30 September, 2009

Malaysia - Human rights awareness

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597) came into force on 09/09/99. This was followed by the appointment of 13 commissioners who took office on April 24, 2000. In the Act's 10th year, it is most opportune that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) selected the theme of "Human Rights in Malaysia: The Last 10 years" to celebrate Malaysian Human Rights Day 2009.

This is the 9th Malaysian Human Rights Day, and it falls on 09/09/09. Since this date is very unique, the Commission reckons it is most appropriate that we reflect on the status of human rights in Malaysia in the last 10 years and how far the country has come in achieving international human rights standards.

On Feb. 11, 2009, Malaysia went through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The purpose of the UPR, which was created by the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, is to assess the human rights situations in all 192 UN member states, once every four years. In this context, Malaysia shared its human rights practices, and the actions it has undertaken to improve the human rights situation, before the UNHRC. It is therefore fitting that we reflect on how far Malaysia has progressed in the area of human rights over the last 10 years.

Some actions could be taken to:

- review the status of human rights in Malaysia over the last 10 years,
- identify the challenges which hinder the achievement of human rights standards,
- propose a road map to enable the government to adopt a human rights action plan as national strategy, and
- discuss how human rights in Malaysia can be further strengthened.

Incidentally, Suhakam was established by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999. It was done at the initiative of the government with little public involvement. In order to address the issue of human rights and to promote human rights awareness, consultations and dialogues with various stakeholders were held. Suhakam has gone a long way to fulfill its obligations and realise its goal.

It has continuously expanded its operations to reach new villages and towns in various parts of the country. It has, to some degree, imparted human rights awareness to people of all walks of society, ranging from government officials and corporations to the general public, believing that when rights and responsibilities are guided by human rights, principles and good practices, then freedom is automatically enhanced.

Kofi Anan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations said, "Human rights are the foundation of human existence and co-existence. Human rights are what made us human. They are the principles by which we create the sacred home for human dignity."

Human rights violations continue to occur on almost a daily basis in Malaysia, according to Suhakam Chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib. He said that, as an advisory body without executive power, Suhakam could do nothing to ensure that the government responded to and acted upon on the commission's recommendations. He said that although the government had made significant improvements since the Suhakam Act became law on Sept 9, 1999, Malaysia did not have a perfect human rights record.

Needless to say, human rights are the peoples' rights. They are the the rights to life, citizenship, development, education, a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of a person and his or her family; the right to housing, equality before the law, prohibition of arbitrary arrest and detention, the presumption of innocence; the right to freedom of thought, conscience, choice and change of religion; the rights to freedom of opinion and expression; the right to freedom of peaceful assembly; and the right to take part in the government of the country.

However, the most fundamental requirement is that human beings must be truly free in order to exercise such rights and freedoms. Differences in status, race, language, sex, religion or political affiliation must not provide for discrimination regarding such rights.

Suhakam, being a creature of statute, believes that the solution lies with the voting public and that if the right people were voted into parliament, they would amend the law so that there would be more power to probe into complaints of abuses such as police inaction, excessive force, selective investigations and prosecutions, death in policy custody, delays in disposal of court cases, delays in processing applications for citizenship, and denial of rights to ancestral land.

Human rights should not be just the privilege of a select few but should be for all people, as envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our society is based on rights. The rights of every person on earth are precious and important.

Every effort should be made to protect and promote the belief that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Sekina Joseph

Labels: ,

29 September, 2009

Local Hero Isa to run for Barisan

The Barisan Nasional will field former Negri Sembilan mentri besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad as its candidate in the Oct 11 Bagan Pinang by-election in Negeri Sembilan.

Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in announcing the decision on Tuesday, said Isa was chosen after a detailed study with the constituents showed that this is what the people of Bagan Pinang wanted.

“We have decided that this is what the people want.

“We are confident that he, with his qualifications and support from the local community, will do well for the Barisan in the by-election,” Muhyiddin said.

Muhyiddin said Isa’s selection as the candidate was made after much thought and scrutiny, with feedback from not only among senior Barisan leaders but also the grassroot supporters in Bagan Pinang.

“We wanted a dedicated leader and candidate who would be able to bring change to the constituency,” he said.

Muhyiddin said that Isa has contributed greatly to the local community and never stopped serving it despite challenges to him over the years.

Isa's selection however is sure to rile some feathers within the coalition.

Umno had suspended Isa, 59, from his post as party vice-president after its disciplinary committee found him guilty of money politics or vote-buying during the party polls.

Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and others have argued strongly for the party to choose a blemish-free candidate.

In his speech immediately after Muhyiddin, Isa said he would continue to serve the constituency as he had done for the past 30 years.

“Under the new (Umno) leadership, my semangat (spirit) to serve is stronger.

“God willing, with the support of the Barisan leadership, we will defend the seat and win it with a larger majority,” he said.

Meanwhile, anyone bringing up the Shah Alam cow's head incident during the Bagan Pinang election campaign will be detained immediately and could face charges of inciting racial tensions.

The warning was made by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah, who said that it applied to Barisan Nasional and the opposition.

"We will assign officers to keep tabs on all ceramah and other activities during the campaign and they will alert the police immediately if the issue is raised."

Murugiah is the deputy minister in charge of the National Unity and Integration Department.

"We want a clean and fair campaign and to ensure no racial or religious issues are raised to incite the people."


27 September, 2009

Opposition MPs to attend the 64th United Nations General Assembly

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Datuk Anifah Aman has every confidence that the Opposition Members of Parliament will not let Malaysia down when they attend the 64th United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

“First and foremost, they are Malaysian MPs. I believe any Malaysian MP selected to be part of our delegation is wise enough to not run down Malaysia in an international arena,” he told Malay Mail in a telephone interview from New York last night.

Anifah said the three Opposition MPs, that he himself handpicked, were Wee Choo Keong (PKRWangsa Maju), Zulkifli Noordin (PKR-Kulim Bandar Baharu) and Hiew King Cheu (DAP-Kota Kinabalu).

“My selection of the MPs was based on their abilities in debating in Parliament. I need to ensure that those I chose to represent Malaysia in an international arena have superior oratory skills.”

He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had no objection to his plan to include Opposition members in the delegation.

“We have to allow other Malaysian MPs to grow. I have high respect for those whom I have selected. I have every confidence that they will do well at the UN and they will not let Malaysia down.”

The minister’s decision to include Opposition MPs in the Malaysian delegation was lauded by former General Assembly president (1996-1997) Tan Sri Razali Ismail.

Razali said it was good of the ministry to include Opposition MPs as it mirrors a more united Malaysia.

“The exposure that the MPs will receive at the event could boost their careers tremendously. Networking is going to be crucial, two weeks may not be enough,” he added.

He said the MPs should focus on the issues they were good at, based on their professional background and

He also suggested the Foreign Ministry considers having a “national delegation” by including non-governmental
organisations as well.

“There are local NGOs that specialise in certain issues deemed highly relevant in UN debates, such as climate change and human rights. It will certainly benefit the masses if the views of such NGOs can be projected on a global platform.”

( Source )


26 September, 2009

Thousands rock at Black Eyed Peas concert !

In the end, it was a "good, good night" for everyone — thousands of people of all faiths rocked to "Boom Boom Pow", "I Gotta Feeling" and other songs at a Black Eyed Peas concert after the Malaysian government lifted a ban on Muslims attending.

Muslims, who make up 60 percent of Malaysia's population, were originally told to stay away from the Friday night concert because it was sponsored by beer giant Guinness. Islamic law forbids alcohol consumption.

The ban was lifted days later without explanation, but at the concert there were designated bar areas that had signs advising Muslims to stay out.

Muslims, dressed in black dresses and sleeveless tops, said they came to enjoy the show — not to drink.

The ban controversy "makes us look like we are a bit of a backward country. But we are actually not," said Alia Zulkifli, a 27-year-old banker and Black Eyed Peas fan. "We came for the music."

The Black Eyed Peas said they were glad that people who "feel good about music, enjoy life" could attend the show, which marked the 250th anniversary of Guinness' flagship brewery in Dublin.

Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie said she had to change her outfit to comply with government rules that require all female artists to cover from shoulders to below the knees. Fergie wore tight black pants and a dark T-shirt with pink and white imprint throughout the 90-minute show.

"Well, I have had to change my costume for tonight's show, but I mean the woman's silhouette is still there," she told reporters.

The Black Eyed Peas have enjoyed phenomenal success this year. The foursome has topped Billboard's Hot 100 singles charts for the past 25 consecutive weeks, the most ever by an act.


25 September, 2009

1Malaysia - truely Asia

An Indian, a Chinese and a Malay were in a terrible car accident. They were all brought to the same emergency room, but all of them died before they arrived.

Just as they were about to put the toe tag on the Chinese, he stirred and opened his eyes. Astonished, the doctors and nurses present, asked him what happened.

"Well," said the Chinese, "I remember the crash, and then there was a beautiful light, and then the Indian and the Malay and I were standing at the gates of heaven. An Angel approached us and said that we were too young to die, and that for a donation of RM 500, we could return to earth. So, of course I pulled out my wallet and gave him the RM 500 and the next thing I knew I was back here."

"That's amazing!" said one of the doctors. "But what happened to the other two?"

"Last I saw them" replied the Chinese, "the Indian was bargaining over the price, and the Malay was waiting for the government to pay for him."


24 September, 2009

Beyonce & beyond

Beyonce Knowles has sung about partying like a "naughty girl," but Malaysians can expect her to be on her best behavior for a concert in this Muslim-majority country next month, the event's organizer said.

Knowles, who is well-known for her provocative clothes and concert choreography, backed out of a concert in Malaysia two years ago after the Islamic party threatened to protest the show. Party officials have not planned any demonstrations for next month's event.

Entertainment company Marctensia, the concert's Malaysian organizer, said Knowles should be regarded as a "role model" and "embodiment of success" because of her heavy involvement in philanthropy work, including campaigns against poverty and domestic violence.

The company also allayed concerns that Knowles would wear inappropriate outfits, saying "all parties have come to an amicable understanding" about stage costumes at the stadium concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city.

"We are confident that (the concert) will once and for all silence international critics and put Malaysia back on track ... in presenting A-list international pop concerts in this region," Marctensia said in a statement.

However, according to the Associated Press, the Grammy Award-winning superstar still isn’t receiving the ‘Diva’ treatment that she’s accustomed to: earlier this week, Sabki Yusof, head of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party,stated that his organization would send a protest note to the government over the singer’s show.

Ahmad Sabki, Pas Youth's vice-chief, said they were opposed to Western entertainment such as that of the R and B lady, known for her sexy attire and seductive dancing, in Malaysia.

"We know that these groups are not suitable for our Malaysian culture. Their appearance and attire are against our Eastern identity," the New Straits Times Online quoted him as saying.

Sabki also said that even if the star, who is expected to perform in the country as part of her "Beyonce I Am ..." world tour, wore a jubah (Muslim attire), her "sexy image" could not be undone.

He added: "We are against Western entertainment that promotes hedonism. We do not want our youths to be misled.

"We have in the past objected to Indonesian dangdut artiste Inul Daratista performing in Malaysia as she is also well known for her sexy gyrations."


23 September, 2009

Polygamy , Sex DVD - 1Bolehsia

Emergence of a club that advocates polygamy has set alarm bells ringing in Malaysia where the top clergy sees it as a 'front' for an armed outfit that preached 'deviant' Islam till it was banned in 1994.

Ikhwan Polygamy Club urges all Muslim women to keep an open mind about polygamous marriages.

'Polygamy is the most practical approach, an effective cure to a woman's desire,' says Hatija Aam, second wife of Ashari Mohammed, who was also one of the leaders of the former Al-Arqam that was banned for being a cult preaching 'deviation' in Islamic practices.

She proposes polygamy 'as an alternative to those who practise free sex' and also invites prostitutes to join the movement since it wants to 'free everyone'.

Polygamy is permitted for Muslims who are the majority population in Malaysia, but it remains a subject of animated debate.

Opened last month, the club is managed by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, a corporate body.

At the mean time, it was reported that the sex DVD featuring suspended MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has resurfaced just before the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Oct 10, bringing the party's internal conflict to another level.

An unknown "third force" is said to be redistributing the DVD to fuel the anger of Chua's supporters against party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

The DVD is allegedly being distributed to the central delegates as well as some Barisan Nasional leaders.

MCA non-governmental organisation liaison bureau chief Datuk Ti Lian Ker said there is a "hidden hand" in the DVD issue that has damaged MCA as a credible political party.

"There is indeed a third force from within the party intending to exploit and inflict maximum damage to the personality and credibility of both Ong and Chua with little or no love for the party," he said.

The third force wanted to control MCA's leadership for its personal motive and agenda.


22 September, 2009

The punishments in hell

A man dies, and he's looking in the gates of hell.

There he sees John Kennedy with an incredibly ugly girl. The man turns to the Devil and asks why John Kennedy is with this hideous looking person. The Devil replies, "Well, John has done some bad things in his life and that's his punishment."

The man looks around a little more and sees George Bush with a beautiful model. The stunned guy asks "What's George Bush doing with that model?" The devil replied, "Well, that model did some pretty bad things in her life and that's her punishment."


21 September, 2009

PAS urges new ban on Beyonce concert !

Singer-performer Beyonce Knowles cancelled her first ever concert in Malaysia in 2007.

Beyonce cited a "scheduling conflict" for her decision to shift the performance to Indonesia, a Muslim country with more relaxed rules, weeks after Gwen Stefani reluctantly agreed to cover up to meet the country's strict dress codes.

Other singers have encountered problems with performing in Malaysia, including The Pussycat Dolls, who were censured in 2006 after their concert flouted the rules.

Beyonce Knowles is expected to perform in Malaysia, two years after she cancelled her first ever performance in the Muslim country reportedly over fears of protests.

Concert organizer Marctensia confirmed the popular singer — known for her current hit Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) — will hold a concert on Oct. 25 at the Buki Jalil national stadium outside Kuala Lumpur.

Beyonce has been on her "I Am..." tour this year in North America and Europe.

Again, MALAYSIA'S conservative Islamic party called on the concert by the US singer to be banned, two years after her debut here was shelved over fears of protests by Muslim groups.

The Pan-Malaysian Islamic party (PAS) has campaigned against several foreign performers and in 2007, along with other Muslim groups, threatened protests that forced Beyonce to scrap her planned debut concert in Malaysia.

'We oppose the holding of such concerts and we will take action to prevent such a concert from taking place in Malaysia,' PAS youth chief Nasrudin Tantawi told AFP, without specifying what action would be taken.

'This performance is not suitable for Muslims as her skimpy attire and behaviour onstage are immoral and lead to unclean behaviour,' he said.

Performances by foreign artists frequently come under fire in Malaysia, particularly from PAS, which said those Muslims who support current Malaysia's government, Barisan Nasional (BN) were not Muslims.

The Islamic party called for Danish band Michael Learns to Rock to be banned from performing earlier this month, saying it was an insult to Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan. The group managed to perform without incident.


20 September, 2009

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri !

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri


19 September, 2009

RPK strikes again !

Raja Petra Kamaruddin had posted digital copies of leaked documents on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), including classified Cabinet papers, what appears to be a request from the Finance Ministry for a retrospective increase in cost for the PKFZ project from about RM1 billion to nearly RM5 billion.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail was quoted as saying that if the document was genuine, action could be taken against the editor of the website under the Official Secrets Act.

The 18-page document bearing the reference number KK/BPKA/D5(Y)/540/1/1 was published on the website yesterday with Raja Petra alleging that the government knew about the skyrocketing cost to develop the project but condoned it.

The document, dated June 22,2007, is purportedly a Treasury memorandum to the cabinet signed by the then finance minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

In it, the cabinet is asked to retrospectively approve an increase in the cost of the PKFZ project from RM1.088 billion to RM4.6 billion.

The document also said the government approved the purchase of the land via a "Letter of Support" from the transport minister with an assurance that government bonds would be used to finance the project.

Gani said he would talk to the relevant authorities on investigating the matter.

"If the document is a fake, then it is nothing more than an attempt to create unrest in the country. However, if it is genuine, then investigations under the OSA must be carried out."

Gani said possession and release of classified government documents were serious offences.

The PKFZ issue was still under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the police, among others, "and the government is not hiding anything".

The shocking revelation has forced Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak into damage control mode. He has ordered the police to immediately investigate the security lapse.

"Anyone who exposes cabinet papers will be subjected to police investigations and action under the Official Secrets Act will depend on the investigations," Najib told reporters late on Friday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar confirmed a probe has begun.

“We are investigating to find out who is responsible for exposing information on the cabinet paper,” he said.

PKFZ is an integrated 1,000 acre commercial and industrial zone located adjacent to the national gateway and transhipment hub in Port Klang.

It is the government’s largest port investment ever. However due to massive cost overruns that independent auditors have blamed on weak governance and questionable practice, the original development budget has ballooned multiple folds and and could hit RM12.5 billion if funding undertaken for the project is not revamped soon.

Said Kit Siang: “The time has come for the Prime Minister Najib to honour his pledge of public accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance which must include a commitment to freedom of information and respecting the right of Malaysians to information about the entire process as to how Malaysia could be landed with a RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal through three prime ministers, three transport ministers and four Port Klang Authority chairmen.”

Labels: ,

18 September, 2009

Torn between two 'Royals'

A brawl which allegedly erupted between two royal families last year has now blown up openly with one side demanding for a RM50mil compensation.

Tunku Nadzimuddin Tunku Mud­zaffar, a grandson of the late Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negri Sembilan, is publicly accusing Raja Muda of Johor Tunku Ismail Idris of putting a gun to his head and hitting him repeatedly for “unknown reasons” in the wee hours of Oct 25 last year.

He also voiced disappointment with the Criminal Investigations Depart­ment in Bukit Aman, the Dang Wangi police headquarters and the city police headquarters for what he described as “a serious lack of action.”

At a press conference yesterday, Tunku Nadzimuddin said he was at a club called Heritage Mansion with his then girlfriend and now wife Nur Azini Kamal, 32, to meet his friends on the night of Oct 24.

Tunku Nadzimuddin, 37, an institutional clients manager for MAAKL Mutual Bhd said it was a “time-out” for him because he had been undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

However, a scuffle broke out just after 1am and a bottle landed on one of his friends’ head.

Subsequently, he was contacted by a man who claimed to be Tunku Ismail.

Tunku Nadzimuddin said the other party wanted to apologise and asked him to go to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail.

As the group waited at the lobby, Tunku Nadzimuddin claimed that some of them were forced into a lift.

Once they were inside the lift, Tunku Nadzimuddin claimed that Tunku Ismail, who was armed with a gun, hit him on the head and face.

“He also held a gun in a threatening manner at my head. My friend who was also in the lift was assaulted until he lost consciousness,” he alleged.

The lift stopped on the 25th floor and they were forced into a room where his unconscious friend was left lying the floor. Tengku Nadzimuddin claimed that they were held captive for 45 minutes.

Asked whether he had insulted the Johor royalty previously, he said he had not done any such thing. Neither was he drunk at the time, he said.

- The Star

My son is precious! Not even RM100mil can match his worth. No amount of money!

This was the outburst from Tunku Dara Naquiah Tuanku Jaafar to reports on the Internet and the international media that the Negri Sembilan royalty had demanded RM50mil from the Johor royalty as compensation over an assault incident involving two princes from their respective royal houses.

Her son, Tunku Nadzimuddin Tunku Mudzaffar , 37, was allegedly battered by the Raja Muda of Johor, Tunku Ismail Idris Abdul Majid Abu Bakar Iskandar Tunku Ibrahim, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel here on Oct 24, 2008.

The Johor prince was allegedly armed with a gun, which he purportedly used to hit Tunku Nadzimuddin in the head and face.

The Negri Sembilan family has filed a police report and is hoping that after 11 months there would be some results of the investigations.

Tunku Naquiah , the eldest daughter of the late Tuanku Jaafar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the former Yang di Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, denied that she demanded any kind of compensation from Johor.

“No, I did not demand any kind of compensation, even though there were people advising me to ask for a sum of money.

“The A-G even advised us to settle the matter out of court,” she told a press conference.

“I want justice to be done. In any civilised society, if you point a gun at someone you are committing a criminal offence and should be charged. And, in most cases, get a term in prison immediately,” said Tunku Naquiah.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail has promised the government will take action after a thorough investigation.

So far, 41 statements have been recorded from witnesses at two places in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 24 last year, he added.

Therefore the investigation paper has to be thoroughly studied and I will not hesitate to announce my decision once it is done, Gani said in a statement issued late Thursday.

An investigation paper was first submitted to the AG's Chambers on Nov 18 but returned to the police on Dec 1 for further investigations, he added.It was only resubmitted to the prosecution's office in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday and to him on Thursday.

Nevertheless, there have been ongoing advice and contact between the police and my officers, Gani said.


17 September, 2009

With only nine detainees, what need for ISA?

Malaysia on Tuesday freed five terrorism suspects held for up to seven and a half years without trial under a strict security law that has been severely criticized by civil rights groups.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the men were released because they no longer presented a threat.

They had been arrested under the Internal Security Act, accused of involvement in Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional militant network linked to Al Qaeda.

Of the five, Mat Shah Mohd Satray and Abdullah Daud had been in detention since 2002 while Mohd Nasir Ismail, Mohd Kamil Hanafiah and Mohd Amir Hanafiah had been in Kamunting since 2007.

Last month, tens of thousands of people took part in a protest against the law, saying it was outdated and had been abused to jail political dissidents.

With their release, there are now only nine ISA detainees, four of them Malaysians and one each from Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Singapore.

Of the nine still in detention, Hishammudin said six were involved in militant activities while the others had been involved in the forging of official documents.

Terrorist suspect Mas Selamat Kastari, who was arrested in Johor Baru earlier this year after escaping from Singapore, is the most infamous name of the nine.

In April, the Government had released 13 ISA detainees, followed by another 13 in May.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has questioned the rationale of maintaining a law that has damaged Malaysia’s international reputation merely to keep nine people in detention.

Stressing that there was no longer need for the Internal Security Act (ISA), Suhakam commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said the country had other laws that could be used against the remaining detainees.

Of the nine, four had been placed under the ISA for allegedly forging official documents, he said.

“We are of the opinion that they be charged and tried in court.

“With this, they would be given the chance to defend themselves,” he told reporters outside the Kamunting detention camp near here on Thursday.


16 September, 2009

Anwar fails to disqualify sodomy lawyers

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today dismissed Anwar Ibrahim's application to replace the prosecutors in his sodomy trial.

According to Justice Alizatul Khair Osman Kamaruddin, Anwar’s bid should have been done through the criminal court.

"In the present case, the applicant is not challenging any specific act or exercise of power by the seven respondents which requires this court to exercise its supervisory powers," said Alizatul.

She said there must be a specific act or unlawful exercise of power which was to be challenged as required under Order 53 of the Rules of High Court 1980 in order to prevent the seven respondents from acting for the public prosecutor or respondents to recuse themselves from this trial.

She added the proper remedy for Anwar's application was the criminal court and not the appelate court.

Alizatul said the applicant seemed to hold the view that no one from AG's office could appear in the case.

"This amounts to undermining and stopping criminal proceedings even though Sivarasa (Anwar's counsel) had submitted that applicant did not mean to stop the whole prosecution team," added Alizatul.

She concluded by saying the application in her view was misconceived and as such, was dismissing the leave application with costs.

In the dock for allegedly sodomising a former aide, Anwar had wanted to bar the seven because he believes they would be influenced by the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, who was also the lead prosecutor in a previous sodomy trial against him.

In 1999, Anwar - a former Deputy Prime Minister - was jailed on sodomy and graft charges. The sodomy charges were later overturned in 2004, enabling him to make a brilliant political comeback. However, in 2008, he was again accused of sodomy – this time by a personal aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The 62-year Permatang Pauh MP has pleaded not guilty, counter-accusing Prime Minister Najib Razak of fabricating the case to kill his growing political clout.

The seven lawyers are: Solicitor General I Idrus Harun, Solicitor General II Yusof Zainal Abiden, deputy public prosecutors (DPP) Nordin Hassan, Hanafiah Zakaria, Wong Chiang Kiat, Shamsul Sulaiman and Noorin Badaruddin.

Labels: ,

14 September, 2009

Malaysian centenarian wants 23rd marriage !

Mek Wok Kundor, a 107-year-old Malaysian was in search for her 23rd marriage when she felt insecure with her current husband, a local daily reported here on Monday.

The Star said Mek, better known as Tok Wook, was afraid that her husband might leave her to marry another younger woman here.

The centenarian married Mohd Noor Che Musa, 37, in 2005. The marriage drew massive public attention owing to the large age gap between the couple.

Many people were skeptical about their marriage but Tok Wook revealed her happiness to the media sometime after their marriage.

Mohd Noor, a drug addict, is currently undergoing a drug rehabilitation program here, leaving Tok Wook alone at Kuala Berang in the state of Terengganu.

The Star quoted Tok Wook as saying that she would visit her husband if her neighbors were willing to give her a drive here.

She said although feeling insecure, she would wait for him without thinking of another marriage if he reciprocated, adding that she was lonely without him.

She also said she was not searching for a handsome man but someone to be her companion in her remaining years of live.


13 September, 2009

A Muslim model: What Indonesia can teach the world

At times this summer, much of the Muslim world seemed at war with itself. In Iran, protesters furious over what they viewed as a stolen election spilled into the streets and were met with a brutal security crackdown. In Pakistan, powerful Taliban-type militant groups battled the army. In neighboring Afghanistan, opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah and local tribal leaders accused President Hamid Karzai of stealing the national election.

Farther south, the world’s largest Muslim nation, Indonesia, received far less attention. Yet what happened there in July ultimately could prove far more important than the meltdowns in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iran. Some 100 million Indonesians, spread across a vast archipelago, went to the polls, and in a free and fair vote, they reelected president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, leader of the secular Democrat Party. Hard-line Islamic parties fielded candidates as well, but they barely registered at the polls, gaining less of the vote than they had in the previous national election five years ago.

Yudhoyono’s reelection was only the capstone of a triumphant decade for Indonesia. Despite its vast size and remote terrain - it is the world’s fourth-largest nation by population, its 240 million people spread across thousands of islands between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific - Indonesia has become a rock of political stability in a turbulent region. After decades of military dictatorship, and the threat of Islamism in the late 1990s, Indonesia is today ruled by a coalition that mixes secular and moderate Islamic parties and protects minority rights. And at a time when countries from Japan to Singapore are struggling, Indonesia posted some of the strongest growth in Asia this year. The nation’s occasional terrorist attacks haven’t succeeded in destabilizing the government, which has steadily built a reputation for good governance and an effective battle against militant groups.

“If you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women’s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on a trip to Southeast Asia earlier this year.

Though Indonesian leaders themselves are hesitant to lecture other countries, their model could offer lessons for nations from Pakistan to Morocco. It has managed to create a stable political system without using its military to guarantee secular rule, as does Turkey. The militant Islamic groups that once seemed to threaten the country’s future have been crushed or co-opted. And it has adopted modern anti-terrorism techniques that appear to be working. In its success, Indonesia also offers the United States, constantly seeking ways to help build stable societies in the Arab-Muslim world, a model for cooperation and moderation.

Just a decade ago, few would have seen Indonesia as a model of any kind. The country was an economic and political basket case, riddled with graft from the era of its longtime dictator Suharto. Its heavily export-dependent economy collapsed in the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, plunging the country into political chaos.

Riots constantly blocked the streets of Jakarta, with many protests targeting the ethnic Chinese community. Warfare erupted in outlying provinces like Aceh, which long had wanted to secede. Hard-line Islamist groups preyed upon this unrest, promising cleaner government against the corruption of Indonesia’s traditional political parties. Islamic schools, known as pesantrens and similar to madrasas, expanded to fill the void left by underfunded public schools. Some of these became notorious for promoting militant Islam, according to an analysis by the International Crisis Group, developing into feeders for the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, this and other expanding militant groups seemed on the verge of threatening the government’s control of parts of the country, a situation similar to Afghanistan or Yemen today. In 2002, Jemaah Islamiah masterminded a bombing in Bali that killed over 200 people, and then allegedly bombed the JW Marriott hotel and the Australian embassy in Jakarta, among other sites. Indonesia seemed on the verge of disintegrating, torn apart by separatist movements and inter-ethnic battles.

By the time of Yudhoyono’s reelection, this past summer, many of these fears had vanished. The economy had recovered, the archipelago no longer appeared on the verge of fragmenting politically, and terror groups had been prosecuted and weakened. The country had held three successive free elections.

How did Indonesia develop into a success, while countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia still struggle just to build the fundamentals of democracy? For one, Indonesia’s presidents have not allowed sharia law, the religiously derived legal system that prevails in numerous Muslim countries, to gain a foothold, except in a few isolated regions. Neighboring Malaysia, by contrast, allows several of its states to apply sharia to many issues of family law and other civil cases - a system that can alienate non-Muslim minorities, undermining the principle that democracy protects minority rights. (Recently, the Malaysian blogosphere has been fixated on the case of an Indian Hindu woman who, under sharia law, has been sentenced to caning for drinking beer.) In Indonesia, where an ethnic Chinese minority coexists warily with an ethnic Malay majority, the assurance of minority rights is critical to preventing the kind of internal violence that has racked other Muslim nations, from Pakistan (Shia vs. Sunni) to Yemen (northernerns vs. southerners). Assurance of minority rights boosts the economy, too, since the ethnic Chinese, though a minority, control an outsized percentage of powerful companies in Indonesia.

Unlike many other Muslim countries, Indonesia’s leaders have also resisted the temptation to use the national treasury to promote their preferred version of Islam. Yudhoyono and his two predecessors, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Abdurrahman Wahid, took pains to emphasize that there was no state-preferred mosque or spiritual leader. This strategy stands in sharp contrast to Saudi Arabia, where the government plays a major role in overseeing clerics - or even to Pakistan, where former president Mohammad Zia ul-Haq used the power and the purse of the state to institute laws consistent with sharia and pack the courts with Muslim scholars he considered allies.

Even more important, the Indonesian government has also set out to undercut the popular appeal of militancy. Rather than letting Islamic parties run on promises to improve the lives of the poor, Yudhoyono has overseen a massive national anti-poverty program, increasing direct cash transfers and rice subsidies to the poor. Besides winning hearts and votes, these handouts sparked consumer spending, critical at a time when exports to the West are lagging. They also reduced poor families’ dependence on Islamic boarding schools for a decent education, a point not grasped in, say, Pakistan, where politicians frequently vow to reform madrasas but spend little time investing in public education to give families other options.

Under Yudhoyono the Indonesian government also has allowed some of its power to devolve to provinces and cities throughout the archipelago, giving them greater shares of the national budget, more control over local natural resources and more money back from direct investment in their area. Devolution takes guts, especially in regions of the world accustomed to a strong, centralized government. But it also pays several rewards, reducing separatist tensions and giving average people more personal investment in the democratic process. Devolution also encourages provinces and cities to become more economically competitive.

Yudhoyono’s government has also denied the Islamists another of their biggest recruiting tools: public anger at corruption. The president has backed the national counter-corruption agency, and unlike his predecessors, has stayed out of the courts’ way. Last spring, just before the presidential election, a close relative and former governor of the Bank of Indonesia was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to jail time, shocking many Indonesians who were accustomed to seeing the powerful protect their relatives and inner circle.

Indonesia also has pursued a novel strategy against militant groups. The president has made a strong public case that terrorists threaten average Indonesians, not just the West. By pressing this theme, Yudhoyono has managed to turn opinion against militants while deflecting claims that he was just serving the interests of the United States. (In one poll of Indonesians by the organization Terror Free Tomorrow, 74 percent said that terrorist attacks are “never justified.”) The country also has a cutting-edge “deradicalization” policy to stem the growth of militancy. Former terrorists appear on national television to describe the brutality of their crimes and express remorse for killing fellow Indonesians; former militants also approach convicted terrorists in prison, using religious arguments, compassion, and other softer tactics to win them over.

Plenty of problems remain. Conflict still erupts among Indonesia’s many ethnic groups; in the province of West Papua, separatists attacked foreign workers over the summer. Despite Yudhoyono’s poverty programs, much of Indonesia’s population lives below the poverty line. And its military can still make trouble.

Even where they have been successful, many Indonesian leaders are reluctant to be seen as an example to other nations, especially in the Middle East. Indonesia isn’t Arab, and many Arab leaders regard it as a kind of backwater in Islam, making them loath to take lessons from Jakarta. The archipelago also historically practiced a more moderate version of Islam, a religion brought by traders and mixed with local folk practices. The country’s major religious organizations, with tens of millions of members, have been run by leaders committed to the separation of mosque and state.

Still, other Muslim nations are beginning to look at what Indonesia has done right. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, and other nations have adopted deradicalization programs of their own. Clerics from across the Muslim world have descended on Indonesia to study its religious organizations and their role in society.

Indonesia’s success offers lessons for the United States as well. Most importantly, it shows that Islam and democracy can mix easily, provided the government can separate mosque and state, and religious leaders are willing to go along. The resulting stability leaves far less room for militant groups, and reduces the need for the US to throw its weight behind iron-fisted military leaders like Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf just to keep militant Islam from expanding.

In addition, the example of Indonesia suggests that in many cases, America would be wise to intervene less. President Yudhoyono’s counterterrorism policy succeeds in part because local people perceive the policy as run by their president, not pushed on him by any foreign powers. The US, meanwhile, has pitched in by quietly helping fund and train Indonesia’s elite counterterrorism force, known as Detachment 88. But unlike in Pakistan or Yemen or the Philippines, American assistance isn’t prominently covered in the press, or a flashpoint for public anger. It doesn’t hurt that President Obama spent some of his childhood in the country, and today his administration is hugely popular in Indonesia. Almost as popular, that is, as Yudhoyono’s.

- By Joshua Kurlantzick, Globe Correspondent

Joshua Kurlantzick is a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. Contact him at jkurlant1@hotmail.com.

Labels: ,

12 September, 2009

UMNO salah, KeADILan betul !

Murid : Selamat
pagi, cikgu.

Cikgu :
(Menengking) Mengapa selamat pagi sahaja? Petang dan
malam awak doakan saya tak

Murid : Selamat
pagi, petang dan malam cikgu!

Cikgu : Panjang
sangat! Tak pernah dibuat oleh orang! Kata
selamat sejahtera! Senang dan penuh bermakna.
Lagipun ucapan ini meliputi semua masa dan

Murid : Selamat
sejahtera cikgu!

Cikgu : Sama-sama, duduk! Dengar
sini baik-baik. Hari ini cikgu nak uji
kamu semua tentang perkataan berlawan.
Bila cikgu sebutkan perkataannya, kamu semua mesti
menjawab dengan cepat, lawan
bagi perkataan-perkataan itu,

Murid : Faham,

Cikgu : Saya tak
mahu ada apa-apa gangguan.

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu : Oh

Murid : Oh

Cikgu : Dengar

Murid : Dengar

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu : Itu
bukan pertanyaan, bodoh!

Murid : Ini
ialah jawapan, pandai!

Cikgu : Mati

Murid : Hidup

Cikgu : Rotan
baru tau!

Murid : Akar
lama tak tau!

Cikgu : Malas
aku ajar kamu!

Murid : Rajin
kami belajar cikgu!

Cikgu : Kamu

Murid : Kami

Cikgu : Cukup!

Murid : Kurang!

Cikgu : Sudah!

Murid : Belum!

Cikgu : Mengapa
kamu semua bodoh sangat?

Murid : Sebab
saya seorang pandai!

Cikgu : Oh!

Murid : Oh!

Cikgu : Kurang

Murid : Cukup

Cikgu : Habis

Murid : Kekal

Cikgu : O.K.
Pelajaran sudah habis!

Murid : K.O.
Pelajaran belum bermula!

Cikgu : Sudah,

Murid : Belum,

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu : Saya
kata UMNO salah!

Murid : Kami
dengar KeADILan betul!

Cikgu : Bangang
kamu ni!

Murid : Cerdik
kami tu!

Cikgu :

Murid :

Cikgu : Kamu
semua ditahan tengah hari

Murid :
Dilepaskan tengah malam itu!

Cikgu : (Senyap
dan mengambil buku-bukunya keluar.)


10 September, 2009

MCMC visited Malaysiakini, again !

Officers from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have again visited independent news portal Malaysiakini today to further investigate the “ deemed offensive” cow-head videos.

The seven-member MCMC team, which included three digital forensics experts, demanded Malaysiakini to hand over the original tapes of the two videos.

The team, led by Mohd Syukri Jamaluddin, has also sought to copy certain parts of the hard disk from two Malaysiakini computers used to edit and upload the videos.

MCMC officers also interviewed Malaysiakini cameraperson Mohd Kamal Ishak, who covered the press conference held by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein following his controversial meeting with cow-head protesters.

This is the third time MCMC officers have visited the Malaysiakini office in Bangsar Utama, Kuala Lumpur.

The first was on last Saturday where a three-person team recorded a statement from editor-in-chief Steven Gan.

On Tuesday, eight MCMC officers interviewed the online daily's 12 staff in a marathon session lasting eight hours.

Among those questioned were Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran, editors, journalists, video team members and one technical staff.

Probe centres on two video clips

Except for Chandran and the technical staff, all the others were involved in the process of news gathering, editing and publishing two stories and videos related to the cow-head protest in Shah Alam on Aug 28 and the press conference by Hishammuddin on Sept 2.

They were journalists Rahmah Ghazali, Jimadie Shah Othman, Andrew Ong, cameraperson Amir Abdullah, editors K Kabilan, Nasharuddin Rahman, Fathi Aris Omar, video editors Shufiyan Shukur, Ng Kok Foong and Lydia Azizan.

The investigation by MCMC centres on two video clips published by Malaysiakini - one on the protest and the other on Hishammuddin's press conference - which were deemed offensive.

The videos cited were the 'Temple demo: Residents march with cow's head' and 'Hisham: Don't blame cow-head protesters'.

On the same day, MCMC officers have also taken a statement from Malaysiakini's server hosting company...more

Support for Mkini’s stand on the cow head-related videos

Charter 2000-Aliran hails the unwavering and principled stand taken by Malaysiakini not to pull down the two videos related to the controversial cow-head demonstration in Shah Alam recently.

Such a principled move is praiseworthy especially when the online newspaper is now under tremendous pressure from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission to withdraw the said videos from public viewing.

This stand has great political significance for the journalists and their commitment to truth should not be allowed to be trampled upon by the powers-that-be that do not respect, let alone appreciate the fundamental values pertaining to justice, freedom of expression and the media’s responsibility to speak the truth and shame the devil.

Additionally, the MCMC’s action makes a mockery of the Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent guarantee that there will be no censorship of the Internet.

The act of metaphorically killing the messenger is equally disturbing in that it is aimed at intimidating conscientious journalists from reporting the truth without fear or favour. Needless to say, Malaysiakini merely reported what actually took place and exposed the racist and religiously insensitive remarks and actions of certain misguided individuals who claimed to have done what they did in the name of Islam and Muslims.

To be sure, the stand taken by the news portal has wide repercussions within the journalistic fraternity as well as the civil society in Malaysia.

We urge the MCMC to desist from harassing the editorial personnel of Malaysiakini.

Dr Mustafa K Anuar & Anil Netto
Charter 2000

( Via “SUSAN LOONE’s DOCs* )


09 September, 2009

12 charged over cow-head protest

Six men were charged with sedition at the Sessions Court on Wednesday for their involvement in a protest in which they dragged a cow’s head to the front of the state secretariat building last month, then proceeded to stamp and spit on it.

The six were also charged with taking part in an illegal assembly, along with six other men, at the Magistrates Court.

The 12 men were among some 50 people, led by residents of Section 23 here, who on Aug 28 marched about 300m from the state mosque to the gates of the state secretariat building to protest against the relocation of the Sri Mahamariamman temple from Section 19 to their neighbourhood.

The six charged with sedition under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948, alternatively under Section 298 of the Penal Code, pleaded not guilty and bail was set at RM4,000 each with one surety.

Ibrahim Sabri, 42, and Ahmad Mahayuddin Abd Manaf were charged with allegedly stepping on the cow’s head with the tendency to incite, where the act could create feelings of unsatisfactory and animosity towards Hindus.

The offence carries a punishment of a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.

Eyzva Ezhar Ramly, 31, was charged with allegedly carrying the cow’s head while Mohd Azmir Mohd Zain, 35, Ahmad Suhairy Zakaria, 30, and Mohd Hilmi Ni, 40, were charged with carrying and stepping on it.

The six were also alternatively charged with deliberate intend to wound religious feelings of any person, and if convicted, can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, a fine, or both.

The accused were represented by lead counsel Datuk Salehuddin Saldin and a team of six lawyers. Judge Hasbi Hassan presided.

DPP Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar requested bail of RM15,000 for each but Salehuddin shot down the request, saying that the six men voluntarily turned up at court despite only being informed the night before.

“If we look at the facts of the case, it was not their intention to insult any religion that is practised by other races.

“For Malays, a cow is synonymous with stupidity and not synonymous with religious matters. It is not as a serious offence as portrayed,” claimed Salehuddin, adding that bail should be set at RM500 each.

Mohd Dusuki argued that a RM500 bail was not suitable for the charges as it has received wide coverage in the media and it involved public interest.

“The fact that there is wide coverage should not be a consideration in setting the amount of bail. So what if the coverage is wide? If the reporters blow the case out of proportion, can the accused be punished for this?” Salehuddin told a packed courtroom.

These six men were later charged at the Magistrates Court together with Jainudin @ Zainudin Md Yusuff, 67, Mohd Jurit Ramli, 39, Mohammad Nordin Zakaria, 46, Jamil Mohamad Isa, 40, Rahimuddin Md Harun, 39 and Azahari Shaari, 39, with illegal assembly under Section 27 (5) of the Police Act 1967.

If found guilty, they are liable to a fine of not less than RM2,000 and not more than RM10,000, and imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

All 12 men claimed trial in front of another packed courtroom.

Mohd Dusuki asked for bail of RM10,000 for each and Salehuddin requested a lower amount of RM500.

“In previous cases of illegal assembly, the bail was set at RM500. Lately, there have been many illegal assemblies and they involved people who want to express their intentions.

“There are six of them who are also facing other charges in another court for the same transaction. Because of this, bail should be set lower,” Salehuddin said.

Magistrate Norkamilah Aziz set bail at RM300 with one surety for those facing sedition charges and at RM500 for the others.

Mention for both cases has been set for Oct 21.

After proceedings, newsmen asked Mohd Dusuki about the fate of the other protesters and he replied that it was up to the police to decide if they would charge the others.

The group of accused earlier arrived at court at 8.40am accompanied by local and outstation supporters. The 12 men shouted to the media present that they were not guilty and they were united in their stand.

- The Star

Meanwhile, Malay non-governmental organisation Perkasa wants to provide legal counsel to the 12 “cow head protestors” who were charged with sedition and illegal assembly at the Shah Alam Sessions and Magistrates courts on Wednesday.

Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said several lawyer members of the movement were willing to take up the case as a “jihad,” or any war undertaken in the name of Islam against unbelievers or backsliders.

“We will also go on a donation drive to help them financially to pay for unforeseen expenses that they might incur during the trial proper.

“We are not doing this as a publicity stunt or political mileage but for the sake of the Ummah (the community of believers) and to defend Allah’s religion,” he said in a press statement issued here on Wednesday.

Ibrahim, who is also the independent Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas, criticised those in power, accusing them of being cowards for not protecting the religion.

However, many Muslim and political leaders have condemned the incident (see below), saying such hatred and disrespect had no place in the religion.

On Aug 28, some 50 people, led by residents of Section 23 in Shah Alam, marched about 300m from the state mosque to the gates of the Selangor state secretariat building to protest against the relocation of the Sri Mahamariamman temple from Section 19 to Section 21.

They dragged along a decapitated cow’s head then proceeded to stamp and spit on it.

They also warned of further action if the temple was built in their area, with one protest leader promising bloodshed.

- The Star


06 September, 2009

Cow head protest VS candlelight vigil protest

“Threat and insulting the religion of others is condoned by the government, where is justice?” and “Umno must repent”.

Police arrested 16 people including Human Rights Party leader P. Uthayakumar as they were attempting to march from Masjed Jamek to Dataran Merdeka for a candlelight vigil protesting last week’s cow-head demonstration by Section 23 residents in Shah Alam.

Authorities had closed off access to the square to prevent the group of about 50 demonstrators from carrying out the vigil.

Uthayakumar, who recently returned from medical treatment abroad, was seen manhandled by the police despite not resisting while his fiancée was roughly pushed and dragged into the police truck.

All 16 were later taken to the Dang Wangi police station to have their statement taken.

In a statement from his London base, Waytha Moorthy said he was appalled by the arrests, saying it was a deliberate and calculated attempt to target the main leaders of Hindraf so that the planned candle vigil would be foiled.

Those vigil participants were going with candles and roses when they were arrested. PM Najib’s 1 Malaysia is a shame to all democracy-loving Malaysians.

“It is ridiculous that the Muslim extremist cow head protesters – with blood still dripping from the head – who behaved in violent manner, delivered fiery speeches promoting racial hatred and insulted Hindus were given full police protection whilst Hindraf supporters who were armed with unlit candles and roses were violently arrested, bundled and taken into police lock ups,” said Waytha Moorthy who lives in self-exile.

In last week’s protest in Shah Alam, around 50 residents from Section 23 marched towards the Selangor state secretariat building after Friday prayers to protest the planned relocation of a Hindu temple to their housing area.

The protesters brandished a severed cow’s head during the protest, which was observed by the police. No arrests were made then or since.

"The police allowed the demonstrators to proceed because the numbers of protesters were small."

“They said that they were very conscious and all that they wanted to do was to voice their unhappiness about the willingness of the state government to listen to their requests. I was told that even the Hindus there are not so passionate that it is built there (section 23),” said Hishammuddin.

But, as far as Selangor opposition leader Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is concerned, the controversy surrounding the cow-head protest in Shah Alam last week is just a big misunderstanding over a 'stupid' animal.

According to the former menteri besar, the protesters had no intentions of belittling the Hindu religion which considers the cow to be sacred.

"The reason (the cow's head) was brought was to show that the (state government) had acted without thinking as the site (for the Hindu temple) was ready (in Section 18), so why relocate (to Section 23)?

"The state government did not think... the cow's head was displayed because it is a 'stupid' animal, to show that the state government made a 'stupid' decision, and disrupted the peace of Section 23 residents. (It has) nothing to do with religious issues," he stressed.

"I don't know who brought it (the cow's head)... but for me, there is no sensitivity (involved) or link to the animal being holy for the Indians (Hindus)," he added.

Perhaps, The police should come up with a standard procedure or guideline to deal with demonstrations and protests to show that it is consistent and fair in all its actions, instead, they are more capable of catching demonstrators than criminals.


04 September, 2009

Bagan Pinang Assemblyman Dies, Nation Braces for 9th by-election

SEREMBAN, Sept 4 (Bernama) -- Bagan Pinang assemblyman, Azman Mohammad Noor, of Barisan Nasional (BN) died this afternoon at the Seremban Specialist Centre. He was 54.

His son Hairol Asfani, 22, said his father died of blood infection.

He leaves behind a widow Normah Zainal Abidin, 49, and five children Mohd Khusairi, 23, Hairol Asfani, 22, Norsyazila, 19, Norsyafikah, 16, and Norsyafitra, 13.

When met at the hospital, Hairol Asfani said his father was admitted to the hospital at 3.30am due to fever.

"He complained of fever but was able to walk unassisted. After the breaking of fast yesterday, his condition worsened and he was unable to walk," he said, adding that all family members were at his bedside when Azman breathed his last at about 2.30pm.

- Bernama

Azman Mohd Noor won the seat at the 12th general election in March last year by beating PAS candidate Ramli Ismail. Azman had obtained 6,430 votes against the 4,097 votes garnered by his rival.

With the seat now vacant, the nation will be bracing for a by-election in Negri Sembilan, the ninth since the general election.

In the six by-elections that it contested, Barisan had managed to just retain its state seat in Batang Ai, Sarawak.

It failed to dislodge the Pakatan Rakyat alliance in the other by-elections and boycotted one by-election in Penang for the Penanti state seat.

The most recent by-elections were in Permatang Tinggi in Penang earlier this month and in Manek Urai, Kelantan in July.

Both were won by PAS, which is part of the tripartite Parkatan alliance that also consists of the DAP and PKR.


02 September, 2009

Hishammuddin defended and justified last Friday’s cow-head protest !

The Home Minister today defended and justified last Friday's cow-head demonstration after meeting with Malay-Muslim representatives of Shah Alam's Section 23 at his office here today.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein pointed out that the residents felt victimized and had no intention to stir racial emotion.

“They are not getting off scot-free. They felt victimised and feel that there is another valid explanation on their part. There was no intention on their part to cause racial divide. They, the organisers, who are sitting left and right of me, didn’t even know that somebody was going to bring the head of the cow during that demonstration.” he said.

He added that the residents only wanted their voices to be heard but it was unfortunate that “the publicity they received was negative because it was linked with racial and religious sentiments.”

Hishammuddin told reporters that the police allowed the demonstrators to proceed because the numbers of protesters were small.

“They said that they were very conscious and all that they wanted to do was to voice their unhappiness about the willingness of the state government to listen to their requests. I was told that even the Hindus there are not so passionate that it is built there (section 23),” he said.

Hishammuddin refuted claims that the protest was organised by Umno and said that the location allocated by the state government is not suitable because Section 23 is predominantly Malay.

However, a check last week showed the neighbourhood was multi-racial, with Indians making up more than a quarter of those who live there.

“If I wanted to use the issue to create chaos in Selangor, I can but we didn’t take such actions,” Hishammuddin said.

He tried to play down the cow-head incident by pointing out that there were previous incidents where a pig-head was used.

“I have it in my records to show there were cases where a pig-head was used by irresponsible parties including leaving the head in front of an Umno building covered by an Umno flag,” he said, but offered no details of such an act.

The Umno vice-president warned irresponsible parties not to provoke racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of 1 Malaysia.

Hishammuddin told reporters that the residents had met with Hindu Sangam two days ago and both parties will be releasing a media statement tomorrow.

“If it can be resolved quickly and can be done with both sides understanding each other ... why would we want to penalise anybody?” he said, suggesting he was not in favour of legal action to be taken against any of the protestors.

So, the question now is, can non-Malays and non-Muslims these days expect to be protected by an Umno-dominated government? Can Umno play the role of honest brokers?

Nobody is saying that the residents should be pistol-whipped or chained, or charged with sedition but the minister has justified their illegal and unlawful act even before the Attorney-General’s Chambers decide on the next course of action.

It is up to the Attorney-General now to decide if he has a case against them under the laws of the country and let the courts decide, no matter how cynical Malaysians are about the judiciary.

It is not for Hishammuddin to pronounce their innocence or guilt.

So, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why masses, particularly the Chinese and Indians in the past few by-elections, and even in Election 2008, are willing to vote for PAS.

They prefer religious conservatives who are fair and just, compared with the ruling party which has swung to the far right of race and religion.

And they don’t need anyone telling them of his dream of united Malaysia but is dividing the country with his sense, or lack of, of fairness and justice.

His grandfather tried in his time but Hishammuddin appears to have gone the other way.

Perhaps he should take heed of his own warning that irresponsible parties should not provoke racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of 1 Malaysia.

Hishammuddin needs a reality check and figure out who exactly is undermining the concept.

At this point, it’s the people with bovine blood on their hands.

Meanwhile, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the public should leave it to the police and Attorney-General to decide if demonstrators who displayed a cow’s head while protesting against the relocation of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam had violated the Sedition Act.

“However, for most Malaysians, it was a very regretful incident. The police and A-G will decide whether the action of the protesters is an offence under the Sedition Act,” he said.