Archive for May 10th, 2007

Summit on religious harmony is thrown into discord by Malaysia

From The Times, London
May 10, 2007
Summit on religious harmony is thrown into discord by Malaysia
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has suffered a serious setback in his attempts to foster Muslim-Christian dialogue after the Malaysian Government banned an interfaith conference he was due to be chairing this week.

Christian and Muslim scholars from around the world had bought air tickets, written papers and begun to pack their bags for the Building Bridges conference, the sixth in a series intended to foster dialogue between the two religions. It was cancelled with just two weeks notice.

The three-day conference was set up in the wake of September 11 and meant to be an annual get-together of Christian and Muslim academics in an attempt to find theological understandings that might help prevent future terrorist attacks.

At the first conference, at Lambeth Palace in London six years ago, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, fĂȘted Tony Blair. In return, the Prime Minister invited the Muslim and Christian scholars to a high-profile reception at Downing Street.

Since then the scholars have met in New York, Qatar and Sarajevo. This year’s seminar in Malaysia was to signal a breakthrough in Muslim-Christian relations in a region where they are particularly delicate.

However, it is understood that some influential Muslims believe that Christianity is “not a heavenly religion” and therefore they frown on interreligious dialogue.

Although the Malaysian Government allowed Dr Williams into the country to preach at the consecration of a new Anglican bishop, it said that it would not permit the interfaith dialogue to take place. Read the rest of this entry »


Most Shameful Mother’s Day in nation’s history

Sunday will be the most shameful Mother’s Day in the nation’s history.

This is because the dignity of women had been dishonoured in Parliament with Barisan Nasional MPs thumping the table in glee and joy when DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Po Kuan failed in her effort to redeem the dignity of Malaysian women and salvage the good name of Parliament.

Today is a day of shame for Parliament, when Barisan Nasional MPs abused their 91% parliamentary majority to gang up, support and defend two of their number, Datuk Mohd Said Yusuf (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan), who had made vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks against Po Kuan yesterday when DAP MPs raised the subject of Parliament ceiling leaks after a RM100 million renovation works — saying “Batu Gajah pun bocor tiap-tiap bulan pun bocor juga”.

The Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib returned to the Dewan Rakyat Chamber after lunch recess at 2.30 p.m. to reject Po Kuan’s application to move a privilege motion to refer Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar to the Committee of Privileges on the ground that Po Kuan had not invoked Standing Order 26(1)(p) with regard to the alleged breach “when it occurred” as required — i.e. yesterday itself.

I asked Ramli whether before making his decision to reject Po Kuan’s application on a technicality, he had referred to Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice, the authoritative work on parliamentary practices and procedures, where it is stated very clearly that “when it occurred” in S.O. 26(1)(p) had been interpreted in most Commonwealth Parliaments to mean “at the first available opportunity”.

In the case in point, when Mohd Said and Bung Mokhtar made the vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks, DAP MPs could not hear them both because of the din and pandemonium at the time and being seated far away from the duo. However, they were heard distinctly by reporters and other BN MPs who sat near the duo.

For Po Kuan, raising the privilege motion this morning was her “first available opportunity” after reading press reports. Read the rest of this entry »


Another RM22 million scandal to inspect new Putrajaya buildings – Malaysians made suckers!

Malaysians today feel angry and outraged when they read that the Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is asking for RM22 million to inspect new government buildings in Putrajaya for defects, on top of an unending list of government building mishaps.

The spanking new RM290 million court complex in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur has undoubtedly earned instant international notoriety with the daily defects since its opening last week.

Yesterday, the court complex was shut down by a power failure. This morning I receive complaints from a lawyer of leaks in the criminal courts. This is on top of the ceiling collapse, cracks on the wall, faulty toilets and air-conditioning breakdowns.

Had a certificate for fitness for occupation (CF) been issued for the largest court complex in the world, and if so when. If no CF was issued, why was the court complex allowed to be used; and if there was CF, whether actions would be taken against those who had been so negligent as to issue the CF when there are still so many defects, including structural ones, which had to be rectified? Read the rest of this entry »


MCPs in the House — censure or not? Vote at 2.30 pm

Parliament will vote at 2.30 pm today to decide whether to refer two Barisan Nasional (MP) Members of Parliament, Datuk Mohd Said Yusuf (Jasin) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) to the Committee of Privileges for making offensive and sexist remarks directed at the DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan in Parliament yesterday.

When Parliament began this morning, Po Kuan stood up on a point of order under Standing Order 26(1)(p) to move a privilege motion to refer the two BN MPs to the Committee of Privileges for breach of parliamentary privilege. No notice is required under S.O. 26(1)(p) when the privilege matter had to raised at the first available opportunity.

Subject of complaint – Mohd Said and Bung Mohktar had made vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks at Po Kuan when she and other DAP MPs had raised in Parliament yesterday afternoon the issue about the ceiling leaks near the media centre during heavy downpour in the morning despite a RM100 million renovation bill.

Utusan Malaysia in its report “Enam kebocoran siling dikesan di Parlimen”, recounted:

M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) dan Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) yang turut mencelah kemudian berkata, kebocoran itu membazirkan wang rakyat.

Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) yang bangun mengambil bahagian secara sinis berkata:”Mana ada bocor, Batu Gajah pun tiap-tiap bulan pun bocor juga.”

This was also reported by Sin Chew Daily and China Press. Sin Chew reported that Mohd Said made the derogatory remark that “MP for Batu Gajah tiap-tiap bulan pun bocor juga” while China Press reported that Mohd Said was the first to make the sexist and offensive remark which was followed by Bung Mohtar.

Both Sin Chew and China Press observed that probably because there was so much din and pandemonium in the House at the time that DAP MPs did not hear the vulgar, sexist and offensive remarks made by the two BN MPs at Po Kuan — which was why there had been no protest by DAP MPs in the House at the time. Read the rest of this entry »


Withdrawal of Maybank 50% bumi rule – first Ijok effect but tactical retreat or strategic decision?

I am not surprised by the Cabinet decision yesterday directing Maybank to withdraw its discriminatory ruling that law firms must have a bumiputra partner with at least 50% stake before they could qualify to be on its legal panel as this is the outcome of the first “Ijok effect”.

Although the Barisan Nasional (BN) had won the recent Ijok by-election in Selangor with BN trumpeting it as a great victory, BN leaders know that it is a pyrrhic victory won at too great a cost in money, manpower and machinery and which is not sustainable in a general election.

This is why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had asked MCA and Gerakan to explain the reason for the swing of Chinese voters to the Opposition in Ijok, although he and other top Umno leaders have equal reason to worry about Umno failure to make a significant dent in the Malay ground despite humongous expenditures of money, manpower and machinery which made a total mockery of laws to prevent money politics in elections and Abdullah’s pledge to uphold integrity and fight corruption.

However, many questions await answer, including: Read the rest of this entry »


50th Merdeka Anniversary National Mission – restore Malaysia’s position as No. 2 in Asia in economic development

The ING Insurance Agency Force Association Malaysia (INGIAFAM) must be commended for its success in hosting the biggest-ever insurance convention in its history on the occasion of its 25th anniversary with some 2,500 participants.

I am very impressed by the vim, verve, vitality and vigour exuded by the organizers and participants of this Conference and I have no doubt that if these qualities could be extended to the national stage, Malaysia can hold her proper place in the forefront of nations in this challenging era of globalization.

The theme of the ING Insurance National Convention 2007, “Honour — Gratitude — Appreciation”, cannot be more appropriate as the nation is celebrating half-a-century of nationhood on its 50th Merdeka Anniversary. The Conference theme, “Honour — Gratitude — Appreciation”, is not confined just to your family, relatives, your work colleagues and customers, but also to the nation, for we are all Malaysian patriots who love this land and want the best for our country.

Applying your conference theme “Honour — Gratitutde — Appreciation” to the nation, it is worth pondering how to make the 50th Merdeka Anniversary most meaningful for Malaysia.

When we achieved Merdeka 50 years ago in 1957, the nation was second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development. Today, we have lost out to Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong and risks being overtaken by Thailand, Vietnam and even Indonesia.

The 50th Merdeka Anniversary will be the suitable occasion for the private and public sectors and all Malaysians to commit themselves to a National Mission — to restore the nation’s position when we achieved Merdeka in 1957 when we were second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development. If we cannot beat Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, at least we must be in the same league with these countries as well as ensure that we can never be overtaken by Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »