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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

'Arrogant non-Malays' jab aimed at DAP, says Zahid

Husam: Umno meddling in PAS to control Selangor

Report made over 'behead Dayaks' postings

NEWS ALERT: Islamic State Militants Rape Detained Christians For Refusing To Convert

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (BosNewsLife)-- Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq are reportedly giving detained Christian, Yazidi and Turkoman women and girls a difficult choice: Convert to their strict interpretation of Islam or face daily rape.

The female detainees in Mosul's Badush prison are among those who were unable to join as many as 200,000 Christians and others fleeing IS fighters, who have declared an Islamic "caliphate" in an area straddling Iraq and Syria.

United Nations officials in Iraq said at least some 1,500 people from religious minorities, including Christians, may have been forced into sexual slavery.

IS militants have been gang-raping some and selling others as brides for as low as $25, according to investigators. Many victims are reportedly as young as 14 years old, survivors said.

A captive woman told reporters that her daughter, who managed to hide a mobile phone in the prison, spoke of horrific experiences, including being raped by dozens of men over a few hours.

CHILDREN BORN

Other women said children born out of rape were ripped from their mothers’ arms, and never seen again.

BosNewsLife was not immediately able to confirm these reports independently, but IS militants have boosted about violence, posting videos of fighters executing people on a massive scale.

Additionally, at least four IS hostages in Syria were reportedly waterboarded during their captivity. Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which water is poured over a cloth covering the subject’s face, creating the sensation of drowning.

Among those waterboarded was James Foley, the young American journalist who was beheaded by the terror group for ongoing U.S. airstrikes against the militants.

Amid the crisis, churches in Iraq's Kurdistan region are helping refugee, including in the city of Erbil. "We wanted to show those people that we don't care if they are Christians, Yazidis or Muslims," Majeed Mohammed, a pastor in the area, explained in published remarks.

"They are human beings and they have been kicked out of their homes by ISIS. We want to show them that as Christians we love them...."

CHURCHES HELP

The long-term fate of the vast number of refugees remains one of the major questions in this urgent humanitarian crisis, warned Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), an advocacy group supporting persecuted Christians.

"Praise God for Pastor Majeed and other 'Good Samaritans' like him who are opening up their churches, homes and hearts to the overwhelming number of refugees in dire need," VOMC said in a statement to BosNewsLife.

VOMC added that it urged its supporters to pray "for continued provision so shelter and
basic necessities can be made available" to those in their care.

"May this fine example of love and service greatly encourage the faith of believers and serve as a bold witness to those who do not yet know Jesus Christ in a personal way," the group said.

It also prayed for a "long-term solutions for the thousands of refugees, so they may have
the hope of a brighter future"" and that "the hearts of the militants be touched as well, bringing an end to the atrocious violence in Iraq."

'I'm back, Obama': ISIS executioner Jihadi John taunts President as he beheads second US journalist, Steven Sotloff . . . and then threatens to kill a Briton next

  • Steven Sotloff, 31, from Miami, was captured in Syria in August 2013
  • The video is titled ‘A Second Message to America’
  • In the video, Sotloff describes himself as 'paying the price' for the Obama administration’s decision to attack ISIS in Iraq
  • His execution follows the beheading of fellow journalist James Foley last month
  • Sotloff freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines
  • Family of Steven Sotloff said they 'know of this horrific tragedy and are grieving privately'
  • The White House today said: 'Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Sotloff and Mr Sotloff's family’

(Dailymail)ISIS has released a video that shows the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and says the murder is retaliation for the Obama administration’s continued airstrikes in Iraq.

Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, and his death comes two weeks after James Foley was executed in a similar video.

In the video entitled 'A Second Message to America,' Sotloff appears in a orange jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

The executioner appears to be the same man who killed Foley – known as ‘Jihadi John’ - and tells the camera: 'I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

He also threatens to kill a Briton held hostage by the group next.

Tonight Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the video and said: ‘It is an absolutely disgusting and despicable act.” He added he will be making a statement on the video later.

Sotloff, 31, from Miami, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, vanished in Syria in August 2013 and was not seen again until he appeared in a video released online last month that showed Foley's beheading.

In the new video that shows the killing of Sotloff, the executioner points his knife menacingly at the camera as he speaks.

Clad in the same black garb he wore during Foley’s execution, the killer has a pistol strapped under his arm in a shoulder holster. The black flag of the Islamic State can be seen waving in the background.

Sotloff calmly read a statement moments before his murder. ‘I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing,' he says.

He adds to the camera: ‘Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?’

While he speaks, a militant calmly holds a knife at his side and stands next to Sotloff.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2740998/ISIS-release-video-showing-beheading-American-journalist-Steven-Sotloff.html


Burmese Beauty Queen May Myat Noe Refuses To Return Tiara After Row With Pageant Organizers

 

(IBTIMES) May Myat Noe, a Burmese beauty queen who was stripped of her title last week, refused on Tuesday to return her bejeweled crown, reportedly worth $100,000, until the pageant organizers apologized for calling her a liar and a thief. Noe has been accused of failing to go through a breast enhancement surgery that was paid for by the pageant.

Noe reportedly said at a news conference that she had done nothing wrong and had been dethroned over false allegations, while David Kim, a spokesperson for the pageant, which was held in South Korea, said that the 18-year-old “lied and never had respect for the main organisation, the national director, the manager, media or fans who made her the winner." The pageant committee reportedly wanted Noe to undergo a breast enhancement surgery in order to secure her a record deal.

"I don't want a crown from an organization with such a bad reputation," Noe said at the press conference, according to The Associated Press. "But I won't give it back to the Koreans unless they apologize, not just to me but my country for giving it a bad image.”

“I'm not even proud of this crown,” Noe reportedly said, adding that she had no interest in keeping the crown with her.

Noe also reportedly responded to allegations made by the organizers of the pageant, which is now in its fourth year, by saying that she had boarded a plane back to her home country before she learned the organizers had decided to take away her title.

"I was put under duress to undergo head-to-toe cosmetic surgery which I refused...I didn't have breast implants, but I don't want to go into details, to preserve my dignity,” Noe reportedly said.

The pageant organizers claimed that they had paid for a 10-day trip for Noe to Seoul for the surgical procedure, but she remained in the South Korean capital for three months, at the expense of the pageant, without going through the operation.

Crackdown may lead to nine by-elections

 
COMMENT The Sedition Act is now clearly used as an instrument of gross injustice and a weapon of mass oppression.

The recent spate of arbitrary arrests and selective prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat leaders represents a gross affront to the democratic process and signifies a breakdown in the rule of law.

To date, five members of Parliament and two state assemblypersons as well as several other Pakatan leaders have been prosecuted.

It is a long list which is growing even longer, with no one being spared except Umno leaders and their right-wing racist cohorts.

They are PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli, PKR MP for Padang Serai N Surendran (centre in photo), PKR Youth chief and deputy Selangor state assembly speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, PKR vice- president and MP for Batu Tian Chua, PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad, and DAP Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer and former Perak menteri besar and Changkat Jering assemblyperson Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Today, this wave of repression has taken on the hue of an outrageous farce with the prosecution of law professor Azmi Sharom for expressing his academic opinion on the Selangor MB crisis.

Incidentally, though it was not a view that was pro-Umno, neither was it pro-PKR in any way. But as a firm believer in academic freedom, I maintain that Azmi has every right to express his views.

Hijacking democracy and the electoral process

If the prosecutions are successful, it is likely that at least six parliamentary by-elections and three state assembly by-elections will ensue, if we include my own impending Federal Court appeal which, going by the current state of the judiciary, holds not much promise that justice will prevail.

What we are seeing is thus a blatant and shameless attempt by Najib Abdul Razak to hijack democracy by having duly elected law makers from Pakatan to be stripped of their democratic entitlements and disqualified from contesting in the subsequent by-elections.

This will be a grave perversion of justice via the back door of the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Yesterday, the dragnet of repression was extended to haul in members of civil society with the police arresting 156 Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) members - essentially citizens who have volunteered to perform their civic responsibilities to keep the peace.

There is also the audacious threat by the home minister to take action against PAS's Unit Amal which has been for years recognised by the people as effective in crowd control during opposition rallies apart from its other humanitarian and welfare work.

The statement from the Prime Minister's Office that the Sedition Act will be repealed is not only hollow but a gross lie considering the spate of prosecutions being carried.

How can such flagrant use of an archaic and repressive law convince anyone that the government is serious about legislative reform?

On the contrary, it nails the lie to the elaborate game of deception played by Najib when in July 2012, he proclaimed with much fanfare and PR blitz, his National Transformation Plan.

By holding out such a big promise to the people of making Malaysia the "best democracy in the world", while in reality imposing a new reign of Executive terror, Najib has therefore perpetrated a gross and reckless fraud on the people.

The volleyball blame game being played by the Home Ministry in tossing the blame on the attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail for this heightened pace of prosecutions is futile because at the end of the day, all are culpable in this despicable enterprise as they are part and parcel of the Executive.

Attack on justice and freedom

In a fully functioning democracy, such abuse of power by the Executive can and will be checked by the judiciary by summary dismissal of the charges for they are not just frivolous and an abuse of legal process but constitute a general affront to our basic sense of justice and freedom.

These are attacks on the very foundation of our constitution which guarantees freedom from arbitrary arrests and prosecution.

They are direct assaults on the democratic process which renders elected representatives to be duty-bound to speak for the people against injustice and abuse of power.

The question is: Do we have a strong, independent and vibrant judiciary that believes that politicians and their appointees who hold high executive office must act according to the rule of law, and not the rule of political expediency?

Do we have the requisite number of judges who will judge without fear or favour according to the criterion of justice?

Will they have the moral courage and conviction to send a clear message that they will not be party to the Executive's attempt to pervert the course of justice and violate the liberties and rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution?

A government must not only administer efficiently though in this regard the Najib government has failed miserably. But even more profound is the moral obligation to administer justly.

Racist speeches by Umno ministers and MPs, given full media coverage by Umno's propaganda network machine, are on the uptake.

Extreme right-wing groups and countless other racist organisations continue to spread and incite communal hatred.

But what does it say for justice and democracy when these racists and purveyors of religious extremism get off scot free while those who speak the truth for the sake of a better, more harmonious Malaysia are treated as criminals?

Merdeka Day has just come and gone and two days ago the Malaysian people were treated to a grand show to mark our day of independence.

It is supposed to be a celebration from the yoke of colonialism for our new found freedoms and rights.

Indeed, what a tragic irony it is that we are in fact witnessing the unbridled use of the Sedition Act that is nothing but a relic of this era of colonialism.

True Merdeka means that we must reject this law, not use it as what the Najib government is doing, with renewed vigour and determination as an instrument of injustice and a weapon of mass oppression.



ANWAR IBRAHIM is Opposition Leader and MP for Permatang Pauh.

'Arrogant non-Malays' jab aimed at DAP, says Zahid - Malaysiakini

 
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is reported as saying today that his statement accusing non-Malays of becoming arrogant was in reference to DAP leaders and supporters in particular.

He said the majority of non-Malays in Malaysia are moderates who respect the sentiments and sensitivities of other races.

“But it cannot be denied that DAP supporters had taken a different approach with their arrogant method of politicking,” The Star quoted him as saying today.

He reportedly said that earlier reports quoting him as saying that non-Malays are increasing arrogant and are insulting the bumiputera, the royalty and Islam, had been taken out of context.

Zahid was apparently referring to theSun, which carried a report today quoting him as making the “arrogant” statement.

“We allowed them to be indebted to us without needing them to pay it back; they are now insulting Islam and Malays under the pretext of democracy, freedom of speech, and globalisation,” he is quoted as saying.

According to The Star, Zahid said this was evident from the comments made by DAP and its supporters, especially those posted on news portals and the social media.

Non-Malays getting arrogant says Ahmad Zahid

(The Sun Daily) – Malays are paying the price for being kind to non-Malays, said Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said non-Malays are getting increasingly arrogant and are insulting the bumiputras, the royalty and Islam.

“We allowed them to be indebted to us without needing them to pay it back; they are now insulting Islam and the Malays under the pretence of democracy, freedom of speech, and globalisation,” he said when launching the Umno Segambut divisional meeting today.

He attributed this to the perception that foreign cultural norms are inherently better than Malaysia’s, and urged non-Malays to respect the bumiputras.

Ahmad Zahid, who is home minister, also urged Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to expedite high-profile sedition cases to protect the government’s credibility and stave off accusations of selective prosecution.

He was responding to Umno Segambut division chief Kamaruddin Ambok’s allegation that Malays are being selectively prosecuted while those who insulted Malays, royalty and Islam are escaping quick punishment.

For example, Kamaruddin said, the road rage incident involving Siti Fairrah Ashykin Kamaruddin, otherwise known as Kiki, saw her sentenced in court within eight days of the act while Seputeh MP Teresa Kok is still free.

He was referring to Kok’s political satire video “Onederful Malaysia”, which was posted on the internet during this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations. Kok is facing a sedition charge over the video.

Kamaruddin cited many other cases where non-Malays posted inflammatory comments on the social media and said this is a sign that non-bumiputras in the country are getting increasingly “biadap” and “kurang ajar”.

He said this is because the Malay community is divided and weak, and there are now even Malays joining DAP, a multi-racial but majority Chinese opposition party.

PAS Selangor serah nama-nama calon MB

(Bernama) – PAS Selangor telah menghantar nama-nama calon dari kalangan ADUN dari Pakatan Rakyat untuk jawatan Menteri Besar Selangor yang baharu menggantikan Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Pesuruhjaya PAS Selangor Iskandar Abdul Samad berkata, nama-nama wakil rakyat itu dihantar kepada pucuk pimpinan parti untuk dipersetujui sebelum dipersembahkan kepada Sultan Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

“Di peringkat Selangor kita telah serah beberapa nama kepada pusat dan terpulang kepada PAS Pusat nama-nama yang mereka nak berikan kepada Sultan.

“Kita sendiri tidak dimaklumkan siapa calon yang dipilih (oleh PAS Pusat) dan kita terima siapa sahaja yang dicalonkan mereka,” katanya.

Pada 26 Ogos lalu, Sultan Selangor menangguhkan peletakan jawatan Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim sebagai Menteri Besar sehingga menteri besar baharu dilantik.

Baginda menitahkan parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat (PAS, PKR, DAP) supaya masing-masing mengemukakan lebih daripada dua nama calon untuk dipertimbangkan bagi jawatan itu, selewat-lewatnya esok (3 September).

Baru-baru ini Setiausaha Agung PAS Datuk Mustafa Ali dipetik sebagai berkata PAS tetap mengemukakan dua calon iaitu Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, dan timbalan presiden parti itu Azmin Ali.

Dalam satu laporan portal berita, beliau berkata PAS akan berpegang dengan keputusan Jawatankuasa PAS Pusat pada 17 Ogos lalu yang mahu Azmin dicalonkan sebagai calon kedua untuk dilantik ke jawatan itu.

BN is still under the colonial yoke

After 57 years of independence the country has not moved forward but backwards.

The irony seems to be lost on the BN government that on the day we celebrated 57 years of independence, it was using pre-independence laws that had been concocted by the old colonial power to defeat the anti-colonial struggle, especially the Malayan workers’ movement.

These laws include the Societies Ordinance that is being used against the PPS in Penang, and the Sedition Act used against elected members of Parliament and even a “moderate” senior academic!

The Societies Ordinance goes as far back as 1889 when the British colonial power enacted the law to deal with a radical working class as well as an anti-colonial nationalist movement.

The Ordinance was used to register and deregister unions at the behest of the colonial power during the turn of the century when the Malayan working class was being progressively unionised.

An example was the Pineapple Cutters Association which was registered in 1908 but was deregistered in 1913. (Hua Wu Yin, “Class & Communalism in Malaysia”, Zed Press, London, 1984:84)

During the strikes by estate workers just after the Second World War, the United Planting Association of Malaya urged the colonial government to enforce the pre-war Societies Ordinance in order to control the unions.

Then as the struggle by the workers and anti-colonial forces gathered strength against the Federation of Malaya proposals in 1948, the colonial authorities enforced the registration of all unions under the restrictive 1940 Societies Ordinance.

Among the clauses of the Act, government employees were not allowed to join unions of non-government employees, an obvious attempt to divide the workers’ movement. The Societies Ordinance was again used by the colonial power to deal with the Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions which was leading the unions in the country during the 1940s.

Through its recent actions against NGOs and community groups, the Malaysian government has violated the right to freedom of association by regulations requiring that any society comprising seven or more people be registered by the Registrar of Societies.

As in colonial times, the home affairs minister has absolute discretion to declare a society unlawful if he believes it would prejudice the “security of Malaysia” or “public order or morality.” The Registrar of Societies may refuse or cancel the registration of a society on similar grounds.

In 2012, at least six government agencies were ordered to investigate Suaram to see if we had illegally circumvented registration. We were accused of being “foreign agents” and even suspected of money laundering. However, after six months of exhaustive investigation by those agencies, such accusations were proven groundless.

Today, while the country is feeling increasingly insecure with the failure of the security forces to maintain law and order, the Home Minister and the ROS have misplaced their priorities by deciding to use colonial methods on the PPS in Penang and threatened to do the same with PAS’ Unit Amal.

Likewise, the most recent charging of MPs and even a “moderate” academic under the colonial “Sedition Act” is an affront to the Merdeka spirit. Starting from the sentencing of Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar to 30 months jail for allegedly publishing seditious material in 2007, this shows bad faith by the Najib government when the prime minister had already pledged to repeal the Orwellian Sedition Act just before the 13th general election.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself had been quoted as saying that the Sedition Act represented a “bygone era” and would be replaced with a new law to prevent incitement of religious or racial hatred in an effort to protect civil liberties:

“We mark another step forward in Malaysia’s development. The new National Harmony Act will balance the right of freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution, while at the same time ensuring that all races and religions are protected,” Najib said not too long ago.”

Sedition laws in most Commonwealth countries have been repealed because they have been seen as an infringement on freedom of speech and a tool of colonial political persecution. More fundamentally, a truly independent post-colonial nation tries its best to discard all the repressive apparatus of the shameful colonial era.

The recent arrests of politicians and an academic puts us back at least 50 years into the dark colonial period. And just when I was about to join the Movement of Moderates, they go and charge one of my favourite moderate heroes for sedition. Maybe we are in the era of zombies for, as Frantz Fanon warned us in the Wretched of the Earth:

“Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonialists.”

Kua Kia Soong is a Suaram adviser

Use of Sedition Act thwarts academic freedom

The Centre for Independent Journalism is alarmed that even academicians are not spared now.

PETALING JAYA: The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is alarmed that the Sedition Act is being used to thwart the freedom of expression of academicians as well.

Speaking on behalf of CIJ, directors Sonia Randhawa and Jac SM Kee said, “This constitutes a threat to the fundamental liberty of freedom of expression guaranteed in our Constitution.”

They were referring to the charge of sedition levelled at Universiti Malaya associate professor of law, Azmi Sharom saying, “The censuring of an academic for giving an opinion in their area of expertise is also a threat to academic freedom in Malaysia.”

CIJ said that too liberal a use of the Sedition Act would stunt the function of universities and institutions of higher learning to the point it could not function appropriately.

“Restrictions must be necessary and proportionate. To censure legal opinion without demonstrating the threat to national security, public order or public morality is unnecessary and disproportionate,” the statement read.

The journalist body was also sceptical of the government’s statement that sedition charges were “a matter for the courts”.

“In Malaysia, the Attorney-General is both the chief legal adviser to the government as well as having the power to initiate proceedings for any offence.

“The combination of both functions in one person has led to allegations of bias or selectivity in the institution of criminal proceedings,” CIJ said especially when it was used by the government against its political opponents.

CIJ also said the continued use of the Sedition Act “makes a mockery” of the Prime Minister’s legislative reforms and his pledge to repeal the act more than two years ago.

“F… off to India,” NZ cop tells M’sian Indian

A Malaysian Indian cab driver racially abused by a New Zealand policewoman has his day in court.

WELLINGTON: Malaysian cab driver Ganesh Paramanathan who suffered racial abuse at the hands of a policewoman, told the court what transpired on Nov 3 at Queenstown, New Zealand last year.

According to stuff.co.nz, Ganesh said policewoman Jeanette May McNee, 44, told him, “F… off to India, you come here and get all the Kiwi jobs. Eat your curry. This is a Kiwi job.”

The incident took place in Rere Road, Lake Hayes Estate, after Ganesh picked up a group of six people from central Queenstown and drove to drop-off points in Quail Rise and Lake Hayes Estate.

Ganesh said, “She was pointing her finger towards my face and I pointed back at her and said, ‘Don’t be abusive and racist, I am only doing my job as a taxi driver.’

According to Ganesh, his reply got her even more riled up, and he claimed she said, “Don’t point your fingers at me.”

McNee is then alleged by Ganesh to have grabbed his left wrist, squeezing and twisting it.

When Ganesh told her not to touch him, warning he would call police, the cab driver told the court, “She got very aggressive, she held the door open and said, ‘I am the police’.”

McNee was found guilty on one charge of offensive language stemming from the incident.

Malaysian Government Nails Opponents with Sedition Act

Facing an internal crisis and weakened from scandal, UMNO seeks to silence opponents

By John Berthelsen - Asia Sentinel

The Sept. 2 decision by Malaysian authorities to charge Universiti Malaya law professor Azmi Sharom with sedition represents the latest development in a new front as the government seeks to hamstring its opponents using the law, critics say.

Eight top opposition figures have been charged with sedition in the past few weeks, with some of the charges relating to speeches made as long as two years ago. Sharom was told he would be charged over an article he wrote on Aug. 14 dealing with the continuing succession crisis in Selangor, Malaysia’s biggest and richest state, where the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition is squabbling over naming a new chief minister.

While Sharom is not known to be an opposition figure or a party member, he is the latest to face the sedition threat, apparently because something in the paper he wrote offended the powerful. This despite Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s promise to do away with the sedition law in 2012. Najib also promised to do away with the country’s draconian Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, only to shepherd a bill through Parliament that retained many of the act’s provisions.

However, the feeling among legal sources in Kuala Lumpur is that an injured United Malays National Organization, dogged by a long list of corruption scandals and faced by an attack on Najib by the octogenarian former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has adopted the strategy to attempt to cripple the opposition as a political force as much as possible.

In coming weeks, the controversial reorganization of badly wounded Malaysian Airlines will be on the cards, along with the possible passage of a goods and services tax that is expected to be unpopular with the general public. In the meantime, a massive scandal is said to be bubbling under the 1MDB sovereign fund that Najib helped to create. Mahathir, in a private letter to Najib, demanded that the prime minister do something about the fund.

“Some people are genuinely frightened by this, they liken it to Operation Lalang [in which 106 NGO activists, opposition politicians, intellectuals, students, artists, scientists and others were jailed under the Internal Security Act in 1987],” said a prominent lawyer in Kuala Lumpur.

The spate of charges come as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim awaits a decision from the Federal Court, the country’s highest tribunal, on his appeal of a decision by a lower court to reverse his January 2012 acquittal on charges of sodomy with a former aide. The trial, which began in 2010, resulted from charges brought by the government in 2008. A trial court exonerated him in 2012, saying the evidence was irrevocably tainted.

Sources close to Anwar say the opposition leader is dejected and fully expects to be imprisoned, despite the fact that independent observers said the evidence was badly flawed and that the case appeared to be trumped up to drive him from politics. Political leaders in the United States, Australia and other countries have condemned the case as politically motivated and damaging to the country’s reputation.

Both the ruling Barisan Nasional and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat are reeling from internal political crises that are causing widespread disgust and outrage in the wider population. The opposition crisis is largely due to Anwar’s attempts to replace Selangor Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim and with his wife, Wan Azizah Ismail, over a variety of concerns. Khalid has refused to go for weeks. The mess has paralyzed the state government, with residents complaining that a wide range of services have been interrupted from garbage collection to doing something about a drought, one of the longest in recent Malaysian history,

The crisis marks a dramatic comedown from the opposition coalition’s performance in the May 2013 general election, in which it won the popular vote for the first time since 1969 but didn’t gain control of the parliament due to the country’s first-past-the-post electoral system and widespread gerrymandering.

At the same time, however, the Barisan Nasional, led by UMNO, is split over Mahathir’s attack on Najib, whom Mahathir helped to put into office after leading the charge to oust Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. It is questionable how much clout the 89-year-old Mahathir still has. Although UMNO chieftains have rallied around the prime minister, sources have told Asia Sentinel that party rebels are preparing to go after Najib’s allies with anonymous charges of corruption. UMNO’s annual general meeting, to be held later this year, is expected to be a focus of the squabble

Among those charged in the past two weeks are Rafizi Ramli, the vice president of Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat, who was cited over remarks he made seven months ago alleging political attempts by radical Malay superiority groups to create racial and religious discord in Selangor. Another is N. Surendran, also from Parti Keadilan, who earlier this year criticized the court decision renewing the charges against Anwar. Others are Khalid Samad, a parliamentarian from PAS, the Islamic opposition party, who was accused of insulting the Sultan of Selangor, and R.S.N. Rayer of the opposition Democratic Action Party who was arrested for “insulting the feelings” of UMNO members in a speech in Penang in May.

Teresa Kok of the DAP, who made a video that allegedly insulted Malay women, and Tian Chua of Parti Keadilan also face charges. Former Perak MP Nizar Jamaluddin of PAS has been charged with criminal defamation for a statement he allegedly made two years ago.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen told Malaysian Insider that it would seem that one is only "safe if you keep silent or support the government.” He said it appeared as though Malaysia was a totalitarian state where no dissenting views were tolerated.

“The manner in which the Sedition Act has been misused to target all and sundry is unprecedented,” Paulsen said. "What we are witnessing now is Ops Lalang II and sedition is the new ISA, a catch all offence that the authorities can use with impunity against anyone who disagrees with them.”

Stop the injustice and mass oppression

The Sedition Act is now clearly used as an instrument of gross injustice and a weapon of mass oppression. The recent spate of arbitrary arrests and selective prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat leadersrepresents a gross affront to the democratic process and signifies a breakdown in the rule of law.

The dragnet
To date, five Members of Parliament and two State Assemblymen as well as several other Pakatan leaders have been prosecuted. It is a long list whichis growing even longer with no one being spared except UMNO leaders and their right-wing racist cohorts.

They are PKR MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli, PKR MP for Padang Serai N Surendran, PKR Youth chiefand Deputy Selangor State Assembly Speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, DAP MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok, PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua, PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad, and DAP Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer and former Perak MP and Changkat Jering assemblyman Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Today, this wave of repression has taken on the hue of an outrageous farce with the prosecution of law professor Azmi Sharom for expressing his academic opinion on the Selangor MB crisis. Incidentally, though it was not a view that was pro-UMNO, neither was it pro-PKR in any way. But as a firm believer in academic freedom, I maintain that Azmi has every right to express his views.

Hijacking democracy and the electoral process
If the prosecutions are successful, it is likely that at least six parliamentary by-elections and three state assembly by-elections will ensue, if we include myown impending Federal Court appeal which, going by the current state of the judiciary, holds not much promise that justice will prevail.

What we are seeing is thus a blatant and shameless attempt by Najib to hijack democracy by having duly elected law makers from Pakatan to be stripped of their democratic entitlements and disqualified from contesting in the subsequent by-elections. This will be a grave perversion of justice via the back door of the Attorney-General’s chambers.

Yesterday, the dragnet of repression was extended to haul in members of civil society with the police arresting 156 Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) members – essentially citizens who have volunteered to perform their civic responsibilities to keep the peace. There is also the audacious threat by the Home Minister to take action against PAS’s Unit Amal which has been for years recognised by the people as effective in crowd control during opposition rallies apart from its other humanitarian and welfare work.

The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office that the Sedition Act will be repealed is not only hollow but a gross lie considering the spate of prosecutions being carried. How can such flagrant use of an archaic and repressive law convince anyone that the government is serious about legislative reform?

On the contrary, it nails the lie to the elaborate game of deception played by Najib when in July 2012, he proclaimed with much fanfare and PR blitz, his National Transformation Plan.

By holding out such a big promise to the people of making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”, while in reality imposing a new reign of Executiveterror, Najib has therefore perpetrated a gross and reckless fraud on the people.

The volley ball blame game being played by the Home Ministry in tossing the blame on the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail for this heightened pace of prosecutions is futile because at the end of the day,all are culpable in this despicable enterprise as they are part and parcel of the Executive.

Attack on justice and freedom
In a fully functioning democracy, such abuse of power by the Executive can and will be checked by the judiciary by summary dismissal of the chargesfor they are not just frivolous and an abuse of legal process but constitute a general affront to our basic sense of justice and freedom.

These are attacks on the very foundation of our constitution which guarantees freedom from arbitrary arrests and prosecution. They are direct assaults on the democratic process which renders elected representatives to be duty-bound to speak for the people against injustice and abuse of power.

The question is: Do we have a strong, independent and vibrant judiciary that believes that politicians and their appointees who hold high executive office must act according to the rule of law, and not the rule of political expediency?

Do we have the requisite number of judges who will judge without fear or favour according to the criterion of justice? Will they have the moral courage and conviction to send a clear message that they will not be party to the Executive’s attempt to pervert the course of justice and violate the liberties and rights of the people as enshrined in the Constitution?

A government must not only administer efficiently though in this regard the Najib government has failed miserably. But even more profound is the moral obligation to administer justly.

Racist speeches by UMNO ministers and MPs, given full media coverage by UMNO’s propaganda network machine, are on the uptake. Extreme right-wing groups and countless other racist organizations continue to spread and incite communal hatred.

But what does it say for justice and democracy whenthese racists and purveyors of religious extremism get off scot free while those who speak the truth for the sake of a better, more harmonious Malaysia are treated as criminals?

Conclusion
Merdeka Day has just come and gone and two days ago the Malaysian people were treated to a grand show to mark our day of independence. It is supposed to be a celebration from the yoke of colonialism for our new found freedoms and rights.

Indeed, what a tragic irony it is that we are in fact witnessing the unbridled use of the Sedition Act that is nothing but a relic of this era of colonialism. TrueMerdeka means that we must reject this law, not use it as what the Najib government is doing, with renewed vigour and determination as an instrument of injustice and a weapon of mass oppression.

Anwar Ibrahim
Opposition leader

Cabinet meeting tomorrow must let Malaysians know whether the Barisan Nasional Malaysian government has gone bonkers

By Lim Kit Siang blog,

The top agenda for the Cabinet meeting tomorrow should be to answer the question right-thinking Malaysians have been asking the past week whether the Malaysian government has gone bonkers.

The week leading to the 57th Merdeka Anniversary gives new cause for concern as to the direction and future of Malaysia under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Of special concern are the speeches delivered at UMNO divisional meetings. I need refer only to three of them.

The first was the reckless and irresponsible speech by the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan at the Rembau UMNO division meeting, concocting the lie that “three days after the opposition (Pakatan Rakyat) forms the Federal Government, it will have its first cabinet meeting, where the main agenda will be the reunion of Singapore with Malaysia” coupled with the preposterous and utterly baseless allegation that this could be done (allegedly involving an increase of 89 non-Malay parliamentary seats) without having to amend the Federal Constitution in Parliament.

This was followed by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob whose speech to the Gopeng UMNO delegates meeting on Merdeka eve indulged in fear-mongering alleging that the Malays were “under attack” in Malaysia.

Ismail lamented that the Malay race is divided into ‘Umno Malays’, ‘PAS Malays’, ‘PKR Malays’ and ‘DAP Malays’ when it is imperative that the Malay race should stand united as they were when the country achieved independence.

It is most shocking and just unbelievable that Ismail could give such a speech which is totally antithetical to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razaki’s 1Malaysia policy to build a Malaysian where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first, and race, religion, region and socio-economic status second.

Ismail has been in Najib’s Cabinet for more than five years and clearly, he is a total failure as far as passing the 1Malaysia test is concerned.

Even more shocking is that Ismail’s racist speech is totally at variance with the Merdeka Message of Najib delivered also on Merdeka Eve, in a “live” speech instead of traditionally in pre-recorded messages, to make “eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart” connection with all Malaysians about national unity and patriotism.

Didn’t the Prime Minister brief his Ministers about the theme and thrust of his Merdeka Message so that they would not be contradicting and undermining him by saying the very opposite things?

Apparently not, for the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi two days after the Prime Minister’s Merdeka Day Eve Message, hammered away at the racial message when he spoke at the Umno Segambut divisional meeting yesterday, even making the shockingly irresponsible statement that “Malays are paying the price for being kind to non-Malays”, that “non-Malays are getting increasingly arrogant and are insulting the bumiputgras, the royalty and Islam”.

He said: “We allowed them to be indebted to us without needing them to pay it back; they are now insulting Islam and the Malays under the pretence of democracy, freedom of speech and globalisation”.

Zahid’s attacks on the non-Malays is most reckless, irresponsible and unfounded, especially his reckless attempt to distort and racialise the aspirations of Malaysians for good governance, rule of law, political freedoms, human rights and economic justice as a battle between Malays and non-Malays.

All these three UMNO divisional meeting speeches by the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar and the two Cabinet Ministers are seditious – will the Attorney-General charge them under the Sedition Act?

What is incontrovertible is that all these three speeches against the unity theme and thrust of the Prime Minister’s 57th Merdeka Message.

But it is not just these speeches by UMNO Ministers, Mentri Besar and leaders which are controversial, recent government actions also raise the question whether the Barisan Nasional Malaysian government has gone bonkers.

The two most egregious examples are firstly, the mass arrests of 157 PPS members in Penang on Merdeka Day itself immediately after their participation in a Merdeka Parade, showing the Inspector-General of Police’s utter contempt not only for Merdeka Day, the Prime Minister’s Merdeka Day message of unity and patriotism but also his reckless disregard of the blemish and stain such raw abuse of power would cause to the international image and reputation of the country.

The second is the slew of sedition prosecutions against Pakatan Rakyat leaders and today, against a law professor from the leading law school in the country – Prof Azmi Sharom.

The question whether the Malaysian government has gone bonkers have become stark and brutal when we have the Prime Minister eulogising the importance of the academia on the same day when the country is faced with the worst threat to academic freedom in the nation’s history, for Azmi is the first academician to be charged with sedition in the country.

Does Najib really believe that his eulogy for academic freedom after the unprecedented prosecution of an academician for sedition would have any credibility at all?

Who will believe Najib that he and his government truly regard the scholars and intelligentsia as the country’s most important pillars, when his Attorney-General can haul an academician to court under the Sedition Act, which had never been done by the other five Prime Ministers (not even in the 22-year Dark Age of Tun Mahathir) in the past 57 years?

And what is Azmi’s sedition offence?

He is charged with saying in a press report that what happened in Perak in the 2009 Perak constitutional crisis was legally wrong.

Have Malaysia’s academic freedom in the universities degenerated to a state where law lecturers cannot give their opinion about “right and wrong” about legal cases?

Have we reached a stage where lawyers defending Azmi Sharon may themselves run the risk of committing sedition just by defending Azmi’s view on the Perak constitutional case?

Is this Najib’s meaning of academic freedom and the rule of law?

The Cabinet meeting tomorrow must let the Malaysian public know whether the Barisan Nasional government, starting with the Cabinet, has gone bonkers!

Press Release | Malaysia Must Not Become an Authoritarian State


ImageThe Malaysian Bar is heavily critical of the recent spate of arrests under the Societies Act 1966 and prosecutions under the Sedition Act 1948 and Penal Code.  The raft of arrests and prosecutions of individuals lately shows that we are undergoing an intense period of oppression against citizenry and regression in the rule of law marked by the aggressive curtailment of rights and fundamental liberties under our Federal Constitution.

These individuals are being charged for allegedly criticising or insulting political parties and critiquing or making comments, albeit adverse ones, with respect to court judgments.  These are clearly not offences that are envisaged by, and that are within the ambit of, either the Sedition Act 1948 or the Penal Code.

In order for legal decisions to stand the test of time, they must survive the test of public scrutiny.  Only then can they be seen as sound judgments that will serve to govern our conduct and direct our actions.  In no way should criticism of court decisions, or how they came to be made, be viewed as seditious by virtue of being an affront to the administration of justice. 

The Malaysian Bar is particularly appalled with the charges that have been brought today against Associate Professor Azmi Sharom of Universiti Malaya.  His comments about the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009 are wholly within the purview of academic freedom and public discourse.   This cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute sedition. 

Likewise, we reiterate that questioning the exercise of discretion should not be seen as being disrespectful to those to whom that discretion has been given, but a legitimate examination of the proper exercise of that discretion as permitted by law.

Secondly, our Federal Constitution gives to the state government jurisdiction over the administration of local government, which conceivably includes the creation of volunteer groups to assist with local administration.  The members of the Pasukan Petugas Sukarela (“PPS”) are volunteers recruited from the community by the state government.  Any question over the legality of such groups should be settled by way of federal-state government discussion, and not by the arrest and detention, and the threat of arrest and detention, of members of such volunteer groups.  
 
Even if there is a dispute as to the legitimacy of the PPS, whether under the Societies Act 1966 or otherwise, there appeared to be no imminent threat to national security, public safety or order that necessitated the police and Federal Reserve Unit to descend upon them in the manner that they did.  The arrest of members of the PPS immediately after their participation, at the invitation of the Penang State Government, in the Merdeka Day parade in Penang was therefore an unnecessary, unreasonable and disproportionate use of police powers and discretion.  

Power and discretion are conferred by legislation on the premise or presumption that they are to be exercised properly based on intelligence and common sense.  It appears that neither of these criteria was present.  It gives rise to the impression that the police are arbitrarily exercising their powers merely because they believe they can do so with impunity.  This is an abuse of power and process.

In that light, the threat by the Inspector General of Police to investigate and possibly to charge people who criticise or allegedly disrespect him on Twitter is seen as an intimidation of members of the public, and is another example of a wholly inappropriate response.  

The Prime Minister once famously declared that the days of “government knows best” are over.  Yet the actions by the authorities in recent days to detain, arrest and/or prosecute individuals who have been perceived to have challenged or questioned the authorities, deny the very humility that that declaration presupposes.

The Malaysian Bar calls upon the authorities to cease acting in a repressive and oppressive manner.  These recent events have made a mockery of the 57 years of independence that we have just celebrated.  Malaysia must not become an authoritarian state. 


Christopher Leong
President
Malaysian Bar

Peguam Muda Kebangsaan akan lancar kempen

ImageAstro Awani

KUALA LUMPUR: Kempen #MansuhAktaHasutan yang akan dilancarkan Khamis ini merupakan 'promosi' berpanjangan selama satu tahun untuk memberi penerangan mengenai pemansuhan Akta Hasutan 1948.

Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Peguam Muda Kebangsaan, Syahredzan Johan berkata, ini merupakan kali pertama diadakan bagi menuntut Kerajaan mengotakan janji untuk memansuhkan Akta Hasutan.

"Kempen ini sebenarnya satu kempen yang akan dianjurkan Jawatankuasa Peguam Muda Kebangsaan di bawah Majlis Peguam yang merupakan simbol menentang Akta Hasutan peninggalan British.

"Ini pertama kali kempen kebangsaan nasional yang akan dilancarkan. Ia usaha kami bagi menuntut kerajaan supaya mengotakan janji untuk memansuhkan Akta Hasutan," katanya ketika dihubungi Astro AWANI di sini hari ini.

Pelancaran kempen #MansuhAktaHasutan akan diadakan pada Khamis ini di Bangunan Majlis Peguam di sini.

Jelasnya, pada Julai 2012, Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak menyatakan Kerajaan akan memansuhkan beberapa undang-undang termasuk Akta Hasutan.

Bagaimanapun, ia disifatkan tidak tertunai selain tiada usaha serius untuk memansuhkan undang-undang berkenaan.

Ujarnya, seramai 50 tenaga penggerak utama akan menjadi tonggak kempen berkenaan.

"Kita ada lebih daripada 50 ahli jawatankuasa dan tenaga penggerak kempen ini.

"Bukan semuanya peguam, ada yang belum jadi peguam, penuntut, aktivis dan ada rakyat biasa selain aktivis mahu melibatkan diri dalam kempen ini," jelasnya.

Dalam pada itu katanya, antara penceramah pada hari pelancaan kempen itu ialah, Presiden Majlis Peguam, Christopher Leong, Bekas Presiden Majlis Peguam, Ambiga Sreenevasan dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif, Pergerakan Kesederhanaan Global, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

English To Be Made Compulsory To Pass At Public Universities

CYBERJAYA, Sept 2 (Bernama) -- A new policy is on the card to make English a compulsory subject, besides Bahasa Melayu, for students to pass at Malaysia's public universities.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, said he had discussed the matter with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak about a week ago and the details would be announced later.

"The basic knowledge is not enough for graduates if they don't have the ability to communicate and write in English.

"Companies will have a certain benchmark. They want people who are not only qualified, but people who will be able to be the ambassador, who can communicate to the rest of the world and one of the important requirement is the ability to communicate in English," he said.

Muhyiddin said this at the launching of the Second Cyberjaya Graduate Employability Enabler (CGEE 2), here Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin commended Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal who mooted the idea to develop and execute the CGEE program, a talent development program that empowers, train and prepares local graduates, making them employable with high impact companies especially Cyberjaya.

He said CGEE had tremendous potential for making Malaysia a nation of game changers, inventors, and entrepreneurs instead of consumers, with the country, being a resource and diversely rich nation, having much to offer to the rest of the world.

"I was also made to understand that all participants from the pilot project of CGEE in 2013 are gainfully employed as of today, whereby a majority of them are employed in the high impact companies in Cyberjaya and some outside Cyberjaya," he said.

This year's program involved 139 trainees from six universities and Yayasan Sime Darby, who were being trained for some of the multi-national companies such as HSBC, IBM, Tech Mahindra, Emerio and AIG, he added.

Following the success of the CGEE Pilot Project in 2013, Setia Haruman has been allocated RM1.2 million by the Education Ministry to continue the CGEE 2 project this year.

Report made over 'behead Dayaks' postings

 
The Dayak National Congress (DNC), a non-governmental organisation, this afternoon lodged a police report over two Facebook postings calling for the slaughter of Dayaks.

The postings on the page 'JIM - Jemaah ISIS Malaysia' said that this is as Dayaks are non-Muslims.

One of the postings dated last Thursday alleged that Sabah and Sarawak are "kafir" (non-believer) states where Muslims are "compelled" to “slaughter" non-Muslims.

"Sabah Serawak adalah Negri kapir maka wajib ke atas umat islam menyembelih rkyat mereka di sana."

(Sabah and Sarawak are non-believer states so it is compulsory for Muslims to slaughter the people there)

In another posting today, the same user cited the Prophet Muhammad to say that the Dayaks – a loose term to refer to Sarawakian natives – are destined for hell and should be beheaded.

"Siapakah yang dimaksudkan oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. Tentang  golongan yg brpakaian tetapi bertelanjang dan mereka akan menghuni api neraka? …

"Yang dimaksudkan itu adalah Dayak. Mereka bercawat tapi masih nampak kemaluan. Barangsiapa bertemu dengan golongan ini. Penggal lah kepalanya.
"

(Who did the Prophet Muhammad refer to when he spoke of those who are nude despite being clothed, who inhabit hell?...

(He means the Dayak. They wear loincloths but their private parts can still be seen. Whoever sees this group, behead them.)

Checks by Malaysiakini at 5.20pm found that the Facebook page has been closed.

More dangerous than PPS

Speaking at the Sungai Maong Police station, Kuching, DNC executive secretary Alim Mideh (below) called on the Inspector General of Police to conduct an immediate investigation as what was stated was not only seditious, but could also cause racial and religious riot.

"The Dayaks are very angry over these statements. In order to avoid any untoward incident, it is in the best interest of racial harmony that the police carry out an immediate investigation and put a stop to these seditious remarks.

"If the police do not take action, there are some members of the Dayak community who are too emotional may take the law into their own hands," Alim warned.

He added that so-called Jemaah ISIS Malaysia is "more dangerous than the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS)", which 154 members were arrested as the unit is not registered with the Registrar of Societies.

"(Jemaah ISIS Malaysia) can cause racial and religious riot, if it not handled properly," Alim said urging other Dayak NGOs to come forward to lodge police reports.

He also urged leaders of Sabah and Sarawak to raise the issue with the federal government.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Syria's foreign jihadis: Where do they come from?

By Richard Allen Greene and Inez Torre, CNN

At least two Americans have been killed in Syria, and the video of James Foley's beheading is narrated by a man who seems to have a London accent, raising fears about the number of American and British Muslims going to fight in Syria. But do the U.S. and UK have the greatest problems? CNN crunched the numbers from 25 countries that have given official estimates of how many have gone to fight.


More than 11,000 people have traveled from abroad to fight in Syria, officials suggest, although some have gone back home again. They ally themselves with different factions, and sometimes change loyalties as groups merge, disband or change allegiances. Naturally, countries with bigger Muslim populations tend to send the largest number of fighters. Viewing this on mobile? Click here to see a larger version of this map.
But some countries with relatively small Muslim populations have sent a disproportionately large number of jihadis. Finland and Ireland have the highest number of foreign fighters per capita -- nearly one per 1,400 Muslims living in those countries has gone to Syria. Viewing this on mobile? Click here to see a larger version of this map.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, but tiny numbers of fighters going to Syria. And even countries closer to the conflict such as Turkey, Algeria and Morocco have sent relatively few. (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, which all have more Muslims than any country other than Indonesia, have not issued official estimates of how many of their citizens, if any, have gone to Syria.) Viewing this on mobile? Click here to see a larger version of this map.

All 25 countries in the study

Britain and France have comparable percentages of local Muslims going to fight in Syria -- just over one in 6,000 British Muslims and one in 6,666 French Muslims have gone to Syria, governments say. The figures in the Netherlands are not far off, around one in 7,700. American Muslims are going to Syria at a much lower rate, closer to one in 25,000. Viewing this on mobile? Click here to see a larger version of this table.

3 Columbus churches vandalized with graffiti overnight


By WTHR Channel 13

COLUMBUS, Ind. - Columbus Police said they've never had anything like it - three churches vandalized in the same night.

Someone spray painted them on the outside. It's the words used, though, that have some people asking if this was more than a prank.

“It was just one word. It said ‘Infidels!'” Father Doug Marcotte said of what was spray painted on Saint Bartholomew's Catholic Church in Columbus overnight Saturday.

Parishioners saw that, along with the word "Qur'an 3:151" on their way into mass Sunday morning.

“It's certainly not a warm and fuzzy verse. It talks about the infidels, their refuge being the fire,” explained Father Marcotte.

Specifically, that passage of the Qur'an reads: "We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers."

Saint Bartholomew's wasn't the only Columbus church vandalized.

“It's really bizarre and the fact that they hit two other Christian Churches. It's not like we're all in a line. So why did they pick the three of us,” asked Father Marcotte.

Outside East Columbus Christian Church and Lakeview Church of Christ, members there found the same kind of graffiti Sunday morning.

“Is there somebody that really believes this that we're all infidels so they felt the need to write it all over our church? “ asked Father Marcote. “Is this some sort of nasty prank? Is this someone that's trying to incite people against Muslims? I mean I don't know,” he added.

Columbus Police said they're looking at surveillance video to help figure it out.

Until they do though, parishioners at Saint Bartholomew's have been unsettled by the defacing of their church, at the very least.

“There's a lot of bad stuff being done in the name of Allah and so when people see this happening in Columbus, whether that was truly the person's intent or there's something else going on, It makes people nervous. It makes people upset. It makes them scared,” said Father Marcotte.

Columbus police would not comment on whether they had alerted federal authorities to the vandalism because of its nature. The priests at Saint Bartholomew's said they've been contacted by members of the local Muslim community in Columbus who have condemned the vandalism and offered to help clean it up.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

s Pope A Target Of The ISIS? The Vatican Firmly Doesn’t Believe So

Pope Francis is believed to be one of the top terror targets for the ISIS. Following the reports, Italy and the Vatican have beefed up the security of his holiness. However, these threats are being downplayed by the Vatican, and there are some interesting justifications to the same.

Pope Francis is against any kind of violence, and given the fact that ISIS is beheading Christians, the Pope condemned their actions recently. Having just denounced their actions, Pope Francis automatically made it to the list of ISIS. As all terrorists love to keep a “bucket list” of high-profile personalities to threaten, Pope Francis qualified for inclusion way before he even chose to make his views about the terror organization clear.

Italian media agency Il Tempo claims that Francis has been singled out as “the greatest exponent of the Christian religion,” and consequently a “bearer of false truth.” However, the Vatican feels that the ISIS won’t dare attack the Pope. It strongly believes that the Pope isn’t a target for the ISIS.

Why isn’t the Vatican concerned? Interestingly, the Vatican takes all threats against the Pope very seriously. Moreover, as The Inquisitr had reported, about 80 Italians have been recruited by the ISIS and are fighting for the terrorist organization. The ISIS has certainly proven that it is an international terrorist organization, and will continue its barbaric acts even against people who are Muslims, but not of their particular sect.

Despite these serious concerns, the Pope and the Vatican aren’t the top priorities for the Islamists, reported Newsweek correspondent Nicholas Farrell.
“There are fewer checks on terrorists in Italy and they can circulate more freely. Islamists regard Italy as a strategic place to launch attacks, not the main enemy like America or Britain”
Nonetheless, ISIS leader and self-proclaimed Caliph of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has previously made a speech announcing the group’s intention to “conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills.”

Cops release Penang exco Phee Boon Poh and PPS members

A member of the Voluntary Patrol Unit raises his arms to greet family friends outside the Northreast District police headquarters after his release this evening. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, September 1, 2014.Police have now released all 155 members of Penang's Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) as of 10.30pm tonight.

Earlier this evening, state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh was released together with a few of the PPS members who were arrested yesterday.

Now, only Seri Delima state assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer, who was arrested today, remains in police custody.

Phee, who walked out of the station looking tired, met with his family members and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng then broke down in tears as he was received by a large crowd outside the gates of the Northeast District police headquarters.

After being garlanded, Phee thanked his friends, supporters, Pakatan Rakyat party members and the media for giving him the encouragement to stay strong.

"If I was taken for the betterment of Penang, then I am willing to make this sacrifice," he said in between tears.

Earlier today, Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi announced their remand for a day till tomorrow to facilitate investigations.

He said police would carry out a crackdown on the rest of PPS members.

“We remanded Phee and the 155 members, aged between 18 and 67, till tomorrow under Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966. Seven of them are women.

“PPS is an illegal organisation, so we will arrest all its members. There is no deadline. Therefore, I urge the members to surrender themselves to the police.

Rahim said initial investigations showed 11 of the detained members possessed criminal records. Four of them tested positive for drugs.

He said despite the fact that only one person had links with secret society by virtue of being a former Emergency (Public Order and Crime Prevention) Ordinance 1969 (EO) detainee, the police would go on with the crackdown.

Rahim revealed the PPS members who possessed criminal records came under Section 304, 379, 380, and 392 of the Penal Code, respectively, and also various drugs offences, and customs laws.

“Some of them have records for attempted murder, theft, break-ins and robbery. The suspect who was a former EO detainee was convicted for a drug offence previously,” he said.

He added that police seized 153 purple PPS T-shirts and 154 maroon berets bearing the Penang state emblem that formed the group’s uniform, a PPS placard and flag, a Jalur Gemilang, a Penang flag, walkie-talkies and membership cards.

He said the detainees comprised pensioners, civil servants, those who were self-employed and students.

While reiterating that 14 men and seven women were released on police bail early this morning, Rahim said the police had information on 30% of the members.

When asked whether the state government had presented a list of members to the police to be vetted for criminal records, he replied in the negative.

He also denied claims that police and PPS had worked together to patrol the streets within the state.

“I do not want to get involved in the challenges that are being thrown about on this matter.

“We are looking at this issue purely on the legal aspect and not on political insight,” he said, when asked to comment on the exchanges between Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who announced PPS as illegal and Lim's continous defence of the unit. – September 1, 2014.

‘Negros’ and the mindset of pseudo-human rightists

 
“Why would any sane investor ‘invest’ in a company that has lost a total of RM4.3 billion for the past three years?” This was the question raised by Perak DAP economic development bureau chief Chong Zhemin in a reported statement on the subject of the government bailout of MAS.

Well, this makes sense. But the trend amongst politicians from both sides of the divide is the same. Take for example the goods and services tax (GST). While we hear pockets of criticism on GST, none of the parties in Pakatan have come to a concrete conclusion that they would abolish the GST should they come into power.

But the insensitive middle-class elites who are indoctrinated with the ‘ubah’ (change) slogan would conveniently forego any thoughts on serious matters pertaining to socio-economic imbalance as it really does not matter to them as long as political enhancement and rhetoric is achieved.

Let’s take another example. The Selangor saga. The elites seemed to have forgotten the root cause of the current saga. The Kajang Move was a breach of trust placed by the people on the assemblyperson who wa ‘forced’ to resign to pave the way for a certain politician to become the MB.

Now let us come back to the statement of Chong Zhemin. He further criticised the mooted MAS Act to facilitate staff transfer and review of employment contracts, bypassing the bankruptcy procedure.

He raised an interesting point and let me reproduce what is quoted.

Chong said the enactment of a MAS Act would change the legal status of employment for MAS staff, which could be unfair to them.

“The MAS Act is against natural rights and unjust as it could nullify all current employment contracts with MAS,” he said.

Interestingly, Anwar Ibrahim, too, came up with a statement. He had this to say: “Did you think what’s the future of the 6,000 affected families? Can you reflect on that for one second. Is it their fault? Were they lazy? Were they not competent? Whose fault is this?”

Now the issues raised are valid. Both Chong and Anwar  speak on the natural rights of MAS workers and the unjust associated with the new deal. I agree. But have you ever wondered where was natural rights and social justice when 800,000 estate workers were displaced from the plantations and the Indian Malaysia community were left stranded, their suffering unimaginable, and worst still this fact is not known to the Malaysian public during their displacement process since the 70s.

Anwar was the agriculture minister in 1984 when the estate displacement was taking place.

Let us for a moment ponder on the plight of these 800,000 mostly Indian Malaysian displaced estate workers from the 1970s.

They were employed in the plantation for four or five generations. They made the estates their permanent home. They were made to believe so by their bosses beginning from the white man right till the last employers.

Towards the ‘tail end of their services’ (I mean before they are evicted), their bosses who are the mighty and rich would play a game just like how it is now proposed on our national carrier MAS. Their bosses would sell the plantation to a new owner ie one of their sister company. Upon the sale of plantation, new contracts of employment would be drawn out with the estate workers who had loyally served their employers and country for almost 200 years.

Their four to five generation service to the companies and nation are lost permanently. These illiterate estate workers depend on the mandors  in the estates who act as their chief or spokesperson. Many of these mandors are also the estate MIC chiefs and the workers union heads.

‘Workers have lost their rights on the land’

The illiterate workers do not realise that they have lost their rights on the land they and their forefathers toiled and made the British and subsequent Umno masters (Guthrie, IOI, Kulim (M) Bhd and Sime, for example) and towkays (Berjaya Group, IJM, Hap Seng, etc) immeasurably  rich.

Finally the sister company sells the plantations to another (most likely) of their sister companies or crony entities which would be a property development company (eg Sime Properties Sdn Bhd). Then the sister property company would send their henchmen to evict the workers out of the estates with meagre compensation.

In recent times the workers have obtained ‘very good compensation’ for the sacrifices they as well as their forefathers have made. During one of my negotiations on the Bukit Jalil estate, the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor openly told me not long ago that the practice was to pay not more than RM1,500.00 compensation for each family.

So with RM1500 the estate workers are supposed to be thankful for the compensation successfully negotiated by the mandors and union leaders, whereby thereafter they are supposed to utilise these ‘huge sums’ for relocation into new housing Tamans, pay their own deposit for a new house they could ‘comfortably’ purchase, ‘retrain themselves’ in new skills so that they can seek new employment opportunities in the urban areas they would be moving into, and pay for a psychiatrist should they need to recover from their trauma.

Eight hundred thousand plantation workers have been ejected this way forcibly either through government acquisition or private, yet the selfish elite middle class community as well as politicians from both sides of the political divide  of Malaysia do not see that as human rights violations.

The community becomes fragmented, lose their jobs, falls further below the poverty line, they are the new urban underclass, they build new squatter houses to survive the effect of displacement, they build new temples and shrines on trees as a mode to keep their hope in this nasty world alive and yet bear the brunt of accusations by the middle class elites as “Oh Indians ah - they are always like that. Just give them a tree and they start a temple”.

A populist cause

The middle class and politicians like Chong Zhemin will speak up for MAS workers’ rights because it is a populist cause. It catches the attention of the middle class media. It catches the attention of the pseudo-human rightists. That class of the community understands human rights as they prefer to perceive it.

The plight of the poor and defenseless estate workers were  never an  issue. They are the lowest strata of the community anyway. Who cares about them? They are sub humans aren’t they? They are not politically worth a mention, until the election bell rings. Oh, it’s easy, maa. Just get our henchmen in our own parties to throw crumbs and they would take it.

If the crumbs are thrown by the Pakatan guys it’s okay because its termed as assistance. But if comes from BN then the demonising and stereotyping begins. “Indians deserve it. They are stupid. They never learn,” and the list goes on.

Human beings are strange creatures. They choose not to see what they do not wish to see. They choose to understand truth according to what suits them. They do not see the plight of the sinking estate workers who are struggling to survive in the deep ocean. To the poor, any help would do, doesn’t matter if it comes from the perceived devil of the elite middle class.

Many of these ex-estate workers succumb to the influence of urbanisation and out of no choice join the underworld for survival. They would eventually be shot dead by the police in the name of wiping out crime and the middle class and elites would hail the police for doing a good job.

For those of us in Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia who speak up for these community are termed racist, extremist, selfish, not seeing the larger agenda, etc. When we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government to seek permanent and comprehensive solutions for the benefit of this forgotten community, we were accused of treachery.

I for one would say the MOU was the underclass Indian community’s Bill of Rights. And I make no apology for saying this or for entering into the MOU with the government. We in Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia need not be politically correct. We just need to do what is right. We are not concerned with whom we work with as long as we can ensure a permanent solution to the community.

We the Malaysian Indian estate workers and all those descendants of indenture and contract labourers are no different than the black Americans who were once degraded  as Negros. I see us as no more than the once black American Negros who were exploited and their rights denied.

The Hindraf neo-democratic revolution would continue to evolve to bring meaningful changes to the socio-economic position of Indian Malaysians.

Selamat Hari Merdeka yang ke 57. (Happy 57th year independence anniversary.)




P WAYTHAMOORTY is president of Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia and is a former deputy minister in the PM’s Department.

IGP won't forgive those who insult him - Malaysiakini

 
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar today brushed aside an apology from a Twitter user who had allegedly insulted him, insisting that offenders will be punished.

"There is no forgiveness for anyone who abuses the Internet media to issue insults, condemnation or incitement.

"Wait for @PDRMsia's action," Khalid, who uses the twitter handle @KBAB51, said in a posting this evening.

Earlier today, Twitter user Viktor Wong had apologised to Khalid for insults hurled at the top cop yesterday.

"Hello both @PDRMsia @KBAB51, I am  retracting the suggestion on the bastardisation and apologise to you and all your members of the force," he said.

Yesterday, Wong, in an apparent reaction to the mass arrests in Penang, called Khalid "ruthless" and likened him to Heinrich Himmler, a leading military commander of the Nazi Party.

He also said that it was a "bastardisation" of the police force.

Himmler is said to have overseen the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust.

Shortly after the apparent insulting post, Khalid produced a photograph of the comment and instructed his officers to track down Wong and act against him, in a Twitter posting.

He also asked for action against  other Twitter users who called him a "BN dog".

Immediately after, the police through its official Facebook site acknowledged Khalid’s message and said it was in the midst of taking action.

'Azizah must be appointed based on 1992 royal deal'

 
Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has to consent to the appointment of Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the menteri besar because he is bound by a document signed in 1992 by his father, the then Selangor sultan.

Constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari said today the Declaration of Constitutional Principles, signed by six sultans, agrees that rulers will follow government advice, among other things.

This means, Aziz (left) said, the current sultan "may not" be able to insist on more names to be submitted as candidates for Selangor menteri besar.

"The content binds the rulers until today. It has no legal effect by the document itself but morally, it would be embarrassing for the rulers to ignore it," he said.

"So, in Selangor, the sultan has to appoint (Wan Azizah). Asking for more names, let alone refusing to appoint her, will go against the 1992 declaration and more importantly, the constitution itself."

Aziz said the document was formulated during Umno's tussle with the royalty in the early 1990s.

He said Umno at that time had friction with the Kelantan royal household as it blamed the royalty for having a hand in its defeat in Kelantan in 1990.

An undertaking to abide by constitution

 "The declaration was the result of negotiations between the rulers - led by the late Sultan Azlah Shah and Umno, led by Anwar Ibrahim, who was then an Umno vice-president.

"It was an undertaking, an affirmation by those six rulers to abide by the constitutional provisions pertaining to appointing the government, interference in state administration and business involvement, among others," he said.

Aziz said only the rulers of Kelantan, Kedah and Johor refused to sign the document but the other six rulers signed it.

He described the 1992 document as an attempt by Umno at that time to subdue the palace, which the party saw as a threat to its dominance.

However, Aziz said, the late Perak Sultan (right) did not entirely abide by the 1992 declaration during the state's constitutional crisis in 2009.

"Indeed, the late ruler went against what he himself wrote years before that; namely that dissolution was a matter of course that the sultan never refused," he said.

Sultan Azlan Shah had refused then Perak menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin's request to dissolve the state assembly after three Pakatan representatives sided with BN to give it the majority.

Rayer arrested in relation to PPS

Police detain RSN Rayer to assist in investigations regarding PPS.

GEORGE TOWN: Seri Delima Assemblyman RSN Rayer has been detained to assist in the police investigation on the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) set up by the DAP-led state government.

Timur Laut district police chief ACP Mior Faridalatrash Wahid said Rayer, the PPS chairman for Seri Delima, was detained at 6pm when he came to the Timur Laut police headquarters.

Rayer came to the police station to handle the release of PPS members who were in remand, he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

Mior Faridalatrash said that as at 6.30pm today, the police had released 30 PPS members, including its chairman, Phee Boon Poh, who is also the State Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman.

“We expect to release all the PPS members who were arrested yesterday by tonight,” he added.

Yesterday, police arrested 156 PPS members, including Phee, for allegedly flouting regulations after it was found that the organisation was not registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

Twenty-one of them were released later yesterday, and the remaining held in remand.

- BERNAMA