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Monday, 27 April 2009

FOOD FOR THOUGHTS

ISLAM. Secular state. Apostasy. Allah. I have often try to compare our values as Malaysians and other countries. It is not easy to get a comparison. Which is why, when I saw this article, I said, I must blog it. Thus, here it is.

NUTGRAPH SPEAKS TO ISLAMIC SCHOLAR

You have said before that Indonesia is neither fully a secular state, nor is it fully a theocratic state. What do you mean by this?

Meaning we are neither like Iran, nor like maybe the US. Because we have a Ministry of Religious Affairs, and Islamic values are always considered during the adoption of legislation, laws and practices. So Islamic values are always there to be considered, and I think it is only logical because 90% of the population is Muslim. You cannot separate Islamic values from the political practices and daily practices of the people. And therefore, we are not secular in the stricter sense of the term.

Neither are we a theocratic state because we do not intend to discriminate against religions other than Islam.

But how would you draw the balance? Do you think it's right for a state, if it draws its values from Islam for example, to legislate on those values? For instance, can you fine someone if they don't pray five times a day? Can you jail them if they don't go to mosque on Fridays, or [jail] a woman for not covering her hair?

No. Except for, say, local governments which instate these kinds of practices according to democratic procedures. I mean, [if] these practices were endorsed by the local parliament, by democratic procedures, anything can happen. But the central government [in Indonesia] will never do that. MORE

Friday, 24 April 2009

LANDMARK RULING

THIS is new. And it is great news. I have always been of the opinion that religion is something that concerns a person and the Almighty - God, Tuhan, Allah, whatever. Religion is private. Full stop. Thus the cabinet decision is remarkable, by any standard, considering whatever had happened before. But in the words of Indira, let us not win the clap but lose the war....

END TO CHILD CONVERSION
KUALA LUMPUR (April 23, 2009) :
The Cabinet has decided that a child's religion must be in accordance with the common religion at the time of marriage between the parents in the event that one of them opts to convert.

In announcing the cabinet's decision at a press conference today, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said: "Conversion must not be used as a ground to automatically dissolve a marriage or to get custody of children."

He said any individual who wanted to convert to another religion must resolve all problems regarding his responsibilities before converting, to avoid innocent parties, especially the children, becoming victims.

He said the cabinet also decided that if a marriage was done under the civil court, it could only be dissolved under the civil law. MORE

Thursday, 23 April 2009

FIVE MINISTERS ON CONVERSION

THIS is a move onto a right direction. We have heard so much about conversion, apostasy, body snatching and many more. Moorthy, Lina Joy, Datuk Azhar Mansor, Benjamin Stephen and many more. We even had a supposedly former priest talking on TV1 that he had since converted to Islam. With Najib on top, this five ministers move, is a welcome gesture. I hope they will also be looking at conversion as a whole, and not just this Indira's case. Am hoping and watching closely.....

FIVE MINISTERS TO TACKLE CONVERSION CASE

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Five ministers have been tasked to look into the case of three Indian children converted to Islam by their father without the mother's consent — the first time the government has done this.

The sensitive issue of religious conversion involving children after one spouse becomes a Muslim has become a headache for the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition.

The ministers will have to resolve the case, which surfaced recently when an Indian woman claimed her estranged husband had secretly converted their three young children to Islam in Ipoh.

The five comprise three ministers in the Prime Minister's Department — Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (Unity), Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom (Islamic Affairs) and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (Law) — as well as Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Shahrizat Jalil and Human Resources Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam. How they deal with the matter will reflect Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's plan to tackle this sensitive issue.

In the latest case, K. Patmanathan, 40, converted on March 11 without the knowledge of his wife, Indira Ghandi, a 35-year-old kindergarten teacher. Indira claimed her husband also converted their children — aged one, 11 and 12 years — by using their birth certificates.

The couple have been married for 16 years, but their relationship has been in trouble for a long time.

Indira said she was now living in fear of losing her children as her husband was seeking custody through the Syariah Court.

The youngest child is with him, while the two older children live with her. “I am worried about my children's studies. Their lives have been disrupted as a result of this. They can't go anywhere as I fear they will be taken from me,” Indira told reporters on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Koh urged all parties to remain calm and not to make comments in public as the matter was now with the court.

Despite the government's prompt action in this case, many were still not satisfied and wanted the ministers to come up with a solution soon.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism said it would help Indira appeal to the Conference of Rulers to intervene in the case. The sultans are the heads of Islam in their respective states.

“We are appealing to the sultans as the Rulers of the people in their respective states in the country. We will appeal to them and will write to them once we have determined how to go about it,” said council president A. Vaithilingam.

During Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration, there were several cases of disputes over religious conversion, and the opposition had used the issue to attack the government.

Last year, then Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim assured the people that the government was prepared to amend marriage laws and Islamic laws to resolve the issue. However, the proposal was never brought up again after he resigned. — The Straits Times

WHAT the MCCBHST said is HERE

IAIS and Alwi said is HERE

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

SUSAN BOYLE

(UPDATED) AM giving this a try. I have heard and
read quite a bit about Susan Boyle. Hope this posting is alright.
And if it does, am sure you all will be touched...
(Hey, I just tried and it works... just click on the title
Susan Boyle and u will get the YouTube.
My apology, I have yet to learn how to post YouTube here)

GOVERNMENT NOT MAFIA

MANY friends called me about the PM view on the Penanti vacant State seat. I have given several opinions but the following article seems to have encapsulate what I really have in mind. Read on my friends. It is food for thoughts.... and am somehow glad, coz I now have on my humble blog the two leaders of Sabah in the olden days... Syed Kechick and Tun Mustapha....

So, what is the real thin line between a government and a mafia or triad? That mafias or triads do not know how to employ a public relations company for legitimacy branding?

No. It is elections. It is the principle of "no taxation without representation", which ignited the American Revolution.

No mafia or triad will allow their subjects to elect their Godfather or Patriarch. You only have a duty to pay protection fees, but no right to elect your protector.

In a civilised world, a state must not be like a mafia or triad. That's why electoral processes and elected governments must not be subverted.

This month, when you pay your income tax, remember to cherish elections. Without elections, what you pay is only protection money. MORE

Monday, 20 April 2009

EX-SABAH STRONG MAN

I HAVE read quite a bit about Tan Sri Syed Kechik. The 'eulogy' below gives a good insight of the man that made a difference, for good or bad, in Sabah in the 70s. Deepest condolence...

THE POWER BEHIND TUN MUSTAPHA
That more or less describes the Kedah-born business figure who assumed national prominence between 1967 and 1976, when he pulled no punches in helping then Sabah chief minister Tun Mustapha Datu Harun rein in the opposition and buttress his position as the most powerful man in the state.

For nine years, he ran Sabah for Mustapha, who wanted a man he could trust at his side, coaxing and cajoling political opponents besides strengthening the political and economic position of the charismatic Sabah strongman.

He built the Sabah Foundation, which Mustapha used as his primary instrument to amass economic and political power for the state government, into a monolithic entity that had its tentacles in almost every sphere of life.

The very mention of his name evoked awe among the people of Sabah and envy among many in Peninsular Malaysia, who would have given anything to be in his shoes.
But Syed Kechik's story did not begin with fame and fortune, but in more humble circumstances like many from Kedah who had few opportunities in the agricultural state. MORE

Saturday, 18 April 2009

WAITING ON PENANTI

AIYOOOO.... another by-election? But, it is part and parcel of a democracy at work, isn't it? Things will clear up next couple of days. Including whether the ruling BN will take part. I received an interesting sms earlier today. The sender said: Am getting tired of by-poll. And I can foresee many more coming. Enough is enough lah. My reply: noted.

NAJIB: BN MAY SKIP PENANTI

PEKAN, April 18 — Stung by four straight by-election defeats in the peninsula, Barisan Nasional might skip contesting the Penanti by-election if there is consensus among component parties.

It that happens, it would possibly be the first ever by-election not contested by the ruling coalition since Merdeka.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the ruling coalition will decide soon after getting feedback.

"Don't know yet (whether we opt out or not). We will look first, but I don't rule out any possibility," he told reporters here.

He added he would meet with the Umno supreme council and leaders from BN component parties to discuss the matter.

"I will raise the matter at the next Umno supreme council meeting. If I don't have the time, I will bring it up to the political bureau, and discuss with the BN component party presidents," he added.

He had earlier called it a wasteful process, saying people were tired of the slew of by-elections and the focus should be on the softening economy. MORE

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

TIGA ABDUL (OOOPPSS) ... ALBERT

THIS is a rare moment
For the first time in my life
I heard my name being called so many times
Yet the callers were not calling me
Today, 15 April 2009
I met two other Alberts
Albert Ch'ng Chun Meng
Senior Private Secretary to the Minister of Finance II
And Albert Kok
Private Secretary to Deputy Minister in the Prime
Minister's Department
As if destined to be so
We all agreed to immortalise the moment
No good camera around
My Samsung U900 will do
And am glad it takes the essense
And the three ABDUL ... ooppss ALBERTS
That'll do...

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

DISAPPOINTING?

MY boss, who is now Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, has yet to move to his new office. That will happen only on Thursday. Some may feel it had been ages since he was appointed by new PM, Najib Tun Razak. But actually, the swearing in was only held last Friday, that's five days ago. The PM was entrusted to lead the country only a day earlier. I mean, what could one possibly do in two working days - yesterday and today? Yet, already people are judging - not unlike the juries in the famous Akademi Fantasia, a reality show to supposedly produce singers and entertainers within three months (what ever happened to talents groomed from childhood?). Still, I posted the article below to remind myself first, and hopefully all of us that the road ahead is without doubt narrow and winding. How do I feel right now? Am optimistic we are heading for better times....

DISAPPOINTING BEGINNING?

This cabinet follows in the Mahathir mould, one that appears to focus on the economy and exclude the need for political reform. It does not include individuals who appear willing to address the albatross on Malaysia's economic competitiveness, the pro-Malay affirmative action policy, the New Economic Policy, that has become a vehicle for corruption. After announcing his list, Najib refused to answer questions.

Najib is running away from addressing the factors that will hamper his government. He lacks public support. He is trapped by the system he inherited, the shadows of Abdullah's unmet reform promises and Mahathir's hardline approach. He faces a stronger and more cohesive opposition. Najib's style is more measured, but in these challenging times and in the light of his public credibility issues, the tepid responses have disappointed.

With each passing day that the new prime minister fails key tests, his tenure is shortened. Najib cannot continue to avoid the fact that his political survival is based on winning over the Malaysian public and bolder measures that deliver reform are essential. MORE

Sunday, 12 April 2009

KJ SAGA

THIS Easter Sunday, I met several friends and inevitably the conversation somehow leads to the Najib Cabinet line-up. And why, newly elected Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin was not given any post. I do not know the reasons. But perhaps this posting could give a hint or two. For the record, Limus is my friend. Whatever it is, one is innocent until proven guilty. It is a known natural law - the truth will eventually prevail....

WHY KJ NOT IN CABINET?

Sabah Umno Youth chief Japlin Akim, who was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Thursday and remanded for three days to facilitate investigations, was released on bail today.

MCPX

Japlin, who is also Sabah assistant minister for infrastructure development, is among the Umno leaders found guilty by the powerful Umno disciplinary board last month in the run-up to the party polls.

His party membership was subsequently suspended for three years. On Thursday, Japlin was detained along with a local contractor, Limus Jury, who was also freed on bail today.

Japlin’s bail was fixed at RM100,000 while Jury’s was fixed at RM300,000 bail. Their release from the Karamusing police station at around 6.15pm was facilitated by their lawyers, David Tan and Nobert Chin.

It was reliably learnt that magistrate Herlina Muse has during an ‘impromptu hearing’ held at the police station earlier, rejected MACC’s application to further remand the two for another four days after hearing arguments from both the MACC prosecuting officer and defence counsels. MORE

Thursday, 9 April 2009

AT A GLANCE

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER GRADING NAJIB'S CABINET

• Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister - This is a promotion for the Sabah politician who has become a hero in state, especially with the Kadazandusun population for his willingness to call a spade a spade.

He antagonized several of his Muslim colleagues by his willingness to speak up for Christians in the Cabinet. Believes that the word Allah should be used by all.

• Datuk Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation - Not a stellar performer but Najib has little choice but to reward Parti Bersatu Sabah and reward BN Sabah for its solid performance in Election 2008 so Maximus gets another shot at this ministry. MORE

NEW MINISTRY

THE waiting is over
Najib's cabinet line-up is complete
He leads, Muhyiddin supporting
And 28 others
My boss Bernard Dompok too
Commodity ministry given
Am determined to do my best
To offer my two cents to my boss
and the State,
and the country
Sure to learn so much more
Sure to learn the ropes
Wish me luck

GUILTY

SORRY, but I do not feel I want to write too much on this one. Suffice to say, let it be a lesson to us all....

COPS TO HANG FOR ALTANTUYA MURDER

“I find the defence had essentially been one where each of them is blaming each other and one of denial,” he said.

“As such the defence has been both irreconcilable and unbelievable, thus they had failed to raise any reasonable doubt in the prosecution’s case which I find to be irresistibly conclusive on account of the physical and circumstantial evidence adduced before me,” Mohd Zaki added.

“The prosecution has therefore proved the case against the first and second accused beyond any reasonable doubt. Accordingly, I find the first and second guilty and I hereby convict them both as charged.

“I therefore now sentence you first and second accused to death. Both of you will be kept in lawful custody until you are brought to a lawful place where you will be hanged by your neck until you are dead,” he said. MORE

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

BN 1, PR 2

ALRIGHT. I was wrong in my prediction. I had said, BN would win in Batang Selambau and Batang Ai while Bukit Gantang would go to opposition. As it turned out, the two hills remained with PR while BN swam in the river. What next? This piece I like. Read. And think about it...

MIXED RESULT SHOW BN YET TO TURN TIDE

The BN failed miserably in trying to woo voters back in the peninsula since its dramatic losses in the 2008 general election, even as it retained support in East Malaysia.

One irresistible conclusion is that the Umno-led BN is increasingly forced to rely on the Ibans and rest of East Malaysia to bolster its grip on power. If true, this geographical polarisation does not bode well for Malaysia.

As detailed results were not available at press time, the voting patterns by race are not entirely clear. Limited preliminary data suggests that the Malays remain split. If there was a swing either way, it would likely have been marginal.

Early data also indicates that the minority communities may have swung even more strongly towards the opposition. For instance, in the almost entirely Chinese area of Kuala Sepetang in Bukit Gantang, early figures showed that the BN won only about 15 per cent of the votes. That is half the number obtained in last year's election, said electoral analyst Ong Kian Ming.

With Malay votes not returning to the BN and minority votes becoming entrenched with the opposition, it would appear that the BN's strategies have failed.

The PR had won all four by-elections in the peninsula since last year's polls with a bigger majority.

In all four, the BN used a race-based strategy. MORE

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

ITCHY FACT

YOU scratch my back, I scratch your back. Itch is a very simple happening but also very irritating. And it is especially annoying when you are alone and nobody is around to help you scratch your itch. You can always try a house pillar or wall if the itch is at your back. Otherwise, get a stick and rub it on. Saw this on the BBC News. It is an example of a simple thing that is still beyond our supposedly advanced science....

HOW SCRATCHING CAN STOP AN ITCH

Professor Patrick Haggard, of University College London, said: "We all know that scratching helps alleviate itch, but this elegant study helps to show how this mechanism works.

"It's an interesting illustration of a very general principle of the brain controlling its own inputs, in this case by making movements that triggers an interaction between scratchy touch and itch." MORE

Friday, 3 April 2009

PM NAJIB SPEECH

PM Najib had delivered his maiden speech to the people of Malaysia. Hear ye, hear ye. And as he said, give him a chance and then only later, judge him by his actions. Fair enough. Am sure, we are going to have a better tomorrow.

PERFORMANCE NOW

7.These decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order, while recognizing the need to remain vigilant of the very real security threats we continue to face as a young nation.

8.I know that for every citizen, these are hard times and I remain focused in providing strong leadership to lead us out of this economic crisis and unleash our full potential as a nation. I will be steadfast in my commitment to meet the needs, aspirations and concerns of all Malaysians.

9.So, today I ask you to join me in this task of renewing Malaysia. I urge us to rise to the challenge of building a One Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.

10.Let us begin this great journey together. MORE

NAJIB PM

TODAY will be long remembered in the history of the nation. For the first time, a son of a former Prime Minister followed in the footstep of his father by taking the highest office in the country. Somehow, it reminds me of the Bush family in America. A new Big Boss. A new political will, perhaps. For me, much will depend on my boss. What is in store for Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, you may ask? The answer is out there, with our new Premier ....

NAJIB IS SIXTH PM

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 April 2009: Datuk Seri Najib Razak was sworn in as Malaysia's sixth prime minister today, taking over from Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who stepped down after leading the country for over five years.

Najib, 55, took his oath of office before Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at Istana Negara despite several attempts by various sectors to stall the appointment because of perceived doubts over his integrity.

Dressed in a black baju Melayu complete with sampin, Najib arrived at the palace at 9.42am, accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Together they entered the Balairong Seri at 10am, followed by Abdullah and his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah.

The dignitaries present included cabinet ministers, menteris besar, the Dewan Negara president and the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

A total of 319 guests, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, attended the historic event.

The ceremony, steeped in tradition, began when Tuanku Mizan and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Zahirah entered the throne room at 10.05am and the national anthem was played by the Malaysian Armed Forces band.

After taking his oaths of office, loyalty and confidentiality, Najib signed the four instruments of appointment, followed by the reading of the doa selamat.

The instruments of appointment were then signed by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff as witness and handed over to Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan.

At the same ceremony, Abdullah and Jeanne were conferred the nation's highest award, the Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara (SMN), which carries the title "Tun", by Tuanku Mizan.

After the swearing-in, Najib proceeded to Masjid Negara for Friday prayers and to visit his father's grave at Makam Pahlawan.

At about 4pm, outgoing prime minister Abdullah will officially hand over duties to Najib in a ceremony at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya.

In the evening, Najib will return to his Jalan Duta residence for tahlil and doa selamat prayers and will be on air to address the nation at 8.10pm on TV1.

Najib was born in Kuala Lipis, Pahang, on 23 July 1953, and is the eldest son of the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the nation's second prime minister, and Tun Hajah Rahah Mohd Noah.

This is the first time that a prime minister's son is holding the post.

Najib's leadership capability began to surface when he was elected Pekan Umno division Youth head in 1976. He then went on to become the country's youngest Member of Parliament at the age of 22 when he won the Pekan seat unopposed in a by-election following his father's death.

He won the Umno presidency uncontested in the recently-concluded Umno polls. By convention, the Umno president is made prime minister in Malaysia. — Bernama

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

BADAWI TO NAJIB

EVERYTHING is set for the transition of power. The next question: How or who will Najib pick to be in his Cabinet? How about my boss? I would be lying if I say, I don't have sleepless nights - what with all these questions and more. And my family. And my future. And my community. And my Sabah state. And the country. But, as in anything, I would like to think of myself as a pragmatic person. Bah, bah... let me stop here. And with the often used phrase: Who knows what the tides will bring tomorrow....

NAJIB TO BE SWORN IN ON FRIDAY

PUTRAJAYA, April 1 - Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin has given his consent for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to be sworn in as prime minister at 10am on Friday, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said today.

He said Tuanku Mizan had also consented to grant an audience to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib at 10am tomorrow for Abdullah to relinquish the post and seek consent to appoint Najib as the new prime minister.

Tuanku Mizan gave his consent at an audience with Abdullah before the cabinet meeting this morning, Mohd Sidek said in a statement here. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given his consent for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to be presented his letter of appointment as prime minister and to take his oath of office, loyalty and confidentiality at Istana Negara at 10am on Friday, the statement said. - Bernama