pneumonia on Aug 3," he said.

The woman received antiviral treatment from Aug 7 onwards and died on Aug 12 due to severe bronchopneumonia and was confirmed positive for A(H1N1) on the same day.

Mohd Ismail said the 10-year-old victim was admitted to hospital on July 27 and was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE).

SLE is a chronic, multifaceted inflammatory disease that can affect every organ system of the body.

"Antiviral treatment was given on Aug 7 onwards but she died on Aug 13 due to SLE with severe with renal impairment. The girl was confirmed with A(H1N1) on the same day," Mohd Ismail said.

He said the third fatality which involved a senior citizen, who had Chronic Obstrutive Airway (COAD), Hypertension, Ischaemic Heart Disease and Type II Diabetes Mellitus, was confirmed positive A(H1N1) on Aug 15.

"He was down with fever, cough and breathing difficulty for two days and was admitted in hospital on Aug 12 and received antiviral treatment on the same day," Mohd Ismail said.

The patient died on Aug 14 due to Ischaemic Dilated Cardiomyopathy precipitated by pnuemonia and was confirmed to be infected with the virus the next day.

Mohd Ismail said there are 276 patients being treated in hospitals nationwide with 36 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Twenty-one of the those in ICU are from the high risk group including two mentally disabled and three children below one.

The public is asked to follow the latest developments and take preventive steps by referring to the special HiN1 website http://h1n1.moh.gov.my or calling the hotlines 03-88810200 and 03-88810300.

With the death toll due to swine flu climbing steadily, Malaysia has termed the outbreak as a "national health emergency" but noted that a health curfew would not be imposed unless the mortality rate went above 0.4 per cent.

Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the H1N1 virus' mortality rate was currently between 0.1 and 0.4 per cent in Malaysia.

"It is not up to the Health Ministry. We will monitor the situation and we still have to discuss with them."

Liow said stern measures, including a curfew, might be announced if the virus "misbehaved". "At the moment the virus is not changing. It is attacking the high-risk group, so they must pay particular attention to it."

He added, however, there was a possibility that the virus could generate a deadlier second wave.

"If there are any signs of a second wave, we will make an announcement early. During the rainy season, children can easily get the flu and we are worried that it can mix with H1N1 and change the characteristics."

Labels: ,

17 August, 2009

Teoh 'Facial injuries may be due to beating' !

DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock may have been injured before he fell to his death on July 16, the government pathologist who carried out the autopsy today told the coroner’s court.

Dr Khairul Aznam Ibrahim from the Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (HTAR) in Klang admitted that he could not determine that the multiple injuries found on Teoh were the direct result of the injuries taken when he hit the ground.

Teoh had sustained massive injuries, some which are being disputed. They include a fractured skull, 22 broken ribs, certain marks which look like fingernail scratches and a punctured anus.

He added that he assumed the injuries were all a direct result of the fall because he did not see any “defensive injuries” on the deceased, pointing out the lack of cuts on Teoh's palms in his autopsy report.

He had earlier explained that under ordinary conditions, a falling person would instinctively stretch out his hands to try to slow down his fall.

There was also no trace of solid food found in Teoh’s stomach, which suggests that Teoh may have been starving and in a weakened state when he died.

The pathologist explained that a person typically takes four hours to digest food.

Dr Khairul added that Teoh may still have been alive after his body hit the 5th floor landing as his hands were found clenched, indicating he had tried to move and hold on to something.

He also put Teoh’s time of death as early as 5am on July 16.

“The estimated time of around 5am is material as CCTV recordings show that some of Teoh's investigation team left after that time,” Malik, who is acting for the Selangor government, clarified with The Malaysian Insider, referring to the security cameras monitoring the lobby floor of Plaza Masalam’s office tower block.

Under intense interrogation from lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, the senior medical forensic expert said Teoh’s body was showing signs of decomposition by the time he performed the autopsy at noon the next day

During the inquest, he quizzed Dr Khairul, referring to autopsy photographs, about the cause of some marks resembling fingernail scratches on Teoh's right hand just around where a wristwatch face would have been.

Malik: Could it have been caused by someone pulling on his watch?

Dr Khairul: It's difficult to say.

Dr Khairul seemed reluctant to give an opinion on the alleged fingernail marks, claiming that it could have been a result of the wrist flexing up and backwards hitting the spot indicated in the autopsy photos. In his report, he had not recorded any injury on the top of the hand.

The normally soft-spoken Malik blew up.

Malik: This was no intentional jumping. He fell out of the window with several people near him. He fell, as the result of an accident, and someone grabbed his hand. His watch came off because we have not found the watch!

Dr Khairul: Possibility is, yes.

Questions were also raised on the severe injuries to Teoh's buttocks, especially the anus which was found punctured.

Both Malik and Gobind, representing Teoh's family, took it in turns to put forward the idea that the deceased could have been beaten at the rear end, causing an injury there which worsened when Teoh later fell to his death.

Dr Khairul replied that it was possible, and reluctantly suggested it could have been caused by a flat, wooden object when Gobind pressed him on the issue.

But, he insisted that the puncture wound was caused by the sacrum, a bone located just above the anus, which broke off upon Teoh's impact on the ground and penetrated the rectum.

At the start of today’s inquest, Dr Khairul admitted he had found no facts to support his theory that Teoh, who was due to register his marriage to sweetheart Soh Cher Wei after a two-year courtship, had committed suicide.

Dr Khairul had interviewed Teoh’s elder brother and younger sister as well as his 29-year-old teacher fiancee on the same day.

It was so he could find out the deceased’s psychological background and whether there had been any suicidal tendencies or substance abuse.

Khairul said the facts showed that Teoh was not susceptible to suicide.

Teoh’s elder brother told him that the deceased was an “open and talkative person”, the pathologist added.

But Dr Khairul admitted, under intense grilling from Gobind, that he did not interview any of the anti-graft officers to check the possibility of a motive for murder, despite knowing that the political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah had been subjected to an interrogation before he died.

“That is the duty of the police. Not me,” Dr Khairul replied.

(Source : Teoh may have been injured before death fall )

Labels: ,

16 August, 2009

Malaysia: A(H1N1) - Three more deaths !

A six-year-old child with Down's Syndrome and a hole in the heart is the latest of three deaths resulting from complications due to influenza A (H1N1).

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the child who died on Thursday of "pneumonia with underlying Down's Syndrome and Pulmonary Hypertension" was admitted to the hospital on Aug 9 after suffering for two days of H1N1 symptoms.

He said another three-year-old also succumbed to H1N1 complications after being admitted to the hospital on Aug 1 for fever and cough and suffering breathing difficulties for five days.

"The child died on Friday due to severe pneumonia," he told reporters after launching the Serdang Lifelong Health Carnival at SRJK (C) Serdang Baru 1 here.

Liow said the third death was a 50-year-old man who died on Friday after he was warded on Aug 3 due to fever, diarrhea, vomiting and breathing difficulty.

He said the man died of "septicemia with severe pneumonia".

He said the three deaths raised the H1N1 death toll in the country to 62, while 238 new cases brought the number of H1N1 infections to 3,857 cases, so far.

Liow said to date, 213 patients were being treated at the normal wards while 33 more were at the Intensive Care Unit, 16 of whom had risk factors such as chronic illnesses (7), asthma (3), obesity (2), mental illness (2), pregnancy (1) and post-delivery (1).

He said the Health Ministry found many of those infected with H1N1 did not cooperate well in controlling the pandemic.

He reminded the public to promptly seek treatment at nearby clinics or hospitals if they had H1N1 symptoms and reminded doctors to not postpone antiviral treatments to patients.

He said under Section 12 (1) of the Infectious Diseases Control Act 1988, anyone who knows of a disease that can spread to the public and purposely ignore quarantine warnings and infect others will be fined RM2,000 or a maximum penalty of RM10,000 or two years of imprisonment or both.

Meanwhile, patients who seek treatment at Sungai Buloh Hospital here for influenza-like symptoms have to wait for up to three hours or more.

Normah Sabdani, who took her three daughters aged 1 to 8 for a H1N1 check-up yesterday morning, was upset about the long wait.

Her daughters have been coughing for the past two weeks.

"There is a sign which says children below 2 years old and senior citizens will be given priority, but we have been waiting for three hours.

"The hospital should have opened more counters to check the patients," said the 27-year-old when met at the H1N1 check-up designated area near the emergency unit.

Patients who were there since early morning seemed ill and dozed off while waiting for their names to be called.

Checks at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Tawakal Hospital found that no tests were conducted on those who wanted to check for the virus.

The staff at both hospitals said they would direct patients to government hospitals if they came for the H1N1 treatment.

Labels: ,

15 August, 2009

SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS IN MALAY - giving "Ang Pow" would not win over the voters.

From Chedet:

" The Government has decided that the teaching of science and mathematics would revert to Malay in the Government school, with Chinese in Chinese schools and Tamil in Tamil schools. How this is going to help integrate Malaysians I do not know."

" But some parents and teachers had also conducted a survey and the majority are again in favour of English. A petition to the Prime Minister by parents and teachers was copied to me and they were in favour of retaining English. At least one senior non-Malay politician had left a Barisan Nasional component party and joined the opposition because of the switch back to Malay, Tamil and Chinese. He claimed that he could not afford to send his grandchildren abroad as some who advocate Malay as the medium had been doing. "

" The reason that has been given is that Malays, particularly kampung Malays just could not do well when the two subjects were taught in English. If we follow this kind of argument we should also stop trying to get Malays to do business because they really cannot do well in that field. They are best at working as wage-earners, particularly in Government service. We should encourage them not to try to go into business."

" If we do this then the current anger over the New Economic Policy on the part of the non-Malays would be reduced."

" Similarly with learning English. Malays just cannot learn and speak English. We should stop teaching it so that the language would not drag down the Malays in their exams. We should see better results. "

" Malays do best at paddy planting and fishing with rods and net. They should be taught to do this, probably with new technology."

" By switching back to Malay, we can expect them to vote for the Government party at the next election. Similarly we can expect at least some who believe their children's future has been blighted by this decision to think again about voting for the BN."

" I cannot read Chinese but Utusan Malaysia kindly translated the editorial in the Sin Chew Jit Poh. The editorial basically said that giving "Ang Pow" would not win over the voters."


Labels: ,

13 August, 2009

Karpal Singh says that sedition charges against him are “obviously” politically motivated.

In an interview with RFI, Malaysian opposition leader Karpal Singh says that sedition charges against him are “obviously” politically motivated. “There’s no doubt about that in my mind," the Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman said.

A sedition case against Singh, a lawyer, started on Wednesday over remarks made at a 6 February press conference. There he declared the decision made by the titular head of northern Perak state, Sultan Azlan Shah, to dissolve the state’s government could be questioned in court.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s my legal opinion,” Singh, told RFI. "Right or wrong, that doesn’t make it sedition. Every lawyer has an opinion. Most of the time he’s wrong anyway, that doesn’t mean he’s going to jail."

According to Malaysian law, any act that provokes hatred, contempt or disaffection against a state ruler is considered sedition, a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

“Frankly, I was surprised they slapped the charge on me. Obviously it is politically motivated. There’s no doubt about that in my mind,” Singh says.

In 2008 state elections, the opposition won five states and 82 MPs.

“It was a landslide actually for the opposition,” Singh says. In Perak, which had a newly-elected DAP opposition government, the Sultan decided to step in.

“He interviewed 32 members of the assembly and he came to the conclusion that the other side had the numbers necessary to form a government,” Singh says. “I said, ‘Look here. Whatever is being done by the Sultan is against the constitutional provision…. and therefore he could be taken to court.’”

But Singh remains defiant.

“It’s a trial. I’ll take them on,” he says. “I said it in my capacity as a Member of Parliament. …. An opinion was requested by the state government of Perak as to what ought to be done, and that was my advice.”

This month Malaysia has seen a storm of controversy over the handling of a demonstration against its Internal Security Act.



11 August, 2009

Malaysia: Influenza A(H1N1): 6 more die, death toll 32

The number of casualties due to influenza A(H1N1) has reached 38 with six more deaths reported. The number of cases also climbed to 2,253 after 270 new cases emerged, Health Ministry Director General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican said.

"Out of the six deaths confirmed today, one happened yesterday while the other five happened earlier and confirmed to be H1N1-infected on Aug 7 and 8, but the cases were formally reported yesterday as H1N1-related deaths.

"Two of the victims died on Aug 5 and three on Aug 8. Four of the six were high-risk cases as they had chronic diseases or due to other factors like old age," said Dr Mohd Ismail.

At the moment, 67 people are being treated in hospitals for the contagious flu and 15 more in the intensive-care units, with three of them having chronic diseases, one is obese, one is in post-delivery and another is a baby.

Worldwide, the H1N1 virus has so far killed 1,688 people out of 208,155 reported cases in 174 countries.

Meanwhile,Misbun Sidek, coach of the Malaysian team participating in the World Badminton Championships in Hyderabad, has displayed symptoms of swine flu and his samples have been sent for testing for influenza A (H1N1) virus, organisers of the event said on Tuesday.

"Sidek complained of throat pain on Monday evening. His samples have been sent for testing. We don't want to take any chance. We are taking all precautions," Pullela Gopichand, director of the organising committee and Indian team coach, told IANS.

Some policemen at the venue of the championship were seen wearing masks on Monday night.

More than 250 players from 42 countries are competing in the six-day event that began on Monday. The championship is the first of the series of world-class sporting event that India would be hosting ahead of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Labels: ,

10 August, 2009

Egypt's slain president Anwar Sadat daughter takes U.S. film to court over dog named Anwar !

The daughter of Egypt's slain president Anwar Sadat has filed legal complaints against the producers of an American film which portrays a dog named after her father, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Roqeya Sadat's complaint against the makers of the Hollywood film "I Love You, Man" will be heard by a Cairo court on Sept. 1, lawyer Samir Sabri said.

Sadat was shot dead by Islamic militants at a military parade in Cairo on Oct. 6, 1981, three years after he signed the 1978 Camp David Accords that led to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, the first by an Arab country.

His daughter is furious over the movie in which the leading character played by Jason Segel names his dog Anwar Sadat, claiming that he resembles the slain Egyptian president.

Roqeya Sadat has described the movie as "insulting" to the memory of her father and was quoted by Egypt's office news agency MENA as saying that it also "undermines Egypt and its role (of leadership) in the Middle East."

The film, a romantic comedy directed by John Hamburg for DreamWorks, was released in Egypt earlier this year but is no longer showing in movie theatres.

"We've filed a complaint on Wednesday against the producers of the film, the actors and the company which distributed it in Egypt," Sabri said.

"We also filed a complaint against the minister of communications" because his office allowed the release of the film in Egypt earlier this year, he added.

According to him Roqeya Sadat wants all copies of the film to be seized, although the offensive movie stopped being shown in Egyptian theatres in July.

It is not clear what the Egyptian court will decide.

But Sabri said that Sadat's daughter is determined to take the case to U.S. courts.

Last year Roqeya Sadat won a court case against Hoda Abdel Nasser, the daughter of her father's predecessor, the late Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had described Anwar Sadat as a U.S. spy.

- Taiwan News


08 August, 2009



"Once you've learned to correctly pronounce every word in the following poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. If you find it tough going, do not despair, you are not alone: Multi-national personnel at North Atlantic Treaty organization headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language... until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he'd prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud. Try them yourself."


Dearest creature in creation,

Study English pronunciation.

I will teach you in my verse

Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.

I will keep you, Suzy, busy,

Make your head with heat grow dizzy.

Tear in eye, your dress will tear.

So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,

Dies and diet, lord and word,

Sword and sward, retain and Britain.

(Mind the latter, how it's written.)

Now I surely will not plague you

With such words as plaque and ague.

But be careful how you speak:

Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;

Cloven, oven, how and low,

Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,

Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,

Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,

Exiles, similes, and reviles;

Scholar, vicar, and cigar,

Solar, mica, war and far;

One, anemone, Balmoral,

Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;

Gertrude, German, wind and mind,

Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,

Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.

Blood and flood are not like food,

Nor is mould like should and would.

Viscous, viscount, load and broad,

Toward, to forward, to reward.

And your pronunciation's OK

When you correctly say croquet,

Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,

Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour

And enamour rhyme with hammer.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,

Doll and roll and some and home.

Stranger does not rhyme with anger,

Neither does devour with clangour.

Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,

Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,

Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,

And then singer, ginger, linger,

Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,

Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,

Nor does fury sound like bury.

Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.

Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.

Though the differences seem little,

We say actual but victual.

Refer does not rhyme with deafer.

Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.

Mint, pint, senate and sedate;

Dull, bull, and George ate late.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,

Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,

Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.

We say hallowed, but allowed,

People, leopard, towed, but vowed.

Mark the differences, moreover,

Between mover, cover, clover;

Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,

Chalice, but police and lice;

Camel, constable, unstable,

Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,

Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.

Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,

Senator, spectator, mayor.

Tour, but our and succour, four.

Gas, alas, and Arkansas.

Sea, idea, Korea, area,

Psalm, Maria, but malaria.

Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.

Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,

Dandelion and battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,

Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.

Say aver, but ever, fever,

Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.

Heron, granary, canary.

Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.

Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,

Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.

Ear, but earn and wear and tear

Do not rhyme with here but ere.

Seven is right, but so is even,

Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,

Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,

Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation--think of Psyche!

Is a paling stout and spikey?

Won't it make you lose your wits,

Writing groats and saying grits?

It's a dark abyss or tunnel:

Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,

Islington and Isle of Wight,

Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough:

Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?

Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!


07 August, 2009

Malaysia is considering imposing an Internet filter to block "undesirable" websites ?

Malaysia is considering imposing an Internet filter to block "undesirable" websites, on the grounds of maintaining racial harmony in the multicultural nation.

"It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments. We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States," a senior official with the National Security Council (NSC)said.

"We need to maintain racial harmony. We cannot have full-blown democracy like in the United States.

"It is to keep out pornographic materials and bloggers who inflame racial sentiments.

"This country must survive." ( ? )

Malaysia's lively blogosphere has been a thorn in the side of the Barisan Nasional government, which has ruled for more than half-a-century, but was dealt its worst ever results in elections a year ago.

Internet news portals and blogs, which escape tight controls on the mainstream media, were credited as a key element in the swing towards the opposition which heavily used new media to communicate its ideas.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said government's planning to install filter is to block pornographic websites, while dismissing criticisms that the move was the start of other forms of internet censorship. and said the system would reduce Malaysian children's exposure to pornography.

Rais slammed critics of the proposed filter, tagging them as "liberals and supporters of liberalism."

"Look at the situation of countries which had fallen victim to widespread pornography, resulting in child sex," he was quoted as saying by the Star online news portal. "We must attempt to stop this. The government is looking into ways to overcome this."

Rais said the filter system was purely to block pornography and said others who break the law on the internet would have to answer to the country's laws in apparent reference to several anti-government bloggers who have recently been hauled to court after being accused of posting seditious comments on their websites.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said there shall be no restriction on the Internet. In a borderless world where information flows freely,

A ban would lead to dissatisfaction among the people, he said, responding to reports that the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry had called for a tender for an Internet filtering system.

"Up till now there is no change in the Government's Internet policy," said Najib.

“However, we will discuss this matter,”


05 August, 2009

Malaysia - 3 more deaths from influenza A(H1N1)

Three new deaths were recorded due to the A (H1N1) influenza bringing the total number of death to 11 in Malaysia. All three victims died at the Malacca Hospital.

According to a statement from the Health Ministry, a three year old girl who had a history of chronic respiratory infection was admitted to Malacca Hospital on July 31 with flu-like symptoms and was tested positive on Aug 2. She died at 4.30pm the following day of severe pneumonia due to H1N1.

Before being referred to the Malacca Hospital, she was taken to a private clinic for an early diagnosis and was admitted to another private hospital on 30 July for severe pneumonia.

The second death was a 12-year-old boy with chronic kidney failure and who was undergoing dialysis treatment. He died on Monday at 2pm due to severe pneumonia.

On Aug 2, a 20-year-old man with chronic asthma was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to flu-like symptoms and was confirmed suffering from severe pneumonia. He died the next day.

Both the boy and the man tested positive for A (H1N1) only this afternoon. As of today 16 new cases were reported with all cases being locally transmitted.

Out of the 16 cases, 10 were from three new clusters and six were from sporadic or isolated cases. The three deaths reported today were sporadic cases.

Two out of the 16 cases reported are being treated in the ward and 11 have received outpatient treatments. The current cumulative figure stands at 1,476 cases with 902 locally transmitted cases and the rest being imported cases.

"What a shame, would Muhyiddin be another “Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned” if he had been Health Minister and faced with two killer epidemics, A (H1N1) and deng"

Labels: ,

04 August, 2009

Arrests Put in Question Vow of Rights

Soon after coming to power four months ago, Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, vowed to temper the country’s repressive laws and respect civil liberties though they have often been ignored.

But Malaysia’s honeymoon of liberalism hit the rocks over the weekend, when the police broke up a large rally in Kuala Lumpur, arresting nearly 600 people and reaffirming the governing party’s longstanding policy of zero tolerance toward street protests.

Opposition parties, which organized the rally, were calling for the repeal of a law that allows the government to jail its critics indefinitely without charge. The opposition is also pressing the government to expand an inquiry into the recent death under mysterious circumstances of a political aide after a late-night interrogation by anticorruption officials.

News services estimated that the rally on Saturday, which was broken up by thousands of police officers using tear gas and water cannons, drew about 20,000 protesters, making it the largest demonstration in two years.

“We can provide them stadiums where they can shout themselves hoarse till dawn, but don’t cause disturbance in the streets,” Mr. Najib said Sunday, according to the Malaysian news media.

Since taking office in April, Mr. Najib has gained favor with investors and businesspeople by partly dismantling a system of racial preferences that long caused resentment among the country’s minorities.

He also released 13 political detainees held without trial. An opinion poll conducted from June 19 to July 1 showed 65 percent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with his performance. The poll, by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, surveyed 1,060 voters.

More recently, Mr. Najib’s government has been criticized as reverting to the authoritarian tactics of previous administrations.

A former health minister and stalwart of the governing coalition, Chua Jui Meng, defected to the opposition in July, saying that Mr. Najib represented an “iron fist behind the velvet glove.”

Lim Kit Siang, a prominent opposition politician, said in a blog entry on Sunday that the large number of people detained “underlines” that the “greatest violators of human rights are often the police and the law enforcement agencies.”

The death of the political aide, Teoh Beng Hock, in July has galvanized opposition parties and caused widespread outrage, especially among the minority Chinese.

Mr. Teoh, a legislative aide in the opposition-controlled state of Selangor, was found dead beneath the 14th-story window of the offices of the country’s anticorruption commission after a nightlong interrogation. A pathologist’s report said he died of internal injuries from a fall.

A government minister initially said Mr. Teoh, 30, committed suicide, but his belt and back pockets were torn, adding to speculation that he might have been forced out the window.

After initial resistance, the government bowed to public pressure and ordered an inquiry into Mr. Teoh’s death as well as the interrogation tactics of the anticorruption officers.

Deaths in police custody have increased in recent years, according to Suaram, a human rights group. According to the Malaysian Home Ministry, 1,535 people died in police custody between 2003 and 2007, the latest year for which data is available.

- New York Times


02 August, 2009

Tengku Razaleigh’s Letter to MB of Kelantan on oil royalties

TRH/U/Phb/Kel/18 Bh.9

30 July, 2009

8th Sya’ban, 1430

Y.A.B. Tuan Guru Dato’ Haji Nik Abdul Aziz bin Nik Mat

Chief Minister of Kelantan

Office of the Chief Minister

Block 1, 1st Floor

Kota Darulnaim

15503 Kota Bharu



Y.A.B. Dato,


My prayers to Allah, s.w.t. for your good health.

Thank you for your letter dated July 15, 2009 and conveyed to me by Y.B. Dato’ Hj. Husam Musa on July 17, 2009.

Malaysia was formed in 1963, in the teeth of armed opposition from a neighbouring country, without our having had time to clarify the demarcation between State and Federal jurisdictions offshore. This discrepancy eventually led the Sarawak State Government to dispute the Federal Government’s jurisdiction over waters offshore of Sarawak in respect of petroleum resources.

In talks between the State Government of Sarawak and the Federal Government, we solved this problem within the framework of the Petroleum Development Act of 1974. I represented the Federal Government in these negotiations. Instead of going by the complicated route of amending the Federal Constitution to demarcate State vs Federal jurisdictions, we applied Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act to apportion the value of petroleum resources offshore (and onshore) between them. The same agreement was used for Sabah.

The Petroleum Development Act is thus of unusual significance. It makes possible an agreement whereby the State Government first vests irrevocably all its “powers, liberties and privileges” in respect of Petroleum lying onshore or offshore of its territory in PETRONAS. “In return” says a second agreement, PETRONAS “shall make to the Government a cash payment in the form of a yearly sum amounting to 5% of of the value of the petroleum won and saved in Kelantan and sold by Petronas or its agents or contractors.” The late Dato’ Haji Mohamed Bin Nasir signed on behalf of the State of Kelantan as Menteri Besar and I signed on behalf of PETRONAS as its chairman.

There is no ambiguity at all in this pair of agreements about the demarcation of jurisdictions on or offshore of Malaysia with respect to Petroleum. It is very clear that PETRONAS is bound to these agreements just as the State Government of Kelantan is, and therefore that PETRONAS must pay the Kelantan State Government the cash payment of 5% of the value of petroleum resources extracted from Malaysian waters offshore of Kelantan.

As I recall, in the 1960’s the Federal Government assigned a portion of the offshore area now being exploited by the JDA (Joint Development Authority) to an international oil company. That company returned the concession to the Federal Government after they found that the cost of extraction would exceed the market price of oil at the time.

I sought and obtained the consent of the Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak, to sign the same agreements under Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act with each state in Peninsula Malaya for the sake of uniformity under the Act, and with a view to the fact that our East Coast states were less developed and would benefit from receiving these payments.

At the time we already anticipated finding oil and/or natural gas in Malaysian waters offshore of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang and looked forward to the benefit that such resources might bring to the people and to these states.

Thank you. Wassalam.

Yours sincerely

(Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah)


01 August, 2009

Malaysia-Thousands of people gathered to pressure the government to scrap the Internal Security Act !

The police started setting up roadblocks on Friday ahead of the illegal gatherings, causing major traffic jams around the city.

Federal Reserve Unit personnel were at strategic areas, including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Masjid Negara and Masjid Jamek.

Thousands of people demonstrated in Kuala Lumpur, against a controversial, decades-old law allowing detention without trial.

In chaotic scenes in downtown Kuala Lumpur, some 5,000 police including riot squads arrested scores of protesters as they gathered at rallying points across the city including two mosques and a shopping complex.

Deputy IGP Ismail Omar said that 175 people had been arrested for taking part in the protest, aimed at pressuring the government to abolish laws that allow for detention without trial.

"We just wanted to disperse them, so we used water cannon and tear gas to do that," he told AFP, insisting the police action was not heavy-handed.

Among the detained were several top political figures including R Sivarasa, vice-president of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's party.

Police fired tear gas at protesters as they began a march towards the national palace calling for reform.

Witnesses saw police charging with batons at the protesters and scuffling with them. Many people ran into alleys and shops nearby to avoid being arrested.

Before the march started, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said 150 people — identified as protesters because they were wearing opposition T-shirts and headbands — had been detained to prevent them from taking part.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said he had already agreed to review the controversial Internal Security Act.

The protest started after prayers finished at the national mosque, when a crowd of about 1,000 marched along one of the city's main streets.

At about 5.00 pm, top Pakatan leaders including Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, Nizar Jamaluddin joined the demonstration near City Hall. Police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters gathered around Sogo complex, Maju Junction and in Jalan Raja Laut.

They also started to pull down banners. Traffice came to a standstill as it was virtually impossible to enter the city centre this afternoon. Public transportation - LRT and Monorail - was packed.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohd Sabtu Osman says that 438 people were arrested until 6 pm, including 37 women and 38 juvenile.

Meanwhile, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the government has no intention of abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“The ISA is a necessary law that has ensured stability in the country ” he said.

“As long as Barisan Nasional is leading the government, the ISA will not be abolished,”

He said the rally was another attempt by opposition groups to undermine the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The Prime Minister enjoys the popularity and support of the people. This is just another way for the opposition to try to chip away this support,” Nazri added.

Labels: ,