Archive for December 28th, 2013

Religious without religion

– Muhammad As’ad
The Malaysian Insider
December 28, 2013

To be a religious believer we have to follow certain strict rules which cannot be violated. For instance as Muslims we believe that Allah is the only God and the Prophet Muhammad is His messenger; we must regularly observe the five daily prayers, zakat, fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and the haj at least once in a lifetime — all these are the five pillars of Islam. As Muslims, we cannot evade those five pillars except for some specific exceptions.

Another important step is to make religion a part of our life. The number of Muslims in this country is remarkable. How can we say that we are not religious?

However, Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index showed that Indonesia was ranked 118 out of 176 countries; worse than in 2011 when Indonesia was ranked 100. The Indonesia Ulama Council (MUI) even issued an edict in 2000, stating that bribery, corruption and gratification are forbidden.

Nonetheless, these rules fail to deter corruption. For instance, the treasurer of MUI, Chairunnisa, who is also a lawmaker of the Golkar party, was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) along with the former Constitutional Court chief Akil Mochtar. We probably have religious piety but we certainly do not have social piety.

In terms of religiosity, we are quite remarkable. We can see many Indonesian people celebrating religious activities, rituals and commemorations. Nevertheless, this religiosity does not seem to influence our life. Read the rest of this entry »


Gov’t’s history of silencing media on ‘technicalities’

Nigel Aw
Dec 28, 2013

Media activists have poured cold water on the Home Ministry’s explanation that news weekly The Heat’s suspension was due to its failure to comply with technical provisions under its publishing permit.

At a forum in Kuala Lumpur last night to show solidarity with The Heat, Malaysiakini chief editor Fathi Aris Omar bluntly called the explanation “bulls**t”.

Fathi pointed out that the government has had a history of indefinitely suspending publications on technical grounds when upset with their contents. Read the rest of this entry »


After The Heat freeze, Malaysian Bar calls for PPPA repeal

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malay Mail Online
December 28, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — The Malaysian Bar urged Putrajaya today to abolish the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 and to establish a Media Council instead, amid an indefinite suspension of The Heat weekly.

Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong criticised the recent suspension of The Heat that was ordered shortly after the paper reported on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “big spending” nature in its November 23 to 29 issue, calling it an “unwarranted attack” on press freedom, as well as on freedom of speech and expression.

“Action against The Heat is merely the latest event in a long list of state actions to suppress the press,” Leong said in a statement today.

“Other instances include incidents during which the minister of home affairs harassed a Malaysiakini journalist who was asking him questions, and threatened to shut down newspapers that reported his speech in Malacca the following day; and the physical assault and abuse of media professionals by the police during the Bersih 3.0 public assembly in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, 2012,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »


Muhyiddin’s Malaysian Education Blueprint knocked out of kilter by the adverse 2011 TIMSS and 2012 PISA results and needs to be revised and downwards

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, must break his month-long “inelegant silence” on the Malaysia’s deteriorating educational standards and state whether he supports the convening of an emergency Parliament in January to debate the national education crisis and the formation of an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on Education to provide direct and constant parliamentary oversight over educational policies and measures in the country.

These two initiatives are urgent and imperative as Muhyiddin’s Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to spearhead educational transformation in the next 13 years have proven to be unrealistic, impractical and Utopian – overtaken by the adverse results of Malaysian students in the 2011 TIMSS (Trends in International Maths and Science Study) and 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment).

The MEB was formulated to deal with the adverse performance of Malaysian students in the quadrennial 2007 TIMSS and triennial 2009 PISA, resulting in the policy statement that the 13-year MEB will catapult Malaysia in a triple “hop-step-jump” from the bottom-third to the top-third of PISA and TIMSS systems by the turn of the next decade, viz: Read the rest of this entry »


Right about Islam, Christianity’s common ground, but who seeks to keep Allah exclusive?

December 26, 2013

Faith in Malaysia has become a trickier issue in the past few years, first with the authorities insisting that the word Allah is exclusive to Muslims, and finally that Muslims must be Sunni, and not Shia.

The preoccupation with faith and the policing of it is perplexing to say the least when it has never been a bone of contention for the most part of the country’s independence. If anything, the economy and the salaryman’s pay packet has always been a greater issue. Read the rest of this entry »