Archive for May 3rd, 2007

Marimuthu/Raimah case – foreign media reports

[1] (International Herald Tribune)
In landmark case, Hindu man in Malaysia gets custody of children born to Muslim wife
The Associated Press
Published: May 3, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia’s Islamic authorities gave a Hindu man married to a Muslim woman custody of their children Thursday, in a landmark decision for minority rights, after the couple were forcibly separated because they follow different religions.

The decision was announced at an emotional hearing in the High Court attended by the ethnic Indian couple, Marimuthu Periasamy and Raimah Bibi Noordin, both rubber tappers who had been happily married for 21 years.

The case is the latest in a series of conflicts involving the religious rights of minority groups that is straining ties in multiethnic Malaysia, where Islam is the dominant religion. Buddhists, Christians and Hindus are the minority faiths.

The crisis began unexpectedly when Islamic authorities took away Raimah Bibi and six of her seven children on April 2 on the grounds that her marriage with Marimuthu was illegal. It was not clear why the authorities acted now when the couple had been together for 21 years.

At the hearing Tuesday, Raimah Bibi, 39, broke down and sobbed openly when the judge asked her if she will give up custody of their seven children, who are aged between four and 14.

“Yes, I agree to surrender my children to Marimuthu,” she said, wiping her tears with the ends of her headscarf.

Marimuthu had filed an application demanding that the Islamic Affairs Department bring his wife and children to court. The department has indicated the couple cannot live together because Marimuthu did not convert to Islam as required by law for their marriage to be legal. Read the rest of this entry »


World’s tallest Mazu statue in Kudat – What is Sabah CM Musa’s stand?

During my three-day political visit of Tawau, Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan last week together with DAP Pahang State Assemblyman Leong Ngah Ngah and DAP Sarawak Assemblywoman for Pending, Violet Yong, one of my consistent themes was calling for support for the tourist-promotion initiative of former Sabah Deputy Chief Minister/Minister for Tourism Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat (and which is bruited as one of the two main reasons for his shock resignation) – the world’s tallest Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) statue project in Kudat.

I am glad that there is growing public support for the project in Sabah as illustrated by the Sabah Daily Express report “CM urged to reconsider” which is reproduced below.

I had intended to meet up with the Federal Minister for Tourism Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor next week during the resumed meeting of Parliament to urge him to support the world’s tallest Mazu project, which will not only be a triple bonus to the tourism promotion campaign for Kudat, Sabah and Malaysia but will also be a symbol of the “Instant Asia” publicity which Malaysia is promoting worlwide.

There would be no need for me to meet up with Tengku Adnan if the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman and the State Cabinet announce their support for the Mazu project in Kudat, especially as land and public donations exceeding RM5 million for the Kudat Mazu project have been pledged, and parts for the construction of the 108-ft 10-storey-high Mazu statue are being shipped to Sabah.

What is the stand of Musa on the Kudat Mazu project?

Is the world’s tallest Mazu project on the agenda of the Sabah State Cabinet at its next meeting, and if not, is there any Sabah State Minister who is prepared to make a public pledge to raise it at the next Cabinet meeting? Read the rest of this entry »


“Pokkiri” film controversy ends – school principal admits mistake

The “Pokkiri” film controversy ends with the assurance by the principal of the SK Taman Hi-Tech, Kulim that the film which parents complained of being one of “violence and sensuality” and unsuitable for Primary One pupils would not be shown to non-Malay primary school students and admitting that its screening was a mistake.

Ten days ago, I blogged as well as raised in Parliament the complaint from Vimaleson Gunaratnam, a parent of a seven-year-old pupil at SK Taman Hi-Tech, Kulim that non-Malay students in the school were separated from Malay students for the whole morning session until recess time for two consecutive days and shown a Tamil movie, Pokkiri, which is full of violence and sensuality.

He sent a letter of protest to the school principal as he was particularly incensed that the movie Pokkiri, (translated the meaning is “Thug”) starred by Vijay, is shown in school when he would not allow such a movie at home.

Several parents of pupils in the school have written to my blog in support of Vimaleson’s complaint.

Yesterday, I received through my blog an email from Vimaleson informing me that the “Pokkiri” film controversy has ended with an assurance from the principal of the school that the violent film will not be shown to non-Malay primary school pupils and admitting that its screening was a mistake. Read the rest of this entry »


Six children being returned to Marimuthu to be brought up as Hindus — habeas corpus application for Suresh/Revathi case

A settlement was reached at the Shah Alam High Court this morning following the habeas corpus application filed by Karpal Singh on behalf of rubber tapper Marimuthu Periasamy for the release of his wife Raimah Bibi a/p Noordin and six children, Yoogneswary 12, Paramila 11, Hariharan 8, Ravindran 5, Shamala 5 and Keberan 4 from detention by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department since 2nd April 2007 on the ground that they were Muslims.

Periasamy has filed a supporting affidavit stating that he and his wife were at all material times of the Indian race and they practiced and professed the Hindu religion. They brought up their children in the Hindu religion and beliefs.

Their children were given Indian names and they had lived in peace without interruption even though they earn a modest living.

Things changed in the morning of 2nd April 2007 when seven officers acting on behalf of the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) raided their residence in Kampung Baru Tambahan, Ulu Yang, Selangor, detaining his wife and six children and forcibly took them away from their house. Marimuthu was threatened with “khalwat” if he attempted to stop them.

When the Shah Alam High Court sat this morning, Karpal informed Justice Su Geok Yian that the habeas corpus application had been overtaken by events as a settlement has been reached with Raimah filing an affidavit that she remained a Muslim and that she has agreed that the six children be returned to the father to be brought up as Hindus – which is to be done later today. Raimah was in court and she confirmed the arrangement with Justice Su.

This is a sort of a solution to a very human problem affecting the parties concerned, although it is not a very happy arrangement as it leaves many issues open-ended which may cause problems in the future.

It is sad and tragic that a happy couple and united family with seven children as a result of 21 years of marriage should be broken up by religious factors when family unity and love should be the paramount concern of all religions.

Something is very wrong with our society and nation when a 21-year happy and united family could be broken up like the case of Marimuthu, Raimah and their seven children. Read the rest of this entry »


Ijok/Machap – Umno more concerned than MCA about swing of Chinese votes to Opposition?

It would appear that UMNO is more concerned than MCA and Gerakan over the swing of Chinese voters to the Opposition in the Ijok and Machap by-elections.

MCA national leaders continue in their denial that there is any significant swing of Chinese voters to the Opposition in Ijok and Machap by-elections, continuing to attribute the “little swing” of Chinese voters in Ijok to dissatisfaction with the former MIC State Assemblyman, the late Datuk K. Sivalingam.

In contrast, the Umno-owned New Straits Times have come out with an editorial today, “Wooing back the Chinese” which said:

“Based on the two recent by-elections in Machap and Ijok, the mood on the Chinese ground should be of concern to the Barisan Nasional. In Machap, a semi-rural area, MCA won in its traditional stronghold, but with a reduced majority. In Chinese polling districts, there was an estimated five per cent vote swing in favour of the opposition. In Ijok, the signal sent by the country’s second-largest ethnic group was more apparent.”

The NST editorial added that the outcomes in Machap and Ijok “appear to accord with the Merdeka Centre’s research findings earlier this year, to the effect that two to three Chinese would vote for the opposition in the next polls”.

The independent opinion research firm Merdeka Centre conducted a poll between October and December last year involving 1,025 respondents aged 16 and above in an attempt to examine the voting trend in the next general election. Read the rest of this entry »


RM534.8 million commission for Scorpene submarines – why Perimekar?

Commission paid was under the guise of support and coordination services
by Richard Teo

The pathetic explanation given by the Defence Ministry regarding the purchase of the Sukhoi SU30MKM fighter and Scorpene submarines raises more suspicions than answers.

The public is not concerned with the laborious explanation regarding the negotiations carried out by the Defence Ministry neither are they interested in the approval levels and the checks by the technical and price committee.

What the tax paying public is interested is why was the contract awarded to Perimekar to prepare support and coordination services for six years. The contract value was 114.96 mil euros(RM534.8 mil) to be paid in stages according to the level of progress of the project.

What kind of support and coordination services that Perimekar can provide that the Defence Ministry is not capable of providing?

The pertinent question that begs to be answered is why was the contract awarded to Perimekar. In view of the substantial amount involved (RM534.8 mil) was there any open tender for the contract? Read the rest of this entry »