Archive for December 19th, 2007

Religious polarisation most serious in 4 yrs under Abdullah as compared to four previous Prime Ministers

“PM: Religious festivals unite all Malaysians” is the New Straits Times headline today for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s statement yesterday at an Aidiladha ceremony, where he said:

“Malaysia can pride itself in knowing that regardless of what religious celebration it may be, its ethnic groups will come together as one to honour the event.”

This was very true in the early decades of our nationhood, but it has become less and less true as increasing religious polarization in the country is undermining and even threatening national unity.

In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that religious polarization is most serious in the past four years under Abdullah as Prime Minister as compared to the four former Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

It is most unfortunate that in recent years, there have been mounting instances of disrespect and insensitivity of those in power and authority for the rights and sensitivities of non-Muslim Malaysians.

The most serious example were the recent triple insensitivities during this year’s Deepavali – the Festival of Light celebrated by Hindus.
Read the rest of this entry »


Parliamentary Roundtable of MPs/NGO/NGI to salvage IPCMC next Thursday

I will convene a Parliamentary Roundtable in Parliament next Thursday, 27th December 2007 inviting concerned NGOs and NGIs, including the 16 members of the Royal Police Commission, to discuss how to salvage the original proposal of the Royal Police Commission to have an independent external oversight mechanism to check police abuses, misconduct and corruption.

As former Royal Police Commissioner Tunku Abdul Aziz, who was formerly President of Transparency International Malaysia, told the Emergency Public Consultation on the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) Bill – what I had described as the fake IPCMC bill – in Kuala Lumpur on Monday night, there is no police in the world which had been capable of or successful in policing itself, which was why the Royal Police Commission was unanimous in its key proposal for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Although the Cabinet has agreed to defer the second reading of the SCC Bill to the next meeting of Parliament starting on March 17, 2008 (provided there is no earlier dissolution of Parliament for the holding of the 12th general election), there are two matters which are most regrettable, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Abdullah plunging to new depth of shambolic government with “somnambulant governance”?

I wondered this morning whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is crafting a new form of governance – somnambulant governance – making Cabinet appointments on-the-run, with the public and the Ministers themselves completely unaware of the existence of such Cabinet portfolios and responsibilities.

This is from Abdullah’s reaction to the proposal from a coalition of Indian NGOs asking the government to set up a Non-Muslim Affairs Department to handle sensitive issues pertaining to religion.

Malaysian Indian Youth Council (MIYC) president A. Rajaretnam suggested that such a department should come under the Prime Minister’s Department and should look into issues such as conversions and temple demolitions so that these problems are handled department-to-department and not between NGOs and departments.

The Prime Minster’s response is utterly befuddling and confusing, as no one can make proper sense out of it, as illustrated by the contradictory media headlines, viz:

Kerajaan tubuh Jawatankuasa Hal Ehwal Bukan Islam Berita Harian

“Government considers setting up panel for non-Muslims” New Straits Times

“Non-Muslim affairs dept, if necessary’ The Sun

Non-Muslims looked after –We already have panels to handle their affairs, AbdullahThe Star

Not Necessary For Non-Muslim Affairs Dept Now, Says PMBernama

How can Abdullah’s one response produce three different perceptions as to what he meant – from the government setting up such a department for non-Muslim affairs, to studying the proposal and an outright dismissal as “not necessary”.
I do not blame the journalists, whether reporters or sub-editors for getting three completely different versions from one response, as nobody really knows what Abdullah was talking about. Read the rest of this entry »