Archive for December 28th, 2007

Pak Lah’s host of great breaches of great promises

This Parliamentary Roundtable on the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) Bill is special for more reasons than one.

Firstly, there should be no need for this Parliamentary Roundtable as there should have been a Parliamentary Select Committee on the SCC Bill – what I had described as the fake Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill – to collect public testimony and undertake public consultation on an important piece of proposed legislation with far-reaching consequences on the quality of life and governance in the country.

Secondly, this may be the last Parliamentary Roundtable for the current Parliament if it is dissolved without reconvening again, paving the way for the next general election.

The IPCMC was one of the great promises of the Abdullah premiership and the SCC Bill one of the great breaches by Abdullah of his pledges to the people and country.

It was almost exactly four years ago, 29th December 2003, that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the formation of a Royal Commission into the Police. Read the rest of this entry »


Do Malaysian Muslims understand what ‘Allah’ means?

The Other Malaysia
by Farish A. Noor
25 December 2007

At the time of writing this, I am in Cairo in the company of my Egyptian friends who are Muslims, Catholics and Copts. Eid has passed and I attended several dinners and celebrations where Muslims and Copts celebrated together, visiting each others’ homes and ate til we could not eat any further. What is worse, Christmas is upon us and so once again Muslims, Catholics and Copts will be heading for the communal table for the communal feast and there will be much licking of chops, munching of bread, gobbling of sweet deserts and drinking for everyone. It is all simply too pleasant to belive, yet it is real and this is what life is like for many in Cairo, the ‘Mother of civilisation’ and home to more than twenty million Egyptians from all walks of life.

What is most striking to the outside observer like me – though rather banal for the Egyptians themselves – is the fact that in all these celebrations ranging from Eid for the Muslims to Christmas for the Catholics and Copts the word ‘Allah’ is used to denote that supreme and singular divinity, God. Catholics and Copts alike exclaim ‘Masha-allah’, ‘Wallahi’, ‘ya-Rabbi’, ‘Wallah-u allam’, and of course ‘Allahuakbar’ day in, day out, everywhere they go. The coptic taxi driver blares out ‘By Allah, cant you see where you are parking??” as he dodges the obstable ahead. The Catholic shopkeeper bemoans “Ya Allah, ya Allah! You can only offer me two pounds for the scarf? Wallahi, my mother would die if she heard that! Ya-Rabbi, ya-Rabbi!”

Yet in Malaysia at the moment yet another non-issue has been brewed to a scandal for no reason: The Malaysian Catholic Herald, a publication by and for Catholics in the country, has been told that it can no longer publish its Malaysian language edition if it continues to use the word “Allah” to mean God. Worse still, the country’s Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum recently stated that “Only Muslims can use the word Allah” ostensibly on the grounds that “Allah” is a Muslim word. The mind boggles at the confounding logic of such a non-argument, which speaks volumes about the individual’s own ignorance of Muslim culture, history and the fundamental tenets of Islam itself. Read the rest of this entry »