Archive for January, 2008

Mahathir right that BN and Umno incapable of reform – why BN 2/3 majority must be slashed

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is right when he said yesterday that the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno are incapable of reforming themselves without pressures from the electorate.

Mahathir warned that if the voters back the Barisan Nasional government once again in the coming polls, it would be an endorsement for a coalition “centred on nepotism and corruption”.

He also expressed the hope that Barisan Nasional supporters will not vote in “corrupt and inefficient” leaders in the next general election.

I fully agree with Mahathir and this is why the denial of the Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in Parliament and the Perak state assembly should be the common objective of all Malaysians who want to see change and improvement in Malaysian politics and nation-building. Read the rest of this entry »


3-hr Cabinet meeting on general election – a premiership quickly losing ability to differentiate between right and wrong

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang at the launching of the DAP Pasir Pinji Election Operation Centre in Ipoh on Thursday, 31st January 2008 at 1 pm:

3-hr Cabinet meeting yesterday on next general election the latest example of gross abuse of power, lack of integrity and rapid degeneration of ethical quality of Abdullah premiership, which is quickly losing the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong

New Straits Times today carried an exclusive about the three-hour Cabinet meeting yesterday on preparations for impending general election under the heading “Get ready to face election, ministers told”, which reads: Read the rest of this entry »


Dr. Basmullah in Kajang Prison – Karpal takes up case pro bono publico

DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh will take up the case of Dr. Basmullah Yusom, 44, the first doctor to be jailed under a technicality under the Private Health Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998 as pro bono publico to get him released from Kajang Prison.

As reported by New Straits Times on 19th November 2008, Dr. Basmullah has earned the dubious reputation of being the first person to be convicted under the PHFSA for not registering his 10-year-old clinic in Desa Pandan, Kuala Lumpur.

Fined RM120,000 or three months jail, Dr. Basmullah had been languishing in Kajang Prison for the past fortnight as he does not have the money to pay the fine.

In Penang on Sunday, I had called on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail to intervene in this case of grave injustice and to invoke the revisionary powers inherent in his office to call up Dr. Basmullah’s case to get the Univeristi Sains Malaysia (USM)-trained doctor and father of eight out of jail without any moment of delay.

Alternatively, I had also called on the Chief Judge of Malaya or the Chief Justice of Malaysia to invoke their revisionary powers to call up the case to quash the jail sentence imposed on Dr. Basmullah.

Unfortunately, there has been no response whatsoever from the Attorney-General’s Office or the judiciary.

This was why DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran and I visited Kajang Prisons two days ago where we received confirmation that Dr. Basmullah was serving his jail sentence although we did not get to see him.

I have since been in contact with Dr. Basmullah’s wife, Nurlizah Hassan, who also met Karpal over Dr. Basmullah’s jail term. Read the rest of this entry »


Evolving from ‘bullshit to truth’

Dr. Azly Rahman

Each candidate behaved well in the hope of being judged worthy of election. However, this system was disastrous when the city had become corrupt. For then it was not the most virtuous but the most powerful who stood for election, and the weak, even if virtuous, were too frightened to run for office. – Niccolo Machiavelli

It’s exciting; I don’t know whether I’m going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I’m ready for the job. And, if not, that’s just the way it goes.- George W Bush, 43rd President of the United States

Elections are supposed to be an educational process – not a time when propaganda rules the airwaves and cyberspace, and indoctrination rules the minds of those playing the game of choosing a new government.

It is a time when, borrowing the words of Princeton professor Harold Frankfurt, one sees the evolution of “bullshit to truth” in the continuum of “truthiness or truthism”.

But one wonders how much understanding of the election process the Malaysian voters have. We seem to rush through elections and have become good at being indecisive, secretive and calculative about the date of the general election. We should instead be preparing the minds of voters with a sense of predictability and basic understanding of what is involved in electing a government.

We must treat an election as something more that a Geertzian ‘Balinese cockfight’; a time of high stakes in a game of shame and blame. We must make our voters more intelligent so that they may in turn choose intelligent governments that respect human rights and freedom of speech, and will work for all.

As voters, we have to ask ourselves many questions. Read the rest of this entry »


Armed robbery – just happened to me

(received 10.23 am)
by NKK

I just faced up to four Indian armed robbers this 3am morning in Alam Damai Cheras, KL

This is a true story about my lifetime first-hand experience with an armed robbery on 30 Jan 2008. I was eating and reading a late-night newspapers in a “mamak” (Indian Muslim) restaurant at Alam Damai Cheras of Kuala Lumpur at about 3AM morning.

Suddenly four Indian robbers broke in from nowhere, three of them ski-masked and armed with 2-feet matchet each.

The gang leader ordered cashiers and all (four) customers, including me in the shop to surrender our money and phones. All were robbed except me, I managed to escape from their seizure. No advisable to fight armed robbers with your bare hands.

Two police patrol cars arrived at the scene after about 20 minutes of reporting. I will try to get CCTV photos from the shop-owner and publish robbers’ photos in this webiste.


Dr.Basmullah paying RM1,333 for every day in jail

Together with DAP MP for Ipoh Barat, M. Kulasegaran, I visited the Kajang Prison and the authorities have confirmed that Dr. Basmullah Yusom is serving three-month jail term for failing to pay RM120,000 fine for operating a clinic without registering it under the Private Health Facilities and Services Act (PHFSA) 1998.

Every day of jail by Dr. Basmullah is equivalent to paying RM1,333 of the fine. He has been jailed for 12 days or equivalent to paying RM15,996 of the RM120,000 fine!

We were unable to see Dr. Basmullah and will try to contact his family members to see how we can be of help to ensure that he could be speedily freed from jail.

I find it most regrettable that there has been no response from the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail in the past three days to my appeal for his intervention by invoking his revisionary powers to call up the case to quash the most unfair and unjust three-month jail sentence – the first doctor to be jailed under the PHFSA despite assurances by both the Health Minister and Director-General of Health Services that private practitioners would not be jailed over a technicality.

Why is the Acting Health Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting keeping quiet about this gross injustice in the implementation of the PHFSA? Read the rest of this entry »


Keng Yaik wrestling with the truth and his dubious 36-year political legacy?

I received an email from a political observer who noted that Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the retiring Minister for Energy, Water and Communications appeared to be wrestling with the truth and his dubious 36-year political legacy.

This is the email that I received referring to Keng Yaik:

“With his political career coming to an end after 36 years, LKY has been wrestling with the truth and his political legacy.

“Four days ago, LKY joked in Malacca that he wanted to retire as after being scolded by Lim Kit Siang-Lim Guan Eng father-and-son for his whole life, he did not want to be scolded by the grandson!

“It has been perceptively observed that there is always a kernel of truth even in jokes made by politicians, and LKY is no exception. In his subconscious, he is aware that he has left a dubious political legacy after 36 years which cannot stand scrutiny whether by the present or future generations.

“As one of the longest-serving Cabinet Ministers, together with MIC President Samy Vellu, LKY will have to accept full responsibility for the parlous state of the Malaysian nation today 50 years after Merdeka – in particular, in abandoning the Merdeka social contract on a secular nation by being the first national leader to support Mahathir’s declaration of Malaysia as an Islamic state, the rise in religious intolerance and extremism, the extension of the New Economic Policy from 20 years to 50 years, the plunge in educational standards and international competitiveness, the destruction of an independent judiciary and professional police, the rise in crime, rampant corruption, gross human rights abuses through ISA detentions and suppression of press freedoms.

“These are o failures by LKY to future generations. No wonder LKY is afraid of being scolded by Lim Kit Siang’s grandson, representing a third generation of Malaysians! Read the rest of this entry »


Samy Vellu dropped as BN candidate in next general election?

Would Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu be dropped as a Barisan Nasional candidate in the next general election?

This question does not sound so far-fetched and unthinkable now as the query which I posed a fortnight ago as to whether Samy Vellu would back out of contest in Sungai Siput in the next general election during my two-day 14-place “whistlestop” campaign in Perak to highlight the DAP national general election theme of “Good Cops, Safe Malaysia”.

I had said on 12th January that Samy Vellu had become the lightning rod of the long-suppressed anger and frustration of the Malaysian Indians over their long-standing political, economic, educational, social, cultural and religious marginalization in the country and the very personification to the Malaysian Indian community of everything that is wrong and unfair about Barisan Nasional policies in the past three decades which have reduced them into the new underclass in Malaysia.

I said:

“If Samy Vellu re-contests in Sungai Siput in the next general election expected within 65 days, again leading the MIC election campaign, MIC parliamentary and state assembly candidates throughout the country will face massive rejection by the Malaysian Indian voters.

“Are MIC leaders trying to find a way to convey and convince Samy Vellu that the best service he can do to the MIC after being the MIC President and sole Malaysian Indian Minister for close to three decades is for him to fully absorb the anger and frustration of the Malaysian Indians at the MIC failure to check the marginalization of the Malaysian Indians by accepting full personal responsibility and not contesting in the next general election – thus saving the MIC slate of parliamentary and state assembly candidates from the full wrath of the Indian community in the polls?”

Undoubtedly, my statement a fortnight ago struck a chord in the MIC and there were moves behind-the-scene to prepare for an alternative leadership – which has angered Samy Vellu resulting in the reported sidelining of the MIC leaders concerned. Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons from the rise and fall of Suharto

By Farish A. Noor

The verdict of history is still not out yet following the demise of General-turned-President Suharto. For all his achievements in putting his country on the map and leading Indonesia towards industrial development, Suharto’s human rights record remains one of the bloodiest in the post-colonial history of Southeast Asia, matched only by that of Ferdinand Marcos, who was likewise one of the great strongmen of Asia.

Suharto presided over one of the most spectacular socio-economic transformations in Asia of the 20th century: His nation of more than two hundred million souls was transformed over a period of three decades from a faltering post-colonial economy on the verge of bankruptcy to becoming one of the most attractive destinations for foreign capital investment. Yet the social and economic costs were high: Indonesia was sold as a source of cheap human labour and natural resources, to be exploited and plundered by foreign multinationals as never before. During this period normal political activity in the country came to a standstill; political parties were either disbanded or forced to merge; political dissidents were routinely harassed, silence and incarcerated, with hundreds more liquidated at will by the armed forces and security agencies of the state. The Indonesian press was stifled; students told not to enter the arena of politics; feudal structures were reinforced; while corruption was allowed to run rampant.

Even after he was deposed in May 1998 Suharto left office as one of the most corrupt leaders of the Third World, amassing wealth to the tune of billions of dollars that had been expatriated to foreign banks. Until today there is still no accounting of the exact extent and magnitude of his and his family’s corruption; and their collusion with the forces of capital and the army that kept this entire system of patronage and state violence intact for so long.

There are, however, some important lessons to be learned from this complex and often painful – and extended – episode of Indonesian history: Read the rest of this entry »


Botched PHFSA – why the Director-General of Health must resign

by EJB

It is with regret that medical practitioners learn of a doctor being jailed under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998 (PHFSA) for not registering his clinic. This is clearly not what was promised to doctors when both the current Director General of Health, Ismail Merican and the previous Health Minister Chua Soi Lek were all gung ho about implementing an Act that was clearly poorly drafted. When the PHFSA came into effect on Nov 1, 2006, there was great resentment and distrust among private doctors. The PHFSA was regarded as an insult to their integrity and demeaning the profession. Many were distrustful about the implementation of a haphazardly written law by a ministry known primarily for its incompetence.

Despite the misgivings of senior GPs, specialists, ex-DGs, ex-MMA chairmen and even a senior judge such as Datuk Mahadev Shankar who was an authority on medico-legal proceedings, both the Minister and the DG ran roughshod over their objections in implementing this law. Doctors still recall how Chua and the DG quickly convened a meeting when medical practitioners threatened to march to parliament. At the meeting, they promised various amendments to the Act. The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and other medical associations trusted the word of both the Minister and the Director General and did not even push for all the changes to be in writing before the law was passed.

But today it is clear that the word and the credibility of the Director-General means nothing as the regulation has now claimed its first victim, Dr. Basmullah Yusom, a USM graduate, registered with the Malaysian Medical Council with a valid Annual Practicing Certificate. He was fined an unbelievable RM120,000 and jailed subsequently for three months when he could not afford to pay this fine. He couldn’t even afford counsel. Anyone, long enough in the profession will tell you that there are many medical practitioners who serve their communities quietly without expecting too much in financial returns. Read the rest of this entry »


Mahathir should be recalled to Lingam Tape RCI now that he has recovered his “elephant memory”

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has clearly recovered his “elephant memory” from his comments on the death of former Indonesian President Suharto.

Mahathir told Bernama that accounts the former Indonesian leader killed some 500,000 people after taking power in 1965 were “absolute nonsense”.

He said: “I know this for a fact. I knew what happened. Indonesia was in a state of anarchy then and he has no authority. At the time of the killings, he was not even the president. He did not order the killing.”

Mahathir, who ruled for two decades before stepping down in 2003, said he regarded Suharto as a friend of Malaysia and a personal friend.

“We looked up to him as a great leader and as an international statesman. For me, it’s quite personal. I know him and I have worked with him for a very long time.

“Even though Indonesia was not an ideal democracy during Suharto’s time, the fact remained that he brought stability to Indonesia.”

Mahathir added: “Of course, there is a price to be paid,” acknowledging that some people had suffered under Suharto’s administration.

Without getting into a debate on Mahathir’s assessment of Suharto’s leadership of Indonesia, it is good to see Mahathir’s recovery from his recent lapse of memory. He gave his comments on Suharto with confidence and authority, in total command of his memory.

This was very unlike his appearance before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Lingam Tape eleven days ago on January 17, when he had to repeatedly plead loss of memory in his 90-minute testimony.
Read the rest of this entry »


Although case lost in Seremban High Court – let 74-yr-old Gan Eng Gor be the last “body-snatching” in Malaysia!

The Cabinet meeting tomorrow must resolve that 74-year-old Gan Eng Gor will be the last “body-snatching” case in Malaysia as it is a standing rebuttal of Malaysia’s boast as a world example of inter-racial co-operation and harmony.

The Cabinet should also decide that the police should not be involved in any “body-snatching” case as public confidence in the police will be adversely affected, on top of the divisive effects of such “body-snatching” incidents on Malaysian nation-building.

The Cabinet decision tomorrow is all the more imperative as the Gor family has lost all avenues of redress in the civil courts, as their application to the Seremban High Court for a declaration that Gor was not a Muslim was dismissed this morning in chambers on the ground that the High Court has no jurisdiction in the matter, as it belonged to the Syariah Court.

This is sad day for Malaysian nation-building and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s oft-repeated boasts in international conferences of Malaysia as a model of inter-faith co-operation.

I am sure that the founding fathers of this nation, when agreeing to the Merdeka social contract in 1957, would never have imagined that 50 years after nationhood, Malaysia would have regressed to the extent that “body-snatching” has become a nightmare to bedevil inter-racial and inter-religious relations.

I have no doubt that Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Sambanthan would have found it completely unthinkable that the nation could be plagued by a problem like “body-snatching” – with the police aiding and abetting the “body-snatchers”.

Enough is enough, and I call on the Cabinet tomorrow to send out a clear and unmistakable message that “body-snatching” is completely detrimental to the process of nation-building in multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia and the worst possible advertisement of the nation as “Truly Asia” and a model of inter-faith understanding. The police must be directed that they should never be a party to such disgraceful “body-snatchings” in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


You can’t even tell the government that prices are high!

by TT

nowdays in malaysia, the rakyat can’t even tell the government that prices of goods in malaysia is high!.. the government is paranoid!…

approx more than 50 people arrested for a peaceful gathering… indian lady was pushed, hit a pole and punched… people wearing bersih t-shirt arrested… man with 2 ‘special children’ with a baby pram pulled…

all the above actually happened during a peaceful rally in front of klcc and along jalan ampang!… this price hike rally was organised by the colition against inflation (protes)!…

the time i left my house approx 1315 hours with a backpack contained an extra set of clothes wrapped in a plastic bag, disposable raincoat and a pair of sandals.. that was the 1st saturday i didn’t wear my bersih t-shirt and walked out of my house!… still undecided whether to take the train or drive to klcc… decided to drive and expect major traffic as understand the roads will be closed… surprising, the traffic in kl were so smooth as if that was the 1st day of chinese new year!… as soon as i got on to jalan ampang, opposite ampang park… tons of men-in-blue who the rakyat pay their salaries can be seen fm the ampang putra lrt station entrance, mca building, wisma naluri right up to the entrance of klcc!…

got to klcc, parked my car and walk to the entrance of klcc… here and there you get those men-in-blue who the rakyat pay their salaries stare at you as if you are the one who abducted sharlinie!… made a few phone calls and walked to ampang park… before reaching ampang park, saw a group of indians with parti sosialis malaysia (psm) and/or anti isa badge pinned on them in front of the mca building… stopped there and make few more calls… met someone and understand there’s a court which issued on the 25th january 2008 (talk about being efficient) stating they ban the rally and 5 names were mentioned… anyway, ended up in nikko hotel and took the newspapaer… true enough!… anyway, waited in nikko hotel, made a few phone calls… understand the men-in-blue who the rakyat pay their salaries already started their operation… many people are nabbed… at that time already approx 1540 hours… decided to go back to klcc… Read the rest of this entry »


Learning From The American Elections

M. Bakri Musa

The American election campaign is now in full swing although citizens will not cast their votes until November. In fact this presidential campaign cycle started right after the last general elections over three years ago. America seems to be in a perpetual campaign mode. One wonders when these elected public officials would have the time to perform the duties for which they were being elected.

I much prefer the Malaysian election cycle, modeled after the British, where the ruling party could call an election any time before its five-year mandate is over. Yes, it gives an unfair advantage to the ruling party, but it spares the country from degenerating into perpetual campaigning.

Malaysia has an election cycle comparable to the Americans in the elections of party – specifically UMNO – leaders. Since they would become the nation’s leaders, the benefits of the British system of national elections are somewhat diluted. While the country may not be in a perpetual campaign election mode, UMNO and its leaders are. Therein lies the problem. UMNO leaders are less interested in leading the country and attending to its myriad problems but more in ensuring their survival in the party’s leadership hierarchy.

During the last cycle of UMNO party elections, a number of ministers were chastened to learn that their positions as party leaders were threatened, and with that their chance of being appointed to plump governmental, including cabinet, positions. Hence the disgusting sights of ministers like Hishammuddin slavishly pandering to party members instead of paying attention to our deteriorating schools. Read the rest of this entry »


Obituary – Suharto

The ‘Father’of Indonesia
Former General and President Suharto
(b. 1921 – d. 2008)

by Farish Noor

A couple of years ago, during a visit to the Central Javanese city of Jogjakarta that had been devastated by a major earthquake which had laid waste to many parts of the special province, I overheard a conversation between two Indonesians who were lamenting the fate of their country with its ruined economy, enduring military control, civil strife and the rising spectre of religious militancy. One of them said to his sorrowful friend: “brother, you are suffering from SARS – Sindrom Aku Rindu Suharto (‘I Miss Suharto Syndrome’)”.

That some Indonesians can still look back to the Suharto era with fondness speaks volumes about the manifold achievements of the man, who lived in an age of great politics – as nothing could be greater than the two world wars and the Cold War of the 20th century – which in turn gave rise to the era of great leaders. Suharto, whose quiet death stood in bold contrast to the spectacular age he lived in and the life he led, was one such man; and like all great men his achievements as well as his mistakes, of which there were many, can only be measured in similarly hyperbolic and magnified terms.

To some (and in this case we are talking about millions of loyal followers and admirers who til today regard him as ‘Pak’ (Father) Harto) he was the man who rescued Indonesia from the teetering and ailing democracy of Sukarno, saved Indonesia from the menace of Communism, and finally brought the country into the modern age and the globalised world economy. To as many detractors, he was the American puppet-crony who sold the Indonesian economy to foreign interests, destroyed what little remained of Indonesia’s protective barriers that insulated its fledgling local industry, persecuted the country’s intellectuals, students, workers and dissidents and was primarily responsible for the deaths, torture and disappearances of half a million alleged Communists in 1965 and a quarter of a million of Timorese after the violent annexation of East Timor in 1974. Mediocre dictators are seldom accused of the deaths of millions, and in this respect Suharto was far from ordinary and he ruled over a country that is as great as it is complex. Read the rest of this entry »


I owe no apology to Samy, who owes apologies to me, MIC, Malaysian Indians, BN and Malaysia

Yesterday, MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu demanded that I apologise to the Indian community for asking the people to light candles in a temple.

Bernama in its report “Samy Vellu Demands Apology from DAP Chairman For Insulting Hindus” demanded that I apologise to all Hindus for “insulting their religion”.

He said that M. Kulasegaran and I had called for Hindus to bring candles into their temples, which he described as “tarnishing the holiness of the religion”.

Samy Vellu said: “He doesn’t know anything about Hinduism. He belittles the religion. Kulasegaran, despite being a Hindu, is also insensitive in the matter because as Hindus, we are only allowed to light a certain type of lamp or fire for religious ceremonies in temples, not candles.”

Bernama also quoted Samy Vellu as demanding that I should “make an open apology for using Hindus house of worship for political purposes”.

Samy Vellu, who had been MIC President and the sole Indian Cabinet Minister for more than 28 years, is not only fighting for his political life – but is waging a losing battle.

This has become such a great burden for him that it has affected his judgment, words and deeds.

It has been said that when a person is under extreme stress, it could be seen from his increasingly irrational utterances and actions – and this can be seen in the case of Samy Vellu.

I do not owe Samy Vellu any apology as it is Samy Vellu himself who owes me, the MIC, Malaysian Indians, the Barisan Nasional and the Malaysian nation at least five apologies. Read the rest of this entry »


End “body-snatching” – Cabinet cannot continue to shirk its responsibility

Why are the MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other non-Muslim Ministers silent on another body-snatching case after the divisive Moorthy case two years ago where S. kaliammal, the widow of Everest mountaineer L/Kpl M. Moorthy, found only grief and injustice when she had no remedy in any court in the dispute as to whether her husband was a Hindu or a Muslim?

At the time, Malaysians were given the assurance that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Barisan Nasional cabinet ministers would ensure that Malaysian inter-racial and inter-religious unity and harmony as well as Malaysia’s international reputation as a model of multi-religious nation would not again be marred by more body-snatching incidents.

However, the body-snatching incidents have not stopped, with the latest case involving the police seizing the body of Gan Eng Gor, who died a week ago aged 74, after his eldest son – himself a Muslim convert – said he had converted to Islam last year. This claim had been challenged by Gan’s wife and his seven other children.

(Speech at the DAP Kepayang dinner in Ipoh Barat on Sunday, 27th January 2008 at 10 pm)


Obituary – The ‘Father’ of Indonesia

by Farish Noor


Abdullah and Samy ignore Makkal Sakti at their own peril

Today’s press reported that Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Seremban that the people must reject leaders who fail to perform when given the opportunity.

Apart from aiming his shots at the Opposition, many must be wondering who in the ruling coalition could Najib be directing his fire.

Could he be referring to Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who is fighting for his political life after being MIC President and sole Indian Cabinet Minister for over 28 years – and who was recently snubbed internationally when the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidi refused to grant him “an audience” despite Samy Vellu waiting for an appointment from him for three days in Chennai or after following Karunanidi to New Delhi!

Or could Najib be referring to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who, to use Lingam-lingo, “looks like the Prime Minister, speaks like the Prime Minister, but nobody can 100% say is the Prime Minister”?

Abdullah has been Prime Minister for four years and his four-year report card is one of dismal failure.


End body-snatchings – cause human suffering, break families and undermine ethnic relations

In his international sojourns, one of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s favourite topics is to preach inter-faith dialogue, pointing to Malaysia as a model of inter-faith co-operation.

Back home in Malaysia, however, initiatives for inter-faith dialogue had never faced greater obstacles under the Abdullah administration with an unprecedented and lengthening catalogue of incidents aggravating religious polarization instead fostering greater inter-religious understanding and goodwill.

In the past two days, Malaysia again made international news with another deplorable episode undermining Malaysia’s reputation as a model for inter-faith co-operation – the latest body-snatching incident, this time over 74-year-old Gan Eng Gor when his body was seized by the police while his family (wife and seven children) was carrying out Buddhist rites in a Chinese funeral parlor.

This followed a complaint by his eldest son, Abdul Rahman Gan, a Muslim convert. He claimed his father had changed his religion from Buddhism to Islam last July, and identified as Amir Gan Abdullah should be buried according to Islamic rites.
The rest of the family challenged this claim.