Archive for category Islam

Hadi’s bill: A violation of the shariah

By Nurul Haq Shahrir
Free Malaysia Today
February 25, 2017

It is not whether the shariah should be reintroduced or reinforced as statutory law, but rather how can medieval Islamic jurisprudence be adapted to meet the needs of justice in modern societies.

COMMENT

The two leading Malay-Muslim political parties, PAS and Umno have been competing to be the greater defender of Islam since the early eighties – a necessary stratagem in bolstering the credibility of their Islamic credentials in the eyes of the Malay electorate.

Due to the multi-religious composition of the governing coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), Umno which is the leading party of Barisan Nasional cultivates its image as the promoter of a moderate, pragmatic form of Islam and contrasts itself against the ostensibly backward, conservative brand of Islam as advocated by PAS whose calls to “Islamise” the laws of the country from as early as the 1980s were emboldened by the recent tabling of the motion to amend the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, or what is commonly referred to as Act 355, by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in November 2016.

The Malaysian government’s earlier move on May 26, 2016 to expedite for parliamentary deliberation the private member’s bill introduced by Hadi too surprised and unsettled many. The move has been construed by many as a step towards the implementation of Islamic penal code (also referred to as hudud).

Others, in particular the prime minister and his cabinet members have dismissed this reading and clarified that the bill would only augment the sentencing power of the shariah court, which only involves Muslims.

Obviously, one cannot deny that this move has also been interpreted as nothing more than a ruse to boost the political credentials of Umno and PAS in the face of the coming general election.

It would eventually come to nothing. It is all part of the ruling coalition’s political gambit to win the next election. That is totally understandable and politically imperative to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

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Enacting harsh laws makes us less Islamic

By Ahmad Farouk Musa
Islamic Renaissance Front
February 20, 2017

Every rule that turns justice into tyranny, mercy into cruelty, good into evil and wisdom into triviality does not belong to the Shariah.

Much has been debated about the amendments to the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965. A massive demonstration in support of the bill was held last Saturday and tensions are running high.

PAS has insisted that the main aim of the proposed amendment is not to introduce hudud but to strengthen the shariah laws and shariah courts.

But if that is true, then PAS for sure must have identified the weaknesses. To the general observer, the weaknesses are apparent and appalling. Read the rest of this entry »

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RUU355’s six intolerant and fanatical practices

— Joshua Woo
Malay Mail Online
February 19, 2017

FEBRUARY 19 — There were about 25,000 people gathered for the RUU355 rally yesterday. Non-Muslims were among the supporters for the proposed amendment.

One of the non-Muslims, who self-identified as a Roman Catholic, was recorded saying that he was there because he believed that we should “respect each other’s religion”.

(https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=2qWPAGzeTnM) One Muslim participant pleaded with non-Muslims to “respect the Muslims. Do not protest Act 355.” (https://sg.news.yahoo.com/ruu-355-rally-kelantan-mb-094420651.html)

They are right that we should respect each other’s religion. Unfortunately, supporting RUU355 is nothing of that sort. Therefore those who are pro-RUU355 have wrongly imply that anyone who does not support the motion are not respecting others’ religion.

What I want to point out here is that the support for RUU355 is not only disrespectful of Islam but actually approves and respects at least 6 extremely intolerant and fanatical practices that are detrimental to many, including Muslims: Read the rest of this entry »

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My name is Mujahidin, I am a Muslim and I reject Hadi’s bill

Mujahidin Zulkiffli
Free Malaysia Today
February 19, 2017

“Maybe many will question why I reject Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed amendments to Act 355. If I am a Muslim, aren’t I compelled to accept shariah law?”

COMMENT

I am a Muslim. I am far from a perfect Muslim but I believe in Allah.

Maybe many will question why I reject Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed amendments to Act 355. If I am a Muslim, aren’t I compelled to accept shariah law?

My first response is that this is not Allah’s law. It is a man-made law. It does not state in the Quran and hadiths that punishments is paid in ringgit or any currency for that matter.

There is no summons or punishment prescribed in shariah, What is prescribed is compensation in place of Qisas (law of retaliation). So my question is where does the punishment of paying a fine come from?

From Allah? Or has Hadi become God?

In the Quran, Allah says: Allah will not burden his people with that which they have no ability to bear (Surah Albaqarah).

Who can afford to pay the RM100,000 fine which Hadi is seeking? Only the rich and if the proposed amendments are passed, where is the social justice should the fine be too heavy for the poor? Read the rest of this entry »

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Is UMNO such a hegemon in BN that it could disregard MCA, Gerakan, MIC and Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties as to unilaterally support and take over Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament next month?

Constitutional expert Prof Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi yesterday told a forum in Kuala Lumpur that PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill is about enhancing punishments for crimes that are clearly outside the legal jurisdiction of the states and therefore unconstitutional.

Furthermore, Hadi’s private member’s bill could create inequality between Muslim and non-Muslim criminals, which would violate the equality provision of Article 8 of the Constitution.

Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin expressed disappointment that the issue could not be properly debated as Muslims would be accused of being anti-Islam when they try to discuss the matter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jewish people give Muslims key to their synagogue after town’s mosque burns down

Jon Sharman
Independent
2nd Feb 2017

Donations to rebuild the Islamic centre are adding up

Jewish people in a small Texas city handed Muslim worshippers the keys to their synagogue after the town’s only mosque was destroyed in a fire.

The Victoria Islamic Centre burned down on Saturday and had previously been burgled — the cause is being investigated by federal officials.

But the town’s Muslim population will not be without a place to worship while their building is reconstructed, thanks to their Jewish neighbours. Read the rest of this entry »

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How the travel crackdown is affecting North American debate on Islam

ERASMUS
Economist
Feb 1st 2017

Why Muslim pundits feel let down

AMIR AHMAD NASR is about as pro-Western as anyone born deep inside the world of Islam could possibly be. Born to Sudanese parents whose professional lives took them to many countries, he is bilingual in Arabic and American English. He believes passionately in liberal democracy and the free exchange of ideas. He has no patience with those who think that authoritarian systems of government, whether secular or Islamist, are better suited to certain countries. The globe-trotting author and digital activist has recently settled, gratefully, in Canada.

Mr Nasr used his Western freedom to do something that he could not have managed if he were still living in the Islamic heartland. With disarming humour, he described his own spiritual path in a successful book with an almost self-explanatory title, “My Islam: How Fundamentalism Stole My Mind and Doubt Freed My Soul”. This recounts how he went through a phase of believing not only in Islam’s literal truth but in the duty to despise people outside the tent of strict Sunni orthodoxy, and then his evolution through many stages into what he calls himself now: a cultural Muslim and spiritual humanist. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Hasn’t Trump Banned? People From Places Where He’s Done Business

By RICHARD W. PAINTER and NORMAN L. EISEN
New York Times
JAN. 29, 2017

President Trump’s executive order banning travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries is being rightly challenged in the courts for, among other things, its unconstitutional interference with free exercise of religion and denial of due process. Overlooked in the furor is another troubling aspect of the situation: President Trump omitted from his ban a number of other predominantly Muslim nations where his company has done business. This adds further illegitimacy to one of the most arbitrary executive actions in our recent history, and raises significant constitutional questions.

The seven countries whose citizens are subject to the ban are relatively poor. Some, such as Syria, are torn by civil war; others are only now emerging from war. One thing these countries have in common is that they are places where the Trump organization does little to no business. Read the rest of this entry »

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U.S. Travel Restrictions Put Saudi Arabia in a Bind

By MARGHERITA STANCATI in Dubai and AHMED AL OMRAN in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Wall Street Journal
Jan. 30, 2017

Monarchy’s desire to cultivate good relations with Trump administration run counter to outcry in Muslim world over ban

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to the religion’s two holiest sites, has long used its religious clout to project its role as a regional leader. Now that same clout has caught the kingdom in a prickly dilemma.

The monarchy’s desire to cultivate a better relationship with the Trump administration than it had with the U.S. under Barack Obama is exposing Saudi Arabia to criticism that it is unwilling to stand up for its Muslim allies, particularly those caught in an executive order that restricts entry to the U.S. for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“The ban puts Saudi Arabia in an awkward position,” said Ibrahim Fraihat, a professor of conflict resolution at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. “Saudi Arabia will be expected to take a position against it because some of the countries included in the ban like Sudan and Yemen are key allies and because it projects itself as leader of the Muslim world.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib is consigning his initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates to the grave if he is not prepared to be part of the global outrage at US President Trump’s cruel and inhumane executive order against refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries

It is now more than 58 hours since US President Trump, at 4.42 pm Friday Washington time, with a stroke of a pen signed the cruel and inhumane Executive Order against refugees and immigrants, creating world-wide turmoil and reverberations, with chaos and confusion in US airports and capital cities all over the world.

What is disturbing is that the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government are not part of this global outrage at the inhumanity and insensitivity of Trump’s executive order.

It cannot be that Najib and the Malaysian Foreign Ministry had been overtaken by complete surprise by such an executive order, as Trump had in fact been talking about such an inhumane measure since the GOP primary campaign last year, and Trump’s executive order against refugees and immigrants had in fact been leaked to the media several days before Trump signed the executive order.

Najib cannot blame anyone for asking why he acted with such alacrity when he lashed out at Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi on the Rohingya issue but is so tame and tardy when the Muslim world is revolted and outraged by Trump’s executive order against refugees and the 130 million people from seven Muslim-majority countries, viz: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.

As a sign of growing political intimacy and collaboration between Najib and the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, there is also conspicuous silence from the PAS leadership on Trump’s cruel and inhumane executive, completely out of character of PAS leadership which would have been the first to denounce Trump’s executive order.

Is this a sign of growing maturity and responsibility of the Hadi PAS leadership or just of closer political collaboration with Najib’s UMNO leadership? Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should call for an emergency OIC meeting to demand that Trump rescind the anti-Muslim executive order to bar people from at least seven Muslim countries from entry into United States

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should call for an emergency Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) meeting to demand that President Triump rescind the anti-Muslim executive order to bar refugees and people from at least seven Muslim countries from entry into United States for 90 days.

Trump’s executive order, which temporarily halts admissions for all refugees while barring Syrian refugees indefinitely, also temporarily bans the entry of visa holders from at least seven Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. Read the rest of this entry »

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I am prepared in the next 72 hours to meet Liow and Mah any place any time in the national interests to discuss how to purge and cleanse Malaysia of the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy

During my “Jelajah Desa Bersama Kit Siang” visit to Sungai Gelugor on Sunday, I told a media conference that if the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is prepared to conclude a solemn agreement that the top priority in the 14th General Election is to save Malaysia from becoming a global kleptocracy and a failed and rogue state, which would be the national agenda for the next five to ten years, I am prepared to co-operate with him. Was Hadi prepared to make such a commitment?

This had created a lot of political waves, both in MCA and Gerakann quarters, with the MCA Youth leader and Deputy Education Minister launching into a tirade against the DAP.

Why? Is it just because of my preparedness, despite our great political differences, to work with Hadi Awang on a common agenda in the larger national interests to free the country from the curse of a global kleptocracy?

Only the small-minded and political opportunists will call this an “U-turn” or hypocrisy, when it is the highest form of expression of patriotism and love for Malaysia.
I do not know what is Hadi’s response, but I stand by my position that despite our great political differences, I am prepared to work with Hadi to save Malaysia from global kleptocracy – not mere kleptocracy.

No country can claim to be God-fearing, guided by the religious, moral and ethical precepts and principles, whether Islamic, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Sikhist, and nobody can claim to be patriotic and want to save the country if he is she is content for Malaysia to remain a global kleptocracy! Read the rest of this entry »

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One of the first things a new Federal Government in Putrajaya replacing the UMNO/BN will do after the 14GE will be to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to “chase down every penny from 1MDB”

At the official launch of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in Shah Alam last night, PPBM Chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said PPBM would “chase down every penny from 1MDB”.

I have no doubt that one of the first things a new Federal Government in Putrajaya replacing the UMNO/BN will do after the 14th General Election will be to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to “chase down every penny from 1MDB”.

In fact, if we have a Cabinet which is patriotic and protective of the good name of Malaysia, the top priority of the agenda of the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday should be on how to purge and clear the country of the infamy and ignominy of being regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.

I said in Parliament that a kleptocracy is a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.

I do not believe that any patriotic and proud Malaysian would stand idly by and do nothing when the country is defamed worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”!

I also do not believe that the first four Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein and Tun Mahathir would have stood idly by and done nothing if Malaysia had been defamed and regarded worldwide as a global kleptocracy during their premiership.

Even the fifth Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah would also have acted to defend the honour and reputation of Malaysia if the country is defamed world-wide as a global kleptocracy!

Why then has the Cabinet done nothing in the past three years to put the ghost of 1MDB scandal to rest, instead allowing the country to be battered, haunted and hounded by the issue, which has aggravated the host of political, economic and nation-building crisis of confidence confronting the country? Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow should explain how MCA could reconcile its public stand to oppose Hadi’s private member’s bill with Najib’s announcement that Barisan Nasional government will vote in support of Hadi’s private member’s bill motion in March Parliament and government take over Hadi’s bill?

There is a rule of thumb in political exchanges that personal attacks or character assassination is the last resort of political opportunists and scoundrels who have run out of arguments based on facts and reason, and this is what the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai resorted to when he launched a ferocious personal attack on me, accusing the DAP as a privately-owned “Kit Siang & Son Sdn. Bhd” and not a political party.

I can understand Liow’s frustration and exasperation, but it is no justification nevertheless for him to resort to personal attacks and character-assassination.

What was Liow frustrated and exasperated about?

The latest incident was the MCA leadership’s total inability to respond to my statement on Thursday catching Liow “red-handed” in saying one thing to the Chinese but giving a totally different impression to the Malays – which is the height of political dishonesty and chicanery at work in plural Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib Razak appears secure, but looks can deceive

Banyan
Economist
Jan 7th 2017

The opposition has a chance to strike

A ROUND of applause, ladies and gentlemen. Any typical leader of a typical democracy, when found with nearly $700m of ill-explained money from an unnamed foreign donor in his accounts, would experience a swift and fatal fall. Yet, nearly two years after news first broke that Najib Razak’s bank balance had been thus plumped up, his high-wire act continues.

You could even argue that the Malaysian prime minister, who denies any wrongdoing, is at the top of his game. Mr Najib appears to command the unstinting loyalty of the party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the coalition that has ruled the country since independence in 1957. He has undermined a fractious opposition, not least by peeling an Islamist party away from it. And as investigations proceed in several other countries into the alleged bilking of colossal sums from 1MDB, an indebted state investment-fund whose advisory board Mr Najib once chaired, the prime minister himself remains untouched. Staying in power helps stave off any risk he might face of international prosecution. A general election is due by late August 2018, but perhaps Mr Najib will call a snap poll in the next few months to give himself several more years’ rule. Read the rest of this entry »

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Liow Tiong Lai, Mah Siew Keong and Subramaniam must explain whether they have deviated from the stand of their parties and broken ranks with BN component parties from Sabah and Sarawak by secretly agreeing with UMNO to support BN government take-over of Hadi’s private member’s bill?

MCA President Datuk Liow Tiong Lai, Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong, the MIC President Datuk S. Subramaniam should know that silence is no option and that they should explain whether they have deviated from the stand of their parties and broken ranks with the Barisan Nasional component parties from Sabah and Sarawak by secretly agreeing with the UMNO leadership to support BN government take-over of Hadi’s private member’s bill.

This is the logical conclusion from their continued silence on the Pensiangan Formula as the best way to address the political and constitutional stalemate created by UMNO’s support for PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Awang Hadi’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355).

The Pensiangan Formula comprises two elements, viz:

• Firstly, no government take over of Hadi’s private member’s bill; and

• Secondly, the formation of an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee with the overall objective to strengthen inter-religious relations in Malaysia based on the Malaysian Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Rukunegara, and with the specific objective to study Hadi’s private member’s motion, and to make recommendations.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Final tranche of questions for Salleh after the Communications and Multimedia Minister admitted he is unable to answer the 35 questions directed at him

This is the final tranche of five questions for the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak as he had admitted he is unable to answer the 35 questions directed at him in the past seven days.

This means however that Salleh is unable to reinstate his right to ask questions and to demand answers from others – having doubly forfeited such right when firstly, as Minister responsible for the portfolio of information, he failed to answer numerous questions about government scandals and failings; and secondly, failing to acquit himself when given a second chance to redeem himself when I put 35 questions to him.

Out of the 34 questions I have put to Salleh, 14 were about the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal and Malaysia’s international infamy and ignominy of having ascended to the exclusive club of “global kleptocracy”; three questions about Malaysia’s second international infamy and ignominy for being excluded from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015, regarded as the world’s school report, for data and sample bungling; four questions on the perfidy in UMNO and Barisan Nasional over Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355); three questions about the abuses of power and repression against critics and the civil society and seven questions about UMNO’s exploitation of the extremist politics of race, religion, “Big Lies” and hatred to hang on to power in the forthcoming 14th General Election.

It speaks volumes that Salleh is unable to answer any of these important national questions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons of the Arab Spring for Muslim Southeast Asia

MICHAEL VATIKIOTIS, GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
New Mandala
06 DEC, 2016

Southeast Asians must value the cohesive elements of society, embrace diversity and not allow political differences to destroy the pluralistic fabric of society if they are to avoid the disinetgration and conflict that has ensued from the Arab Spring, writes Michael Vatikiotis.

To understand the comparative success and failures of political transition in Asia and the Middle East, it is important to say from the outset that in neither part of the world has political transition worked very well.

The Arab Spring soon turned into Arab fall and winter, destroying the former countries of Libya, Syria and Yemen and leading to stronger military rule in Egypt. Here in Asia, there has been more of a rolling transition; it started at the back end of the so-called third wave of democratisation in the mid-1970s and ultimately led to the People Power revolt in the Philippines a decade later.

For different reasons and in different ways, this wave of political liberalisation stalled and then got started again after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. While Indonesia has undeniably embarked on the path to democracy, it is still regarded as only partly free. Prevailing democracy deficits in the region, suggest that Southeast Asia’s rolling transition still has not completely delivered effective change.

There are lessons each region can learn from the other. And perhaps counterfactually, I tend to think there is more that Asia can learn, specifically Muslim society in Asia, from the Arab context. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are MCA Ministers seeking “insurance” to remain in Cabinet as long as possible by equivocating on Hadi’s private member’s bill motion?

MCA Ministers led by the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai must have thought that they are very smart and clever in finding a way to get “insurance” to remain in the Cabinet for as long as possible by equivocating on PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion.

MCA leaders have been going round the country declaring that MCA Ministers will relinquish their Cabinet posts if Hadi’s private member’s bill is passed.

This is begging the question as MCA Ministers are completely avoiding the issue which may come up in the first week of Parliament beginning on Monday as to whether Hadi’s private member’s bill motion will be debated and passed by simple majority vote.

Will MCA Ministers declare that they will relinquish their Cabinet posts if Hadi’s private member’s bill motion is passed in Parliament either next week or the last week of Parliament from Nov. 21 – 24?

And if not, why not?

This applies to the Ministers from Gerakan, MIC and other Sabah/Sarawak Barisan Nasional component parties.

By making an artificial distinction between Hadi’s private member’s bill motion and Hadi’s private member’s bill, MCA Ministers hope to get “insurance” to cowardly and cravenly hang on to the Cabinet for as long as possible – relying on Standing Order 49(3), (4) and (5) to argue that although Hadi’s private member’s bill motion had been passed in Parliament, Hadi’s private member’s bill had not yet been passed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Six possible scenarios as to what could happen to Hadi’s private member’s bill motion in the 25-day budget Parliament

There are six possible scenarios as to what could happen to the PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion in the 25-day Budget Parliament beginning on Monday, viz:

1. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion comes up for debate in the first week of Parliament, whether on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and passed with simple majority support.

2. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion debated in the first week of Parliament and rejected with simple majority vote.

3. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion not debated in the first week of Parliament and deferred until after the 2017 Budget’s debate and passage in the last week of Parliamentary meeting from Nov. 21-24.

4. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion debated in Parliament’s last week and passed by simple majority.

5. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion debated in Parliament’s last week and rejected by simple majority.

6. Hadi’s private member’s bill motion not debated and deferred to next year’s Parliamentary meeting.

I am quite perplexed by the statements which the MCA President and the MCA Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, had been making in the past two days about the possibility of Hadi’s private member’s bill motion coming up for debate and vote in next week’s Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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