What a shame — ignominous setback instead of historic 50th Merdeka breakthrough!

What a shame indeed! It should have been a major breakthrough for Malaysia giving special meaning to the 50th Merdeka anniversary but it has turned out to be an ignominous setback.

It would have been the first occasions all religions in Malaysia coming together in recent times to unite on common ground and speak on the human rights to water.

Even more significant, this one-day event entitled “United for Water: Religions Speak on the Rights to Water” is to be held at the Conference Centre of the National Mosque, Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, to be attended by some 200 people representing NGOs, civil society, religious groups and residents’ associations.

This program to bring together various religions in Malaysia to deliberate religious views on the human rights to water, with specific reference to the United Nations’ General Comment No. 15, seeks also to raise awareness among Malaysians to conserve water and respect and protect the human rights to water as a key responsibility.

But it was not to be. Although the National Mosque authorities were ever-ready to make available their Conference Centre for the path-breaking event, the police had scuttled the programme on the ground that there could be a protest demonstration.

The programme has the support from all religious groups as evident from the list of the participating organizations which include:

Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
Archdiocesan Office for Human Development (AOHD)
Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia (BMSM)
Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)
Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS)
Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC)
Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)
Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation (MSG)
Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)

The organizers had been working for a month to make a success of this path-blazing inter-faith programme on the human rights to water.

On Tuesday, representatives from the organizing committee paid a courtesy call to the National Mosque to thank the mosque officials for allowing their venue to be used for the event. The mosque officials said they looked forward to the use of mosque conference centre for such functions.

On Wednesday, however, National Mosque officials were told by the police that it had received information that there could be protest or demonstration which was complete news to the participating organizations, including ABIM.

Yesterday, representatives of the organizing committee who met with the Special Branch of Dang Wangi Police district to ask for a police permit were told that there would be no problem of approval.

This morning, the police changed its mind because of rumours that there could be a protest or demonstration if the event is held at the National Mosque.

The “United for Water: Religions Speak on the Rights to Water” event will now be held at the NUBE House, Brickfields (next to Petronas) according to the scheduled hours.

If the Police are capable of seeing the big national picture, it should have ensured that the programme at the National Mosque conference centre is held successfully.

Instead, the Police have allowed irresponsible and mischievous elements to scuttle the programme at the National Mosque.

Is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the Internal Security Minister, aware of what is happening under his watch?

It would appear that even water has become a national security problem!

The Sun carried an article by Charles Santiago, a key organizer, on the theme of the inter-faith seminar:

Religions guard the basic right to water
Charles Santiago
Wed, 01 Aug 2007

The religious community and human rights fraternity have found a common cause: promoting and protecting people’s right to water as stipulated in the United Nations General Comment No. 15 on the Right to Water.

These groups argue that water is God’s gift to all, to be managed efficiently, conserved and provisioned as a human right.

Unfortunately, only the rich have access to a clean water supply while the poor must struggle for it or be constantly confronted with disconnections, high tariffs and unclean water supply. A lack of access to clean drinking water can result in a health crisis.

For these groups, water should not be turned into a commodity for profits.

Water has a central place in the practices and beliefs of many religions of the world. It is considered sacred as a source of life and a purifying agent in many religions. Water is central to the religious practices of all indigenous people.

In an environment where water is a commodity, where vulnerable communities are denied access to water including high levels of disconnections, right to water is rapidly becoming a right to life issue.

For this reason, religions and human rights communities are focusing their attention on the notion that access to clean water is a basic human right.

Islam ascribes the most sacred qualities to water as a life-giving, sustaining and purifying resource. It attaches the principle of equity to water distribution and warns human beings against its unfair distribution. In fact, Islam recognises water as a vital resource, one in which all people have the right to a fair share, which effectively makes water a community resource to which all, rich or poor, have a right.

The Vatican notes that the respect for life and the dignity of the human person must be the ultimate guiding norm for all development policy, including environmental policy. The human person must be the central point of convergence of all issues pertaining to development, the environment and water. The centrality of the human person must thus be foremost in any consideration of the issues of water.

The first priority of every country and the international community for sustainable water policy should be to provide access to safe water to those who are deprived of such access.

The Orang Asli treat water and rivers as an essential component of their spiritual and material perception of the world as one of the elements in the eco-spiritual domain that has ruai (soul). For them water is soul and a sacred life force.

Hinduism believes that the provisioning of water for sustenance is recognised as a grace of God. In prayers God is thanked for His benevolence for creating and providing water. In fact, the right to water is recognised as an inalienable divine right of people. Thus, management of water in Hinduism is perceived as welfare.

Furthermore, in Hinduism no individual or group can claim ownership of God’s provisions and it is considered a bad karma or a sin to deny people access to water.

In 2002 the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, – confronted with unequal distribution of water and widespread denial of the right to water in the developing and developed world – adopted the General Comment No 15.

It noted that: “the right to water clearly falls within the category of guarantees essential for securing an adequate standard of living, particularly since it is one of the most fundamental conditions for survival.”

The Comment unambiguously states that access to water is a human right and a public commodity fundamental to life and health. In fact, the realisation of the right to water is essential to the realisation of all other rights.

Furthermore, governments have a responsibility to progressively realise, without discrimination, the right to water. Specifically, the human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses.

The state has an obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil this right.

  1. #1 by dawsheng on Friday, 3 August 2007 - 10:30 pm

    Malaysia Boleh!

  2. #2 by izrafeil on Friday, 3 August 2007 - 10:30 pm

    Hak Kebebasan Bersuara tiada langsung bagi rakyat (yg tertindas dan kena tindas) untuk menyuarakan hasrat hati mereka. Masa untuk bertindak di PRU mendatang.

  3. #3 by Jong on Friday, 3 August 2007 - 11:53 pm

    Wait a minute, what sort of Police Force do we have that is afraid to do their policing job of preventing irresponsible and undesirable elements from disrupting an organised interfaith programe, to be attended by some 200 people representing NGOs, civil society, religious groups and residents’ associations? This is the silliest excuse I’ve ever heard. Shameful indeed!

    What has the Internal Security Minister has to say about this? YB Lim, can you please give him a ring?
    Perhaps his auto-pilot button is still on. He might have dozzed off already.

  4. #4 by DarkHorse on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 4:41 am

    Let’s burn the flag as a show of protest.

  5. #5 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 4:57 am

    Which flag? The UMNO or the national flag? I thought burning the stars and crescent would be treason.

  6. #6 by lakshy on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 5:52 am


    Sheeeeesh! This is like being in a police state. Lets see if the forum is scuttled again!

  7. #7 by k1980 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 8:38 am

    What type of work can be accomplished when 50% of your time is wasted holidaying overseas? Can’t waste time talking? Can waste time holidaying!
    “We can’t waste time talking endlessly. This is the time for work,” he said.

  8. #8 by Libra2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 8:45 am

    The fact is, the PM, who is also Internal Security Minister, has lost control of all the institutions under him. Any one/institution/minister can act as it/he wishes and the PM will do nothing about it.
    Ask him about this event and he will say “I don’t know”.
    The police need to send more intelligence into the crime world instead of stopping seminars and bullying law abiding citizens.

  9. #9 by Jefus on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 9:04 am

    URGENT! 11th hour venue change for Water Coalition Aug 4 meet
    Civil society groups are to hold the one-day event — entitled “United for Water: Religions Speak on the Rights to Water” — at the National Mosque, today.

    About 200 people representing NGOs, civil society, religious groups, and resident’s associations were to participate in the program.

    However, police permit was not granted at the last minute. The Organisers had decided to go ahead with the event at a new venue:

    12, Nube House 3rd Floor,
    Jalan Tun Sambathan 3,
    Breakfields, 40470 Kuala Lumpur
    (behind the Petronas station)

    DATE:: August 4, 2007 (Saturday)
    TIME: 8:45am to 4:30pm.
    Contact: 03-2274 9800 / 5281


  10. #10 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 9:33 am

    This is a Déjà vu of what happened in the public forum in Penang of a coalition of Article 13 civil society groups disrupted by the mob.

    What are messages conveyed in such an about-face turnaround of the authorities’ earlier decision to grant police permit the NGOs, civil society, religious groups representing all faiths in this country and residents’ associations proposing to meet at the Conference Centre of the National Mosque to discuss on Water?

    The message given is that the mob that use flimsiest excuse of religion to intimidate and show force will always be successful to have their will enforced and objectives met against and over the head of those who believe in civil and democratic dialogue and discussion instead of taking to the streets.

    (I say “flimsiest excuse of religion” on the part of protesters because the proposed dialogue protested against is participated by ABIM and approved by even the National Mosque authorities).

    When authorities evince a lack of will to confront and enforce the law against a potential mob whenever it chooses to wave the banner of Islam – no matter how baseless and no matter that their protests would thwart the wishes of other muslims or muslim organisation – then this is probably the fall out of too much talk that we are no more a secular state or now well into an Islamic State.

    The fact that a mere threat of a potentially illegal assembly of protesters forming is sufficient to thwart an otherwise lawful assembly from gathering – the fact that the objective of those lawful can be frustrated by the objectives of those unlawful – all these represent the triumph of Rule of the Mob over the Rule of Law in this country. There is simply no other way to slice it.

    If unruly elements in our society can assert their agenda and get away from being held accountable for breaking the law (whenever they wave the banner of religion), this will only embolden them to repeat, at will, their gangster’s ways.

    The greatest of irony is that on the eve of our 50th Merdeka, we are reminded that the constitutional right to assembly and association has become illusory for ordinary and lawful citizenry but real for the Mob and Unruly Elements in our society.

    What is there then to celebrate?

  11. #11 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:31 am

    Police permit not granted for a water conference?

    Good grief!

    dawsheng Says:

    August 3rd, 2007 at 22: 30.13
    Malaysia Boleh!

    Dawsheng, surely you can’t blame Malaysia for everything! This is not yr responsibility or mine or YB LKS!

    This is Abdullah Badawi Boleh! This is PDRM BOLEH! We must place the blame where the blame is due and give the credit where the credit is due.

    So AAB, PDRM – what next? THese days, nothing ever shocks anymore!

    By the way, I don’t think you need a police permit for a small inter-faith conference held in a mosque! There are hundreds, if not thousands of conferences held in temples, churches, mosques and other religious centres nationwide every month! Don’t you know. There never was a need for any permit at all. Why now?? We need to add 10,000 more policemen to process permits next. Wouldn’t we be a police state if we need police permits to pray?


  12. #12 by Beh Sai Kong on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:46 am

    Demonstrations if any on this occasion will be from Islamic groups. (I stand to be corrected if the intention to stage public protests is from non-Islamic groups.)
    To be consistent, even those of us who categorically reject a Malaysian Islamic State will not be against free assembly and the right of public dissent through such means as peaceful demonstrations. If Islamic groups feel they need to express their stance in public, let that be so.
    That is however no reason why a commendable seminar on the universal need to conserve water at a conference room of the National Mosque should be at short notice be cancelled.
    I wish to say, however, to the erstwhile Muslim protesters, as a secondary school student, when the “hat” was passed round for donations toward the building fund of the National Mosque, we were expressly told that the National Mosque was for all Malaysians not just for Muslims. Is this yet another about-turn that non-Muslim malaysians have to endure?
    Malaysia as a nation faces a colossal problem: there exists a contradictory philosophy of nationhood. The powers that be (claiming to speak for the majority segment of the population) cannot have it both ways. You cannot speak of fundamental freedom of religion in the same breath as compulsion inflicted on any Malaysian in her or his personal choice of religious belief. No more than you can speak of an Islamic State by changing its definition as and when you feel like it.
    I have no problems that Malaysians of all sides of the debate stage peaceful demonstrations to disseminate their respective viewpoints. But it is a very different matter when the government itself starts making declarations about Malaysia being an Islamic State when the very historical background of this issue has been settled otherwise. In changing or seeking to rewrite history, the current stewards of national government has demonstrated itself to be unreliable and untrustworthy. Let it be plainly stated that they have unsettle the waters and the responsibility for this lies solely at their feet.
    Malaysians have a right to expect members of the cabinet (regardless of their religious affiliation) to publicly declare their affirmation of the social contract which our Founding Fathers have based an Independent Malaya upon. So far, only Bernard Dompok has had the guts and the integrity to do so.

  13. #13 by art-upon-mu on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:52 am

    By now we should all realise that the servants that we elected to serve us have global ambition and our interests in their hearts.

    You see, they want us to be glocal, global, world-shattering Malaysians with insatiable guests for knowledge and unbridled ambition and imagination. To challenge current thinking and knowledge, and to push the frontiers of human knowledge.

    But then, they also are concerned over our well-beings and they control what can and cannot be spoken or discussed openly. They always say we are a sensitive nation – cannot discuss corruption of high officials openly, cannot discuss religious or ethnic issues openly, and now cannot discuss water openly.

    What a caring bunch of servants we have elected.

  14. #14 by dawsheng on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 1:28 pm

    Some people believe we cannot change the system because it is the only system we had so we have to find our way around the system to get what we want, it may be unfair, it may be troublesome, it may not be neccessary but as long as you get what you want, you still get it. If you don’t get what you want then too bad you know, you are unlucky and you are just not smart enough and you don’t know anyone to work around and beat the system. In this system, there are systems within the systems which is not a system that is systematic. Welcome to the jungle!

  15. #15 by dawsheng on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 1:51 pm

    So what about the protest demonstration? What is the police and UMNO worry about and is afraid of? What is the worst than can happened? Angry protestors killing God’s believers? And then what? UMNO cannot control religious fanatics and our police is afraid of their parangs? So what good is UMNO and the police for? For themselves of course!

  16. #16 by bystander on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 5:10 pm

    UMNO Supporters Club calling RPK a christian is not just an insult to RPK but an insult to all christians. From this, one can tell that all UMNO members are racists and not true muslims. I urge all christians and all non malays not to vote BN under any circumstances. Show unity and fight against racism and discrimination by voting NOT for BN but for OPPOSITION, whether you are in west or east Malaysia. Just VOTE for opposition in the coming election.

  17. #17 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 7:10 pm

    Here’s my gut feeling.

    There is so much UMNO (read: Malay) bashing all over the blogs – and considering that PKR has been ineffective as a party which could mobilize Malay support and could work with the DAP as an equal partner – the result at the coming GE will be more of the same. That’s the sad truth.

    Not enough is being done to differentiate the leaders of UMNO and their supporters. A wedge needs to be driven between the two halves to convince one that the other is not working enough for their interest.

    I think the ordinary Malay would vote in fear rather than in hope that any change would be for the better.

    Any change would have to spearheaded by the Malay intelligentsia who has remained mostly silent and has not been vocal except for short episodes. Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters have failed to demonstrate that he and his group has what it takes to run the government.

    They continue to view the DAP with suspicion – at best. At its worst they view the DAP as a Chinese party dedicated to weakening the Malay hold over politics and government, and loosening the grasp they have over the economy.

  18. #18 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 7:18 pm

    I see a possibility of change when Anwar and the present group of Malay leaders – PKR is still essentially a splinter group of UMNO and not much more, whose leaders could be bought with money and the promises of positions – are gradually replaced by more credible leaders with an ideology.

    We are talking decades here – if anything.

  19. #19 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 7:22 pm

    Meanwhile corruption has to be left to do its job at more than just corrupting the moral fabric of our society. It has to be translated into tangible terms which the ordinary Malay in-the-street could understand and would want to stop.

    Like the flu it has to get worse before it gets better.

  20. #20 by bystander on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 8:21 pm

    Vote for change. Every change has to start with one small step. It does not matter if we cant dethrone BN/UMNO, thats expected, but more importantly we serve notice that we cant tolerate NEP, corruption, discrimination, racism etc etc and we want change. If anybody takes the negative and defeatist approach and attitude then it will be status quo. Therefore all non malays must vote OPPOSITION. Eventually, change will come for the better for all races.

  21. #21 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 8:44 pm

    Undergrad2’s gut feel – is summarised by the following points (though not necessarily set out in chronological order that he said them):

    · “Any change would have to spearheaded by the Malay intelligentsia who has remained mostly silent and has not been vocal except for short episodes…..the ordinary Malay would vote in fear rather than in hope that any change would be for the better”

    · In relation to PKR, it “is still essentially a splinter group of UMNO and not much more, whose leaders could be bought with money and the promises of positions” and “Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters have failed to demonstrate that he and his group has what it takes to run the government”

    · “Meanwhile corruption has to be left to do its job….Like the flu it has to get worse before it gets better…We are talking decades here – if anything”..

    It may sound ‘negative’ and ‘defeatist’ – and some will not agree or rather do not like to agree or accept the necessary implications – but it sounds a realistic appraisal and take. [Necessarily this being the case, discussion of whatever issues will likely be more constructive if it proceeds within parameters of these limitations, ie of course there is anything more to discuss]. :)

    It will be interesting to see if anyone could cogently contradict any of his assertions.

  22. #22 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 9:53 pm


    As you know for democracy to take roots in any society, there are preconditions – among which are developed social infrastructures that would help in the mass mobilization of public opinion. Malaysia has now reached the second stage when it is no longer impeded by underdeveloped social infrastructures which are so vital before democracy could take hold. It has the NGOs, associations, trade unions and groups devoted to the defense of human rights issues unconnected to any political party, working to advance their cause in a bipartisan way. Together they would act to mobilize public opinion.

    The issue today is in which direction should public opinion be directed?

  23. #23 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:05 pm

    It will ultimately be a contestation between the secular/western/liberal/democratic vs Islamic values – here and worldwide.

  24. #24 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:08 pm

    “It may sound ‘negative’ and ‘defeatist’ – and some will not agree or rather do not like to agree or accept the necessary implications – but it sounds a realistic appraisal and take.” Jeffrey

    One progresses from being a dreamer and an idealist to being a realist guided by expediency and pragmatism which is not necessarily a betrayal of one’s ideals but really an adjustment to the realities of life.

    A change in government?? I just do not see it coming. Is that a defeatist attitude to take? I don’t think so. Negative? Sure.

    I put the blame on the shoulders of our political leaders, social and political activists interested only in working to advance their private agenda, our intelligentsia not wanting to take a political stand viewing politics as being for the politicians, and the political apathy that is still prevalent among Malaysians – dominated by a sense that nothing they do will change anything, a ‘fatalistic’ attitude towards life among the Muslims. It is always ‘God willing’ and if something happens it is fated. Or it is karma.

  25. #25 by bystander on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:25 pm

    Sometimes we must not be academic and try to predict the unpredictable. Who could have predicted DAP winning 6/7 seats in Sarawak SA. Maybe more and more seats in Sarawak and Sabah will fall to opposition in the coming election. Its a small step but nevertheless its a wake up call for change. Even the best brains and academics from America could not forecast what has and is happening in Iraq or what will happen to Iran & Turkey. They can only influence change but result can be very unpredictable.

  26. #26 by Toyol on Saturday, 4 August 2007 - 10:44 pm

    Everything they try to do takes us backwards. Soon we will indeed live on trees!

    It has gone rotten to the core until the govt announced tax incentives to fly the flag! The world is really laughing at us. We try to sell Malaysia as a multi cultural and racially harmonious country but everything we do says the opposite. What has flying the flag to do with patriotism anyway when the powers to be have no confidence in a simple gathering amongst the races. Its really sickening…

  27. #27 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 5:18 am

    “Demonstrations if any on this occasion will be from Islamic groups” – Beh Sai Kong posting of August 4th, 2007 at 10: 46.05. But, if true, what are they are protesting about? They probably think it is desecrating to hold such a conference at the Conference Centre of the National Mosque.

    This shows they don’t understand the issue and symbolism of the event.

    First of all, water is basic and heritage of all mankind. As Charles Santiago writes, Islam ascribes the most sacred qualities to water as a life-giving, sustaining and purifying resource, a vital resource, one in which all people have the right to a fair share, which effectively makes water a community resource to which all, rich or poor, have a right. This is something other religions equally ascribe.

    The event therefore symbolizes the convergence, as opposed to divergence of different religions, that there are areas of common beliefs and cooperation that can form bridges to understanding, and that the existence of different faiths does not necessarily reflect conflict but cooperation….

    The interest in the subject proceeds on the first premise that if water is basic and a common heritage of all mankind – and good and clean water, a right and entitlement to rich or poor irrespective of race, religion, creed etc – then, proper management by government of water resource and its equitable distribution will necessarily be the first important governance issue. For water is not just a matter of an economic good; it is a sometimes a private good, other times a public good, and many times in between!

    The corollary to that will be the basic question – if one cannot give proper governance to something as a basic a right as water, how could a government provide proper governance to other socio-economic resources of the state?

    Government then plays an important role but not exclusively. To attain the objectives of clean water being available and enjoyed by all, government’s management of this resource requires the broader participation and cooperation by civil society, private enterprises and the media, all working together in cohesion to conserve, distribute clean water. (One cannot have a situation of private enterprises or individuals pouring effluent and toxic wastes into rivers or water sources).

    Equally broader participation and cooperation by civil society, private enterprises and the media interacting with the government as in basic right to water will also provide the same better framework of governance in respect of all other areas concerning basic rights whether relating to prudent management of scare national resources, combating corruption or upholding of civil liberties as against abuse of power etc. There lies another symbolism behind why water governance is the first between all other governances.

    To have such an event promoting such important governance issue at the Conference Centre of the National Mosque can only be interpreted (symbolically) as a gesture of respect to the official religion rather than the opposite, something which probably ABIM fully understands, and the National Mosque authorities approve.

    The detractors and would be protestors do not grasp at all how holding such an event at the venue of the Conference Centre of National Mosque is symbolic of the recognition of importance bestowed upon their faith and instead thought otherwise…

    Which only shows that at any given time, forces of unreason rage against those of reason in our society and it is important that our authorities do not appease and relent to the threats of former category or accede to the demands of those ignorant who would break the law by illegally assembling as a mob to deprive the rights of those who are enlightened and trying to do good for society by lawfully assembling to discuss an important governance issue such as water, its conservation and distribution.

    That the authorities should withhold granting the permit because of the threats of demonstration is regrettable and show they cannot differentiate between right and wrong and always end up siding the forces of unreason against those of reason ands rewarding those who would threaten to illegally gather by acceding to their demands/threats against those who are well meaning and law abiding applying for permits to pursue an important subject.

    At the rate we’re going, Toyol has the last word that “everything they try to do takes us backwards. Soon we will indeed live on trees!”

  28. #28 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 7:52 am

    Kit, there are calls by various people not to fly the national flag. Do you support that??

    It is but one step towards burning the flag – the former is a political statement and the latter desecration of the flag.

  29. #29 by art-upon-mu on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 10:14 am

    Who said Malaysia is an Islamic state?

    Now our wise PM proclaimed that “Malaysia is not a secular state and neither is it a theocratic state”, adding more rojak wisdom to the already conceptually-enriched citizens.

    Furthermore he defined secularism: “Secular nations do not practise such (i.e., religious) freedom. To them, religious practice can only be done at home,” he said, responding to critics who claimed that the Government advocates secularism.

    Our generous and considerate PM also said: “Be it a surau, masjid, temple or church, when there is a need for it, the Government gives the necessary aid.” Sweet, sweet words to Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and Jews in Malaysia – kindly forward your applications for land and financial assistance to build temples, churches, shuls, and synagogues. Our generous and considerate PM had spoken, fulfilling the spirits of Rukun Negara.

    The current struggle was to eradicate poverty and prejudiced feelings that could derail the nation’s unity, our PM added. Yes, we must eradicate prejudiced feelings like some well-educated individuals who felt that all monkeys are bloggers.

    So, it looks like BN under our wise, generous and considerate PM, our supremo servant, is not too bad afterall.

  30. #30 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 11:29 am

    What art-upon-mu said is true. On page 5 Sunday Star 5th Aug, the PM was reported to have said that Malaysia was neither a secular or Islamic State …its multiracial nation observing freedom of religiouis practices and that “we’re government that is based on parliamentary democracy; a government that is responsible to the parliament and the people”. The only think he didn’t say is that we’re hybrid or rojak having both features which is pretty the true picture of what’s on the ground.

    In particular,what the PM said – “Secular nations do not practise such (i.e., religious) freedom. To them, religious practice can only be done at home,” – actually upped and confused Islamist fundamentalists desiring an islamic state. That statement is one where, on one hand, it appeases them by saying that we’re not exactly secular in western sense (because in secular state, religion is a matter of home or private realm unlike here where government publicly promotes religion in public realm) and frustrates them on the other hand by saying that the government promotes in public realm not only one, the official religion (which would make us an Islamic state) but all other religions (in his statement – “Be it a surau, masjid, temple or church, when there is a need for it, the Government gives the necessary aid.”

    YB, we should give credit where it is due and in this case give the PM the credit of coming out with a clear statement like this to clear the air (after what Najib had said about the Islamic state that confused and divided the nation).

    I have no problem with the PM’s statement : the position is more or less what some of us have posted in this blog.

  31. #31 by k1980 on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 2:40 pm

    Sarawakians doomed? Going the way of the Sabahans?
    Penurunan drastik undi majoriti BN dalam pilihan raya negeri Sarawak 2006 yang merupakan prestasi terburuknya dalam sejarah. BN kehilangan 9 kerusi kepada pembangkang termasuk satu kepada Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)…

  32. #32 by shortie kiasu on Sunday, 5 August 2007 - 5:53 pm

    People should not be hookwinked by the “forms” and forgot the “real substance”. All these ceremonial stuff of celebration with gongs and pomps are just superficial “forms” and a waste a public funds spent on unproductive activities.

    Effort should be concentrated on the real issues, the “substance”.

    After all the pomps and gongs, what else is left? A mountain of bills to be settled by the taxpayers money!

  33. #33 by sotong on Monday, 6 August 2007 - 10:04 am

    Religion is not the problem. It’s the misguided faithful with extremism, fundamentalism and political agendas.

  34. #34 by requiem87 on Monday, 6 August 2007 - 1:12 pm

    Biasalah….this is Bolehland…haha

  35. #35 by undergrad2 on Tuesday, 7 August 2007 - 12:59 am

    “I have no problem with the PM’s statement” Jeffrey

    You may not have a problem with his statement but I have a problem with him as PM. I do not know who is really leading the party. I know which party is running the government – and it is not Barisan.

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