Federal Government must accelerate its post-floods relief and reconstruction to ensure that it will not take a whole year for Kelantan to fully recover from the devastation of the worst floods in living memory last year

Revisiting Kampong Manek Urai Lama with the Ketua Gabungan Impian Kelantan (GIK) and DAP MP for Seremban Anthony Loke and other GIK Committee Members including Young Syefura (Rara), Dr. Tajuddin Shaffee and Vincent Wu, and just now Kuala Krai is like returning to the Ground Zero zones of the worst floods disaster in Kelantan in living memory at the end of last year.

During the two-week parliamentary meeting, Pakatan Rakyat MPs have raised many questions and issues about the floods catastrophe in Kelantan at the end of last year.

It was not possible to avoid the 2014 floods catastrophe, but the damage could have been minimized as not to lead to the loss of 25 lives, creating a million floods victims with quarter of million flood evacuees, and causing billions of ringgit of damages if there had been better floods management preparedness and plans in all three phases of response, relief and reconstruction. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS’s hudud folly – it’s not chosen by all

By Bridget Welsh | 2:56PM Mar 18, 2015

The introduction of the hudud amendments today in Kelantan have yet another origin beyond democratic dynamics within the party. They are based on a calculated effort to win votes, namely to strengthen the support of PAS’s core supporters and to strengthen the position of PAS vis-à-vis the coalition partners inside Pakatan.

Ironically, the hudud measures do neither, and potentially undermine the party’s standing as a national party and within its own electoral base. In this second piece, I lay out how misguided the revitalized hudud initiative is for a political party whose stated aim is to hold national power.

Over-reacting to Umno pressure

In the defensive mode of the PAS party leadership, the party have been responding to others rather than setting its own course. The most effective actor influencing PAS has been Umno. Opting for offensive attacks, Umno has successfully convinced PAS that is it losing ground among Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »

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PAS’s hudud folly – a political putsch

By Bridget Welsh
Mar 17, 2015

COMMENT Tomorrow the Islamist party PAS is scheduled to introduce ‘minor’ amendments to the hudud legislation it introduced in Kelantan in 1993.

The bill cannot be implemented as the constitution currently prevents the legislation from having effect. Although limited in scope, the move nevertheless will have significant consequences as it brings to the fore political dynamics within the party and showcases how the PAS would govern.

At its core, the amendment introduction is a political exercise aimed at shoring up a Kelantan PAS state government that has lost its moral authority with the passing of respected leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and in the wake of devastating floods where the state government proved to be completely ineffectual.

This process of introducing the amendments and the political implications signal that the current conservative ulama leadership of PAS is apparently no longer meaningfully interested in democratic principles and holding national power.

This action of moving to strengthen hudud if fully realised will have negative electoral implications even within Kelantan itself.

To say that this a folly is perhaps an understatement, as it potentially marks a turning point for PAS as a trusted and viable party in national government. This is the first article of a three part series that looks at this issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amendment to Motion of Thanks to direct the PAC and the Police to immediately investigate the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal without waiting for Auditor General’s Report on 1MDB

There are many other issues which explain why Malaysia is now teetering on a crisis as a result of the economic and political gridlock paralyzing the country.

As time does not permit a discussion of all these issues, I will just quickly refer to some of them:

* Malaysia’s reputation as a country safe for investors received a grievious blow when a series of judicial decisions raised national and international questions as to whether Malaysia had restored its previous high international repute for a truly independent judiciary and just rule of law because of the following cases:

i. the Federal Court’s 5-0 unanimous decision to dismiss Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal and five-year jail sentence in Sodomy II trial;

ii. the Federal Court’s decision to convict and sentence to death former police commando Azila Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, while leaving completely open the question of motive for the murder and who had ordered Azila and Sirul to murder Altantuya;

iii. the expose by retired Court of Appeal judge Justice K.C. Vohrah that former Chief Justice Eusoff Chin had caused a miscarriage of justice in the infamous Ayer Molek Rubber Company vs Insas Bhd case two decades ago;
iv.the black-listing, discrimination and continued by-passing of Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohamad Hishamudin Mohd Yunus from elevation to the Federal Court;

v. the victimization of the country’s first judicial whistleblower, former High Court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid, who was penalized instead of being rewarded. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zahid’s skeletons in the cupboard and the “stacks of letters and agreements” to US

Fourthly, we have the tragedy that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi cannot put the IGP on the right path, because he has his own skeletons in the cupboard.

Malaysians are still no nearer to the mystery of Zahid’s infamous letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) vouching for the character of an alleged international gambling kingpin without the knowledge or sanction of the Police, the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.

In fact, the whole episode has become very much murkier with the latest contortion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim that the federal government is satisfied “in principle” with explanations provided by Zahid regarding his infamous letter to FBI on Paul Phua. Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP’s English standard incomparably low

Thirdly, On Monday, DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua, tweeted in anger when he heard that Nurul Izzah was arrested under the Sedition Act in relation to her speech in Parliament last week when she went to the Dang Wangi Police Station to keep an appointment with the police for her statement to be taken over the #KitaLawan rally in Kuala Lumpur on March 7.

This attracted a tweet directive from the IGP, namely: “@PDRMsia akan panggil YB ini menjelaskan apa maksud beliau dgn ‘Royal my foot’. Adakah ditujukan kepada Raja2 Melayu?” (@PDRMsia will call this YB and ask him to explain what he means by ‘Royal my foot’. Is this aimed at the Malay Rulers?)

Khalid was referring to Pua’s tweet “Bastards. Real bastards. Royal my foot”.

I agree that Pua’s tweet was in bad taste. But it was not a crime. Was Pua’s tweet aimed at the Malay Rulers?

Not to mention the police officers, I believe the overwhelming majority of school children with decent command of English language will give the IGP a strong unambiguous answer – No, it is not aimed at the Malay Rulers but the Royal Malaysian Police. Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP’s misguided war against PR leaders/NGO activists when he should declare war on IS

Secondly, the IGP’s misguided war against PR leaders and NGO activists when he should have declared war on Islamic State, which is misleading Malaysian Muslims to join them Iraq and Syria to commit atrocities like beheadings, public stonings and mass massacres.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal in its opinion piece titled “Malaysia’s Creeping Authoritarianism” following more police crackdown marked by the arrest of two MPs, referred to 19 Islamic State supporters who had been arrested for plotting attacks around Kuala Lumpur last year.

Up to now, Malaysians have not been told the full story of the 19 Islamic State supporters who had been arrested for plotting attacks around Kuala Lumpur last year, but the twitter trigger-happy IGP seemed to be more pre-occupied with his “war” against PR leaders and NGO activists, who only wanted to expand the democratic space for Malaysians to qualify as a fully developed nation in 2020. than the serious war waged by Islamic State in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Committee of Privileges should haul up IGP Khalid over the police breach of parliamentary privilege over false arrest of Nurul Izzah and to decide how the police could purge itself for utter contempt for institution of Parliament

I hope to highlight several issues which the veteran MP from Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh on Monday said has caused a “historic juncture” as Malaysia’s economic and political situations are in a “gridlock” and teetering on crisis.

Firstly, the police arrest of two MPs, the DAP MP for Rasah Teo Kok Seong on Saturday and the PKR MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar on Monday, and their overnight remand at the Jinjang Police Station, and in the case of Kok Seong, the police sought another four-day remand but the magistrate only allowed remand for another day.

The police knew well beforehand that Kok Seong and Nurul would be reporting at the Dang Wangi Police station but on the day in question, the police did absolutely nothing to record their statements after their formal arrest, in order to justify an overnight remand for both at the Jinjang Police Station.

This is not police efficiency and professionalism at their best, but police pettiness and vindictiveness at their worst.

Nobody blames the police personnel at Wang Dangi for such petty and vindictive abuse of police powers, showing utter contempt and disrespect not only to Kok Siong and Nurul but also the institution of Parliament!

Nobody believes that the ordinary police rank and file are capable of such pettiness and vindictiveness against MPs. I do not believe that senior police officers would want to exhibit such police pettiness and vindictiveness which do not reflect well on police efficiency and professionalism – and such police abuses of power and contempt for MPs, particularly from Pakatan Rakyat, can only come from the command of one person, the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Creeping Authoritarianism

Wall Street Journal
March 16, 2015

Malaysian politics are moving down a dark path. A month after the country’s highest court upheld the conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on trumped-up charges of sodomy, police on Monday arrested Mr. Anwar’s daughter for violating the Sedition Act, a colonial-era law increasingly used to chill political debate.

Nurul Izzah Anwar’s apparent offense was to criticize the judiciary last week in Parliament, where she is opposition vice president. In addition to reading a statement from her father condemning his trial as a political conspiracy, Ms. Nurul Izzah condemned Malaysia’s Federal Court for “bowing to political masters” and being “partners in a crime that contributed to the death of a free judiciary.”

Western diplomats have also criticized her father’s prosecution. “The decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar, and his trial, have raised serious concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the courts,” the U.S. State Department said last month. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dyana Sofya hits back at critics over photo in women’s magazine

by Melati A Jalil
The Malaysian Insider
18 March 2015

DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud hit back at her critics today, saying that a change in mindset is needed if people still associate bed with sex.

The former Teluk Intan by-election candidate recently received heavy criticism for taking part in a magazine photoshoot to raise awareness on violence against women.

She had posed on a bed for the campaign, called “Wake Up To A Good Cause” which aims to collect donations for Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

Her critics, which included the likes of Puteri Umno and social media users were quick to attack her, saying that it was a shameful act and young women should not pose “like that” to attract attention.

Dyana said it is this type of mindset that needed to be changed if people can misinterpret a message she was trying to sent through the photoshoot.

“If you see a bed, and you don’t think of sleep but of sex, then there is something wrong with you.

“There is nothing wrong with the photo, (but) there’s definitely something wrong with your mindset. It is this kind of mindset that we are combating against,” Dyana said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Impossible to trust PAS again, says Ambiga

by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
18 March 2015

Civil society leader and former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said PAS has betrayed the trust of the people who had voted for them on Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) platform, after the Islamist party went ahead to table a bill in the Kelantan state legislative assembly to reintroduce hudud in the state.

She said she was shocked and disappointed at PAS for what bringing back the Islamic penal code – a move which she said was in breach of PR’s common policy and a betrayal of voters who had supported PAS based on a shared platform with allies DAP and PKR.

“After this, it will be near impossible for them to regain that trust,” she told The Malaysian Insider today.

Ambiga said the PAS-led Kelantan administration should seriously look at its priorities, considering that the state was only recently hit by its worst floods in decades.

“The state and its wonderful people have not even begun to recover from the devastating floods and yet that does not seem to be at the top of the agenda for the state government,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jawi, is this what you call Islamic justice?

P Ramakrishnan, Aliran
Free Malaysia Today
March 18, 2015

Why is Jawi hounding an innocent woman who has committed no crime or violated the tenets of Islam?

By persistently pursuing Borders bookshop manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz who had been discharged by the Syariah High Court, Jawi, the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department, is doing a great disservice to Islam.

Islam, as understood by many, is just and fair. It does not judge others unfairly and does not deny the just dues of others.

Jawi’s action in this case is contrary to Islamic justice and virtues. Its action is un-Islamic and goes against the common perception of what justice is all about.

It is hell-bent on criminalising an action that is not criminal. It is determined to punish someone who has not committed any wrong.

Its tenacious legal pursuit to punish Nik Raina, borders on an obsession to hound her for no justifiable reason at all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hammering the hudud wedge into Pakatan

By Liew Chin Tong
Mar 17, 2015

MP SPEAKS To drive a wedge is to cause hostility or disagreement between two parties. In Malaysia, the implementation of the Islamic criminal code or hudud is one such wedge that is designed to break Pakatan Rakyat, and to bolster the position of the pro-Umno elements in PAS vis-à-vis the pro-Pakatan leaders.

I may be a DAP leader but I write this piece as a former academician who has devoted four years of my younger life, a decade and half ago, to understand the internal dynamics of PAS, with several academic publications on the subject.

I see myself as a long-time friend of the PAS that strives to defeat Umno at the ballot boxes, together with all Malaysians. For me, the PAS faction that is working secretly with Umno on the basis of asabiyyah (racial allegiance) should be regarded as a common enemy by all those who wish to see a Malaysia with a new clean, trustworthy, democratic and fair government.

The hudud debate did not figure much in the national discourse, even among the circle of top leaders in PAS, since 1950s. Phrases such as “Negara Islam” and “hudud” only became popular from the 1980s onward, especially after Anwar Ibrahim joined Umno.

This was just before the April 1982 general election, which gave the then new government of Dr Mahathir Mohamad an “Islamic” credential, and during the young ulama revolt against Asri Muda’s leadership of PAS, which was seen as more Malay nationalist in orientation, at the party’s muktamar (general assembly) in October 1982. Read the rest of this entry »

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Unable to handle GST, 68-year-old shuts up shop

by Looi Sue-Chern
The Malaysian Insider
18 March 2015

Moey Kok Meng and his family are clearing out his sundry shop in Air Itam. His final day of operation is next Wednesday.

“I am shutting down because of the GST (goods and services tax). I don’t think I can do business with the tax implemented,” he said.

Moey, 68, said he made the decision to close his shop, which has been in operation for 48 years, before Chinese New Year last month.

He said one of his three daughters had asked him if he was able to deal with the GST, and the question made him realise that he could not.

“I don’t know (how to operate) a computer. I don’t understand the system… how it works. Even after reading it and getting others explain to me, I am still unsure of how to do my business with it.

“I am just running a small, simple business. It is all giving me a headache, so I surrender,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Pairin, Harris as well as Najib to confirm that 30 years ago, the Berjaya Sabah State government was on the verge of surrendering the state’s autonomy powers on immigration to the Federal Government

The report in today’s Free Malaysia Today must be a shock to Sabahans and Malaysians, for it was revealed for the first time that some 30 years ago, the Sabah state government was on the verge of surrendering the state’s autonomy powers on immigration to the Federal Government.

This came about in the ongoing polemics betwee two former Sabah Chief Ministers, Datuk Harris Salleh and his nemesis, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

The Free Malaysia Today report “Pairin tells Harris not to harp on ‘lost’ Sabah rights” quoted Joseph Pairin as reminding Harris that it was under Harris’ Berjaya Sabah State government that Sabah’s state rights were “slowly eroded until very little was lieft”.

Joseph Pairin said that if it had not be him as Chief Minister from 1985 to 1994, even the special immigration powers vested in the state would have been taken away.

Pairin alleged: “The Berjaya Government was on the verge of surrendering Sabah’s immigration powers before it was ousted from power.
“Some of us in Berjaya stopped it and asked for three years to think it over.”

Pairin said that “luckily”, his 45-day-old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) wrested the reins of power from Berjaya and that “put paid to the Federal Government’s plan to abolish the state’s immigration powers”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should come to Parliament himself to answer personally criticisms by Mahathir and others and not through a proxy or underling

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told Malaysiakini that he would answer former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s criticisms about the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, especially with regard to the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and Najib’s family wealth in Parliament tomorrow.

Najib should come to Parliament himself to answer personally criticisms by Tun Mahathir and others and not through a proxy or underling, even though a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

I do not believe previous Prime Ministers in Malaysia, or Prime Ministers and heads of government in other countries, need to depend on their underlings to answer criticisms directed at them.

Why is the Prime Minister not prepared to face Members of Parliament to answer the mountain of criticisms against him, from both inside UMNO and outside? Read the rest of this entry »

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Hudud sebagai tukul

oleh Liew Chin Tong
17 Mac 2015

Kisah sebenar di sebalik langkah hudud Kelantan

Tukul dihayun untuk menimbulkan retak antara dua parti. Di Malaysia, pelaksanaan undang-undang jenayah Islam atau hudud adalah tukul yang dicipta untuk memecah-belahkan Pakatan Rakyat dan sekaligus mengukuhkan kedudukan anasir pro-UMNO dalam PAS serta melemahkan para pemimpin parti itu yang pro-Pakatan Rakyat.

Saya sememangnya seorang pemimpin DAP, namun makalah ini saya tulis sebagai seorang mantan ahli akademik yang telah mengabdikan masa empat tahun daripada usia muda untuk memahami dinamika dalaman PAS sedekad setengah yang lalu. Sejak itu saya telah menerbitkan beberapa karya akademik berkenaan subjek ini. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tiada siapa menentang kepimpinan ulama

A Shukur Harun
The Malaysian Insider
17 March 2015

Muktamar PAS ke-61 pada Jun ini akan menentukan segalanya, sama ada parti itu mampu melakukan perubahan atau terus menjadi parti yang terbuka.

Ini perlu difikirkan semua pihak, terutamanya perwakilan yang menentukan pemimpin yang akan menerajui PAS pada masa depan. Adakah pemimpin dipilih itu mahu melakukan perubahan dan terus menjadi parti yang terbuka atau mungkin berundur ke belakang dan menjadi tertutup?

Dalam pada itu, orang di luar PAS – terutama dalam kalangan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) iaitu PKR dan DAP – akan memerhatikan keputusan muktamar Jun ini, sama ada PAS akan terus mengeratkan hubungan dengan Pakatan Rakyat atau semakin menjauhkan diri.

Sesungguhnya tidak dapat dinafikan, di dalam PAS sudah terbahagi kepada 2 golongan, iaitu golongan konservatif yang tidak bersedia melakukan perubahan dan golongan progresif dan mahukan perubahan. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can we drop the term ‘moderate Muslim’? It’s meaningless

Sarfraz Manzoor
16 March 2015

The word moderate means devout to some, liberal to others. We don’t need it to describe ordinary followers of a tolerant religion

I first started calling myself a “moderate Muslim” in 1989 in the aftermath of the Salman Rushdie affair. Watching bearded men in Bradford burning copies of The Satanic Verses I wanted to signal that I was not like them, that I believed in free speech and tolerance and being reasonable and civil, and that I did not see a contradiction in living within the value structures and laws of this country and being Muslim.

The claim that most Muslims are moderate is rarely challenged, which is why I have spent the last month travelling around the country talking to ordinary Muslims about the word. I anticipated disagreement on what defined moderate; what I did not expect was universal hostility to the very phrase and yet everywhere I went the message was the same: don’t call us moderate.

“I see it as a criticism,” one woman in Luton told me. “You are giving me this label based on how I look and how I dress.” Her male friend said he found the word “offensive”, adding: “Are you saying I’m only 50% Muslim? When someone says to me ‘you’re moderate’ it suggests to me they’re saying ‘you’re not fully Muslim’.”

It was surprising to find a term that I had always assumed was favourable and benign being so roundly condemned

The men and women I met told me they found it infuriating that they could be devout in their practice of their religion but they would only be considered “moderate” Muslims – since moderate was often taken to mean not hugely observant. Meanwhile those who had committed appalling acts of terror – and who were often far from religious in their earlier lives – would immediately be considered “real” or “full” Muslims. It was surprising to find a term that I had always assumed was favourable and benign being so roundly condemned. It may once have been useful but the phrase is no longer fit for purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

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The die seems to be cast – the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Common Policy Framework (CPF) will be broken by PAS Kelantan and no one in the national PAS leadership is prepared, capable or has the power to remind PAS Kelantan State Government to honour the PR CPF

The die seems to be cast, with the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Common Policy Framework (CPF) set to be broken by PAS Kelantan in the Kelantan State Assembly on Wednesday.

The Kelantan Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah has reiterated almost everyday that against the decision of the Pakatan Rakyat Leadership Council on March 12, the PAS Kelantan State Government is going ahead with the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment.

It is would appear that no one in the national PAS leadership is prepared, capable or have the power to remind the PAS Kelantan State Government that it should honour the PR Common Policy Framework.

If hudud had been a hot controversial issue in the 13th General Election on May 5, 2013, the UMNO/Barisan Nasional coalition would not only have regained its two-thirds parliamentary majority, Pakatan Rakyat would have lost Selangor apart from Kedah, and Johore would have reverted as an invincible UMNO/Barisan Nasional “fixed-deposit” state. Read the rest of this entry »

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