Archive for September 22nd, 2012

Nice words, but not good enough, Umno

― Othman Wahab
The Malaysian Insider
Sept 22, 2012

SEPT 22 ― Thank you to The Malaysian Insider for being upfront about the fact that Saifuddin Abdullah is a minority and that his views, no matter how enlightened, do not represent that which prevails in Umno.

In fact, let us not get carried away with nice words and intelligent discourse or even the occasional Oxford-speak. I only ask Malaysians to ponder about these questions. Read the rest of this entry »


The Backlash Over ‘The Innocence Of Muslims’

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
September 21, 2012

Backlash against the anti-Islam film the “Innocence of Muslims” has sparked demonstrations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and several other countries with majority-Muslim populations.

Though significantly smaller than the protests of 2011 that toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere, some of the demonstrations have turned violent and have been marked by attacks on Western diplomatic outposts. The most high-profile attack came on September 11 — the day the protests began — in Benghazi, Libya, where an armed group stormed the U.S. consulate, killing U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.

For more on who is protesting and why, RFE/RL spoke to academic Olivier Roy, historian and writer Tariq Ali, and author Charles Kurzman.

Olivier Roy: “It’s not true that there is a general ban on pictures of Muhammad. It’s a Salafist view and now the Salafist view is dominant. But if you look at miniatures in the Middle Ages, you had a lot of representations of the Prophet. The story that there is no representation of the Prophet in Islam just doesn’t exist; it’s a modern invention. You can find a huge iconography of Muslim representations of the Prophet, including in Pakistan, by the way. Until the 1960s, you could buy a picture of Muhammad in the shops in Pakistan. It’s only a recent kind of Salafist interpretation.” [READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW]

Tariq Ali: “Without a doubt [local grievances against the West play a big part in these protests]. The religion has been politicized. The reason for that, of course, is that during the Cold War the United States was backing most of these [extremist Islamist] groups to fight communism all over the world, especially in the Muslim world. Wahhabi preachers were sent with American approval by Saudi Arabia to create what we now know as political Islam.” [READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW]

Charles Kurzman: “I call this a clash of hatreds. Most people do not hate one another and yet these small groups who do hate seem to be able to grab the headlines and get everybody’s attention. Let’s keep in mind that protesting an insult is perfectly legal in most countries, including the United States, and if people want to hold signs or even burn flags, they’re allowed to do that. That is called free speech, and so I do not mind when groups organize to protest a movie. I think that is a sign of political participation.” [READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW] Read the rest of this entry »


After Protests, Tunisia’s Salafists Plot a More Radical Revolution

The past week of unrest and protests across the Muslim world was largely the work of more puritanical Salafists, many of whom harbor as much ire for their own governments as they do the West.

By Vivienne Walt / Tunis | September 21, 2012 | TIME

In a park hidden from the road and strewn with trash, two young Salafist men dressed in the traditional garb of gray tunics and sandals laid out their plan for revenge against the anti-Islam YouTube video out of California, as well as cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a French satirical magazine this week. In the meeting place they had picked for an interview with TIME on Thursday, the men said they were prepared to wait—years, if necessary—for the right moment to avenge the insults from both the U.S. and France. “We never know when the reaction will be, but sooner or later this revenge is going to be seen by the West, just as we saw with the Danish cartoons,” said Mahmoud, 25, a slender man with black hair, referring to drawings of the Muslim prophet which appeared in a Danish newspaper in 2006—two whole years before al-Qaeda detonated a car bomb outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad in apparent revenge, killing five people. With hardline Islamic youth under tight surveillance since the disastrous attack on Tunis’s U.S. Embassy last Friday, Mahmoud says that devout youth like him will simply wait until the heat is off, before taking action, including possible “jihad.” “We can do anything,” Mahmoud said, “but at the right time and place, under the right circumstances.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Public Funding

by Allan CF Goh
(A poem)

Public fund comes from taxations,
Or other forms of collections.
The money comes from the masses,
And must be used without messes.
The government must act the trustee,
With honourable guarantee.
The fund is meant for public wants,
And not squandered on useless wont.
It must be spent on people’s need,
Not to satisfy cronies’ feed,
Nor given away by ‘Santa Claus’,
Without justifiable cause.
It’s not for manipulation,
Or vacant vilification,
Of different political arts,
That contend for the people’s hearts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who prevails in Umno?

— The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2012

SEPT 22 — Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah can talk about a better Malaysia, and we don’t doubt his sincerity. He has been principled on many issues, and speaks of the knowledge of authority, not the authority of knowledge.

That is the gist of his speech this past week in Melbourne.

“It’s not about numbers, it’s about qualitative change. There are many paths to a better Malaysia,” he told a mixed audience of about 130 at the annual Seminar Pembangunan Insan (Seminar on Human Development) at Melbourne Umno Club (KUAM) on Thursday.

Saifuddin identified four features for the participatory democracy needed to respond to today’s new social consciousness, especially among the young — integrity, governance, innovations in democracy, and progressive political thought.

Do the others in Umno or Barisan Nasional (BN) speak of the same things?

Does he speak for Umno or BN for that matter? Read the rest of this entry »


Senseless rage over anti-Islam film

— Islamic Renaissance Front
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2012

SEPT 22 — The Islamic Renaissance Front views the recent murders and uproar over the film “Innocence of Muslims” with much sadness and bafflement.

All available facts suggest that “Innocence of Muslims” is not even a film. What is currently known about it was available in the widely circulated YouTube clip which ran for a total of some 13-odd minutes. What is worse, most critics are in agreement on the film’s utterly poor quality — cheap sets, mediocre actors, bad voice-overs and incomprehensible narrative — all of which explains why no one had even heard of the so-called film until Muslims decided to make a fuss about it.

Indeed, the added tragedy is not so much that the film is Islamophobic, which it clearly is, but that the unnecessary attention given to it by angry Muslims, eventually gave the film far more publicity than it deserves. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib has completely discredited MACC when he dismissed latest allegations that Sarawak CM Taib Mahmud had amassed billions in wealth as it signaled a clear “hands off” directive by the PM to MACC not to initiate any investigations

Sad and tragic. The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak single-handedly demolishing the credibility, integrity and professionalism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

And this happening just 48 hours after the MACC’s latest artificial but carefully-crafted publicity blitzkrieg to present itself as a fiercely independent, intrepid and professional anti-graft body comparable to Hong Kong’s world-famous Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) – with government-paper New Straits Times front page report “MACC gains in graft war” on Thursday and a special editorial on MACC on Friday – all collapsing like a house of cards.

MACC claims that it had seized “a whopping RM66 million worth of properties, including bungalows and luxury cars” and arrested more than 900 individuals in its “war against graft over the past two years” paled into insignificance when Najib dismissed allegations that Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has amassed billions in wealth.

Najib told a press conference this morning after the launching of the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) – new name for Pudu Sentral: “There are all kinds of allegations, don’t bothered about it (jangan kita layan)”.

This is a most disappointing and even irresponsible response by the Prime Minister to a ground-breaking but explosive report by the Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) which estimated the assets of Taib Mahmud’s family at US$21 billion (RM64 billion), with the wealth of Taib himself put at a whopping US$15 billion (RM46 billion) making him Malaysia’s richest man outstripping tycoon Robert Kuok who has US$12.5 billion. Read the rest of this entry »


Speaking up for Suaram

by Rom Nain
Sep 20, 2012

When there is no transparency, when everything is evidently opaque, when regime credibility is at all-time low, perception – often based on rumour, kopitiam gossip and the alternative media – becomes all.

Just look at crime. At a time when the people started feeling terribly anxious about their personal welfare and security, the regime started to boast about record crime prevention statistics and the purported reduction in crime.

When these statistics were questioned, when contradictory figures were highlighted, excuses rather than valid explanations were offered.

And then, quickly, the matter was dropped, certainly by the sycophantic mainstream media, in the hope that the people will forget.

But, of course, they haven’t. Their daily experiences of increasing crime make them view official explanations with scepticism.

It’s been the same, too, with the recent detention of young Malaysians for, at worst, petulant, impertinent acts, like the mooning of photographs and for stamping on these photographs. And then being threatened, without much explanation, with charges under the odious Sedition Act. Read the rest of this entry »


Ramalan Dr M akan salah lagi rasanya

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Sept 21, 2012

21 SEPT — Betulkah pandangan Dr Mahathir Mohamad yang Barisan Nasional (BN) akan menang tipis dalam PRU yang akan datang? Ada yang bertanya samada ramalan ramai yang Umno akan tumbang ada kebenarannya.

Dr Mahathir meramalkan kemenangan untuk BN, tetapi kemenangan yang tipis. Dr Mahathir juga mengakui yang BN akan menjadi kerajaan yang lemah dan akan menghadapi masalah “defection” selepas pilihanraya dan sebagainya.

Dr Mahathir meramalkan yang BN akan mendapat majoriti 2/3 jika BN menghadapi PRU kali ini dengan lebih kuat dan melakukan pemilihan calon dengan tepat. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno’s sidewinding strategy

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 22, 2012

SEPT 22 — Umno is always trying to ambush and put up red herrings to divert people’s attention. Why, for example, is the hudud issue between PAS and the DAP being made into a big thing? This is a sideshow being elevated to a premier status complete with intellectual gloss from Uncle Tom-ing academics.

PAS and the DAP — they operate on different principles. PAS champions Islamic principles and an Islamic agenda. The DAP champions secular democratic principles as in justice and equality and good governance and all that. Both co-operate on common grounds.

Why is Umno driving a wedge between the two? Umno should be looking out for the MCA which has ridiculed Umno’s stance on an Islamic agenda.

Sometimes I think Umno religious luminaries are not that bright. Umno is in power now. The MCA, which is a party of infidels, works closely with Umno, so Umno labels them friendly infidels (kafir zimmi — infidels who accept the authority of Muslims in power). What does that prove? It proves the classification of infidels is a function of who is in power. That is how Umno plays the game.

Suppose now a new government comes into power. The leaders of the government are also Muslims. The DAP, which will emerge as the dominant Chinese supported party, works closely with PR. The DAP represents the new infidels who accept the authority and leadership of the new PR government. It makes them friendly infidels. The DAP now becomes kafir zimmi.

So ustaz-ustaz, the branding of infidels is therefore a function of which side is in power at that particular time. And by that time, if we were to apply the Umno stance, the MCA will become kafir harbi, which makes the slaughter of MCA people permissible? Read the rest of this entry »

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