Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kajang State Assembly by-Election | Ten strategic moves by Pakatan Rakyat

Ten strategic moves by Pakatan Rakyat

January 30, 2014
FMT LETTER: From Dr Raken, via e-mail

An analysis of the Kajang by-election without fear or favour:

1 Khalid is a wonderful business man – a straight forward corporate figure. A hard core politician like Anwar in Selangor is a good strategic move in the wake of Barisan’s onslaught to take back Selangor at all cost.

2 Selangor is the gold mine state of Malaysia. Whoever rules Selangor, rules Malaysia. So changing strategies to ensure Pakatan’s rule is imperative.

3 Pakatan has to fortify its hold in Selangor to protect the minority in the wake of some desperate moves made by its opponents by stirring racial and religious issues

4 Internal issues within Pakatan must be resolved immediately. The decision for Anwar to be in Selangor will avert another Kedah episode

5 Penang is fine with Lim Guan Eng. Shifting Anwar from Penang to Selangor is a strategic move to fill the vacuum in Selangor.

6 Anwar is a veteran in politics with all the expertise and exposure and he knows the in-and-out of his opponents. His political acumen is imperative for balance of power in Selangor

7 DAP is in Penang. PAS is in Kelantan. PKR must be Selangor’s at all cost to serve the most demanding state in Malaysia.

8 If Penang, Kelantan and Selangor are ruled well and prudently, this is the testimony for its promotion to Putrajaya to play a role at the Federal level.

9 Selangor has the most number of informed decision voters in the country who vote based on facts and figures. Anwar’s presence in Selangor will ensure, governance, integrity and a continuous success story

10 Anwar as the coalition leader of the Pakatan needs a strong base from where he can operate. This is truly political strategy.

The writer is senior lecturer in Strategic Management for MBA programmes

Saturday, January 11, 2014

‘Allah’ row a non-issue, look at bigger picture, say experts

January 11, 2014

The Bible Society of Malaysia's office in Petaling Jaya was raided on January 2, sparking anger among Christians. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 11, 2014. 
The Bible Society of Malaysia's office in Petaling Jaya was raided on January 2, sparking anger among Christians. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 11, 2014.

A fatwa or edict issued by sultans is only applicable to Muslims and, therefore, cannot be enforced against those of other faiths, says constitutional law expert Dr Aziz Bari.

Speaking at a forum entitled "Allah issue and seizure of Bibles: Between the law and religious sensitivities", organised by PAS last night, Aziz questioned the timing of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last week.

Saying that the Selangor Non-Muslim Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988 had been in force for 25 years, Aziz asked: "Why choose to enforce it now? Everyone is waiting for the Federal Court to decide on the ‘Allah’ ruling.

"Isn't it a better and wiser decision to let the issue cool down instead of turning up the heat? Or is this a calculated and deliberate act?"

Aziz also questioned the reason police had accompanied the Jais team when they raided the BSM office in Damansara Kim on January 2.

"This is a selective operation, similar to the allegations made against PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu that he was a Shia follower.”

He said although Muslims made up the majority of the Malaysian population, they appeared to be portrayed as being under threat.

"What sort of logic is this? This never happened several decades ago when Muslims had yet to become the majority in the country," he added.

Picking up the same thread, PAS Parit Buntar MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa told the forum that 1.7 million Christian worshipers in the country could not make Malaysia a Christian country.

"There are only 1.7 million Christians in Malaysia while 55% of the 28 million population are Muslims," Mujahid said.

"If Christians are so capable of turning Malaysia into a Christian country, then I must learn this secret from them," he said, prompting laughter from some 200 people at the forum held at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

The third speaker, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship secretary-general Eugene Yapp, said Christians did not want to fight with anyone or to take anything away from others.

"We just want to be left alone and in peace to practise our religion.

"We use the word ‘Allah’ because historically, it predates Islam. The English version of the Bible is actually a translation.

"The original scriptures were not in English but in Hebrew and Greek. Hence, when it was brought to Malaysia, God was translated as ‘Allah’," Yapp said.

He pointed out that the Anglican Church in Sarawak went back to the 19th century.

"These traditions, including referring to God as ‘Allah’, have been passed down from generation to generation, from father to son."

He said he once asked a Bumiputera Christian if he could stop referring to God as "Allah".

The man replied: “Imagine if you have been alive for 40 years and one day, your hands or legs are cut, how would you feel?

"How can you suddenly tell me that whatever I have been practising in my faith is irrelevant? Who are you to tell me this?"

Yapp said Christians in Malaysia were angry and disturbed over the “Allah” issue, including the Jais raid.

Aziz concurred, saying it was a Muslim's duty to protect his friends when they were being persecuted and oppressed.

"There have been accusations in Selangor that certain Muslim individuals are helping and defending Christians. This is the duty of a Muslim.

"The rights of Christians are not being respected and a negative image of Malaysia is being portrayed on the world stage.

"Islam is being seen as oppressing the rights of other religions," he said, adding the “Allah” issue was a minor one.

"Why won’t the government focus on the big picture, on corruption? Cost of living? Price hikes?"

Aziz drew more laughter when he joked that "extremists" such as PAS were organising these forums while Umno was lodging police reports and holding protests outside churches.

Mujahid said Muslims had to live in reality.

"The Quran teaches us about reality. What right do I have to tell Christians what they can or cannot believe about their faith?

"The opposite applies as well. Can a Christian come and tell Muslims what they can or cannot do when practising Islam?

"I have entered a church. Does this mean I am no longer a Muslim but a Christian now?" Mujahid asked, drawing laughter from the floor.

"You can laugh about it, I can laugh about it, but some parties do not treat it as a laughing matter."  – January 11, 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is Pakistan Islamic? But they CELEBRATE the Bible & here in M'sia, we CONFISCATE IT!

Islam is the official religion of Pakistan and Malaysia but both have contrasting attitudes toward the Bible.

Just three days after Christmas, Pakistan celebrated 150 years of the Bible Society there by issuing a commemorative postage stamp while in Malaysia, JAIS, the Selangor Islamic agency, stormed into the Bible Society two days into the new year. They confiscated over 300 local language Bibles, while police arrested two of its officials and later released them on bail.

The raid was condemned by both Christians and non-Christians including Muslims except for the extreme right wing within Umno and their sympathisers.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy while Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Islam is the official religion in both countries.

Originally, when the constitution of the then Malaya was drafted by a five-man commission - with members from Britain, Australia, India, Pakistan and chaired by Lord William Reid - before independence was granted by Britain in 1957, it did not specify any official religion for the state.

This move was supported by the rulers of the nine Malay states, who felt that it was sufficient that Islam was the official religion of each of their individual states. However, Justice Hakim Abdul Hamid of Pakistan came out strongly in favour of making Islam the official religion, and as a result the Reid Commission in its final draft specified Islam as the official religion of Malaya.

Secular state with Islam as the official religion

With the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the provision for Islam as religion of the new federation was retained although Sabah and Sarawak objected strenuously to it. They were persuaded to sign the Malaysia Agreement only on the assurance that Islam would not be the official religion in the two states. But this was not to be for long.

Unhappiness remained and Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first PM of Malaysia, on the occasion of his 80th birthday on 9 Feb 1983, had to reiterate that Malaysia must continue as a secular state with Islam as the official religion. He was supported by Hussein Onn, (the third PM), who believed that the country can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.

Then Dr M stirred up the Islamic state notion

All was well until on 29th September 2001, when during his opening address to the Gerakan Party’s 30th national delegates conference, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed announced:
"Umno wishes to state loudly that Malaysia is an Islamic country. This is based on the opinion of ulamaks who had clarified what constituted as Islamic country."

Through it all, the various attempted infusion of Islamic values since then began to take its toll, the latest being JAIS’ raid on the Bible Society.

Times also changing in Pakistan

All is not well either in Pakistan as Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, DC found out when he returned after half a century to his old college, Forman Christian College (now a university) to receive an honorary doctorate. Forman is Pakistan’s leading Christian educational institution. Like the Bible Society of Pakistan, it is now celebrating its 150th anniversary. Only 600 of its 6,000 students are Christian.

"Like many non-Christian Pakistanis, I owed my education to Christian teachers, both at Forman and at my previous school, Burn Hall in Abbottabad, which was run by Roman Catholic priests. Once there, I found myself transported back to one of the happiest periods of my life. It was a different Pakistan and it was a time of hope. Christians were very much part of the fabric of the nation," recalled Akbar, former Pakistani High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, in an opinion piece he wrote in the New York Times over Christmas.

"Times have changed. With increasing frequency, Christians have been attacked and their churches vandalized."

He said, "Many Pakistanis are unaware of the role Christians have played in the nation’s history. Although the Christian population is barely three million, or 1.6 percent of the population--as compared with 180 million Muslims (more than 95 percent)--Christians have had a considerable impact, especially in education."

He added that many of Pakistan’s most prominent leaders--including the current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, the assassinated prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, and former President Pervez Musharraf--went to Christian schools. Christians also educated Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who founded Pakistan in 1947. Under Pakistan’s Constitution, Christians were guaranteed equal rights.

"The targeting of Christians comes amid a widespread breakdown of public order," he noted.

Contribution of the Christians

The contribution of Christians to education in Malaysia stretches back as far as Christian efforts in Pakistan if not longer. Prime Minister Najib Razak is but one such beneficiary of Christian schools. Times have changed indeed.

Malaysia is fast sliding down the incendiary path of self-destruction. The JAIS raid has stoked the flames further. All is not well; not only for Christians but for every Malaysian. Our redemption lies in going back to what the framers of our constitution had originally intended. - mysinchew

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I did not know he had married again, ex-wife of Taib Mahmud’s son tells court

January 09, 2014
Latest Update: January 10, 2014 08:30 am
'Mostly he would come into the house, watch TV, see his son and take an afternoon nap', says Shahnaz of her former husband, Mahmud Abu Bekir. - The Malaysian Insider pic, January 9, 2014. 
'Mostly he would come into the house, watch TV, see his son and take an afternoon nap', says Shahnaz of her former husband, Mahmud Abu Bekir. - The Malaysian Insider pic, January 9, 2014.
The former wife of the Sarawak chief minister's son, Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Abdul Taib, told the court today that she did not know that the woman he had brought to his sister's wedding in 1999 was his wife.

Shahnaz A. Majid also testified she had accompanied her son to meet Mahmud Abu Bekir and the Australian woman, Louise Aida Hiley,  two to three years ago.
"At the time of my sister-in-law's wedding, I did not know he was married to her," she said during cross-examination at the Syariah High Court today.

Shahnaz, the sister of popular singer Datuk Sheila Majid, also told the court that Mahmud Abu Bekir stopped giving her financial support after August 2011.

She said earlier today that he had initially given her RM7,000 a month since they started living separately in 2000, and the amount was increased to RM10,000 in 2007.

"But after August 2011, there was not even RM1 from him for me or my son until now," she said.
"He paid for our holiday in Damascus and Turkey but that was just once in the last 10 years," she added.

Shahnaz also revealed that since they started living separately, Mahmud Abu Bekir would make occasional visits to see their son, which was once every two weeks or once a month.

"Mostly he would come into the house, watch TV, see his son and take an afternoon nap," she said.
Shahnaz said that as the director of Sarawak Securities between 1993 and 2001, she was initially paid a salary of RM7,000 per month, adding that during the period of 1994/1995, when the securities market was doing well, they were given a year's bonus across the board.

According to Shahnaz after the securities firm obtained a license to trade in the stock market in 1997, her salary was increased to RM10,000 per month. But by then, bonus payout averaged two to three months.

Shahnaz is seeking some RM400 million as divorce settlement, including matrimonial property and “mutaah” (Islamic conciliatory payment).

She is also asking for half the assets owned by Mahmud Abu Bekir, including seven luxury cars, thousands of hectares of land in Sarawak, homes in countries abroad and shares in about 15 companies.

Shahnaz, and Mahmud Abu Bekir married in January 1992 and have a 20-year-old son, Raden Murya. Mahmud Abu Bekir filed for divorce in May 2011.

The divorce settlement proceedings had exposed the purported wealth of the family of the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Shahnaz, 50,  had previously testified that Mahmud Abu Bekir had a son with an Australian woman and later married a Russian woman.

She also told the court that the Sarawak Chief Minister's son has assets worth more than RM1 billion in Malaysia.

Under re-examination by her counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader, Shahnaz said her ex-husband did not ask for her permission when he wanted to take another wife.

She added that to her knowledge, he had also not made any application to the courts in Sarawak or in Peninsular Malaysia to have a polygamous relationship.

She also said that she never had sex with Mahmud Abu Bekir after they began living separately.
Shahnaz further told the court that the three cars in her possession were from the company that she and her ex-husband jointly owned.

"The Jeep can't be used since three years ago, my son drives the BMW X3 and I drive the Mercedes S320," she said, adding that the Mercedes was probably only worth RM50,000 now.

During cross-examination by Mahmud Abu Bekir's counsel Saadiah Din, Shahnaz was asked about whether she knew about the cars she had alleged that her ex-husband owned, including an Audi, Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini and an Alphard.

Dr Rafie Mohd Shafie appeared with Akbardin while Saadiah was assisted by Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar.

Hearing before Judge Muhamad Abdul Karim Wahab continues on January 22. – January 9, 2014.