Monday, July 30, 2007

Monkeys of cyberspace

Khairy says bloggers are monkeys. In the New Straits Times, he was quoted as saying

"It is the law of the jungle and we need to take action against one 'monkey'. I think the other 'monkeys' will also get scared,"
Maybe he is just trying to take a potshot at bloggers who have called BN MPs Monkeys of Parliament. And what he said seems to validate the view that the action against Nat and Raja Petra (and earlier the lawsuit against Jeff and Rocky) are meant to spread fear and doubt among Malaysian netizens. Whatever the case, seems like the Pak Lah administration (oh yeah, he's back in the country) is hell bent in clamping down on bloggers, regardless if they writing fact or fiction. The key thing is they just cannot afford to allow cyberspace to be influential enough, or get more influential, in determining how voters will vote. Not when their attempts at creating various feel-good factors seem to be exercises in futility. But are they actually misjudging the impact of cyberspace on Malaysian politics considering the still poor Internet penetration here, especially broadband? No doubt the impact of cyberspace, particularly those of blogs and alternative news-sites will grow as the years go by. What's more, it wasn't too long ago when they were ridiculing bloggers as unemployed housewives, digruntled ex-journalists, and liars. Perhaps it's a case of them trying to cut off the head of the serpent, but too bad, cyberspace is more like the Hydra where two more heads will grow when you cut off one. Which brings to mind Gandhi's words:
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.
No presents for guessing at which stage we're in now. And dare we believe Malaysian netizens/citizens will, and have to, win?

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Mishandled African American threatens to sue

As well as making sure his experience and his fellow African American's being herded by unidentified men (I suspect they could be Rela) into a truck and finally an immigration detention camp will be heard loud and clear in the USA. It is bad enough when Chinese tourist number had a significant drop after news of a mistaken Chinese tourist (turned out to be Malay Malaysian lady) was forced to do nude squats, and now the uncontrolled desire to weed out immigrants have caused potentially another furore. This time of another country. How many times more must we let such unlawlessness prevail before the image of this country is truly damaged beyond repair? We allowed legal Indian IT professionals to be herded like cattles, we allowed refugees to be herded, transported, and dumped at the border, and now they want to go after tourists as well. If Malaysians can't be bothered to knock sense into this government, perhaps a hard knock from a precipitous drop in tourist numbers will do the trick, as well as serious and sustained condemnation from the affected countries which matter. I reproduce below the experience of the American's ordeal.

Victim of racial profiling
Jan 4, 07 4:36pm

Despite being a well-decorated Gulf War veteran, retired US Navy Yahweh Passim Nam said he was scared after he was held by the immigration officers. Here is his story.

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 9, 2006 from Bali, Indonesia, traveling on vacation. I stopped in KL to see the wonderful Twin Towers.

On Nov 16, at 7.20pm I was walking in Chinatown in KL, going to a flower shop to purchase a vase for some flowers I had previously bought for the hostel manager at the Red Dragon Inn.

At that time, I was approached by two men each about 5 feet 11 inches tall in civilian clothes. One grabbed my arm on the left side with a firm grip and asked me to come with them, the other was asking for my passport. At this time I became scared thinking that I was about to be robbed. I told them my passport is in my hotel locked up in a safe place.

I thought I could manhandle them and raise my voice so that someone else could help me or break away or hopefully I would get the attention of a policeman in uniform. I asked the man to my left ‘who are you and why do you want me to come with you’, the man on my left said they were the police and they needed to see my passport.

At that time I pointed to my hotel which was just a block away from the flower shop and said ‘my hotel is just there’, which was the opposite way they wanted me to go. I told them in plain English ‘I am a US citizen, escort me to my hotel and I will proof this’. I was ignored as I walked about 20 feet with these men.

The firm grip on my arm became firmer and at this time both men were holding each arm and when I started to resist I noticed one of the men reaching for some handcuffs on his waist. I said in a loud outburst I am an American citizen before I go anywhere I want see some identification or a badge or something to proof that I was being escorted/carried off against my will by an official of the government.

At this time, a crowd had formed around me and the men. I thought finally someone has heard my cry. My eyes were almost in tears. I asked again, ‘please let me see some identification’. The man that was reaching for his handcuffs instead reached for his wallet and only showed me what looked like a fake ID card with no police insignia or a badge that looked official.

At this time I started talking loudly at people in the crowd to please help me. ‘I am an American citizen here on holiday and these men are trying to rob me, and my passport is my hotel within walking distance.’

One of the people in the crowd said to the men to take me to my hotel and let me get my passport. At this time, it was like the men became more on a mission to get me to go with them instead of believing what I was saying and what the crowd was telling them. I thought, well, if I was being robbed they would only get my credit card and my money because my passport was locked up in my hotel in a safe place.

I was taken to an unknown location under a bridge. This is where the story started to unfold a bit. There I saw a military truck of some sort with a big cage on the back of it containing about 10 to 15 African men, ages 18 and up and a congregation of Malaysian men with walkie talkies.

I was thinking either I was a victim of some sort of racial profiling or victim of some hate group that was killing all the Africans because I had yet to see something of proof that I was being arrested or taken in to custody by some official of the government.

I was scared! I had started to try and remember faces of the people involved but it was just so many men that looked like the same nationality/race. At that time, I was taken to what seemed to be the leader of the ‘klan’, also in civilian clothes. This man had a walkie talkie a bandanna tied around his head, and a official-looking badge hanging around his neck.

I said to myself finally, someone who looks like they are in charge or a government employee, I said to him in a calm voice ‘I am an American citizen. There must have been a mistake or something, my passport is in my hotel at the Red Dragon Hostel’.

These two men apprehended me and brought me here, if you need to see proof of my citizenship please escort me to my hotel and this misunderstanding can be rectified. It didn't seem as if he was paying any attention to what I was saying, just my skin colour and my facial features. He was answering his cell phone in one hand and a walkie talkie in the other hand talking in another language, all while looking at me with a facial feature of hate.

He said to me ‘where is your passport’ as if he didn't hear what I just said in plain English. I said again my passport was in my hotel and that I am an American citizen. ‘I arrived in KL from Bali, Indonesia on November 9.’ He said to me in a hateful voice ‘if you are an American citizen, why don't you have your passport on you?’ I told him ‘just in case I get robbed, I locked it in my hotel room. Please just escort me back there to prove this.’

Another man who seemed to be the second in charge said very loudly, ‘What is your passport number?’ (The two guys who escorted me there were still holding my arms with a tight grip.) I had to think for a minute ... social security number ... driver's licence number ... oh yeah, passport number.... hmmmmmmmmmmm I said while closing my eyes 1-2-1-0-4-5-...

By the time I got that out, I guess my time limit was up, he gave a signal to his goons to have me placed in the truck. After being locked up with all the other dark faces on the truck I knew the right to due process, including freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention had been violated.

I did my best to become relaxed. After being on that truck and being locked up like an animal, I started to assess the whole situation. It seemed obvious that this was some sort of unorganised mission/sting by the immigration officials of Malaysia to round up Africans.

Time stood still. I thought KL is definitely not a place in the world where I can feel free, sort of like I feel when I'm back home in the United States in Mississippi - the place where Oprah Winfrey was born. I hope she reads this.

Anyhow the truck began getting packed and more packed, some were kicking and screaming, and most were handcuffed. Most of the men were well-dressed and seemed to be coming from work, school, or walking with their girlfriends/wives before being entrapped.

I still did not give up. I thought I'm an American I'm not one of these guys, there has been a mistake. I kept trying to communicate through the screen cage, ‘I'm an American, you have made mistake’. That was when I heard a familiar voice coming from the dark in the back of the truck.

He said: ‘I'm American too. Let us out.’ I looked at him and asked where he was from, he said Maryland, Washington DC. ‘My name is Wayne.’ My eyes watered. I thought of the saying ‘true misery loves company’. We sat and exchanged stories on how we were ambushed and brought to the truck. His (experience) was little more rougher than mine but the fact remain we were unheard African prisoners.

After a couple of more failed and ignored attempts to say we were Americans and to let us out. I decided to lay down in the truck and save my breath, because it looked like we were headed for the long ride to the ‘Upper Room’.

After it seemed as if the immigration officers had met their quota, we were taken to another place to round up more individuals. The officers who seemed to be rent-a-cops with no badges went off to get something to eat, congratulating themselves on a job well done. We sat in that truck for a little over three hours being transferred from one place to another.

After we reached the third place which seemed like an alley in an undisclosed place, we were escorted off two by two handcuffed to each other. I was handcuffed to Wayne. We were asked to write our names and nationalities on a piece of paper. At that time Wayne produced a copy of his passport which was taken and disregarded like whatever. That was when I thought this was it. Death was surely at the next stop.

We were transferred to another caged truck. I still felt like this was all too strange and we were not being held by any government officials. No rights had been explained to me and at least five hours had passed.

By this time it was 1.30am. We were given sodas and bread was thrown into the cage. It was like trying to feed a freshly captured monkey expecting him to eat while passing him food through the little holes in the cage. I thought if this was a government agency and whether it was complying with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

Okay, after another long, cold and bumpy ride with about 25 other men, we arrived at a place that looked as if it was a third world concentration camp. We waited at the gate for about 30 minutes because it looked like no one had the key to get in, like no one knew we were coming. After entering this compound, I noticed concertina razor and barbed wire along the tops of the fence. I said to Wayne maybe we were actually at a government agency. We were then escorted off the bus and locked into cages again, this time a huge cage.

I could hear the guards talking in another language, but I could not understand them. All I could understand was the hatred in the tone-of-voice used. I tried to remain calm but being a well decorated veteran from the Persian Gulf War, Desert Storm/Desert Shield 1990/91, I thought back to my military training and becoming a prisoner of war. Post-traumatic stress disorder had taken over again.

I started thinking of ways to escape and how to take out the guards. I thought to myself to remain calm and that this was all just a misunderstanding. I kept talking to Wayne about football/NFL and Dallas vs the New York Giants - anything to get our minds off the present situation.

We stayed in that cage until 9am Nov 17. With no toilets we were allowed to urinate outside the gate on the grass like animals, a demonstration of inhumane treatment. After looking around, I noticed that there were cages full of humans of all different races. We were then taken out of the cage and processed. Finger printing and picture taking went on.

We were also told to put all our belongings in a plastic bag. Finally we were told we would be there at least two weeks for processing and we would not be able to talk to an immigration officer until Monday because it was Friday. After we were told that, I kept trying to explain to the guard that I'm an American citizen and I would like to contact my embassy now. My cries were unheard again.

Then came the time to be escorted to the permanent holding area. Wayne was assigned to the B block and I was assigned to the A block. I told Wayne my email address and he told me his. We thought that this was it. My eyes watered again I asked the guard to see the immigration officer again, and somehow it seem as if he could feel my pain. I talked to the immigration officer and he obtained the number and address to the Red Dragon Hostel.

I talked with Jennie (the hostel manager) to get my passport out of my room and send it by cab. The officer also called Irene at the United States embassy in KL and she asked for my name, birth date and place of birth. Almost in tears of joy, I told her everything she asked for.

Irene asked if I had been physically abused, I said no besides from scratches from the handcuffs, the thought of (mental abuse) didn't come to my mind until I left the country and locked myself in my hotel room. I also said that there was another American already locked up. Then the officers went to get Wayne.

After she faxed the documents proving that I was an American, I was still in handcuffs. They still wanted me to produce a passport. The head immigration officer asked again why didn't I have my passport on me. I said because I read on the Internet that I was supposed to leave passports in the hotel safe. The city centre of KL has had several incidents of snatch thefts recently.

At about 4pm, Wayne and I were apologised to on several occasions by most of the staff at the holding camp and then transferred to the immigration office downtown where the immigration officers found our situation somewhat amusing. My eyes watered again but this time in disgust and anger. I told them this not a laughing matter. I was in business clothes I had wore the day before with no shower.

I told them to stop laughing because this was not a laughing matter. I was appalled at their behaviour. I wanted to get back to my hotel room and reserve the next flight out of the country. This type of humiliation and treatment will not be accepted by an American citizen. This incident will be heard. The treatment, and the conditions in that camp were both sub-standard and intolerable.

After I arrived in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov 19, I checked myself in my hotel room and locked the door behind me. I noticed that I had developed a xenophobia towards Malaysians.

My goal now is to make sure that this incident is seen on a worldwide scale and not ignored. My regards to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Lulu might be right that Mat Tyson is being set up...

Lulu in her earlier post hinted that Mat Tyson might have walked into a trap designed to put a halt to his ambition of making a comeback. Such a possibility is high considering how Raja Petra and Husin Lempoyang have described the events that unfolded when Mat Tyson and his gang of 30 machais made the police report at the Dang Wangi police station. Do have a read of all the links, and you could decide for yourself if it was just a SNAFU on the part of Mat Tyson, sheer studipity, or something more sinister (aimed at Mat Tyson lah!).

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raja Petra interrogated for 8 hours...

...and according to Pete, they didn't even bother about his alleged insult of Islam and the Yang Dipertuan Agong. All they were interested in were who posted some 12 comments which were attached to the police report made by Mat Tyson (Muhammad Muhammad Taib). As in the case of Nat's harassment earlier, it seems like the police want to take the easy way out by hunting for commentators in blogs by going after the blog owner. They failed to do it with Nat, and I am pretty sure they're gonna have a tougher time with Raja Petra.

However, Raja Petra is right that comments by readers could land him in jail if they could do a legal wriggle with the Sedition Act. But keeping in mind that there is a Umno funded cyber-troop who goes round posting racist and extremist comments on peoples' blogs, perhaps that is how they think they wanna go after these influential bloggers. Failing to rebut with at least some semblance of intelligence, the other more sinister method would be to post racist, seditious, and extremist comments and try to land the blog owners in hot soup. Bloggers really have to be vigilant about these troopers...moderate and delete comments, where appropriate. Anyway, Lulu has an interesting theory about Mat Tyson who could be walking into a trap without realizing it.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

After Nat, now they're going after Raja Petra

Updated! Raja Petra Kamarudin in yesterday's post in his Malaysia Today news site hinted that there are attempts to go after him and close down his site due to the explosive uncovering of various vile and despicable acts done by those who walk the corridors of power. Apparently, they are becoming increasingly worried that more and more people will be "turned over" by Raja Petra, and they would lose plenty of votes in the coming general election. Yesterday, the former Selangor MB Muhammad Muhammad Taib who could not understand English, made a police report against Raja Petra under the Penal Code, Sedition Act, and the Multimedia and Communications Act. He was accompanied by 30 goons. So, looks like after failing to intimidate Nat and the blogosphere, they're going after a "bigger fish" in the person of Raja Petra. But Pete has a message for them. In any case, if being held under the ISA before did not break him, why would they think they could break him this time? Like in Nat's case, blogosphere and the rakyat needs to rise up again. We have the right to free flow of INFORMATION, especially if they're FACTS and TRUTHS!

Update (24 Jul, 12:52): Tun Dr Mahathir believes that there is a concerted effort on the part of the Pak Lah administration to curb voices of dissent in the internet. When asked what bloggers should do in the face of such crackdown, he said to always stick to facts. And when asked if Raja Petra writes fact, as always in his witty self, he replied "If he is not, people wouldn't read it". Of course, it is to his benefit as well to ensure the internet remains free. Otherwise, where would he himself be able to speak out since the mainstream media has denied him his space.

Source: Mob's Crib

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Monday, July 23, 2007

A vote for MCA is a vote for Umno's Islamic State

If you still have doubts about that, take a look at this article. Hishamuddin aka Kerismuddin has warned ("beri amaran") MCA leaders to stop making statements that declare Malaysia is a secular state. MCA had gone to town sensing they're gonna lose even more votes now after Najib unilaterally made the announcement that Malaysia is an Islamic state, never mind the fact that his father Tun Abdul Razak was in the delegation that went to the UK to negotiate Malaya's independence as well as presenting memorandums on how the Malayan Constitution should be like, and one of that would be that the Federal Constitution would be the supreme law of the land and that Malaya/Malaysia would be a secular state. This has been affirmed as well by Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn.

However, subtle subversion of such a reality has now come out totally in the open. Umno has no qualms now in declaring Malaysia as whatever it likes it to be (although the Internal Security Ministry thinks otherwise). To hell with MCA, MIC and all the mosquito-sized parties that formed the BN. They be damned as keeping Umno in power is the most important. To them, this country can go to hell for all they care. No wonder since they could easily bail out and retire glamourously to Perth and other clearly secular states. As they said, rakyat Malaysia can go eat kuih! If MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the rest need a reason to quit sleeping with Umno, this is more than enough of a good reason. All the pre-merdeka goodwill and working together has come to naught after 50 years. And MCA Youth seems to begin to realize that (though questions remain if it will translate to actions). But would they have the spine to do it on their own? I think not, unless WE voters send a clear signal to them telling them to quit.

Source: Whattahack

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Confirmed...NEP is nothing but a tool to keep Umno in power

And this is from the "horse's mouth", so to speak. Khir Toyo, the Selangor MB and 1st generation Malaysia-born, in Kota Kinabalu said that Umno can only remain relevant if keeping the NEP was among its priorities. He even venture to say that without keeping such a policy, the Malays would switch their support to PKR and PAS. Well, this more or less confirmed the view that Umno's die-die-wanna-keep the NEP behaviour has nothing to do with protecting the interests of the Malays, or fighting for their rights. It is more to to do with keeping themselves in power for as long as they want, while at the same time use the NEP as an excuse to enrich themselves further. In short, what Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad said about the NEP being the legitimating ideology for Umno's hegemony and legitimacy is confirmed by Toyo himself. No wonder all their talk about Malays having to stand on their own and to stop looking for handouts are nothing but empty rhetorics, with no real intention on their part to stop perpetuating such a crippling system of patronage. Because at the end of the day, it's all about politics. It's all about keeping Umno in power.

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Najib's turn to subvert the Federal Constitution

Updated! After Tun Dr Mahathir unilaterally announced on Sep 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic state, MCA and Gerakan had a tough time trying to explain away the man's statement which was aimed at scoring political points against PAS. Ling Liong Sik was reduced to talking nonsense about how a rose by any other name is still a rose when trying to do damage control. Since then, we could see how the civil court has time and again washed its hands of the responsibility to uphold and protect the Federal Constitution. Yet now we have none other than Najib Razak, the DPM, making yet another pronouncement that Malaysia is an Islamic state based on some dubious reasoning. Click here for Haris Ibrahim's questioning of his pronouncement, as well as the deluge of responses from various people, including MCA Youth chief's language gymnastics to do damage control.

It's time for people to think hard that instead of falling for the trick that a vote for DAP is a vote for PAS's version of Islamic state, they have fallen deeper into BN's chicanery and machination because voting for MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the other mosquito supporting parties have come to mean voting for Umno's Islamic state. Najib has confirmed that from his unilateral pronouncement, in case you still have doubts. Of course, The Star spins Najib's words another way. You can't expect the MCA owned newspaper to create alarm among the insular English speaking Chinese Malaysians with Umno and MCA while all this while they've demonized DAP, PKR, and PAS. Regardless, come the next and subsequent general elections, do remember this - A Vote for BN is A Vote for UMNO's Islamic State!

UPDATE (18 Jul 13:49):Farish A. Noor has written on Najib's statement and question whether Malaysia is dangerously heading down the same path which has brought Pakistan to its basket-case status now.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More on Rural Air Services

Tony in last saturday's The Star Biz pullout said that they never really wanted the Rural Air Services (RAS) routes, but landed up with them due to the local air route rationalization exercise. He gave some reasons as to why they choose to operate only 7 Fokker airplanes when MAS had handed over 10 to Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB), but realized later they should have gotten all 10 due to, in their opinion, the age and reliability of the planes. After the damning audit report on the deplorable condition of the airplanes by Fokker Services Pte Ltd, FAX decided to issue a statement to rebut them. Jeff Ooi has a more detailed writeup on this latest turn of events. Regardless, at the end of the day it looks like taxpayers will have to fork out money again to clean up this RAS mess. Let's hope that with MAS taking back the RAS this nonsense will stop, that is if they can run it like how they managed to run MAS into the black again.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Malaysians in Singapore...come back and vote

In an informal discussion of the current political situation in Malaysia with a group of like-minded people, a guy shared his observation that Malaysians living abroad, particularly in Singapore, seem to have more passion about the current socio-political condition of their homecountry compared to Malaysians who remained here. They seem less insular, according to him, because they tend to be exposed to more sources information which are generally more accurate or critical of various socio-political issues that exist in Malaysia. For example, The Straits Times of Singapore has plenty of articles about Malaysia which you'll never read nor see in the mainstream press here. Of course, they would have their own agenda, but that is beside the point. The fact remains that Malaysians who work and live in Singapore tend to be more aware of the increasingly dire state we seem to be in, and they do show their concern by writing to Opposition leaders.

His observation of such a phenomenon ends with a challenge - would these concerned Malaysians be a good source of votes for change, and if so, what have the opposition parties do in order to target them. I think it is a valid challenge, and the opposition should plan on how to reach out to them, provided the message on the importance of their votes are clear to them. Singapore due to its proximity to Malaysia makes travelling home to vote less of a problem. Those who have not registered could just do a quick trip to any of the Johor Bahru post offices, as long as you have a valid Malaysian identity card. The key thing I guess is are these concerned Malaysians concerned enough to the point of actually making that trip just to cast their votes. I guess that is a question which my fellow Malaysians abroad would have to ask themselves. They've come so far in showing great concern for a country which they still see as home. They should consider taking just one more step to actually act out their concerns by making their votes count in this coming, and subsequent, general elections. If nothing else, they should do it for Nat's sake.

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Going after bloggers, again

UPDATE (18 Jul, 10:45am):
Nat is finally FREED! He was released on bail yesterday just after 5pm, and is required to report back to the Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) in KL on July 31. Until today nobody is sure on what specific grounds Nat has been remanded for and interrogated, other than the vague OSA reason given. Regardless, the most important thing is that blogosphere, opposition, and activists stood together, resolute in fighting this injustice, and showed to the authorities that such fear tactics and intimidation will not work. The forum (details below) is still on, and Nat will be there to speak of his experience. Come and hear him!

UPDATE (19 Jul, 13:45): Nat has written about his experience being under remand for 4 days. Click here to read the English and Bahasa Malaysia version.

Original Posting:
This time they've went for Nathaniel Tan, Anwar's secretary in Foundation for the Future as well as a PKR worker. They didn't state the grounds for his arrest/remand when taking him away from his office, took him to his house to grab his desktop and monitor (wonder why they want the monitor...perhaps the police department don't have spare monitors) and then whisk him off to various police stations in the city, playing cat-and-mouse game with his lawyers, his family, PKR, and NGOs. Finally got a 4-day remand order (after unsuccessfully getting a 14-day remand) in order for them to investigate him under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The charge is supposedly for a comment left by a reader in his blog which reproduced some part of a mysterious website which appeared from nowhere alleging Johari Baharum, the Deputy Internal Security Minister, of corruption with regards to the freeing of 3 detainees under the Emergency Ordinance. The ACA has since then cleared Johari of the allegations, and Johari has ordered the police to nab the person responsible for this slander. How such material which alleged the corruption of a person be a state secret (logical implication since Nat is being investigated under the OSA) is beyond me. RPK in Malaysia-Today has linked to that mysterious website before, as well as speculating that it could be the work of insiders, a result from the tiff between Johari and the PDRM. In a sense this investigation of Nat could just be an excuse to find a fallguy or scapegoat.

In any case, Nat should be freed. The charges (which so far are not even clear) are really flimsy. Instead of being genuinely in the wrong (the alleged "secrets" were not even written by him but left by some readers in the comment section, which Nat sees fit to delete most of the content because of its nature but provided a hyperlink to the mysterious website) it is more likely than not that he is just a pawn trapped in the power play between Johari and Musa (whom incidentally Johari has asked the ACA to investigate regarding alleged links with triads). That itself is a good enough reason for the police to stop harassing him and free him. That is because they simply have no real reason to continue holding on to him. We, the rakyat, have to voice out and speak out. If we choose to cower in fear and keep quiet, it would be precisely what the government wants. Break that fear! Free Nat!

There will be a forum on Nat's persecution and experience this Thursday 19 July at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Nat is supposed to be freed this afternoon, according to his sister Cheryl, and Malaysiakini. Details below, and read more about it here.

Venue: KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Date: 19th July 2007 (Thursday)
Time: 7.30 pm
Admission is Free; Bring Friends

The panel of Distinguished Speakers include:

* Nathaniel Tan, Blogger & Aide to PKR Advisor
* Jeff Ooi, Protem Vice-President, All Blogs Malaysia
* Haris Ibrahim, Lawyer & Founder of The People's Parliament
* Nurul Izzah Anwar, Special Assistant to PKR Advisor
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP
* Tony Pua, Economic Advisor to DAP Secretary-General

Chairperson: Soon Li Tsin, Journalist & Blogger

We'll also be trying to leave as much time to the floor as possible, so as to enable greater interaction at the forum.

Courtesy of Mob's Crib

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Half of Rural Air Services planes not airworthy

After declaring loudly that they have no problems flying the local routes more profitably than MAS, looks like FAX (related to AirAsia through Tony) has run half the planes to the ground despite the availability of components and parts. This is according to the findings of the auditor which was part of the conditions MAS' Idris Jala laid down in order for MAS to take back the Rural Air Services from FAX. Remember that when the planes were handed to FAX they were all in working condition. Looks like in the rush to cut cost they see it fit to just let the planes be grounded and parts cannibalized for the ones still flying. No wonder people are complaining about the lousy or non-existing service. Do remember also that it was they (the "high-flying" company) who complained about MAS' initial monopoly on local routes, including RAS, and after getting them decided after a year to not continue with it. I hope MAS on a better footing now will run RAS like a commercial concern - profitable yet social-objectives based. No point taking it over and then be saddled again with losses which eventually requires taxpayers' money to keep it afloat.

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Indelible ink requires National Fatwa Council to decide?

Nazri, the minister in the PM's department who broke the record of shouting continually "racist" and "bodoh" at the DAP MPs in Parliament (while at the same time also have gone minum dan makan with them) said that the use of indelible ink in the elections, one of many requests by Opposition parties and BERSIH, will have to be referred to the National Fatwa Council for a decision because he worries that Muslims will not be able to wash off the ink for prayers later on. PAS' reaction to this? As the usual clown, this time he made PAS leaders tickled and in stitches. Never mind the fact that PAS was one of many which pushed for the use of indelible ink to prevent multiple voting by the same person, as well as the fact that its use is widespread in other Arab and Islamic countries, as well as India. In fact, PAS deputy president Nasharuddin said it would be more substantial to ask the National Fatwa Council to decide on the legitimacy of "dead people" voting in our elections. Quoting him:

"What’s the hukum (religious judgement) on the existence of phantom voters after they have been recorded dead for many years? Now, this is something which the Barisan Nasional government should refer to the Fatwa Council."
My take on this? I think it's just a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, ... excuse by the BN government to not implement its use in the general elections. Since they can't find other more valid reasons, they're prepared to go the "Islamic" way by "influencing" the National Fatwa Council to make a declaration over such a trivial issue. I wouldn't be surprised if they decide to issue a fatwa saying NO to the use of indelible ink. After all, the issue is all about politics, and definitely not about religion.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crime index up 8.7%

This is from Pak Lah's written reply in Parliament. Not a fabrication by the opposition, or enemies of the state, as claimed by some in blogosphere when lately people have been fedup of the increasingly unsafe situation, lambasted the police for not doing enough, as well as taken up active citizenry by signing petitions against crime. Click here for more information. Meanwhile, Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Bahrum has instructed his officers to lodge a report with the ACA to investigate allegations of corruption against the IGP Musa Hassan. Musa has been alleged by Malaysia Today to have links with the Chinese triads, supported by copies of documents which provide the links. A tit-for-tat since Johari was also investigated by the ACA recently over allegations that he received RM5mil to free 3 figures from being detained under the Emergency Ordinances? A war seems to brewing between him and the PDRM. Perhaps Johari could take this opportunity to "advise" his boss the PM to push through the implementation of the IPCMC which is vehemently opposed by Musa Hassan.

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Parliament becomes slaughter house

As if it is not enough that our Parliament has been reduced to a zoo with animals heckling one another, shouting and making nonsensical sounds because they don't have a half a brain to string sentences together. Now the august house has been turned into a slaughterhouse, literally! The BN Backbenchers Club (BBC) decided to host a dinner last night to mark, in the words of the BBC chairperson Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar, the "historic" recent marriage of the PM to his new wife. Claiming he has obtained approval from the Parliamentary officials, they brought in 6 cows and 10 goats to be slaughtered on-site under a shift-tent in the motorcycle parking bay. Nevermind the fact that there are Hindu MPs present and cows are sacred to them, let alone slaughtering them.

When grilled by journalists on this most shameful and idiotic incident, the BBC chief has the cheek to chide them for not fixing an appointment with his secretary (what happened to service to the rakyat?!?). When pointed out that his contention that slaughtering of cows and goats happened everywhere in government offices was wrong, he just shook his head. This is how sensitivity and tolerance towards people's belief is like in Malaysia...always a one way street. I think all sane Malaysians would not want this stupidity to happen again, more so when it is the Parliament we are talking about.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

KJ John: Whither Malaysia?

Updated! This opinion piece by KJ John captures the essence of the deteriorating religious problem Malaysia is facing in its 50th year as a nation. I reproduce it here (hoping he doesn't mind) because it is a must read for all Malaysians concerned at the rate our nation is heading towards a disaster if nothing is done to put a stop to the continual subversion of our Federal Constitution. Do check out Haris Ibrahim's blog as well for a look into the same problem from a legal angle.

Update (7 July, 1:47pm):You would have remembered that Tun Dr Mahathir in an interview had said that a Malay could renounce Islam as long as he/she is willing to also give up the special privileges due to them due to the way a Malay is defined in the Constitution. Now Pak Lah was apparently reported to say to reporters at the sidelines of an international Islamic seminar that we should not forbid Muslims from converting if that is what they want. Quoting him:

"I have always told the religious departments to listen to their grouses why they want to leave the religion. We have to be ready to listen and to resolve the problem," he told reporters on the sidelines of an international Islamic seminar.

"This is not something that cannot be done (leaving Islam). It has happened before. For those who don't want to be Muslim anymore, what can you do?"
The thing is, would his voice (after being in "elegant silence" for so long) regarding this increasingly worrying problem be repeated in our country, and be turned into action and put a final stop to all the mess created by self-righteous folks hell-bent in subverting this nation to suit their own religious agenda? Let's all pray and hope that he will act on his words, even if it is for this one thing only.


Whither Malaysia?
KJ John
Jul 10, 07 12:17pm

Something is going fundamentally very wrong in Malaysia today. We have a written 50-year-old Federal and Secular Constitution which clearly defines the limits of jurisdiction of Islamic or Syariah law as, it applies only to personal and family matters.

But, it appears that there are more and more cases of jurisdictional abuse by the religious or morality police, called the Majlis Agama Islam. The most recent cases were the “abuse” of a Malay singer in Ipoh for being improperly attired and the raid on Indian restaurants for displaying different religious symbols. These are not personal and family matters. They are civil and public square issues.

Last week, we had the release of M Revathi from an Islamic rehabilitation centre. She was born to Muslim parents, grew up as a Hindu with her grandparents, claims to be one and was married to another Hindu and the couple have a child. Recently she was taken into custody for rehabilitation for almost six months.

Her case in the Civil Court was up for hearing but she was released before that. The attempt to cleverly release her made the matter only an academic one, according to the judge. The matter is more than academic, and I am sorry that the judge found the easy way out.

The case involves fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and abused by the Islamic religious department. It also shows their insincerity and lack of willingness to test the jurisdictional issue before the federal civil courts of law. The religious police and the Syariah Courts have now given their views on the matter of her personal faith. To them she is and always will be Muslim.

She turns up in court clearly wearing the symbols of being a Hindu and has sworn that she is not a Muslim; and never was. But who is the definer of the truth and who is the enforcer? Now, to really enforce the decision, is it now the responsibility of the Syariah Department to set up a criminal division to enforce their law? How else can they do it? I thought this was the very reason that the police advised the state government in Terengganu not to enforce the so-called Syariah Islamic Administration in the state because the police have no authority to enforce it, under our Constitution?

Where are we heading?

What has really changed? Or, are we now saying that the Islamic religious department can enforce their ruling that she live with her grandparents? Have they become the new moral and religious police in the public spaces of Malaysia? But really, under which jurisdiction and is it still consistent with the Federal Constitution? Come on Malaysia, where are we really heading?

The word and concept of ‘secular,’ was always used by the Constitutional drafters to define our document of destiny. It does not mean being “anti-religious” or “anti-theistic” but rather denies that any one specific and particular religious worldview of right and wrong was the guiding and sole parameter for the rules and regulations of Malaysia. Another way to understand it is that the Federal Constitution is religion-neutral when enforcing its principle and articles.

Therefore, in the specific case of Syariah law, the ninth schedule clearly defined its status within the state enactments. It was designed to be limited to private and personal family matters, wherein such laws already exist for procedures to fulfill some Islamic teaching.

Therefore, while the Constitution is secular, in its reading and interpretation of rights, the framers’ worldviews were not atheistic. We can therefore view the secular as always a subset of a sacred worldview. The late Tun Suffian quote I used in the last column clearly defines that there is a clear and specific domain in which reason and logic of universal truth forms provide the underlying basis of laws and regulations, rather than the dictates of any one specific worldview.

Often, these guiding values are “the mores of the culture,” or the “morality” of that particular culture at any point in time is what reigns in public space. Such public space morality is always defined premised upon religious values, and especially originating from many religious value systems which are commonly accepted as agreeable by the culture. Usually they are a local, global and of universal value.

Secular system

As such, as crafted in our secular Constitution, even the words, “Islam as the religion of the Federation” cannot be used to create an over-riding value system for our civic rules and regulations. That would be arbitrary and careless to the spirit of the original Federal Constitution and all her related Articles. For, even within the same Article, the roles of every other religion of the federation and their concomitant freedoms of worship are equally protected and preserved. Moreover the freedom of worship is recognised as a personal and private matter in Article 11.

Therefore, whether we like it or not, our current Federal Constitution guarantees our multi-religious framework of existence and we can therefore only remain a secular system, in the purest meaning of what is secular.

Real politick would dictate that unless we can amend major segments of the Federal Constitution with a two-thirds majority; and the Rulers Council agrees, there can be no major changes in this specific construction of the Constitution. Thereby, even an idealist party like PAS may have to realistically refine their mission to realise that their vision of an Islamic state in Malaysia can only operate within the constraints of the current Federal Constitution. This is purely a rational and legal position on the subject.

The case of Revathi has now hit the world press and has demonstrated the current confusion in Malaysia’s judicial system; and the full and apparent existence of two standards of justice in the public spaces of life - one for Muslims, as dictated by the State Enactments, and another by profession for the non-Muslims by their choice of conscience. This was never intended by the framers of the Constitution.

How can we possibly have a case where a person who says she is a Hindu but is put in rehabilitation for six months under the Islamic Religious Department. The case is fundamentally really no different than the Lina Joy case, with a slight twist. Now that Revathi is released with certain conditions, my question is who is responsible to “enforce the decision?” What if her elderly parents cannot enforce the conditions; or do not want to enforce these conditions, do we put them in prison as well under rehabilitation?

After all, as she has stated, after her time in rehabilitation; she is not ever going to become a Muslim, try as much as they all want. What then is the real resolution? For her to migrate as well to another country? What about her personal rights and civil liberties as a citizen?

Or, is the government-based religious department willing to confine her to life imprisonment? Would that be within the law of the land? Is that what Islam is really all about; faith practiced through force and compulsion? Surely not, because there is no compulsion in Islam! How then does one rationalise all this that is happening in the 21st century? Maybe it is time for all civil-minded and moderate Malaysian citizens to hold a peace march for Revathi. Maybe it is time to stop our 50th year celebrations to think through the ugly nation we are slowly but surely turning ourselves into.

Seriously, this thing cannot go on; when the religious department officers become thugs and enforce their own non-public space rules. They have no federal power of the law on such matters which are not criminal but seem to treat people as if they are criminals. Things are really getting out of hand, and I believe that the nation must not be careless with what is happening, as we are fanning emotions among the Hindu adherents and all non-Muslim citizens, even as the world watches.

It is to our shame therefore that we claim to be a progressive Islamic nation when there is lack of integrity and credibility in how the Federal Secular Constitution is understood, interpreted and enforced in Malaysia. I hope the judicial system and the attorney general will take charge of the matter before it is too late. We are not an Islamic state and can never be one based on the current Constitution. The current crop of the Rulers’ Council are all well trained and studied in matters of the law.

Raja Nazrin, the Regent of Perak, has already made his very clear articulation to defend the dignity of the Constitution. Maybe the Bar Council must consider a civil action suit to test the Constitutionality of the Revathi case and many other cases wherein the Federal Constitutional rights and privileges of basic civil liberties which are guaranteed and protected, are being abused in the name of religion.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Anwar: Respect Revathi's decision

From Malaysiakini today. Anwar earlier on when commenting on Lina Joy's controversial court judgement said that the judgement was correct in that "apostates" would have to go to the Syariah court and follow procedures. Somebody said that this is akin to "not potong queue". Well, Revathi has gone to the Melaka Syariah court on her own volition to precisely get an "approval" that she is renouncing Islam and she wants to remain a Hindu. Yet, after 180 harrowing days of being incarcerated at the Ulu Yam Rehabilitation Center, she has been told that she would not be allowed to leave Islam. Despite her insistence that nothing will change her mind, the Syariah lawyer representing the Melaka religious department insists they will be able to change her mind. Well, enough is enough. Procedures have been followed, the said person has stated in no uncertain terms what is her stand. As what Anwar correctly states now, Revathi's decision should be respected. She should be free to profess the faith of her choice and of her own conscience!

Revathi and daughter. (Source: Malaysiakini 9 July 2007)

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4 year old missing girl in Penang is DEAD

Updated! 4 year old Shearwey Ooi Ying Ying is dead. What is worse, her body was burnt using kerosene and her remains strewn over at least 4 different places - a cemetery, river, apartment dumpsite in Paya Terubong, and another river in Jalan Air Itam.

Source: The Star 8 July 2007
If this is not an indication of how sick and perverted our society has become, I don't know what is. I still remember the case of the 8 year old girl Ang May Hong who was brutally mutilated and murdered back in the 80s, and which the heinous murderer was never found until this day. Not too long ago we see in Johor the rape and murder of 10 year old Nurul Huda, and in Sabah the murder of 10 year old Hasirawati Saridi. All the cases involved little girls who are still kids who tend to trust adults and most vulnerable. Even boys are not spared.

Nowadays parents cannot afford to be not vigilant and alert what Intel's Andy Grove said...only the paranoid survives. Do not even let your child be away from your sight and grip even for 1 second in public areas. 1 second is all it takes to grab away your kid.

Update (9 July, 1:54pm): Heads up from a friend. Apparently according to Nanyang Siang Pau, the detained woman relative referred to by The Star is in fact the little girl's own mother while the detained man is her boyfriend! The woman was supposedly in the process of divorcing her husband. This is also reported in China Press where apparently she created the story to mislead everyone. Utterly gobsmacked. Reminds me of the toddler boy who was tortured to death last year by the aunt and the boyfriend in Johor as well...sigh.

Source: The Star 9 July 2007
Update (10 July, 12:37pm): In today's The Star, the English press finally reported that the mother of the killed 4 year old has been arrested to help in investigation. Let's pray that the killer will be brought to justice so that the little girl would not have died in vain.

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KL-Putrajaya it privatised?

As far as I could remember the KL-Putrajaya Highway which starts at the Kg Pandan Roundabout, goes through Sri Petaling and the Commonwealth Games Village, and ends up at the Elite Highway Putrajaya interchange link (the elevated portion that rounds around Cyberjaya) was supposed to be a toll-free road and funded fully by the government. That was one of the reasons why the project was shelved in the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998 due to lack of funds, and was only restarted sometime in 2002. This is the highway that is built perilously close to the houses in Bandar Baru Sri Petaling causing severe damage and such, and which the Parliamentary Accounts Committee led by Datuk Shahrir Samad made a visit to the site, confirmed the problems and suggested the project be stopped, raised the ire of Samy Vellu, and more recently suggested the government to repossess the affected properties and pay compensation.

All this mess came about because when the project was approved by EPU to begin in 1998, DBKL went ahead and approved the housing development project in that same plot of land with complete disregard to the alignment of the proposed highway, and did so because the highway project was postponed and they could have thought it will never happen. So, land was "lost" by the proposed highway to the houses, so to speak. You can read more on the plight of the Sri Petaling residents here. But what I want to ask is when was this supposed federal government funded RM1.2bil highway to Konsortium Lapangan Terjaya Sdn Bhd? According to the website of the concessionaire, the concession period is 33 years commencing from 28 Oct 2003. Maybe I have not been following the news on this controversial highway so I could have missed the privatisation announcement. I only realized it has become another private-tolled-highway when I saw what looked like toll-gates being constructed on the highway, and a big project signboard at the Putrajaya link stating it as a "projek pengswastaan". But it looks like the Sri Petaling folks know better...the concession agreement was supposedly signed in 1997. Maybe the perception that the highway was supposed to be toll free since it's fully government funded was a mirage after all, or I have mistaken it to be the same as that Highway 2020 which was to connect KL with Putrajaya as well.

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Public Hearing on Crime in Klang Valley

The Parliamentary Human Rights Caucus led by Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (Caucus Chairman) will hold a public hearing on the worsening crime rate in Klang Valley on the 11 July 2007. This is the second of such public hearing after the first which was held in Johor Bahru. Concerned citizens should take the opportunity to make their voices and concerns heard so that the caucus could make a comprehensive report on the rakyat's grievances and anxiety and submit it to the government with recommendations. Details of the hearing:

Public Hearing on Crime in Klang Valley

by Parliamentary Human Rights Caucus

Date: 11 July 2007 (Wednesday)
Time: 8.00pm - 11.00pm
Venue: Dewan Sivik (Civic Hall), Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya

"We want the public to take this opportunity to voice their suggestions and opinions" - Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department

Caucus MPs present include:
- YB Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Caucus Chairman
- YB Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader
- YB Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, MP for Permatang Pauh

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Power of people prevailed in Broga

It's official. After unofficial statements made by various business people and ministry officials, the government finally officially admitted that the controversial Broga incinerator (planned to be the largest of its kind in the world) is now scrapped. Now who says the normal rakyat cannot band together to force the government to hear their plight and influence its decision? Congratulations to the fighters of Broga!

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Revathi free?

"Because of their behaviour, I hate (benci) Islam even now"

This is what Revathi told reporters after being told by the Melaka Syariah court that she is freed from the Ulu Yam Rehabilitation Center where she has been incarcerated for 6 months. All because she went to the Syariah court (isn't this what the Federal Court majority judgement ordered Lina Joy to do?) to apply to leave Islam and to be recognized as a Hindu. Her initial detention of 100 days was extended for another 80 days by the same court with the reason that she was un-cooperative during the first 100 days. Her outburst was made where she described the rehab camp was akin to a prison and she was forced to wear a headscarf, attend religious classes, pray, and allegedly even forced to eat beef (which is forbidden by Hinduism).

However, is Revathi really free? She has been ordered by the court that she could only stay with her Muslim parents, and told that she could not convert out of Islam. Nevermind the fact that she time and again insisted she is a believing and practicing Hindu, has been brought up as Hindu, and after 180 days of "rehabilitation" remains convinced she still wants to be a Hindu. So what now?

If Lina Joy follows the Federal Court majority judgement that she needs to go to the Syariah court to get a certificate of apostasy, would she get it considering the limbo situation of Revathi now? In the face of all this, would not the Syariah ruling on Revathi violates her constitutional right to movement and abode as an adult with full control of her faculties, as well as her right to profess and practise the faith of her choice? Specifically in the context of Malaysia where the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Syariah enactments of the various states do not exist in a vacuum nor in isolation from the Constitution which first confer the rights to the state legislative bodies, wouldn't such ruling/enactments clearly in violation of the Constitutionally enshrined rights of citizens?

For the sake of the nation and our children, we really have to heed Dr Dzulkifli's call to "take the bull by the horn" and come to an acceptable resolution soon. And this same call should be heeded by Dr Dzulkifli himself as well.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dr Dzulkifli's piece on Lina Joy

In yesterday's opinion piece in Malaysiakini, Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, a director of PAS Research Centre, attempted to give a balanced and level headed angle to the controversial Lina Joy decision made recently in the Federal Court. Overall I think he has succeeded in putting forward the views of conservative Muslims in a level headed and well argued manner. However, one thing I was disappointed with was that he seem to have failed to tackle an issue which his article brings forth, which is the constitutionality of various state Syariah enactments, specifically with regards to the sensitive issue of apostasy. In so doing, while at the same time throwing the ball back to the Umno government's court, Dr Dzulkifli unfortunately has committed the same problem which he pointed out in the early part of his article, which is "for failing to take the bull by the horn".

I don't have much disagreement with his argument of the need for apostasy to be heard and dealt with in the Syariah courts. But he brought up an interesting part about how the State legislative assemblies' right to enact Islamic related enactments is conferred by the Federal Constitution under List II of the Ninth Schedule, as well as a federal act (The Syariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965) which gives power to the same assemblies to enact criminal Islamic laws. Such criminal laws however are bound by the ceiling set forth in the act - imprisonment not exceeding 3 years, fine not exceeding RM5,000, whipping not exceeding 6 strokes or combination of these. Such limitations on what punishment criminal Islamic laws can have and be enacted by state legislative assemblies would mean that in the context of our nation's status where the supreme law of the land is the Federal Constitution, the limits and boundaries of what Syariah enactments could be enacted, as well as the punishments meted out, do exist and are provided for by civil law, as laid down by the Constitution as well as related Federal Acts. This was, as I understand it, the reason why Zaid Ibrahim (the Kota Baru MP) brought the Terengganu PAS State Government to court in 2003 over the latter's attempt in enacting hudud enactments which clearly were beyond the set boundaries of the Constitution and Federal Acts. In effect, the Terengganu Syariah Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment was ultra vires the Constituion.

Since it is the case where limits and boundaries on what can and cannot be enacted by the state legislative assemblies with regards to Syariah enactments exists, it necessarily follows also that the issue of apostasy with respect to Syariah enactments (or lack of it, as is the case with the Federal Territory) in the various states should not be treated any differently. To "take the bull by the horn" and arrive at a necessary solution to this ever pressing and stick issue, the hard question of whether the punishment (or silence) prescribed to the crime of apostasy, within the context of our existing system of Syariah courts and enactments, have in fact not exceeded the limits and boundaries set, particularly with respect to Article 11 of the Federal Constitution regarding the right of every person in the Federation to profess and practise his religion. This question is important as it will determine if existing state enactments on apostasy is in fact ultra vires the Federal Constitution, the same basis for Zaid's suit against the Terengganu PAS State Government as well as the fact that that Enactment never get to see the light of day.

There have been some attempts in the blogosphere to discuss the Lina Joy controversy from this angle, but unfortunately it is still very limited, and thus far no attempts have been made to bring it out to the open for more detailed discussion. I think it is really important to tackle the issue from this angle as all other attempts so far has not been fruitful. Even more important is that this question will really determine if Malaysia still uphold the supremacy of the Federal Constitution as per what our founding fathers have envisioned, or it is otherwise.

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LKY orders MCMC to retract censorship letter

Not the MM down south, but our own Energy, Water and Communications Minister Dr Lim Keng Yaik. After the expose of the black-and-white directive from MCMC to private radio and tv stations to not give coverage and air time to the opposition, Lim Keng Yaik made the right and brave decision to order MCMC to retract such a lame-ass censorship directive. Good move Keng Yaik! However, wouldn't your brave move be contrary to what your boss just said during the Mass Media Conference 2007, organized by none other than the Internal Security Ministry which is headed by him? Regardless, Gerakan should really live up to their own calling of being "BN's conscience", which is more relevant and important now considering how pressing and precarious the situation of our country is today. There is no better time than to do it now, and do it fast, before Malaysia becomes a failed state.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The haze/smog is back!

Just like the annual migratory birds, the haze/smog/smoke is back again this year! According to the Meteorological Services Department, there is now some 200 hotspots in Sumatera due to, again, forest burning. And due to the unfortunate position of Malaysia vis-a-vis its neighbour and the south-westernly monsoon wind, we are again seeing a degradation of air quality starting this week, and till God-knows when. During the weekend the moon was as orange as the one fruit I eat in most nights, indicating to all that the level of particulates in the air is inching higher and higher. Pretty soon we would get the full blown annual sorry state - extremely poor visibility, smell of smoke in the air, the sun is orange, no rain, hot, humid, dust everywhere, difficulty in breathing, and rise in ashmatic attacks. All thanks to a somewhat docile Malaysian government when it comes to dealing with big-cousin-Indonesia, despite the Indonesia President apologizing to its neighbours last year that all possible measures will be taken to prevent a recurrence. With the worsening impact of global warming, especially the predicted worse effect from El Nino this year which has caused the worst drought in 20 years in West Timor, I will not "hold my breath" in seeing any improvement from the Indonesian government. Also, don't expect our BN government to react towards them the same way they reacted every time towards that "little red dot" down south, just recently over MM Lee's statements on the IDR. In the mean time, do whatever you can personally to minimize the horrible effect from this annual transborder environmental pollution and disaster.

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Monday, July 2, 2007

Private TV and radio stations must not give air to Opposition

So, after Zam-Zam-Alakazam bashed the BBC for giving coverage to Malaysia's opposition leaders, now the BN government is lame enough to actually have the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), a regulatory body concerning electronic media and communications, issue a black and white letter instructing the private TV and radio stations not to give coverage to the opposition, as well as not to air speeches by them. Instead of such a lame arse attempt at muzzling the media further and try monopolise information in this day of the information age, the MCMC should instead buck up and stop the SMS scam which have been screwing consumers for ages. Instead of blocking legitimate information from Malaysians, please go stop the politically powerful from fleecing Malaysians. And that should be your main job, not being a peon following orders detrimental to the interests of Malaysians.

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