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Mamak Engineered Malaysia to be world’s No 5 in illicit outflows !

Malaysia is world’s No 5 in illicit outflows ie. Malaysian Politicians are the top thieves in the world ... Thanks to Bapak Modernasasi Curi Rompak Mamak bin Batu


Malaysiakini

Malaysia is among the countries which registered the highest illicit financial outflows over a period of nine years in the last decade.

According to a ground-breaking report by Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI), money flows out of Malaysia have more than tripled from 2000 to 2008.

The outflow from Malaysia in 2000 was RM67.7 billion (US$22.2 billion). Eight years later, this has ballooned to RM208 billion ($68.2 billion).

The report warned that the sharp increase of capital flight in Malaysia is “at a scale seen in few Asian countries”.

It said that it was difficult to point out the reasons behind this massive outflow of illicit capital – estimated at RM889 billion (US$291 billion) between 2000 and 2008 – without carrying out an in-depth study of Malaysia, which is outside the scope of the report.

“It is clear however that significant governance issues affecting both the public and private sectors have been playing a key role in the cross-border transfer of illicit capital from the country.

“For instance, there are reports in the Malaysian media that large state-owned enterprises such as Petronas could probably be driving illicit flows.”

The financial watchdog said that its research has indicated that political instability, rising income inequality and pervasive corruption are some of the structural and governance issues that could be driving illicit capital from many developing countries.

“In the case of Malaysia, the additional factor could well be the significant discrimination in labour markets which move people and unrecorded capital out of the country.

“As a result of some of these factors, the volume of illegal capital flight from Malaysia has come to dwarf legitimate capital inflows into the country in recent years.”

The GFI report, ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries’, is penned by GFI economists Karly Curcio and Dev Kar, who is a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund.

China tops the chart

China tops the chart among the world’s exporters of illicit capital with a whopping US$2.8 trillion of outflows, followed by Russia (US$427 billion), Mexico (US$416 billion), Saudi Arabia (US$302 billion) and Malaysia (US$291 billion).

Other Asian countries with high illegal capital flight are Philippines ($109 billion), Indonesia ($104 billion) and India ($104 billion).

GFI has identified deliberate trade mispricing – which allows companies to avoid paying taxes – as the major source of the illicit outflows.

“Trade mispricing was found to account for an average of 54.7 percent of cumulative illicit flows from developing countries over the period 2000-2008 and is the major channel for the transfer of illicit capital from China.”

However, bribery and theft are also major reasons for the outflows in many countries.

“Bribery, theft, kickbacks and tax evasion were the greatest conduit for the illicit financial flows from the major exporters of oil such as Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.”

The report found that about US$1 trillion flows out from developing countries to rich countries each year – a situation which resulted in many of these countries remaining perpetually poor.

GFI offers a silver bullet solution to stem the illicit financial outflows from developing countries – greater transparency.

“Increasing transparency in the global financial system is critical to reducing the outflow of illicit money from developing countries.

Pakatan defends the gloved one

Normala Sudirman is taking heavy hits with MCA calling her a 'snob'.
TENANG: Pakatan Rakyat was forced to be on the defensive over allegations that its candidate, PAS Normala Sudirman, is a snob when it comes to greeting non-Muslims.

While Normala and his Barisan Nasional (BN) counterpart, Umnos Azahar Ibrahim, were busy filing their candidacy papers, Pakatan leaders took the opportunity to deflect the accusation before some 3,000 supporters who had accompanied the PAS candidate to the nomination centre.

MCA has been playing up the allegation that Normala despises non-Muslims because she wears gloves to greet non-Muslim voters.

MCA leaders have also played up her refusal to shake the hands of male voters, a bid seemingly aimed at scaring the Chinese voters by portraying PAS as extremists.

PKR Youth leader Bardrul Hisham Shaharin, speaking before the crowd, said the allegations were not new and that MCA leaders have employed similar tactics in the past.

This is what happens when MCA are friends with Umno for too long; they harp on petty politics. This is not true, he said.

He pointed out that similar allegations had been made against PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the past.

They used to say the same about her. She wears gloves and they said this is because she is arrogant what is this? This is ridiculous, he said.

The Chinese form 39% of the 14,753 registered Tenang voters, a sizeable and decisive chunk, which explains the avid efforts to win their votes.

It is understood that BN is seeking a victory with a majority of at least 5,000 votes before calling for early general election.

The late Sulaiman Taha retained the Tenang state seat in the last gener! al elect ion after he defeated PASs Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.

The majority was almost half of what he had attained in the 2004 election. He had won with a majority of more than 5,000 then.

Decrease in the majority was attributed to the swing in Chinese votes. This is despite the fact that Tenang, which falls under the Labis consituency, is known to be MCAs stronghold.

Labis was once helmed by current MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek before his son Chua Tee Yong took over.

Both Normala and Azahar are locals, a factor both parties know can influence the outcome of the Tenang vote, the countrys 14th by-election since the 2008 general election.

Both are also civil servants, one of the two main professions for the Malays in Tenang. The latter was a teacher and Azahar a former assistant district officer.

Tenang voters will cast their votes on Jan 30. Campaigning begins today. - FMT


Mamak stole the whole Malaysia !

Malaysia’s illegal capital outflow tripled in last decade

Malaysia has earned a fifth spot among 10 Asian countries that chalk up the highest illicit financial outflows.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has earned itself fifth placing in a list of 10 Asian countries that registered the highest illicit financial outflows in the last decade.

A report by Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) found that Malaysia’s outflows tripled from US$22.2 billion in 2002 to a staggering US$68.2 billion in 2008.

GFI defines illicit financial flows as the transfer of money earned through illegal activities such as corruption, transactions involving contraband goods, criminal activities and efforts to shelter wealth from tax authorities.

The report titled “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2000-2009” further described Malaysia’s massive increase as a “scale seen in few Asian countries” and pinned it on “significant government issues affecting both public and private sectors”.

“The reasons behind this inflation are unknown as it would require an in-depth study of the country, which is beyond our scope,” the report said.

“But it is clear that governance issues have been playing a key role in the cross-border transfer of illicit capital from the country.”

The report also noted that the Malaysian media has hinted at the possibility of government-linked companies like Petronas driving illicit flows.

GFI’s research has attributed these illicit outflows to political instability, rising income inequality and pervasive corruption.

In Malaysia’s case, however, it has included the additional factor of significant discrimination in labour markets, which move people and unrecorded capital out of the country.

“As a result, the volume of illegal capital flight from Malaysia has overtaken that of legitimate capital inflows into the country in recent years,” the report added.

China topped the list of 125 developing countries with an illicit outflow of US$2.18 trillion followed by Russia with US$427 billion.

Other Asian countries with high illegal capital flight are the Philippines (US$109.3 billion), and Indonesia and India (both US$104 billion).

GFI has predicted that illicit flows from developing countries in 2009 will total US$1.30 trillion – a significant slowdown from the 18% rate of growth over 2000-2008.

The projected slowdown is based on a decline in trade mispricing resulting from a slowdown in world trade following the global financial crisis. - FMT

Did She Make Any Suggestions? Najib's photo bigger than Lord Murugan


Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak visited Batu Caves during Thaipusam.


I wonder did his special aide suggested to the the Batu Caves Temple
organizing committee to remove all statues, no chanting, no Hindu holy
music, no carrying of Kavadi, no breaking of coconuts and anything that suggest its a Hindu celebration?


BUT SOMEONE HAD PLACE A BIG BANNER WITH NAJIB'S PHOTO - BIGGER THAN LORD MURUGAN.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? IS NAJIB - BIGGER THAN LORD MURUGAN?

MALAYSIAN INDIANS - KEEP VOTING FOR BARISAN NASIONAL - THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL GET !!!!!!

courtesy of DanielYKL

Normala defends refusal to shake hands with men


By Adib Zalkapli
January 22, 2011

Normala said Umno and BN were harping on petty issues. Picture by Choo Choy May
LABIS, Jan 22 PASs Tenang by-election candidate Normala Sudirman sought to play down today Barisan Nasionals (BN) attack against her, saying her refusal to shake hands with men is a petty issue.

The Labis PAS Muslimat chief also condemned MCA leaders for what she claimed as the Chinese partys failure to understand her rights as a Muslim.

I hope my opponent can be more mature. What is more important is our policy and the partys commitment to the people, Normala told The Malaysian Insider after the by-election nomination process today.

We do not want to touch on personal issues or character assassinate, which I think does not reflect what we have been focusing on, she said.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was reported to have criticised Normala for her refusal to shake hands with men, saying that her practice was not acceptable to the Chinese community.

Many pious Muslims do not shake hands with mahram (unmarriageable kin), believing that the practice is prohibited in Islam.

PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, for example, wears gloves when shaking hands with men.

Today, Normala blamed Umno for what she claimed to be the Malays party failure to educate its Chinese partner on Islamic values.

Most importantly, after 53 years of independence MCA should understand Islamic principles as it has been in Barisan Nasional together with Umno, said the former teacher who resigned last month to enable her to contest.

For me Umno and BN will continue harping on petty issues. Whatever we do or dont do would be subjected to criticism.

I personally sympathise with Soi Lek for his lack of understanding on Islam despite being a pa! rtner in BN for a very long time. It is Umnos responsibility to educate its partners on the rights of Muslim individuals, the 39-year-old said.

Normala also said she was ready to face more personal attacks from BN leaders, adding that PASs partners in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would be more than willing to campaign together.

For us, most importantly, we want to explain to our friends about the life of Muslim individuals. God willing, I am ready to face any lies coming from the opponent.

The bigger problem is our focus on the peoples welfare, social, economy, many other issues, she added.

Normala is contesting in what is seen as an uphill battle against BNs Azahar Ibrahim, the former Rengit assistant district officer who resigned just days before the nomination.

The January 30 by-election was called following the death of Datuk Sulaiman Taha on December 17.

Sulaiman retained the Tenang state seat in Johor, Umnos birthplace and political fortress, in the last general election after he defeated PASs Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.

The seat is situated within the Labis parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of Dr Chua and currently represented by his son Chua Tee Yong.

Another Labis state seat, Bekok, was also won by BNs Tan Kok Hong with a majority of 1,944 votes.

BN currently controls 50 of the state assembly seats, while DAP has four and PAS, two. - Malaysian Insider


We Got The Power

Kudos to our Royal Malaysian Navy for foiling a pirate hijacking of a BolehLand's vessel in the notorious Somalian pirate invested Gulf of Aden.

It goes to show our security forces are able to counter any threats and defeat the enemy. The billions of ringgit we supposedly spend to buy military hardware is put to good use at least. It would have been great if Bolehland's unsinkable French subs could also have seen action there and blast those pirates off the surface of the water.

Wonder where the subs are? Bet it's lurking somewhere at the bottom of the seabed off the waters of Sabah or perhaps they have been asked to be nearer to that red dot south of Johor, given the startling revelation by our defence expert, an academician.

And he is none other than what sane BolehLand fellos have branded him as Ridhuan the Tee-rible. The Chinaman who after having found a new God also acquired a new ethnic identity and goes on an extermination campaign to expunge himself from his parent given DNA of Oriental descend whose early experience was having his blood being infused by a daily diet of Sus scrofa domesticus cuisines, prepared from sweet sour to roasted and even mouth watering porridge topped with crispy fried strips of fat strips. Though the unmistakably sepet eyes give away his new-found pretentious ancestral identity, he fights hard to deny his ethnic identify and perhaps even disowned his past generation for not giving him the choice to decide the kind of race he wants to be in when he emerged into the world. Hope he didn't berate his parents for failing to mingle with a 'soft blood' species he later identified as his pure race when they thought of creating another 'son' into the world.

Since he didn't have a choice in how his parents decided to create him, he's now going on a self declared battle to rid this land from those who are related to him by birth right!

His latest prophecy, read here,is that this small outcrop south of Johor, and those with 'Jewish' friends constitute a threat to his new ketuanan comfort zone in BolehLand. This time he seems to have taken on some traits of his self proclaimed constitutional accorded new ethnicity, by believing his imaginary insecurities, weakness and fears as being real - get the better of his thinking. And urge the government to spend even billions more to protect his privileges from so called hardware threats from the plastic city.

What do we make of this Redhuan-leaks or is it his Tee-leaks? Does he have more reliable military intelligence source than our army bois? Given he is an academician related to Defence, he must have secret intelligence only know to him than the army or 1Malaysia or even the plastic republic fellos!

Is the threat real? Is he not leaking sensitive information of impending security threats to BolehLand? Gosh does anyone want to waste their money, time and lives to create problems for BolehLand, by planning an invasion? The BolehLand politicians and fellos like Tee are doing a better job wrecking havoc to the peace, security and unity of the country!

Besides, didn't he mentioned we spent billions of ringgit on military hardware and we boast of the latest in defence weaponry and all those hardware? It will surely scare the hell out of our 'gangyang' neighbours too, right?

The Lee's Republic down south seemed to threaten our Tee's advocacy for feudal mentality and 'ketuanan' supremacy in more than just military hardware. Tee blames his own hardware or lack of hardware to protect his egoistic interests and urges for more money to protect his assets? He's like this 53 year old who is trying to buy as much 'tongkat ali' and viagra to sustain his fledgling ehem hardware fearing his lost of 'Tee-hood' will make him vulnerable to become a slave to a tiny fello who has a much BIGGER hardware, hah!

Tee's jingoism on small neighbour ! is tryin g to make excuses for the difference in standard of living, GDP, even peace, security and harmony in the Republic compared to BolehLand? The things that is eating him up is probably not being able to accept that the small rock has achieved 'mount everest' size successes! Compared to Tee's kingdom that seem to be beset with mountain high corruption scandals and a bottomless pithole of bigots, overzealous pharisees and racists!

The stuff that is giving our Tee mental indigestion and intellect diarrhea is that the republic has a clean image, too clean for his liking and preferred to take the pathway of meritocracy than clutch mentality, even the Malays there refusing to be associated with the kind of mentality of their braders across the causeway!

So, if Tee can't beat them intellectually compete on brains and true grit, is he proposing beating them into defeat by buying a bigger stick, huh? It's like bullies who got no brains or maturity they try to overpower you by pure brute force!

Being an academician, he probably is applying his military history of how communist Russian, China and even North Korea have stood proud and mighty becoz they are able to accumulate weapons of mass destruction that no one dared to bully them. Never mind if they subjugate their citizens by using the same weapons to threaten neighbours to be trained upon their own citizens.

Perhaps our Tee is not really interesting in showing his BIG HARDWARE at small neighbour but rather use it to ensure that opposition at home are quelled by military might, the communist approach that 'power lies behind the barrel of the gun and the one with the finger on the trigger too'!

Our military fello behave like all typical military warmongers, that the sword is mightier than the pen! Though in Tee's case, he is a smart fello to wield even more destructive power with his pen too - penning his delusional thoughts and also insecurities creating imaginary enemies and stepping on his own shadow!

While Tee likes to ! sharpen his sword and acquire hardware to show he got the power, small neighbour is honing their intellectual skills in building up their nation where human capital contributes to gaining respect and earn them among top spots - than mere brute hardware show of strength and power or constitutional guarantees!

Singapore is able to spend more on military wares simply becoz they are able to use the money to buy what it is meant for. Tee should be going after the defence fellos and the ministry of defence for not getting the right hardware or more importantly investigate if the money really went to buying what it is intended for? Than for paying RM3 for a packet of maggie mee or RM100 for a nut or hardware that sinks when not supposed to and floats when it should sink!

Probably the most fearful power that BolehLand can instill fear to neighbour enemies is the efficient use of C4 in eliminating opponents on the quiet and getting away with it. It's silent, quiet and doesn't cause any international furore compared to shooting a missile across one's border or sinking a military vessel right?

Let's hope our Tee doesn't ever become a politician or general as he has revealed the kind of leader and style he will adopt to get rid of opponents. Even though he whacks the Lee's for their kiasu-ness, our Tee makes himself the 'ketuanan' of kiasuness. Tee advocates the Lee's solution to deal with opponents,we should have been as cruel as Kuan Yew, who throws those who oppose him into prison because he says they disturb the peace and planning of Singapore.

So Tee's Lee's solution makes his cup of honesty difficult to swallow and leaves him cornered by his own contradiction and hypocrisy Tee has sucked himself into. Tee should spend his pent up frustrations and direct it to his own backyard instead.

While he tries to taint small republic and Penang as being too Jewish for his likings and using Jew bashing to hide his own nation's insecurity, he forgot that 1Malaysia has also depended on Jewish fell! os to he lp build his 1Malaysia which Tee is somewhat lukewarm to it. The 1Malaysia concept if we really understand it is about sharing and all that which threatens our Tee's vision of who BolehLand is supposed to be for, no?

While he is convinced the Lee's richness is due to BolehLand's generosity and support in supplying water and what not, he does not go all out to ask the government he supports to stop having to do business and anything with Singapore. Tee should lead a protest probably with Perkasa to close the tap water supply and ask the Royal Navy to block ships going to berth at Singapore and force them to Johor Port instead, eh?

If Tee feels economic threats and sabotague will teach the Lees a lesson, he should go into politics and get himself elected as Prime Minister. Then he can Rid(thuan) tiny Singapore from being a thorn up his where most feel is lodged at, huh?

Doesn't what our Tee is advocating amounting to making a threat to a foreign government? Isn't that considered threatening the security of our nation? Isn't revealing the hardware weaknesses of our military fellos, divulging sensitive intelligence information and a security threat to our nation? Can we allow an individual to 'threaten' the sovereignty of another nation?

When Singapore Malays disagree with BolehLand's assessment of them and try to link them to BolehLand's Malays, we are up in arms and warn of the extinction of the Malay community there. We are superimposing our own 'ethnic cleansing' labels on Singapore just becoz Lee doesn't give a hoot about giving their citizens, rights, privileges or Taliban kind of Islam and decide meritocracy as their way of life.

Why are some of our leaders and racists feeling so so insecure and jealous of how other nations treat the Malays? Is BolehLand making itself the ketunanan of the Malay race? Why don't some of these racists insecure fellos also complain how Singapore treat the Chinese citizens too? or why neighbour Indonesia is not taking care of the Malays a! nd impos ing Islamisation? Why pick on Singapore?

Lee has left the past and gone ahead. Our Tee love to dwell on the past and what it gave away and lost. That's the wide difference between a Lee who is proud of his Oriental ancestry and heritage compared to our Tee who makes himself a proud person by denyingm disowning and being shameful of his ancestral ancestry and trying so hard to make belief his new paper conferred ethnicity as his original birthright!

The similarity between Tee and a ladyboy is each refuse to accept what nature gave them and feel trapped, even if after the transformation. The difference is probably the ladyboy gets men's attention while our Tee turns humanity off!

Tee should channel his energy at asking the hardware might of our armed forces, like the Royal Malaysian Navy to combat piracy in the Straits of Malacca and stop illegal immigration flow, as well as stop Middle Eastern and Golden Triangle flow of drugs into BolehLand. Than to worry about down south having bigger and more powerful tools, ehmm toys, than what he has.

So sad to see grown up so called intellectual fellos felling so inadequate with their own hardware just becoz the smaller fellow has bigger, better and more effective toys and hardware, huh?

Tiny republic as Ridhuan makes Singapore to be, sure packs a BIG PUNCH to our Tee's BIG ego, yes?
YAHMEH!!!

Response to the responses to my article on MRSM as a "successful failure"


Response to the responses to my article on MRSM as a "successful failure"

Seriously all,

We must be aware of the changes happening politically and culturally. Because I proposed changes the way we view MRSM, many are quite upset without really understanding what I am proposing. Amuk and latah are the reaction to my proposals. It is good I believe to radically change the way MRSM is run and to redefine "success" so that it will not continue to be successful yet failing.

Many in ANSARA and in this forum are "too Malay" in their thinking and being so for the wrong reason. Why not allow competition and collaboration in MRSM system by rigorously recruiting applicants so that the composition will be 50 percent Bumiputra and 50 percent non-Bumiputra by whatever definition of these false racial/ethnic categorization MARA is using?

Why not let meritocracy rule the educational airwaves. MRSM is well funded to redefine itself and to show that country what 1Malaysia actually means, although I prefer the idea of Malaysian Malaysia better. MRSM has been and is still rooted in ultra-Malayness and the innovations in teaching and learning over the decades are good from a curricular reform point of view but not in promoting a culture of diversity.


Many times, reflecting upon my almost 15 years of involvement with the MRSM system, as as student, and educator, and later as a researcher-consultant I think not only of possibilities of cultural understanding through such restructuring but also about the racial composition of MRSM faculty.

Not only that the system is too Malay-centric and unhealthy for the child's development in a multiculturally-demanding world,! but it also breeds the excesses of Malay pseudo-authoritarianism. It breeds the culture of totalitarianism in schools. deBono's CORT thinking skills help develop creativity superficially but do not teach children to mingle cross-culturally simply because the school system is too Malay-centric. Renzulli's Triad model is good for the Gifted and Talented Enrichment model but does it develop cross-cultural competency when almost 100 percent are Malays themselves struggling for control right there in the confines of the boarding school?

True MRSM has produced successful people, a few of them illustriously successful, but what is the meaning of success of a nation when the supposedly creme de la creme and handpicked Malay kids are going to be groomed and showcased as more sophististicated ultra-Malay who are actually persona anathema to the trumpeted slogan of 1Malaysia?


Forget about the campaign of "One School Fits All" (Satu Sekolah Untuk Semua) when this very system of social engineering for national development called MRSM that is supposed to create "a breed of human beings different from government-owned boarding schools" cannot even get its philosophy of education right and trapped in the contradictions of educational reform.

The One School Fits All proposal could well turn out to be yet another totalitarian design that will make it easier to control the young Malay minds; minds that ought not to be shackled by any political forces out to turn those children into beings happy to reproduce the style of racism and the genre of racial insensitivity of their fathers and mothers.

These are my initial thoughts on ANSARA's response to my article. I welcome reasoned arguments and an engaging dialogue framed intellectually.


Very truly yours.
courtesy of DR. AZLY RAHMAN

Normala ready to give a good fight

One is outspoken and the other is reserved and both Normala Sudirman and Mohd Azahar Ibrahim will be fighting hard for votes.

LABIS: Normala Sudirman, PAS standard-bearer, carries the underdog label as she enters the Tenang arena, but she is burning with determination and hope.

She today said that she was ready to give a good fight and was even hoping to pull off a surprise win.

On Jan 30, hopefully there would be a surprise here and I can be the voice of the rakyat in Tenang, the 38-year-old woman said at a press conference after she was announced as the only candidate going up against Barisan Nasionals (BN) Mohd Azahar Ibrahim, 39.

This is an acknowledgement of women and educationists. I hope the rakyat will vote for change. I believe they would make the best choice as they are smart voters, said the former secondary school teacher who resigned her position to contest the by-election.

I am optimistic, said Normala, who is also popularly called Cikgu Mala here.

Meanwhile, her opponent Azahar was more reserved with his comments, leaving most of the talking to Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin.

I thank the BN leaders for supporting me. Hopefully, with the combined strength, well strive to win over the Chinese, Malays and Indians, he said.

Asked about the fact that he was going against a woman candidate, Azahar said: Each will have to prove his or her own capability; men have their advantages and women, too.

He then declined to speak further, pleading hounding reporters to give me some time to rest.
It was announced earlier that the Tenang state by-election will be seeing a straight fight between Barisan Nasional and PAS.

The nations 14th by-election was triggered by the death of incumbent assemblyman, BNs Sulaiman Tahar, 59, on Dec 17 last year from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Sulaiman beat PAS candidate Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes in the 2008 general election.

Tenang has 14,753 registered voters comprising 7,014 Malays (47.5%), 5,766 Chinese (39%), 1,780 Indians (12%) and other races (1.5%). There are 18 postal voters. - FMT


All is not well in PKRs Selangor

January 22, 2011

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/opinion

All is Not Well in PKRs Selangor

by Haider Yutim

It is said that one of the most difficult thing about running a state or country is the need to plan far into the future and the necessity of bridging the very wide chasm between that and the demands of the people. It seems like what Khalid Ibrahim is facing is that he is on a journey where he has no plan to stop as he doesnt know where to go and he is being steered by the people behind his plans or DAP.

The Hot Seat of Selangor MB

The seat of Selangor Mentri Besar has always been a hot seat: from the case of Datuk Harun, Idris, the undeclared notes of Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, the alleged sex scandal of Abu Hassan Omar, to the corruption case of Khir Toyo.

And now, it is Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahims turn as he is facing a variety of issues, both administrative and political. The situation now depends on how Khalid deals with these issues which is expected to last until the next general elections.

Malaysians will always pay attention to Selangor as, for many, it is considered the heart of the nations economy and it is surprising that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself, who is also UMNO President, has chosen himself to become UMNO Selangor State Liaison Chairman.

However, in contrast to the position of the Mentris Besar before him, which is more associated with internal politics, Khalid faces tests that has jeopardized his credibility and trust among the voters in the most industrialized state in the country.

Khalids Issues with DYMM Selangor Sultan

Sev! eral iss ues have caused the ties between Khalid and the Sultan become rocky including the water issue and the state secretary issue. In the water issue, Khalid had staged a demonstration to submit a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. The question is, since the Sultan of Selangor is also concerned with this issue, why did Khalid go straight to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong instead of consulting the Sultan first? Does Khalid feel that the Selangor Sultan wasnt concerned of this issue? Or is it that he feels the Sultan has no power to deal with this issue?

In response, the Selangor Sultan warned that the state will face serious water problems if the water crisis caused by the conflict between state and federal government is to continue. He is also disappointed that this issue is politicized, and doesnt want the people of Selangor to become the victim should there be any water shortage in the future.

Appointment of Khusrin as SUK

As for the SUK issue, the appointment of Khusrin caused a stir in Selangor recently, mainly to Khalid, who is not satisfied about the app.ointment as he claims that he was not consulted about the selection. In response, Khalid announced that Selangor will hold an emergency sitting of the state legislative assembly to change the state constitution to return to the mentri besar and Sultan the power to appoint the state secretary, state finance officer and state legal adviser. He also plans to appoint his own choice of state secretary. Should this be true, then it is not appropriate as mentioned by the Selangor Sultan.

Even to proceed with the state sitting without the Sultans consent can make it invalid, then what e! lse if K halid proceeds to select his own choice of state secretary after former Selangor Islamic Department head Mohamed Khusrin Munawi was appointed to the post.

Amending the State Constitution

Analysts believe that if Khalid is to proceed with amending the state constitution then it will surely bring a negative impact not just to his ties to the Sultan but to the Selangor state as well. Thus, by going against the Sultan, the people behind Khalid especially DAP knows that they are getting closer to achieving their agenda of abolishing the special position of the Malays.

Ban on 1Malaysia Logo

The Selangor state government has recently made a move to ban the 1Malaysia logo. For Selangors government, the logo only represents a political symbol for Barisan Nasional (BN). But for the BN, they claim that the logo represents the federal governments call to unite the people of Malaysia to work and live in harmony.

Some of the drastic moves made by Selangor include issuing notices to business vendors to take down their 1Malaysia logo on their premises. There are also buntings and banners known to have been brought down by the orders of some people from high places. On whether this is a right move is questionable as the people of Selangor are starting to question the credibility of its mentri besar as he has not done much apart from taking action on petty issues such as this one.

Despite the banning of the 1Malaysia logo, DAP continues to use its logo on its food premises called Rocket Cafe which is located in PJ. Inside the cafe, theres even a big poster of Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng with the slogan Jom Ubah (Lets Change). Not just that, the shop also sells DAP books, merchandises and accessories.

To ban the 1Malaysia logo b! ut at th e same time allow the usage of DAPs logo, which obviously contains political elements, is somewhat contradicting and confusing. If the Selangor government wants to ban the 1Malaysia logo on business premises due to the political message that it brings, then they should impose a ban to the DAP logo on its cafe as well.

However, Khalid recently explained that it was not a ban but a mere confusion stating that the ban only applies to government-linked companies (GLCs). He also decided to go ahead with his own idea of promoting unity with the Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor slogan.

All Hopes Lost in Selangor

In Selangor, the Mentri Besar is entrusted to handle the richest state in the country. If handled properly, nothing should go wrong and, in fact, it should run perfectly smooth. Should the person in charge remain true to what hes entrusted to do improve its efficiency and wipe out corruption then we would actually see some extraordinary progress that voters have been hoping to see. But we have yet to see such developments taking place in Selangor.

Khalid has a chance to show Malaysia what Pakatan can do with a rich and powerful state and convince the rest of the country to vote for them but it seems now that he is showing that he is no different from any other politicians in fact, maybe be even worse.


Sleepy Tenang flushed with rousing election fervour — Lim Mun Fah


JAN 21 — With the presence of the prime minister and the deputy prime minister and their entourage of officials and supporters, the quiet, tranquil and serene semi-rural township of Tenang has suddenly become a festive carnival site, with its petty traders and food hawkers doing a roaring business.

The Tenang state by-election, scheduled for the end of this month, is touted as a sort of prelude trial election for the impending big one — the 13th general election. Hence, the all-out efforts to woo voters by both sides of the political divide.

The advantage of a by-election is that the whole country will focus only on one particular constituency, will almost all the political big guns descending on the place, accompanied by their retinue of officials, political hangers-on and opportunists, and, of course, the media people.

Shouting matches would be heard whenever the rival political teams pass each other on their campaign rounds.

As expected, the BN would harp on it development record, and promote its plans, projects and programmes for the people.

The Pakatan Rakyat, meanwhile, will raise and play up controversial issues to discredit the ruling coalition.

The voters are now considered and treated as absolutely the most important people. Regardless of their status, gender, age and education, racial and religious backgrounds, they are given complete attention as long as they are eligible voters.

One of the most commonly used words in election campaigns is political wisdom. Both the BN and the Pakatan Rakyat have kept it in mind but the problem is, who would the voters believe?

It is foreseeable that the ruling and alternative coalitions would draw a clear line between them and try to make impressive speeches while put on a timely smile whenever necessary.

The contending candidates and their canvassers have to work really hard to meet and persuade voters in every street and alley to vote for them.

After the by-election, the small town would return to its quiescent, composed and sedate situation, and will continue to remain insignificant and unheard of, until the next election. — mysinchew.com

Battle royale expected at special Selangor assembly sitting — Lim Sue Goan


JAN 21 — The special sitting of the Selangor state assembly on Monday, January 24, 2011 to amend the state constitution should be a very exciting affair.

What would the BN state assembly members do when the state constitutional amendment Bill is tabled? Support it? Abstain from voting? Or boycott the proceedings by walking out?

The Sultan of Selangor has said that giving consent for the special state assembly sitting does not mean that he is supporting any party. The Sultan has stressed that he is above politics and is non-partisan, and does not wish to be involved in or be linked with any political dispute.

Selangor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Noh Omar has quickly responded that the royal consent for the sitting does not mean that the Sultan agrees to the constitutional amendments.

Earlier, many people speculated that if the Sultan did not give approval, the Bill by the state government to amend the state constitution might not be tabled. However, the consent of the palace has now been given.

Umno is now in a dilemma. As the Sultan has given his consent for the sitting, boycotting it means that they do not respect the Ruler, while not supporting the motion may also be seen as opposing the stand of the palace.

If some Umno state assembly members support the amendment motion, they will set a precedent, and cause a major dispute within the party.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had amended the state constitutions during his administration, and if the Selangor state constitution is now amended again, would it cause a controversy within Umno?

Whether the Pakatan Rakyat leadership will be able to repair its relationship with the Malay Rulers through the state constitutional amendments this time is also key to the future political developments.

The relationship between Pakatan Rakyat and the Malay Rulers was tarnished during the Perak regime change crisis. Through the current delicate political situation, the Rulers could further strengthen the constitutional monarchy and enhance their roles.

Meanwhile, Selangor Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim has declared the Port Klang state seat vacant.

If state assembly member Badrul Hisham Abdullah is barred from attending the special sitting, there will be an outbreak of war of words between the government backbenchers and the BN opposition members before the constitutional amendment motion is tabled. It would make a perfect excuse for the BN state assembly members to walk out in protest.

If the Election Commission (EC) does not recognise the power of the Speaker to declare the seat vacant, there will be a repetition of the legal battle over the vacant state seat crisis in Kota Seputeh.

If the judiciary intervenes in the legislature, it would be a blow to the democratic principle of the separation of powers.

Will there be police roadblocks and heavy security outside the Selangor state assembly building on January 24? Will things get physical?

No one can predict what will happen, but Selangor is an industrial centre of the country and any radical political confrontations will be a zero-sum game and the people will be ones who will suffer the losses. — mysinchew.com

Malaysia’s freedom of religion — Reena Abdulla

As long as you believe Mamak predates Dinosaur ...

JAN 21 — Respectfully, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, you are wrong to say that the freedom of religion in Malaysia has proven that the government is fair to all.

Our freedom of religion is guaranteed under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

Let me refresh you on the said Article.

Article 11

1. Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.

2. No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.

3. Every religious group has the right —

(a) to manage its own religious affairs;

(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and

(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.

4. State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

5. This Article does not authorise any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

I am troubled to read national news agency Bernama report that you said the facilities and assistance provided to religious bodies also reflected the government’s aspiration in seeing the people live in peace and harmony.

What facilities except for the Muslims? It is so hard to build churches and temples as seen in Selangor recently when the legacy of the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government helped precipitate the cow-head protest last year.

It is easy for you to say that the government’s stand in maintaining racial and religious harmony could be seen clearly through the 1 Malaysia concept which was based on unity.

“Our future will be stronger, or we will lose if we reject this strong bond,” you said as quoted by Bernama.

Really?

I shan’t belabour the point about the Christmas party of 2010 which had a whiff of controversy.

What is pertinent is that Malaysia has a freedom of religion which any government of the day must recognise and ensure that there is no impediment for the practise of one’s faith.

Will the BN government in the various states allow free-standing churches and temples to be built instead of consigning them to houses, shoplots and warehouses?

Please don’t take the credit for our freedom of religion, Mr Prime Minister. We have always had it except that we have to keep fighting to keep it.

* Reena Abdulla reads The Malaysian Insider.

Will the demonisation of PAS work? — Tan Teck Huat


JAN 21 — It is another by-election and another scramble for votes in Tenang. And according to news reports Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has been portraying PAS candidate Normala Sudirman as some kind of extremist, someone who wears gloves and would not shake the hands of men and would not step into a Chinese temple.

The MCA president also whacked PKR chief Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and noted she too wore gloves. If that bigotry was not insulting enough, he attempted to put Umno in good light by arguing that although Umno was corrupt, so was PAS.

How does he know? In typical fashion, he did not offer any evidence.

His comments are offensive on several levels. Not to mention dishonest.

It is a fact that many PAS MPs have visited churches, temples and non-Muslim places of worship since being elected in 2008. Compare that with Umno ministers or politicians who believe that they run the risk of conversion just by stepping onto temple grounds.

Don’t forget it was a PAS MP who defended the dignity of Hindus when protesters paraded the head of a cow in Shah Alam. Didn’t Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein fete the protestors as heroes? So Soi Lek is being dishonest when he portrays the PAS candidate as extremist.

If anything, PAS has shown itself willing to put its support base at risk by standing up for non-Malays while Soi Lek has preferred to prop up a corrupt regime come what may.

In Tenang, Soi Lek said that both Umno and PAS were corrupt. So better the devil you know. That is a shocking statement. So he basically wants the voters of Tenang to vote for a candidate from a corrupt candidate because the other chap is also from a corrupt party.

This from the leader of Barisan Nasional component party.

Is it any wonder that Malaysia’s fight against corruption is going nowhere (especially if you are the AG and you get to make your case before the MACC panel).

So essentially let’s support the Umno candidate because he comes from a corrupt party but at least we know the extent of corruption in Umno.

PAS is an unknown quantity. Soi Lek then invites Malaysians to ask their friends in Kelantan how rife corruption is the PAS-controlled state. I suggest Malaysians take up that offer.

Malaysian Chinese cannot accept Soi Lek’s dishonesty. He and MCA will say anything to continue staying in power.

* Tan Teck Huat reads The Malaysian Insider.

The Online Citizen Blog, Singapore: Political Association

January 22, 2011

The Singapore Approach to Blog Censorship: Muscle in a Concerned Citizenry

by Leong Sze Hian@www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT I would like to devote my weekly column for this week to the Singapore blog The Online Citizen (TOC).

I have been a columnist for TOC since it started in December 2006, and have written over 300 articles. Recently the Singapore government has emailed TOC to inform them that it will be gazetted a as political association. That means TOC is now required to declare its owners, editorial team, administrators, and designate a president, treasurer and secretary in accordance with the regulations.

The move also means the website will be barred from receiving funds from foreign donors and from allowing foreigners to participate in its events. What does this mean for my regular Uniquely Singapore column on TOC?

Well, for starters, under the rules for a political association, I will not be able to write, report, analyse or comment about the elections, when the next election expected to take place this year comes. Since there is a prohibition on affiliating with any political party or supporting any political candidate, does it mean that I cannot write about a political partys manifesto, or interview a political candidate, etc?

A Worlds First

Since TOC is also required to be registered with the Media Development Authority (MDA), does it mean that I will be subject to censorship under the MDAs rules, and just like say RTM, be wary of putting up un! desirabl e content?

TOC has sent an appeal to Singapores Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to reconsider the gazetting. Singaporeans, Singaporean bloggers, and perhaps their counterparts and proponents of freedom of expression all over the world may be holding their breath, as this saga continues.

Will history be made, as a group of citizen bloggers who are all volunteers with not a single full-time staff, and no funding become the first blogging web site in the world to be gazetted by a government as a political association? The deadline given to TOC to comply is January, 24.

As it turns out, TOCs appeal to the prime minister has been rejected. The appeal letter is reproduced below.

Date: 14 January 2011

Re: PMOs Intention to Gazette The Online Citizen

Dear Prime Minister Lee,

We refer to the letter of 11 January 2011 from Mr Lee Seng Lup of the Prime Ministers Office (the Letter). The Letter informed us that The Prime Minister intends to declare the owners, editorial team, and administrators of The Online Citizen (TOC), by order in the Gazette, to be a political association for the purposes of the Political Donations Act.

TOC is familiar to many Singaporeans: we are a website that provides regular Singaporeans with a platform to share their opinions about all aspects of life in Singapore, and we aspire to be the medium through which those neglected by society find their voice. Accordingly, we have run articles about homelessness in Singapore, the widening income gap, migrant workers, civil society, political issues and even have a regular column dispensing sexual advice.

In short, we are a place where Singaporeans can come and talk about what is foremost on their minds. We do not engage in partisan politics, and we have no interest in engaging in partisan politics. TOC is political to the extent and in the exact same way that all ordinary Singaporeans are political: by being interested in, and talking about, political issues that impact us and our country.

We therefore disagree with the intent to gazette TOC as a political association, and the determination that TOC is an organization whose objects or activities relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore. The determination is unreasonable, arbitrary and incorrect. Accordingly, we request that you reconsider the matter and reverse that determination and the decision to gazette TOC, failing which we trust that you will set out the grounds upon which that determination and the decision to gazette TOC were made.

Mr Prime Minister, TOC has operated without issue for the last four years. We have never accepted foreign donations, nor do we expect or intend to do so in the future. We do not fear the consequences of being gazetted as a political association. But we write this letter because we disagree with the decision to gazette us, and we firmly believe that it will have significant chilling effects on free expression in Singapore.

The vast majority of our contributors write under their actual names and all have chosen to volunteer their time and effort despite being students, professionals, blue collar workers or retirees. None of us do this for money or profit.

All of us, in one way or another, believed your promise of a more open society when you said in your first National Day Rally speech as Prime Minister: Engage your ideals, your ideas, your energies, build a new generation, build tomorrows Singapore Weve got to support Si! ngaporea ns being spontaneous, being unconventional. We should not put obstacles in their way. We should help them to succeed.

The TOC team and contributors came forward to play our part in building tomorrows Singapore. You may disagree with our views, but you cannot doubt our sincerity and patriotism. This unprecedented attempt to gazette a blog as a political association, likely just months before the next general election, is a disappointing retreat from your inspirational words all those years ago.

Mr Prime Minister, if you truly believe in the importance of developing a vibrant Singapore and a concerned citizenry, then please reverse your decision. Otherwise, our nation-building efforts will be set back by years.

Yours sincerely,

Joshua Chiang, Acting Chief Editor
Choo Zheng Xi, Co-founder
Andrew Loh, Co-founder



Mom's light drinking doesn't harm baby

by wiki.HEALTH.pedia

Women who have one or two alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy do not harm their children's behavioural or intellectual development, according to a study by British scientists.

The researchers found that pregnant women who drank up to a glass (175 millilitres) of wine, up to 50 ml of spirits or just under a pint of beer a week did not affect their children. But children whose mothers were heavy drinkers were more likely to be hyperactive and have behavioural and emotional problems than those whose mothers did not drink during pregnancy, the scientists said.

Yvonne Kelly of the epidemiology and public health department at University College London said the findings helped fill a gap in scientific research about the risks of alcohol and pregnancy, which has mostly focused on risks of heavy drinking.

"We're talking about one or two drinks a week at the very most," Kelly said in a telephone interview. "Light drinkers would also include women who have a very occasional drink at a family celebration for example." Previous studies have shown that heavy alcohol drinking during pregnancy can seriously harm the baby and many health authorities advise women to keep alcohol intake to a minimum when they are pregnant.

In their study, Kelly's team used data from the Millennium Cohort Study -- a large study tracking the long-term health of children born in the UK -- taking a representative sample of 11,513 children born between September 2000 and January 2002. The mothers were questioned about their drinking habits during pregnancy and their children's behaviour at the age of three, and the children's behavioural and intellectual progress was then formally assessed at the age of five.

The women were classified either as teetotal, those who drank but not in pregnancy, light drinkers (up to one or two drinks a week), moderate drinkers (three to six drinks a week); and binge or heavy drinkers (seven or more drinks a week, or six at any one time). The results, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , found no evidence to suggest that the behavioural or intellectual development of children born to light drinkers was compromised.

"Up to the age of five years there is no increased risk of poor socio-emotional or cognitive developmental outcomes in children born to mothers who drank not more than one or two units of alcohol per week during pregnancy," the scientists wrote.

Across the entire range of children of non-drinkers and drinkers, the study found that boys were more likely than girls to have more developmental problems and also more likely to have behavioural issues, be hyperactive, and have problems with peers. Girls were more likely to have emotional problems.

The Online Citizen Blog, Singapore: Political Association

The Singapore Approach to Blog Censorship: Muscle in a Concerned Citizenry

by Leong Sze Hian@www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT I would like to devote my weekly column for this week to the Singapore blog The Online Citizen (TOC).

I have been a columnist for TOC since it started in December 2006, and have written over 300 articles. Recently the Singapore government has emailed TOC to inform them that it will be gazetted a as political association. That means TOC is now required to declare its owners, editorial team, administrators, and designate a president, treasurer and secretary in accordance with the regulations.

The move also means the website will be barred from receiving funds from foreign donors and from allowing foreigners to participate in its events. What does this mean for my regular ‘Uniquely Singapore’ column on TOC?

Well, for starters, under the rules for a political association, I will not be able to write, report, analyse or comment about the elections, when the next election expected to take place this year comes. Since there is a prohibition on affiliating with any political party or supporting any political candidate, does it mean that I cannot write about a political party’s manifesto, or interview a political candidate, etc?

A World’s First

Since TOC is also required to be registered with the Media Development Authority (MDA), does it mean that I will be subject to censorship under the MDA’s rules, and just like say RTM, be wary of putting up ‘undesirable’ content?

TOC has sent an appeal to Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to reconsider the gazetting. Singaporeans, Singaporean bloggers, and perhaps their counterparts and proponents of freedom of expression all over the world may be holding their breath, as this saga continues.

Will history be made, as a group of citizen bloggers who are all volunteers – with not a single full-time staff, and no funding – become the first blogging web site in the world to be gazetted by a government as a political association? The deadline given to TOC to comply is January, 24.

As it turns out, TOC‘s appeal to the prime minister has been rejected. The appeal letter is reproduced below.

Date: 14 January 2011

Re: PMO’s Intention to Gazette The Online Citizen

Dear Prime Minister Lee,

We refer to the letter of 11 January 2011 from Mr Lee Seng Lup of the Prime Minister’s Office (“the Letter”). The Letter informed us that “The Prime Minister intends to declare the owners, editorial team, and administrators of The Online Citizen (TOC), by order in the Gazette, to be a political association for the purposes of the Political Donations Act”.

TOC is familiar to many Singaporeans: we are a website that provides regular Singaporeans with a platform to share their opinions about all aspects of life in Singapore, and we aspire to be the medium through which those neglected by society find their voice. Accordingly, we have run articles about homelessness in Singapore, the widening income gap, migrant workers, civil society, political issues and even have a regular column dispensing sexual advice.

In short, we are a place where Singaporeans can come and talk about what is foremost on their minds. We do not engage in partisan politics, and we have no interest in engaging in partisan politics. TOC is political to the extent and in the exact same way that all ordinary Singaporeans are political: by being interested in, and talking about, political issues that impact us and our country.

We therefore disagree with the intent to gazette TOC as a “political association”, and the determination that TOC is “an organization whose objects or activities relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore”. The determination is unreasonable, arbitrary and incorrect. Accordingly, we request that you reconsider the matter and reverse that determination and the decision to gazette TOC, failing which we trust that you will set out the grounds upon which that determination and the decision to gazette TOC were made.

Mr Prime Minister, TOC has operated without issue for the last four years. We have never accepted foreign donations, nor do we expect or intend to do so in the future. We do not fear the consequences of being gazetted as a political association. But we write this letter because we disagree with the decision to gazette us, and we firmly believe that it will have significant chilling effects on free expression in Singapore.

The vast majority of our contributors write under their actual names and all have chosen to volunteer their time and effort despite being students, professionals, blue collar workers or retirees. None of us do this for money or profit.

All of us, in one way or another, believed your promise of a more open society when you said in your first National Day Rally speech as Prime Minister: “Engage your ideals, your ideas, your energies, build a new generation, build tomorrow’s Singapore … We’ve got to support Singaporeans being spontaneous, being unconventional. We should not put obstacles in their way. We should help them to succeed.”

The TOC team and contributors came forward to play our part in building tomorrow’s Singapore. You may disagree with our views, but you cannot doubt our sincerity and patriotism. This unprecedented attempt to gazette a blog as a “political association”, likely just months before the next general election, is a disappointing retreat from your inspirational words all those years ago.

Mr Prime Minister, if you truly believe in the importance of developing a vibrant Singapore and a concerned citizenry, then please reverse your decision. Otherwise, our nation-building efforts will be set back by years.

Yours sincerely,

Joshua Chiang, Acting Chief Editor
Choo Zheng Xi, Co-founder
Andrew Loh, Co-founder

Losing our arrogance, not our religion

And Mamak is a Mulsim with the world biggest beer factory.

Opinion

JAN 22 — I was raised a Muslim in Malaysia. This included learning how to recite the Koran at an elderly neighbour’s house, and then continuing to an Iqra Institute which was based in a commercial area nearby at the time.

When I was much younger, about two decades ago, Maghrib prayers were a family affair, with my dad at the helm. Goofing off during these prayers were strictly frowned upon, and led to being caned. Corporal punishment at the time was not much of an issue in the 80s even with those cheesy “Jangan Dera Anak Anda” ads on television.

Heading into the 90s, Thursday nights were Maghrib prayers followed subsequently by reading the Surah Yassin. It wasn’t long before this led to further trips to the mosques and suraus for tarawikh prayers during Ramadhan, and perhaps even my now personally frowned upon moment of actually wanting to be an ustaz.

Now looking back, I can’t even comprehend how that ever came mind.

These days, being an observant Muslim has become a challenge. Conservatism is often confused with extremism, and this perhaps has led people to believe that Muslims are not only terrorists but also users of religious dogma to march in protests, spit on cow heads, call for the punishment of the so-called “kafirs” who insult Allah by using his name in print to educate Christians who only speak BM.

I consider my parents both conservative Muslims. By conservative, it basically means they buy religious books, discuss them at the dinner table, ask their kids to pray and chastise them for missing Friday prayers.

However, they do not judge. They do not kick their gay son out of their house. They do not talk about how their children will be going to Hell for not adhering to religious texts.

That would be extremism.

Similarly, when discussing the Allah issue, or even talking about the establishment of a new Hindu temple in Shah Alam, they look at it from a different point of view. If the location has a large Hindu population, then why not let them build a house of worship?

While the issue of non-Muslims using the word Allah is in question here in the peninsula, this was an issue decided by royal decree much earlier on. There is no issue with Sabah and Sarawak doing so.

Similarly when it comes to the issue of the azan, this discussion took much longer than necessary. In fact, the first time this issue came up, I posted my thoughts up on a gay dating site’s forum.

And much to my surprise, I received death threats, ridiculous comments and one gay person in the forum even thought it necessary to have a debate on the matter.

That’s right. A gay Muslim Malay guy thought it necessary to hold a debate on the matter, while discussing the matter of looking for people to have sex with.

Malaysia Boleh.

My thoughts since then have not changed. The azan is the Muslim call to prayer and at the same time should be heard throughout the area. However, there are three concepts in Islamic teaching that we need to address as well.

One is the concept of tolerance. We live in a multiracial country that has a very diverse culture. There are those who bitch about Hindu temples being too loud, or how the Chinese lighting firecrackers during Chinese New Year led them to melatah in surprise.

These are very open reasons that arrogant Muslims would put forth. If they can make noise, why can’t we?

Well, to be frank, it goes down to the question of how you react. During the Section 19 temple fiasco in Shah Alam, Hindus of the temple testified that there was one Muslim house that would put loudspeakers outside their window and turn the volume up on a cassette reciting the Koran.

Was this the way to react? Why not go have a chat with the temple officials instead? Similarly, why not consult the suraus and mosques in the area about the azan?

The second concept is, of course, moderation. Islam’s main appeal to the public is that we live a life, or are supposed to be, living a life of moderate proportions. This includes in our actions, our living habits, and even our economical welfare for that matter.

We are supposed to be moderate. It would obviously explain a certain group’s insistence on loving the term “middle class.”

Thus, if we are to live moderately, why must mosques and suraus raise their volumes to a much higher level? It is unnecessary.

The final concept would be what we would call excessive behaviour, or zalim. In this concept, it is defined that everything that we do which is excessive, from excessive wealth, power or even in this sense, the volume of a speaker or headphones for that matter, all of this would be considered zalim.

As such, why is there a need to call for national condemnation over this issue of a community asking for speakers to lower their volume?

How loud was the azan playing, was it just loud because the house was close to the mosque, or was the mosque itself as audible as perhaps an airport tarmac?

These are the questions that require answering before we begin to consider if it was either an insult to Islam or a mosque overstepping their own concepts. Till then, the furore generated and those who speak out openly without knowing the full story are no better than those who don’t adhere to the most often mentioned phrase in Malay Muslim history.

Patience is an integral part of the Muslim faith. Where is yours?

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Hafidz Baharom is a social observer who has rankled more than a few feathers. He has written for a number of publications, and is always looking to stir up discussions on things which need to be said.


Bapa 1 Malaysia?

Opinion

Bapa 1 Malaysia is in India now ... courtesy of UMNO.

JAN 22 — I’ve always been an optimist. I tend to see things from a more positive perspective, more of a glass half-full instead of a glass half-empty kind of guy.

When it comes to Malaysian political matters, I can sometimes annoy a whole lot of people for still managing to remain optimistically sunny about our beloved country and where our ongoing journey might take us into the future.

Unlike a lot of people I know who will undoubtedly grumble and moan about Pak Lah’s short reign as our prime minister, I have fond memories of him as our Bapa Demokrasi (i.e. Father of Democracy), something which I’ve always insisted on calling him whenever his name arises during lepak sessions with my friends.

Yes, there are a lot of things that people were unhappy about during his stint as our prime minister, but I think a lot of people took for granted the very fact that they were mostly allowed to publicly grumble about it without much attempt to “shut them up”, which is something that our Bapa Pemodenan (i.e. Father of Modernisation), Tun Dr M, probably won’t even tolerate if it were to happen during his time.

As a result of all the noise we were all been allowed to make, the historic 8th of March 2008 general elections, better known as the “political tsunami” happened, proving to the world that democracy is still alive and well here in Malaysia, and proving to us Malaysians that change is possible if only we put our minds to it.

Of course, the decision to allow us all to make all that noise might not have been a conscious decision after all and probably was a mere accident, but that didn’t take away the fact that it actually happened.

A lot of historic and useful inventions happened by way of accident too, you know, but the inventor still got the credit for making possible the environment for that accident to happen.

With all this talk of a general election very likely happening this year, I thought it’d be fun to look at what our current prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak might be father of.

His whole 1 Malaysia concept has already been mocked to death by loads of Malaysians, first for being an alleged rip-off of 1srael (it does look better that way, doesn’t it?) and afterwards for allegedly still being pretty much an “all talk and no action” slogan so far.

So, before I go on, again I’d like to apologise to all you dear readers if what I’m about to write seems a wee bit too fanciful for your liking. Like I’ve said above, I’m a pretty cheerful guy.

We already have a Bapa Malaysia in our very first prime minister, the late great Tunku Abdul Rahman, and I’ve always heard and read about people nostalgically reminiscing about how “one” Malaysia was during our early days as a nation compared to where we have been headed for in the last 40 or so years.

Since those united early days, we have now totally retreated into our own separate shells, each one enthusiastically guarding their own “interests” (thanks to a political scene littered with race-based parties, not to mention scores of NGOs also with race-based interests).

Whatever you may think of the 1 Malaysia concept (let alone its implementation), I was just happy to see an actual, concerted, mainstream approach to try to recognise, understand and promote “variety” in Malaysia.

Of course, we still haven’t seen too much real change yet, but the fact that religious celebrations other than Hari Raya and other Islamic public holidays are already getting more ink in the mainstream press is to me already one further step forward in the right direction.

Yes, there have been some pretty embarrassing aberrations as well like the “Allah” issue, the increasing public profile of Perkasa and more, but the real difference now is that thanks to 1 Malaysia, more people have been made aware of the need to realise that we are 1 Malaysia and not 1 Melayu.

Change, however slow, is always a good thing, and I can even see some change happening in Malaysian movies too.

As some people say, the arts also reflect the state of the country producing it. Last year, 53 years after our independence, was the first time that Malaysia has seen a bona fide box-office hit in the form of a Malaysian-made Chinese language film.

Actually, there were two hits, the Chinese New Year film Tiger Woo Hoo and the sweet romance Ice Kacang Puppy Love, both grossing around RM4 million each. In fact, there were probably more Malaysian-made Chinese language films with a wide release last year than in our entire history as a nation.

Why only now? It’s a widely accepted fact that the Chinese make up quite a significant number of the Malaysian population, with significant purchasing powers too, so economically this could’ve happened a lot earlier.

The fanciful optimist in me can only think of one reason — for probably the first time in our history, the environment felt just right to do so. We’ve now come to a juncture where we recognise that even though Bahasa Malaysia is our national language, Chinese is also a Malaysian language and part of our national fabric.

And like it or not, we have 1 Malaysia to thank for that realisation, no matter how accidental it may be. So, Bapa 1 Malaysia then?

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Aidil Rusli loves rock 'n' roll, still believes in the words "indie" and "underground", and after all these years still sings in his band Couplemyspace.com/couple. You can get in touch with Aidil by emailing: encik.aidil@gmail.com

Straight fight in heated Tenang campaign


LABIS, Jan 22 The Tenang by-election campaign begins with the Barisan Nasional (BN) focusing on Pakatan Rakyats (PR) choice of a PAS candidate and the Islamic state bogey in a straight fight where the outcome could decide the date of the next national polls.

The Malaysian Insider understands that MCA is harping on Labis PAS Muslimat chief Normala Sudirmans reluctance to greet non-Muslim voters.

Returning officer Md Asri Amir announced at 11.20 that it will be a straight fight between Normala and Umno's Azahar Ibrahim in the January 30 by-election after the objection period ended at 11am. Only both candidates filed their nomination papers in the first by-election in Johor since Election 2008.

BN is said to be seeking victory with a majority of at least 5,000 votes before it will call for a snap polls.

The late Datuk Sulaiman Taha retained the Tenang state seat in the last general election after he defeated PASs Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.

The Tenang by-election was called following the death of Sulaiman on December 17.

The seat is situated within the Labis Parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of MCA president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek and currently represented by his son Chua Tee Yong.

Another Labis state seat, Bekok, was also won BNs Tan Kok Hong by a majority of 1,944 votes.

BN currently controls 50 of the state assembly seats, while DAP, four and PAS, two.

Thousands of rival supporters have turned up to throw their support for the respective candidates.

Top leaders from both coalitions led processions to the Labis Municipal Council office where the nomination centre has been set up.

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Tenang campaign begins


The Tenang by-election, the outcome of which is expected to decide the date of the next national polls, begins today with the nomination process.

The contest for the Johor state seat would likely be a straight fight between Umnos Azahar Ibrahim and the Labis Muslimat chief PASs Normala Sudirman.

Barisan Nasional (BN) is said to be seeking victory with a majority of at least 5,000 votes before it will call for a snap polls.

The late Datuk Sulaiman Taha retained the Tenang state seat in the last general election after he defeated PASs Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.

The Tenang by-election was called following the death of Sulaiman on December 17. Polling is scheduled for January 30.

The seat is situated within the Labis Parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of MCA president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek and currently represented by his son Chua Tee Yong.

Another Labis state seat, Bekok, was also won BNs Tan Kok Hong by a majority of 1,944 votes.

BN currently controls 50 of the state assembly seats, while DAP, four and PAS, two.

LIVE FROM TENANG : http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/1/22/tenang/20110122074623&sec=tenang


LIVE RADIO : http://merpati.listen2myradio.com/


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Grand Conspiracy ... the Enemy Within ?





It has been almost a year since Kulim Bandar Baru Member of Parliament and ex-Anwar Ibrahim confidante Zulkifli Noordin exposed an evil pact to tarnish the Prime Minister's image by linking him and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor to the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Sharibu.

For the record, Zulkifli was the lawyer for one of the accused in the murder but withdrew after being pestered by a 'third party' to fabricate evidence to implicate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife to the murder.

Zulkifli's expose came as a shock to many but at that point of time the firebrand politician had refused to reveal the identities of those who had directed or rather ordered him to commit the evil act. It is public knowledge now that Zulkifli had later sought a meeting with Najib and set the records straight. It is believed that he had exposed the hidden hands who wanted to prevent Najib from leading the government at any cost.

Following Zulkifli and another PKR turned Independent MP, Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim's revelations of the grand conspiracy, the conspirators were stunned and almost immediately stopped harping on or linking Najib to the murder.

But it seems, after almost a year now, the desperate conspirators are at it again and have begun spinning the same lies in Tenang (Labis-Johor) where campaigning for a by-election kicks off today.

Zahrain, in his latest blog posting HERE claims that there are fresh efforts to spin the same lies aimed at halting the growing support for the Prime Minister and ruin his efforts to unite the rakyat.

If we listen to Zulkifli's revelation in the above video recording carefully, the delicate evil plan was not only to demonise Najib and his wife but was also aimed at systematically demolishing all vital institutions that formed the pillar of the administration.


The credibility of these institutions are to be crushed to de-stabilise the Government and its leadership.


The targets were the Malay Rulers, the Royal Malaysian Police, the Judiciary, the Attorney General's Chambers, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and individuals leading these institutions.


Zulkifli says it loud and clear that the pattern or game plan of the concerted evil acts were similar to those which resulted in the deadly May 13, 1969 racial clashes.


The question now is has any of these subversive acts been put to rest or are the culprits still moving with their ill-conceived agenda to ruin this nation?


It seems that the attacks on the vital institutions and personalities have not subsided although some institutions have had a change of leaders.


Some recent newspaper reports and blog posts have been rather disturbing, particularly that which questioned the credibility and allegiance of those purportedly serving the best interest of this nation and her people.


I hope that the relevant authorities, if need be the Prime Minister himself, take a closer look at these reports as the last thing we want at this point of time is to have parasites and subversive elements within our vital institutions.


An enemy within is the last thing we need, now and forever.


p/s Watch the video above again and THINK!

courtesy of APANAMA