Archive for January, 2010

Awang Selamat’s vial of poison, lies and sedition and the rise of Middle Malaysia

Mingguan Malaysia’s Awang Selamat is ironically furnishing the best evidence of the rise of Middle Malaysia.

His Sunday vial of poison, lies and sedition, “Melayu sokong DAP?” in Mingguan Malaysia’s leader page today – for instance the falsehoods that DAP is anti-Malay and wants to abolish the Malay monarchy by establishing a republic – would have sparked unrest and turmoil in Malaysia pre-March 8, 2008 when mainstream media (msm) were virtually the sole source of information in the country.

But today, there would be those who would read Awang’s latest spiel of poison, lies and sedition with a yawn because it lacks credibility, although its capacity to create mischief cannot be under-estimated as not all Malaysians can yet escape the thrall of the Umno/Barisan Nasional monopoly of msm.

In previous years, DAP leaders would be very alarmed by such poisonous and seditious fare in the Utusan newspapers.

There is still cause for alarm but also room for confidence that with the rise of a Middle Malaysia it is no more a one-sided affair where Mingguan Malaysia lies are taken as gospel truth. More Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, have a greater capacity to discern truth from falsehoods like those spouted by Awang Selamat in Mingguan Malaysia today.

The best way to debunk Awang’s poison, lies and sedition is to subject it to the exposure of reason and truth, but this does not mean that those in authority, particularly the Police and the Attorney-General should not take the necessary action against Awang Selamat and Mingguan Malaysia to protect the integrity and the best interests of plural Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »


Umno/Barisan Nasional leaders even more wrong in driving out Malaysians talents and funds out of the country continuing apace after the March 8, 2008 political tsunami

The Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah is more wrong than right when he criticized Malaysians who have emigrated, saying it was “wrong” and insinuating that they were betraying the sacrifices of their forefathers.

I agree that there is basis for Husni’s criticism of increasing numbers of Malaysians uprooting themselves and emigrating overseas to enlarge the Malaysian diaspora which could easily be in the two-million figure but Umno/Barisan Nasional leaders are even more wrong in driving out Malaysian talents and funds continuing apace after March 8, 2008 political tsunami.

I first raised the national problem of brain drain of Malaysians in Parliament in the seventies but invariably the Barisan Nasional Ministers would turn a deaf ear, either dismissing it as “Good riddance to bad rubbish” or denying the existence of the problem, although in some Malaysian towns at the time, “more than 50% of the medical practitioners have packed up their bags and emigrated” – as I said in my speech in Parliament in March 1978 when cited the case of a “doctor-brother of the Deputy Education Minister” who had joined in the emigration.

Since then, what started as a river of migration in the seventies have turned into a tide so to create a Malaysian diaspora of some two million strong in the world – and the loss to Malaysia is so overwhelming in all aspects that they defy proper computation!
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Thank Malaysian Indians for nation-building with deeds in the country by ending their marginalization and status as the new underclass and not go to Chennai to make beautiful-sounding but meaningless tribute

I was flabbergasted by the Bernama report yesterday of what the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Chennai on Friday, as follows:

January 23, 2010 18:48 PM
Najib Visits Chennai To Thank Malaysian Indians For Nation-Building
By P. Vijian

CHENNAI, Jan 23 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who made a historic trip to Chennai, said it was to honour Malaysian Indians as a vast majority had cultural bonds with Tamil Nadu from where they originated.

“My trip ends in Chennai, it is not coincidental but intentional because Chennai, Tamil Nadu is the original state where many Malaysian Indians originated from.
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The Fight Over ‘Allah’ – Malaysia’s delicate balance is at risk

By Ioannis Gatsiounis
Jan 22, 2010
(From the magazine issue dated Feb 1, 2010)

The interethnic chaos Malaysia has long feared moved closer to reality this month when 10 churches were at-tacked around the country. The attacks followed a civil-court ruling on New Year’s Eve declaring that a law prohibiting non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” to describe their God was unconstitutional. Strangely, though, Christians have been using “Allah” for “God” in East Malaysia since the 1920s without much controversy. So why the sudden spate of violence in a nation long viewed as a model of tolerance in the Muslim world?

The answer is that beneath Malaysia’s outward glow of progressive moderation, racial and religious consciousness has risen steadily among Muslim Malays, who make up 60 percent of the population. That creeping conservatism has been fanned by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), seeking to revive support that is slipping amid rampant corruption and other forms of misrule. Rather than trying to quell misgivings among Malays who felt that the use of “Allah” to describe the Christian God would sow confusion, the government appealed the decision, saying that Muslim sensitivities must be respected to protect the fragile ethnic balance. Then UMNO leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Razak, said the government could not stop planned protests against the ruling, though he has often opposed the exercise of free speech in the past. Critics charge the government with institutionalizing racism and emboldening Muslim hardliners. Whatever the case, the church attacks are the clearest sign yet that Malaysia’s racial-religious compact is unraveling. Read the rest of this entry »


Greater unity under a Middle Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Lim Kit Siang said the Middle Malaysia concept mooted by DAP stresses national transformation in bracing future economic challenges while more effectively uniting all Malaysians.

He said we must not interpret the new economic model purely from economic perspectives, but must first put in place a new model of governance.

“Although prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has proposed a new economic model, the many issues that have taken place lately such as the disappearance of military aircraft engine and the ‘Allah’ issue have shown that the Barisan Nasional government does not have a new model of governance to give rise to a new economic model”

He said during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that Middle Malaysia means the majority of Malaysians.

“If Middle Malaysia could get the support of majority of people, it would create a favourable prerequisite for the country to face future economic challenges.”
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Three generations of Malaysians regardless of race or religion have been singing the state anthems of seven states invoking the name of Allah to bless and protect the Sultan and people. Were they wrong?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “1Malaysia” slogan is facing its most critical test less than a year of its coinage in the “Allah” controversy, which has catapulted Malaysia into three weeks of adverse international attention raising the question whether we qualify to be a model modern nation-state of racial and religious diversity.

Three generations of Malaysians regardless of race or religion have been singing the state anthems of seven states, Johore, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu invoking the name of Allah to bless and protect the Sultan and people. Were they wrong?

The six-line Perak state anthem invoked Allah’s name four times, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Away with support letters, cries DAP leader

by Rahmah Ghazali | Malaysiakini

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang urged government ministries to get cracking for a total ban on government support letters for those tendering for its projects.

In response to Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat’s statement on the a move by the ministry on Wednesday, Lim had said it was a step in the right direction.

The Ipoh Timor MP said ministries should, instead, replace the questionable support letters with the open tender system.

“The prime minister, PM’s department and other ministries should impose a total ban on support letters and practise open tenders, so questions over the letters would vanish.

“If there are open tenders, then there would be accountability and transparency. They would be open to public scrutiny and all will depend on the merits and demerits of the proposals,” said Lim when contacted.
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A landmark shura council

The Nutmeg Verses – By Himanshu Bhatt | The Sun Daily
Updated: 10:07AM Thu, 21 Jan 2010

CENTURIES back, tribes in Arabia were said to have each consulted a gathering of elders and community leaders for guidance in making decisions for the people. The use of such a council, called the “shura”, was meant to act as a congenial forum for decisions to be made in an air of mutual respect and responsibility. The shura formed one of the key characteristics of governance in the region during the early Islamic period, and even before the religion rose to prominence.

There was an interesting development in Penang last week when the Pakatan Rakyat state administration formed the first ever shura gathering for any government in the country.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng launched the Penang Shura Council which brought together some 30 persons from Islamic agencies and NGOs, as well as syariah lawyers, before it convened its inaugural meeting at his office last Friday.

The occasion turned out to be a rather warm-hearted affair. Chaired by PKR’s state executive councillor Abdul Malek Abul Kassim, the council is meant to serve as an advisory platform for the state on various Islamic issues and to make recommendations when necessary.
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Did they remember to take off their shoes?

by Goh Keat Peng

In the Old Testament of the Holy Bible, a spiritually poignant moment occurred when Moses

“came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and lo, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, ‘I will turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.’ When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here am I.’ Then he said, ‘Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ ” (Exodus 3.1-5)

As a Christian, as I prepare to enter the church and face the altar for worship and prayer, a conscious switch in mind, body and soul takes place and I become aware that I am entering the realm of the sacred.

Likewise, for the Muslim as he enters the mosque or surau; and for a Sikh as he enters the gurdwara.
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Call on all Malaysians to condemn the two arson attacks on two suraus in Muar

Two suraus in Muar were targets of arson in the early hours of this morning –Surau Silaturrahim at Kg Sabak Awor (Jalan Ibrahim) and the Parit Beting Surau, both in the Bentayan state assembly constituency in Johore.

Gwee Tong Hiang, who visited both suraus, reported that the Parit Beting surau suffered more extensive damage.

All Malaysians regardless of race, religion, political affiliation or region must condemn these two surau arson attacks in Muar in the strongest possible terms and to demand a halt to the spiral of madness since January 8.

In the past two weeks, nine churches, one mosque, three suraus, one Sikh temple and one convent school have been damaged by fire, paint or stones in the wake of the Dec. 31 Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment that allowed the Catholic weekly Herald to use the term “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
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If an Inter-Religious Council cannot be formed now to resolve the Allah controversy, then there is no way such a council could be revived under the Barisan Nasional

The failure of the Cabinet yesterday to address the issue of reviving an Inter-Religious Council set up during the premiership of Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman in the early decades of nationhood to resolve inter-racial problems and conflicts starting with the “Allah” controversy is a serious and irremediable setback for the 1Malaysia slogan and policy of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Not a single Minister, whether from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, UMNO or the Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional parties was brave, principled or far-sighted enough to table the subject for formal discussion and decision at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

In October, Najib was so euphoric about his 1Malaysia slogan that he took it to the world stage to recommend its extension to a “1World” vision!

It was the height of presumption for Malaysia to ask the world to extend the 1Malaysia slogan to a 1World vision when Malaysia and the Barisan Nasional component parties under Najib had never been so disunited in the nation’s 52-year history – even the Makkal Sakthi spawned by Najib to replace MIC caught the disease and quickly split into two factions shortly after its official launch by the Prime Minister.
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Mahathir and Avatar

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad would have created an “international incident” between Malaysia and the United States if he is still Prime Minister with his post-Avatar view that the 911 attacks in the United States that killed nearly 3,000 was staged as an excuse” to mount attacks on the Muslim world”.

It is a reflection of Mahathir’s continuing “heft” in the Malaysian government although he had stepped down as Prime Minister more than five years ago and the corollary weakness of the Najib premiership that Mahathir could still cause enormous embarrassment to the country with such a conspiracy theory of the 911 terrorist attacks.

Why was Mahathir inspired to embrace the conspiracy theory that the 911 attacks in the United States was staged to fan a world-wide war of Islamophobila just because of the technical wizardry of James Camerons’ “Avatar”, when there had been many other Hollywood sci-fi blockbusters with landmark visual-effects (VFX) scenes even during his years as Prime Minister?

This reminds me of two episodes.
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Africanisation of Malaysian Healthcare

Letter by Elmina Joseph

I refer to Chris Anthony’s letter “Ensure quality at 1Malaysia clinics” in Malaysiakini and couldn’t agree more.

It appears both the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) Chairman, S. M. Idris and the current DG of Health are clearly consumed by politics rather then ethics. Idris in particular chooses conveniently to sing where the wind blows without an iota of decency nor morality. Whatever happened to his lofty ideals of doctors being properly qualified and trained before they are even allowed to touch patients? Not forgetting the fact that he was one of the prime movers that doctors in this country be leashed by the offensive Private Health Care Facilities Act that govern all clinics.

Perhaps his memory has failed him. Or perhaps he now sees himself championing the cause of the poor even though they only get to see Medical Assistants instead of doctors. Miraculously according to him Medical Assistants who used to help in private and estate clinics are “experienced and qualified” to see patients independently. A far cry from his usual “unqualified, unregistered practitioners”. He backs up his claims now quoting various examples such as nurse practitioners he conveniently has picked from other countries where it appears to be the practice.
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Catholic use of Allah is prompted by demand of East Malaysian Christians living in Peninsular Malaysia

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor


According to Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Cabinet Minister, Sabah Christian natives have been praying to Allah in Malays since 1881. Bahasa Malaysia is their common language and they speak in Malay in their daily lives and when they go to church. They pray to Allah all the time.

According to Bernard Dompok, many East Malaysians have gravitated to Peninsular Malaysia to look for work. Many have stayed in the Peninsula for over twenty years or more. They go to church and because their language is Malay, the Christian churches have been conducting masses and services for them in the national language.

Hence there is a demand for Herald, the Catholic weekly, to print church news not only in English but also in Malay, and they have to use the word Allah. The East Malaysian Christians call the Almighty ALLAH.
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A commentary on Nazri’s offer of a way out

By N.H. Chan
Malaysian Insider
Jan 20 2010

This is what the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said (The Star, Saturday, Jan 16, 2010). Nazri, who was voicing his personal opinion over the “Allah” issue, noted that Sabahans and Sarawakians could still conduct Mass and give sermons in Bahasa Malaysia but should not use the word “Allah” while in the peninsula.

“It is all right to hold Mass in Bahasa Malaysia but do not use the word ‘Allah’. They must use Tuhan as in the national language,” he said in an interview.
Although he agreed that the word “Allah” had been long used in Christianity way before Islam existed, Nazri said: “That’s why I say it is all right in Sabah and Sarawak but culturally, you cannot apply it in a place where Allah has always been Islam’s God.”

But where is it said anywhere – certainly it is not in the Koran – that Christians cannot apply Allah in a place where Allah has always been Islam’s God. Read the rest of this entry »


Malay Provocation

New York Times
January 20, 2010

HONG KONG — One ought to be able to laugh at the absurdity of it. But the message is one of ignorance, religious and racial prejudice and political opportunism.

Last week, the Malaysian government declared that Christians in one part of the country could use “Allah” as the word for God when speaking Malay, but that those in most of the country could not. This is the same government that is currently running a public relations campaign called One Malaysia emphasizing the common identity of the nation’s racial and religious mix.

In reality, a government dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is using spurious religious/linguistic arguments to shore up its support among a majority Malay electorate, which has been fed for years with preferences and privileges. Meanwhile, non-Malay money and talent exits the country.

The government had earlier tried to stop the use of the word Allah by all Christians. This was successfully challenged in the High Court. But instead of letting the matter rest, the government declined to back down, setting the scene for the fire bombing of churches. While these could not be laid directly at the door of UMNO, hotheads in the party may well have taken their cue from what non-Muslims see as a deliberate attempt to stir up ethnic/religious issues for political gain. Last year it was Hindus who were the target of Malay provocation. Read the rest of this entry »


Tsu Koon exposing the hollowness of 1Malaysia …

It is most regrettable that the KPI Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon is leading the Barisan Nasional government backoff from an inter-religious council to resolve inter-religious differences and promote inter-religious amity, goodwill and understanding, starting with the “Allah” controversy.

This is the real meaning of Koh saying that at this time, “teh tarik” sessions for inter-religious dialogues are more appropriate than official and formal ones.

In the first two decades of nationhood, there were more meaningful inter-religious interaction than now as there was a formal Inter-Religious Organisation which was set up by Tunku Abdul Rahman when he was the first Prime Minister which was headed by a Cabinet Minister.

For over three decades, the Inter-Religious Organisation went defunct and a formal inter-religious council should be urgently revived to resolve inter-religious differences and promote inter-religious amity, goodwill and understanding in plural Malaysia.
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There can be no successful new economic model for Malaysia without a credible and meaningful new governance model

Over the weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government would announce the new economic model for the country within a month.

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the sixth Prime Minister in April last year, he announced that the government would introduce a new economic model for the country to ensure that Malaysia makes a quantum leap to escape the middle-income trap to become a high-income country through greater emphasis on innovation, creativity and competitiveness.

In May last year, the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the new economic model would be announced in the second half of the year.

Why has this timeline for the new economic model been postponed until this year when according to Husni’s own admission, the country has already lost a decade in economic stagnation?
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AG Gani Patail should initiate contempt proceedings against Nazri while MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah/ Sarawak BN and other Umno Ministers should repudiate Nazri’s stand in Cabinet tomorrow that it is too late for inter-religious dialogue to resolve the “Allah” controversy

I was completely astounded and outraged by de factor Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’ statement yesterday that it is too late for dialogue to resolve the “Allah” controversy, which had sparked a spate of arson and vandalism against churches, surau and a Sikh temple since the beginning of the year.

Nazri reiterated that it was not the fault of the government but that of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Kuala Lumpur, Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam who had brought the matter to court.

If anybody is to be blamed for the Herald litigation, it is the government which had allowed the Home Ministry to violate two decades of religious equilibrium on the issue with its ban in 2007 on the use of the word “Allah” in the Catholic weekly, forcing on the Roman Catholic church the final remedy and recourse of the courts.

But it is what Nazri said about the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan and her judgment which completely floored rational and reasonable Malaysians, as no Law Minister or a de facto one had done more than Nazri to attack the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of a judge when his first task should be Read the rest of this entry »


Silent majority of Muslims Malaysians must speak up against the ban on use of Allah by Christians to save Malaysia

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor


The government ban on the use of ALLAH by Christians does not have the support of the majority of Malaysian Muslims. as a matter of fact, my impression is that the Muslim ummah in Malaysia are by and large solid citizens loyal both to the country and to their religion Islam, and do not buy the argument that the use of Allah by Christians would confuse the ummah.

PAS and PKR leaders like Anwar Ibrahim and Hadi Awang have openly stated that the use of Allah by christians is correct and allowed by Islam.

Anwar has said “With regard to the use of the word ALLAH, it cannot be disputed that Arabic speaking Muslims, Christians and Jews have collectively prayed to God as Allah throughout the last fourteen centuries.”
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