Archive for June 25th, 2014

‘Cabinet expansion’ confirms Najib’s inability to revamp Umno line-up

– Liew Chin Tong
The Malaysian Insider
25 June 2014

Today’s Cabinet reshuffle should more aptly be described as a “Cabinet expansion”.

No deadwood was dropped from the Cabinet and more importantly, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak failed to present a new slate of Umno ministers.

Since the end of 2013, numerous versions of the speculated Cabinet reshuffle have been circulated after all major Barisan Nasional component parties concluded their respective party elections.

Most Malaysians who want to see the country moving forward were anticipating the following: Read the rest of this entry »

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Australia Warns of Islamic Militant Migration

By Rob Taylor
The Wall Street Journal
June 24, 2014

Australia Increases Counterterrorism Strategies to Combat Threat

CANBERRA — Australia has warned of a “disturbingly large” migration of Islamic militants from at home and elsewhere joining the conflict in Iraq, and said it was trying to increase regional counterterrorism cooperation to guard against any future threat they might pose.

Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, hinted at intelligence pointing to militants on the move internationally toward the Middle East to join the ranks of Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham rebels, who have seized control of large swaths of northern Iraq. Prime Minister Tony Abbott is promising tougher security laws giving Australian spy agencies more power to intercept communications to counter a growing threat of homegrown jihadists returning from conflicts in Iraq and Syria and using their skills to launch violent attacks.

Ms. Bishop said some of the militants were from Australia and neighboring countries, heightening concerns among security officials about a repeat of militant attacks launched more than a decade ago by al Qaeda and allies, including the Jemaah Islamiah group responsible for bombings in 2002 and 2005 on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

“We are working closely with a number of other nations to counter the threat of people returning who have been radicalized and who have trained as terrorists,” Ms. Bishop said told Australia’s parliament. “We are seeking to expand our counterterrorism cooperation with countries in our own region, including in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The ISIS Extremists Causing Havoc in Iraq Are Getting Funds and Recruits From Southeast Asia

Yenni Kwok
June 17, 2014

Militants from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, are being lured by ISIS’s hard-line Sunni extremism

Men in balaclavas are cradling Kalashnikovs as they look into a camera, somewhere in Syria. They are university students, businessmen, former soldiers and even teenagers. One by one, they urge their fellow countrymen to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the jihadist group so extreme that it has been denounced by al-Qaeda. But these aren’t Syrians, or Uzbeks, or Chechens. They are Indonesian.

“Let us fight in the path of Allah because it is our duty to do jihad in the path of Allah … especially here in Sham [the Syrian region] … and because, God willing, it will be to this country that our families will do the holy migration,” says one in Bahasa Indonesia peppered with Arabic phrases. “Brothers in Indonesia, don’t be afraid because fear is the temptation of Satan.”

A fellow jihadist, a former Indonesian soldier, calls on those in the police and armed forces to repent and abandon the defense of their country and its “idolatrous” state ideology, Pancasila.

The video of the Indonesian men in Syria emerged shortly before ISIS seized the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit, in landmark victories on June 10 and 11. It reflects the growing attraction that the Sunni extremist group holds for the most militant jihadists from Indonesia — the country with the world’s biggest Muslim population, and one that has long battled threats of terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia Mais chief shows up an effete Putrajaya in Bible issue

25 June 2014

Thank you, Datuk Mohamed Adzib Mohd Isa. Thank you for confirming what commentators and lawyers have been saying since the Federal Court decided not to give leave to the Catholic Church to appeal to the apex court to overturn an order stopping it from using the word Allah in its weekly newspaper.

A few hours after the court decision, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement saying that the court decision would only impact the Catholic Herald.

At the same time, Putrajaya assured Christians that they could use Allah in their worship services and proudly proclaimed that the infamous 10-point solution put together in April 2011, just before the last Sarawak elections, was still in place.

Among other things, the 10-pointer allows the import of Malay-language bibles. Read the rest of this entry »

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The difference between compromise and cowardice

Erna Mahyuni
The Malay Mail Online
June 25, 2014

JUNE 25 — Let the Allah issue rest, someone said to me. “In the end, when we stand before Him, none of this will matter.”

This is a very Malaysian way of looking at things. Don’t talk about this — too sensitive. Don’t stage a play or make a film about that — too incendiary.

We step on eggshells all the time, trying not to anger that person or this person.

But let us be frank here; there only seems to be one race we seem to be very afraid of offending while there seems to be no problem kicking around cow heads or throwing Molotov cocktails at churches.

We cannot keep sweeping things under the carpet in fear of civil unrest. We cannot keep banning books and films and telling minority religions to stop “threatening” the majority faith. Read the rest of this entry »

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Isis, Isil or Da’ish? What to call militants in Iraq

By Faisal Irshaid
24 June 2014

The crisis in Iraq has highlighted the fact that English-speaking governments and media organisations cannot settle on what to call the al-Qaeda breakaway that has led the offensive by Sunni militants and tribesmen in the north and east of the country.

When referring to the jihadist group, UN and US officials have been using the acronym “Isil” or “I-S-I-L”, which they say stands for “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”.

The BBC News website uses the same translation, but a different acronym. It has instead opted for a more common one – “Isis” – based on the other widely used translations “Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham” or “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”.

Some have also started referring to the group as “Da’ish” or “Daesh” a seemingly pejorative term that is based on an acronym formed from the letters of the name in Arabic, “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham”. Read the rest of this entry »

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MH370 hunt may take ‘decades’, says MAS commercial chief

The Malay Mail Online
June 25, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — The search for flight MH370 which has been missing for more than three months could take “decades”, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) commercial chief Hugh Dunleavy has said.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard daily, Dunleavy said the wreckage from the Boeing 777 could be spread over a large area upon crashing into the southern Indian Ocean, a challenging seabed with mountains and valleys.

“I think it could take a really long time to find. We’re talking decades,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying in the interview published last Monday.

The British director of commercial operations in MAS also hit out at Putrajaya for taking a week to release information that the jetliner had been spotted on military radar when it veered off course and flew across the Malaysian peninsula.

“It made people look incompetent, but the truth is, it’s early in the morning, you’re not at war with anyone, why would you jump to the conclusion that something really bad is now transpiring?” said Dunleavy.

The 61-year-old, who became MAS’ commercial operations director in 2012, also said he only heard about the plane turning around on the news.

“I’m thinking, really? You couldn’t have told us that directly? Malaysia’s air traffic control and military radar are in the same freakin’ building. The military saw an aircraft turn and did nothing,” Dunleavy was quoted as saying Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians, ASEAN and international community digesting the implications of Najib’s dubious distinction of being the first advocate of Wasatiyyah and the first ASEAN leader to glorify terrorism of ISIS which is regarded as too extremist even by al-Qaida

Not only Malaysians, but our ASEAN neighbours and the international community are still digesting the implications of the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s dubious distinction of being the first advocate of Wasatiyyah and the first ASEAN leader to glorify the terrorism of ISIS which is regarded as too extremist even by al-Qaida.

When speaking at the 20th anniversary of the Cheras UMNO Branch on Monday night, Najib surprised not only Malaysians but our ASEAN neighbours and the international community when he said UMNO members could emulate the exploits of the Middle Eastern terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) which defeated an Iraqi force outnumbering it.

It is a measure of the success and charisma of the leader of ISIS, known by his nom de guerre Abu-Bakar Al-Baghdadi, that the Sunni jihadist group which started as an al-Qaida affiliate, has become the group of choice of thousands of foreign would-be fighters who have flocked to his banner which disavowed notions of statehood and national boundaries.

ISIS, which is so hardline that it has been disavowed by al-Qaida, now present itself as an ideologically superior alternative to al-Qaida within the jihadi community and has increasingly become a transnational movement to set up an Islamic caliphate with immediate objectives far beyond Iraq and Syria.

Najib’s glorification of the exploits of the ISIS terrorists is not only a matter of great concern for local Malaysian politics but for ASEAN relations and international affairs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wong Ho Leng was a brave fighter

Bridget Welsh
Jun 24, 2014

COMMENT For those who knew Bukit Assek assemblyperson Wong Ho Leng, the words ‘brave fighter’ come to mind. When he entered politics over 30 years ago, he joined at a time when being part of the opposition was unpopular.

It was the economic boom years in Sibu, derived primarily from timber, and he chose to stand up to power and urge greater transparency and fairer governance.

Although he contested from 1986 onwards, he first won office in 1996, beating the Sarawak United People’s Party’s (SUPP) then-deputy chief minister Wong Soon Kai in Bukit Assek.

His razor-thin majority of 226 votes in his first victory symbolised a political career where he would not only redefine politics in Sarawak but would leave a national legacy. Read the rest of this entry »