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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Perkasa: Tornadoes due to 'dog patting' and vices

The recent series of rarely seen tornadoes in the country has left people scratching their heads but Selangor Perkasa appears to have an explanation.

The right-wing group, in a Facebook posting yesterday raised the possibility that the recent phenomenon may be related to vices in the country which it says, includes a 'dog patting' event for Muslims and a beer festival.

"Could it have something to do with the widespread vices such as gambling centres, prostitution, beer festival and dog patting festival which have become an attraction (for tornadoes)," said the ethnocentric group.

The NGO said this phenomenon did not happen in the past and appear to have only come about recently.

"What is making these tornadoes to be interested in coming to this country when all this while it had never been interested to do so.

"In the past, we only hear it visiting the South China Sea and even if it does 'visit', it would be to Vietnam or the Philippines," it said.

Perkasa was referring to an event dubbed 'I Want to Touch a Dog' last Sunday at a park in Kuala Lumpur, aimed at breaking the taboo among Muslims about coming in contact with dogs.

The event was well-attended – with Muslims making up the majority of the 1,000-strong crowd – but has sparked outrage among conservatives.

Earlier this month, nation-wide events to mark the Oktoberfest beer festival too had drawn criticism from conservatives, insisting that it disrespected Muslims sensitivities.

Malaysians were taken by surprise when a tornado struck Pendang, Kedah, on Oct 14, damaging eight houses and uprooting several trees.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) confirmed the rare incident which it attributed to these factors - high humidity, concentration of air at low levels, and the unstable atmosphere.

A week later, a freak storm struck Pandamaran, Klang, damaging 30 homes, which some media reports have described as a "small tornado".

However, the MET described that incident as a "large-scale storm" due to the formation of high intensity clouds.

'Bajet fokus Bumi bukan kerana kerajaan rasis'

Uthayakumar: Waytha did the right thing by resigning

In prison, one dipper for all, says Uthaya

INTERVIEW During his imprisonment, P Uthayakumar’s wife S Indra Devi had repeatedly raised the issue of her husband being in unhygienic conditions.

Uthayakumar, who was sentenced to an initial 30 months under the Sedition Act in 2013, said that he had highlighted it because it was not his case alone - it happened to everyone.

Relating his experience with the ‘multipurpose dipper’ in Kajang prison, Uthayakumar said prisoners use the same dipper to wash their wounds and soak their underwear in.

The dipper refers to the “gayong” used to fill water to wash oneself with after using the toilet.

“When there is a shortage of food trays, wardens dump food into the dipper, from which inmates will eat from with their bare hands, even those with scabs on their hands.

Uthayakumar said once, he even saw a prisoner vomit in the dipper.

As for the food, Uthayakumar said the menu is tasteless. He calls his prison term diet as complete detoxification of the human body.

“It is the first time I heard of sup air (water soup). If there is oil traces on any of the food, it is considered to be such a treat. There is almost no oil, which explains why most inmates have very dry skin,” said Uthayakumar.

He said one can either accept the food or go hungry for the rest of the day.

‘In the dark room, Malaysiakini saved me”

Due to his often “smuggled” and written complaints, he was placed in the ‘dark room’ thrice.

“I will tell you how to smuggle only when you are inside,” said Uthayakumar when asked how he did it. 

Once, they put him in solitary confinement for repeatedly missing the roll call.

“I had to sleep on the cement floor, with the longest experience for 14 days. I was in solitary confinement with no pillow, no blanket and no toiletries. There is a small window which opens up to the corridor and when they off the light, it is pitch black. The door is of hard steel.

“Despite being a hardened activist, I felt helpless that I could not even save myself.

“I kept myself busy by having a routine in the dark room. I would walk in circles, at times a thousand circles. Then I would go to the small tap and wash myself. Then the food comes. Then I walk circles again in the cell. Once it went on for five days.”

However, on the sixth day, an officer pulled him outside the cell and told him that they had read his complaints which were published in Malaysiakini.

“At that moment I was thinking, if not for Malaysiakini it was during my worst times in prison, I was hitting rock-bottom…that in a way, Malaysiakini was my saviour.”

Uthayakumar has initiated contempt proceedings against those who were allegedly responsible for his conditions of imprisonment.

Yesterday: Utahaya recounts horrors of a Malaysian prison

Next week, Uthayakumar talks of Hindraf failure, his brother and Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

PM, ministers and ambassadors celebrate Deepavali

Rakyat Malaysia di London bantah Akta Hasutan

Terror in Jerusalem: Baby killed, 7 hurt in attack at Light Rail station

Palestinian known to security forces plows car into crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill station of Jerusalem's Light Rail; paramedic: car hit baby girl's stroller.

Noam 'Dabul' Dvir

Terror returns to Jerusalem: A 3-month-old baby girl was killed and seven other people were wounded Wednesday evening when a Palestinian plowed his car into a crowd of people waiting at the Ammunition Hill station of Jerusalem's Light Rail.

The driver - Abed a-Rahman a-Shaludi, a resident of the village of Silwad with a record of security related offenses - attempted to flee the scene on foot, but was shot by police. He sustained chest wounds and succumbed to his wounds late Wednesday evening after being taken to a Jerusalem hospital in serious condition.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the car struck the train station near the national headquarters of the police force.

He said police were investigating but all signs pointed to an intentional attack. "There is a strong possibility that it was a terror attack," he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in wake of the attack, saying: "This is how Abu Mazen (Abbas') partners in government work," Netanyau said, referring to the Palestinian unity government comprising Hamas and Fatah that Israel has consistenly opposed. "This is the same Abbas that only a few days ago called for harming Jews in Jerusalem."

Interior Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, who arrived at the scene, also said that, "all signs indicate this is a terror attack." He further said that the driver had served time in prison before. He praised the police for their quick response.

"This is not an intifada," Aharonovich said, noting that he had spoken with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that the police and the Shin Bet internal security service were investigating.

Two men in their 20s also were taken to Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus with light wounds. Hadassah at Ein Kerem took in three wounded women, one in serious condition and two lightly hurt.

Read more:,7340,L-4583138,00.html

Syria Isis News: 40 al-Qaida Nusra Fighters Defect to Islamic State with Enslaved Woman Given to Leader

By Gianluca Mezzofiore

Dozens of fighters from the al-Qaida offshoot in Syria, the Jabhat al-Nusra front, have defected and joined Isis (Islamic State) in Syria in the past days, according to a monitoring group.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights have reported that 40 militants from Syria's largest al-Qaida group moved to Al-Bab city, one of the bastions of the Islamic State northeast of Aleppo, and pledged allegiance to self-styled caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Isis reportedly offered an enslaved woman named Sabbieh to the leader of the 40 Nusra defectors as a reward for joining the Islamic State.

While no additional details were available on the desertion, the Observatory said the defected included an Emir who retired from fighting on the al-Nusra side.

Al-Nusra, which takes orders directly from al-Qaida's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, has battled IS in Syria in the past year while becoming the strongest and best equipped among the rebel groups fighting against troops loyal to president Bashar al-Assad.

Since September, however, US-led air strikes on IS positions near the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, which has been besieged by the jihadists, led al-Nusra to move towards a new alliance with IS. The Islamist group called the attacks a "war on Islam" and at least 73 members defected to IS earlier in September.

A source said al-Nusra and IS leaders were holding war planning meetings.

In February, in a bid to reassert influence among rival Islamic groups in Syria, al-Qaida had severed ties with IS, who reportedly disobeyed orders from network leader al-Zawahiri not to operate independently from the official offshoot, the al-Nusra front.

‘Pendatang’ furore proof of Barisan’s failure, says DAP

DAP said the fact that Malaysians were calling each other ‘pendatang’ or immigrant was a sign that Barisan Nasional failed in its nation-building policies. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 22, 2014.
That Malaysians are still using the “pendatang” (immigrant) slur against one another after 57 years of Merdeka is proof that the millions of ringgit Putrajaya spent on nation-building have been wasted, says DAP.

The party's parliamentary leader, Lim Kit Siang (pic), today said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should review his 1Malaysia and Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) nation-building policies.

"Since the 70s, there is a National Unity Department in the Prime Minister's Department, but all the tens and even hundreds millions of ringgit of budget expenditures have been a total waste and loss, when 57 years after Merdeka, extremists are hurling the “pendatang” label at ordinary, loyal and patriotic Malaysians."

He said the majority of Malaysians were local-born and "100% Malaysians", leaving no reason for anyone to describe another as a pendatang.

"This is in fact questioning the citizenship rights of Malaysians, which is entrenched as one of the four ‘sensitive’ rights in the Malaysian Constitution in 1971, whereby it becomes an automatic sedition offence to call for the withdrawal of a Malaysian's citizenship."

Lim said the term was loaded in a very derogatory, pejorative and even abusive sense.

"Calling loyal, patriotic Malaysians, born and bred and who will die in Malaysia as ‘pendatang’ must be condemned as a form of extremism, which Najib denounced in the United Nations and international forums since becoming prime minister."

On Monday, Gerakan delegate Tan Lai Soon was suspended by his party for saying Malays, too, were “pendatang”.

It was not the first time the “pendatang” remark was made. In 2008, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail made the remark to describe Chinese Malaysians who came to Malaya as immigrants during the British colonial rule.

The remark infuriated the Chinese and caused a serious rift between Umno and Gerakan in Penang. A Sin Chew reporter was detained overnight under the Internal Security Act for reporting what Ahmad said.

Ahmad was suspended from Umno and stripped of his party post for three years. He has since returned to politics as well as to his old position as Bukit Bendera division chief.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman also courted controversy when he described the Chinese as intruders brought in by the British. He is facing a sedition trial over the remark. – October 22, 2014.

Gerakan wants BN to act on 'extremist' members

Gerakan has urged all BN parties to follow its lead to suspend any member who makes 'extremist' remarks at annual general assemblies.

He said BN parties must do so following Gerakan's immediate action of suspending Johor delegate Tan Lai Soon for calling Malays 'pendatang' (immigrant) at the party's AGM last weekend.

"We have to take action immediately especially since Gerakan does not want to see any leaders from other BN component parties making racist or extreme remarks during their annual general meetings.

"We will urge party leaders to take immediate action on its members who make such remarks," Gerakan secretary-general Liang Teck Meng said at press conference today.

Liang (left) was speaking in general terms, but the only major BN party yet to hold its AGM is Umno.

Earlier a proposal was made at a division level Umno AGM for the abolition of vernacular schools to be discussed at the national general meeting. This prompted an outcry including from Gerakan.

While debating the Gerakan president’s policy speech on Sunday, Tan said: "Let me make the positions of Malaysians clear: Malays, Chinese and Indians were all pendatang, except the Orang Asli, Sabahans and Sarawakians, who are the original bumiputera."

The following day, Gerakan issued him a show-cause letter, urging him to explain his position within 14 days, failing which, he will be expelled from the party.

Zero tolerance

Under pressure from its members unhappy over the suspension, Liang today said the move was in line with the party constitution.

Liang explained that it was only natural for a member to be suspended pending investigation by the party's central working committee.

He also reiterated that Tan's (below) remarks were wholly against they party's stand.

"I want to stress that no race should be labelled as pendatang. What Tan said goes against the party's stand," said Liang in a press conference today.

He also recalled the case of then Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail who called the Chinese 'pendatang' in 2008.

"Penang Gerakan Youth wanted to leave BN over his statement. As a result, he was suspended for three years over his remarks."

Asked if this breaches Tan's freedom of speech, Liang argued that even the Parliament has its standing orders.

He also said he is "surprised" that the DAP, which promotes multiculturalism, supports Tan's remark.

“I cannot tolerate it and I feel offended if they want to claim everyone is pendatang," he said.

DAP: AG must clear air on Bible threat dismissal

Attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patail should come forward to explain if he had personally signed off on the parliamentary reply which explained why the threat to burn Bibles is not prosecuted.

DAP’s Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang said that this important not only so Malaysians would know the justifications for such a reasoning but also to know if a cabinet minister is doing the bidding of junior officers.

"If the answer was prepared by a law officer in the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) without the personal approval of the AG himself, does it mean that the minister in the Prime Minister's Department assigned the duties and responsibilities of a de facto law minister is merely an agent not only of the AG, but also of law officers in the AGC?

"If so, this will make an even greater mockery of the powers and responsibilities of the de facto law minister,” he said in a statement.

Lim (left) was referring to the parliamentary reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri on whether Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali will be charged for threatening to burn Malay-language Bibles.

In the reply she said he will not be prosecuted as he had no intention to cause disharmony and was defending the sanctity of Islam.

She said he was only responding to claims that copies of the holy book were distributed to Muslim students at a school in Penang.

'Most powerful AG'

In the wake of public outrage, Nancy explained that she was only relaying the AG’s position and that the cabinet does not meddle in prosecutions.

Lim said that if this is so, then the AG is the most powerful AG in the world as he is above cabinet and prime ministerial review.

He also questioned why Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has not stated whether the government or BN agrees with the decision not to prosecute Ibrahim for the threat.

Ibrahim recently admitted that he did say the Bibles should be seized and burned last year, but said his remark was only directed to Muslim parents whose children have been given Bibles.

Let’s stop this pendatang nonsense

Khairie Hisyam Aliman, Malay Mail Online

So finally someone shot back in style to the Malay supremacists. Last Sunday, a Gerakan man told UMNO last Sunday that Malays are supposedly ‘pendatang’ to this land as well. And for his troubles, Gerakan member Tan Lai Soon was immediately suspended from the party.

Various non-government organisations (NGOs) including ISMA — who once called the Chinese ‘pendatang’ — lodged police reports against him. Federal minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim reportedly wants action against Tan. On the other hand Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin said yes, Malays are ‘pendatang’ too but we came first.

But lurking beneath the fascinating responses to Tan’s statement is the point that this catchy rhetoric simply perpetuates a conversation that is fundamentally flawed.

The very concept of citizenship means that once you are granted a Malaysian citizenship, through birth or otherwise, you are Malaysian. You would have to pay taxes, obey the law, uphold the Constitution and swear allegiance to the King and country, just like any other citizen before you.

Once you’re in, you’re in — until such time that you renounce your citizenship. Apart from political alignment, citizens of this nation are all on the same side: Team Malaysia.

As a nation, there is no ‘us’ or ‘them’. Just ‘us’.

So why are we still talking about whose fathers came from where like it is the single overarching factor of everything today?

Our identity, past and present

History, of course, is important. Malaysia’s history is rich and the nation today has a wealth of diversified cultural heritage. Remembering where our forebears come from lends perspective.

Yes, Malays were in what would become Malaya long before the Chinese and the Indian immigrants came. But as our history unfolded, citizenship was extended to the immigrants, who in turn pledge loyalty to the nation.

Sarawak and Sabah had their own history and joined with Malaya to form Malaysia, which many seem to forget or dismiss today.

More importantly, the granting of citizenship back then was not conditional upon forgoing cultural heritage and identity. Unlike Indonesia for example, there were no nationwide assimilation policies per se to homogenise our national identity.

Hence today we do not have a homogenous identity as a nation. Rather, we have a multi-cultural identity forged by our various races brought together under one roof.

And we supposedly celebrate our diversity, going by how we advertise ourselves as a tourism destination. Yet we continue to talk about who came here first and who are supposedly superior because they came first.

This talk of ‘pendatang’, among others, tries to tackle an issue that is long past our control: that the immigrants of so many decades ago were eventually granted citizenships and their children were subsequently born citizens of the land just like any other Malaysian today.

But trying to undo the past is futile. None of us can choose who our fathers are, where our ancestors came from. Nor can we change what our fathers chose to do in the past.

Now Malaysia is what it is and there is no going back, nor should there be. Having each other with all the implications that brings enrich us further collectively.

We all own Malaysia

What we should talk about today instead is making the arrangement work for all of us, not just some of us. Like it or not every single Malaysian has rights to the nation as provided by the Constitution and the law.

While we cannot undo the past, we can shape the present and choose the future. We cannot choose our ancestors but we can choose who we are, what we do today and what we leave for our descendants.

For my fellow citizens who did not and do not wish to migrate away from this country, their choice is, essentially, to be Malaysians.

They are choosing to be loyal to this land they are born to and which they call home.

They are choosing to live here, to start families here, to fulfil what is expected of citizens here. And sometimes they even go above and beyond that for their fellow citizens.

It is something that many take for granted but nonetheless no less important. That choice to be Malaysian, to pledge loyalty to this nation and to serve it, should matter more today than lineage and ancestry.

Who is to say that the so-called ‘pendatang’ Malaysians are not as willing as, if not more than, other Malaysians to give their all for the country? Or that the other Malaysians are more patriotic solely by virtue of their ancestry?

The better measure of a good Malaysian, to my mind, is what service a person does for the betterment of the nation. And, in turn, how we can all prosper together while we are at it.

That, unlike who our fathers were and where our fathers came from, is something we can all do something about.

Anwar rejects exile

Najib Abdul Razak and Umno Baru were denied an early Deepavali present when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim dismissed all talk of going into exile, in London.

Just imagine the headlines in Utusan Malaysia and TV3 if Anwar had chosen exile: ‘Coward Anwar seeks exile to escape jail’, ‘Exile proves Anwar’s guilt’, ‘Anwar abandons followers, lives in luxury in London’, ‘We told you so; Anwar is scared to face the truth’.

When he was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph, Anwar expressed no plans to form a government in exile, in London, despite unsuccessful attempts by his friends to convince him to stay. He admitted the strain placed on his family. He was sanguine about reform.

He said, “It is very difficult, particularly for my family. But when I started this case for reform in Malaysia I knew it was not going to be easy.”

If Anwar had chosen exile, Najib would have effectively isolated Anwar from his followers. The rakyat would not be spared either. They would be told that throwing their money and weight behind Anwar was wasteful, and their support for the opposition a futile cause.

Najib knows that having Anwar in exile is as good as putting him behind bars; but there are subtle differences.

People who have conducted a long-distance romance know that the relationship could suffer without complete commitment and absolute trust. The pressures and sacrifices are enormous. Anwar, in exile, and his supporters would face the same test. Who would falter first?

In recent months, many disillusioned Malaysians have had their confidence shaken by the troubles in Pakatan. In the recent Kajang move, PAS appeared to be hastening the break-up of the coalition.

Disheartened Malaysians should heed Anwar’s words. When he led the charge for reform, he knew it was going to be a long haul. Change is not for the faint-hearted. Decades of Umno Baru’s decadent and divisive rule, cannot be unravelled overnight. Are we all prepared to wait?

Anwar has laid the foundations for change, and although he risks losing his freedom, we have nothing to lose, apart from some sleepless nights, or our cool, when we are spat on, in a peaceful protest, by pro-government thugs.

If he were to be jailed, Anwar’s companions will be a few books, if his captors allow him that luxury, and the cockroaches in his cell. In relative freedom, we have the companionship and support of one another, to continue the reform agenda.

Jailing Anwar is not a simple matter for it presents Umno Baru with several dilemmas.

First. Jail might make Anwar a martyr. Umno Baru will want to avoid this at all costs.

Second. Jail reduces many of the opportunities to distract the rakyat. At present, our attention is immediately diverted, should any bad news emerge. Notice how the major corruption or religious scandals are immediately preceded by yet another Anwar sexposé? Sex sells, especially among the Malays.

Whetting our appetite for change

Third. Jail will not isolate Anwar. He may be physically removed, from our presence, but he has whetted our appetite for change. His absence will focus Malaysian minds and provide renewed momentum for change. It will prove to the authorities that we are capable of leading the charge, by ourselves.

Jailing Anwar may backfire on Najib. Urgings for reform will be re-energised with vengeance.

Anwar said that his exile would have a detrimental effect on Malaysians, especially its youth. He knows that responsible leaders are important role models. He said, “...if people like me can’t stand up against these atrocities what can we expect from young people?”

He is right. The problem is not always with our leaders. Our youth can be equally perplexing.

Two days before Anwar’s interview with The Daily Telegraph, PAS president Hadi Awang (right) had given a talk to Malaysian students in London.

Responding to a question fielded by a student, Hadi told his audience that women were perfectly suited to be leaders in their respective fields, but that they had no legitimacy to be leaders of the state, or the nation. He stressed that the woman’s importance lay in nurturing the family unit.

There is sex equality in Islam, so one must assume that Hadi is a closet misogynist. Why has he avoided the remarkable women leaders from the decadent west and Israel? Any Malaysian woman who aspires to be a menteri besar, or prime minister should avoid Hadi.

He has conveniently ignored the women leaders in Pakistan and Bangladesh, both Muslim nations. He has forgotten the succession of six Queens who ruled the Kingdom of Patani in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The PAS president is entitled to his views, but more shocking was the reaction of some female students that night. They agreed that Malay women should not aspire to be PM.

It appears that Anwar has much unfinished business amongst the Malay community. We still need him to free young Malay minds from the bondage of conservative Islam, Malay feudalism and subservient culture. Without Anwar, few Malay women will contribute to nation-building.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Malaysians Of Hindu Faith Celebrate Deepavali In A Joyous Ambience

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysians of the Hindu faith today celebrate Deepavali in a joyous ambience by holding religious events and open houses.

The highlight of the celebration in the national capital is the Deepavali open house hosted by MIC at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World trade Centre (PWTC) here, which was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

The beating of drums and flutes accompanied the arrival of Najib, who is also Umno President and Barisan Nasional Chairman at about 10.15 am. On hand to receive him were MIC President Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, his deputy Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and other party leaders.

Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri and about 5,000 people of diverse races.

Najib, who worn a cream-coloured kurta, the traditional Indian attire, later cut a cake together with other guests of honour before leaving the function at 11.10 am.

Speaking to reporters later, Najib said the Deepavali open house being held annually in the country could create a cordial atmosphere among each and every Malaysians.

"Many can get to meet their friends of the Hindu faith and we must enhance further the feelings of goodwill and harmony among Malaysians," he said.

He described this year's event as very joyous and in accordance to tradition.

Meanwhile MIC secretary-general A.Prakash Roa said it was a unique feature that all races could celebrate together whenever there was a festival in the country.

"Not only Deepavali, during Chinese New year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, all can join in to sample the food and understand the culture of all the different races in the country and this harmonious atmosphere must be sustained," he said.

Foreigners who visited the open house also get to enjoy the auspicious festival.

Czech Republic Ambassador Rudolf Hykl said the Deepavali celebration in Malaysia, that was participated by all Malaysians from multi-racial backgrounds, was very interesting.

"The Indian community is one of the largest communities in this country, which is an ethnically rich nation. So for me it is important to have this experience," he said.

Meanwhile another well-wisher Ghazal Nabil from Syria said the festivity was very special because it was celebrated by all the communities while the food served could be savoured by everyone.

"I'm interested in the racial diversity here, I want to know as much as I can while I'm staying here," he added.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Anwar confident he won't go to jail

Uthaya speaks


CNN) — Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime.

That’s the apparent reality in Mauritania, the country with the world’s highest incidence of modern slavery. Located in West Africa, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, an estimated 4% to 20% of people there remain enslaved. It was the last country in the world to abolish the practice — in 1981. And it only criminalized owning humans in 2007.

I visited the country in 2011 to produce a documentary on modern slavery for CNN. I’ve witnessed these horrors first hand — met the victims of slavery and the slave owners.
But this latest news still surprised me.

Mbeirika Mint M’bareck, a 15-year-old girl, was rescued from slavery only to be subsequently charged with having sex outside of marriage, according to a letter activists drafted on her behalf. (It is unclear who fathered the child). That crime is potentially punishable by death by stoning, according to an expert I spoke with. The activists planned to send the letter to the country’s ministry of justice on Monday.

“We are shocked and appalled that the prosecuting authorities would bring the charge of (adultery), as this young girl is evidently the victim of the heinous crime of slavery as well as statutory rape,” according to the letter, which the activists provided.

The 15-year-old ex-slave was “heavily pregnant” during a court hearing, which apparently led to the charge of sex outside of marriage. Her alleged captor, meanwhile, was charged simply with “exploitation of a minor (without financial compensation),” as opposed to the charge of slavery, which carries a longer prison term.

ISIS releases sickening video clip showing Syrian woman being stoned to death by group of men - including her own father

  • Shocking footage understood to have been filmed in Syrian city of Hama
  • Cleric seen ranting at woman and accusing her of committing adultery
  • Woman told to be 'content and happy' at stoning as it is ordered by God
  • She pleads for her life before asking if her father could ever forgive her
  • He responds telling her not to call him father, then orders murder to begin
  • A man was also stoned to death for adultery in a separate incident

Islamic State militants fighting in Syria and Iraq have released a sickening video of a young woman being stoned to death by a group of men - including her own father.

The shocking footage is understood to have been filmed in the city of Hama and shows a bearded cleric ranting at the woman in Arabic and accusing her adultery while she pleads for her life.

The woman turns to her father and begs his forgiveness but he coldly rejects her, saying he would rather please God. He then turns to the men to give the signal for his daughter's murder to begin.

Minutes later, as the men rain rocks down upon the helpless woman, her father steps forward with a large stone and the video fades to black.

It is believed he had been granted the barbaric 'honour' of being allowed end the life of the daughter he felt had betrayed both him and her religion.

In a separate incident a man was executed in Idlib province in an area controlled by Islamist groups including the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence on all sides of Syria's civil war.

It is the first documented case of a man being stoned to death for adultery since Syria descended into civil war in 2011 and hardline Islamic groups emerged as powerful players in areas that slipped from government control, the Observatory said.

The sickening five-minute video emerged on ISIS-affiliated social media pages this morning. It is not clear when the footage was actually shot and has not been independently verified.

The exact accusations against the woman remain sketchy, although the cleric who appears at the start of mobile phone-filmed clip accuses her of committing adultery.

Read more:

Mais says ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’ manipulated its goals

A Muslim mother and her baby girl get close to a dog during the 'I Want To Touch A Dog' event. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, October 21, 2014.The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) today said that holding, kissing and hugging dogs during Sunday’s "I Want To Touch A Dog" event was not in line with the programme’s stated objectives as presented to the council.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa said he received a working paper on the programme from its organisers on October 3.

It outlined how it was aimed at teaching Muslims on the Islamic laws pertaining to dogs.

“The deliberate acts of holding, hugging and kissing dogs by Muslims like what happened that day is deeply regretted because such acts are against the ‘syarak’ laws.

“It was also not how the organisers had depicted it (to Mais) and was not in line with the programme’s objectives as mentioned in the organiser’s application’”

Adzib said the organisers had informed him that the objectives were: to explain the need to help dogs during emergency situations; situations when Muslims were allowed to keep dogs as pets; how to hold and manage dogs; and how to cleanse oneself after coming into contact with a wet dog.

“I understand that the intention or objection was to shed light and understanding on the laws related to the position of dogs from the Islamic perspective.

“Among the guidelines given to the Selangor mufti department as mentioned in the letter on October 9 was that while dogs provide many benefits to humans, Allah forbids that we touch them when we are wet and it is dry, or vice versa.

“This contact is considered unclean. But if both are dry, it is not considered unclean. That is why if dogs are kept to guard homes or to hunt, they must be kept outside the house.

"I Want To Touch A Dog" last Sunday drew a crowd of over 1,000 people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

But, the programme was criticised by several muftis and Malays who questioned the motive behind it.

Kelantan Mufti Datuk Mohamad Sh‎ukri Mohamad called for the organisers as well as the Muslims who touched the dogs to repent, saying that they had mocked Allah's laws.

Former Johor Mufti Datuk Nooh Gadut believed that the event was an attempt to insult the ulama and religious authorities.

The Johor Religious Council said deliberately touching a dog was haram (forbidden) because it was najis, or unclean, according to the Shafie and Hanbali schools of thought.

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said that while the ulama unanimously agreed that a dry dog was not unclean, a person could still touch something unclean on the condition that they clean themselves afterwards.

"The Shafie school of thought is rather firm on this. But, other schools are wider and easier." – October 21, 2014.

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'Let AG sit in cabinet to avoid more buck passing'

The Najib Abdul Razak administration should revive the previous practice of allowing the attorney-general (AG) to sit in cabinet meetings so as to avoid more passing of the buck, said law professor Abdul Aziz Bari.

Referring to the furore over the decision not to persecute Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali for threatening to burn Bibles, he said that this way, the minister need not answer for the AG.

He said that this will avoid the government and the AG’s Chambers from "blaming each other", especially in "controversial" cases and selective prosecutions.

"The fact remains that the AG is part of the government of the day; namely the executive and that is why the better arrangement is to have the AG sit in the cabinet, as part of the administration.

"This renders the law minister portfolio unnecessary," Aziz (right) said in an email to Malaysiakini.

He added that this has been the practice before Dr Mahathir Mohamad took over as prime minister in 1981, with attorneys-general like Abdul Kadir Yusof and Hamzah Abu Samah sitting in cabinet meetings.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri has come under fire after saying that Ibrahim is not prosecuted as he was defending Islam, in a parliamentary reply.

She later said that she was only relaying the AG’s Chambers decision and that the government cannot meddle in the AG's decision.

Meanwhile, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang contended that while Nancy was correct that the cabinet cannot meddle in the AG’s duties, it is not “impotent” in handling allegations of selective prosecution.

He said in a statement today that the cabinet cannot remain silent as public opinion views the attorney-general as being responsible for selective prosecution in this and other cases, such as the spate of charges under the Sedition Act since August.

“By the principle of cabinet collective responsibility, the other ministers should also have come to her assistance, but no minister is prepared to stick his or her neck out over what is clearly a totally unacceptable and indefensible action,” he added.

In response to Nancy’s plea today not to harp on the issue any further on grounds that it is “unhealthy”, Lim said what is truly unhealthy was for the Najib administration to fail to recognise this as a miscarriage of justice - that Ibrahim would get away scot-free while others were prosecuted without having made incendiary remarks.

Uthaya recounts horrors of a Malaysian prison

INTERVIEW P Uthayakumar showed what is an end of a much worn toothbrush on his index finger and demonstrated how to brush his teeth. It was brown, soiled, and the bristles were almost gone.

“This is shared by almost five of the prisoners in a cell - usually there are more. When I asked the wardens, they said it is because there is no budget for toothbrushes,” said Uthayakumar, who is bent on telling all about his imprisonment in Kajang prison.

Uthayakumar was sentenced to prison for sedition, but little was he prepared for what was to come.

He had served time under the now defunct Internal Security Act and thought it might be similar.

Now, after surviving his term in Kajang prison, he said it is something he would not even wish upon his worst enemy.

While in prison itself, Uthayakumar had written many complaints of his prison conditions in smuggled letters through his wife and lawyers.

The Hindraf leader was sentenced to 30 months’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 5, 2013, after accusing Putrajaya of genocide against ethnic Indians.

The Court of Appeal on Sept 17 upheld Uthayakumar’s sentence but commuted the punishment from 30 months to 24 months. He was released last Oct 3.

Uthayakumar, a lawyer famed for having galvanised the Hindraf movement which brought tens of thousands of Indian Malaysians to a rally in 2007 demanding for their rights, said it was all he could do to keep his sanity while in prison.

He said the one thing that he did not leave behind when he entered prison was his activism - the only difference being that he spoke up for all races in prison, not only for Indian Malaysians, as he was wont to do outside.

“In prison, all are treated equally - equally badly. There’s really 1Malaysia in prison. There is equality for all.

“In prison, it doesn’t matter, you get equal treatment and you get the same food,” said the activist in an interview with Malaysiakini.

He admitted that this is contrary to deaths in police custody as well as deaths by police shooting, in which he had all the while claimed victims were mostly Indian Malaysians.

He explained that even during roll calls, which was several times a day and called ‘muster’, everybody got punished equally.

“There are no special privileges for anybody. And the natural reaction is that we are all in it together.”

‘Doctor checks from six feet away’

Uthayakumar said much is needed to better the conditions of the Kajang prison for men, especially when it came to medical care.

“What I feared most while in prison was that I would fall ill.”

His eyes glistened with tears when he spoke about the predicament of a fellow inmate.

‘The inmate had hepatitis C but the prison wardens said there was nothing wrong with him. One night, I saw him sitting on his bed, with a helpless look on his face.

“The next morning, he died, and I saw a prison officer erasing his name from the white board.

“I told the prisoner next to me, with that erasing, all the records of him having died in prison, are gone,’ he said.

Uthayakumar said for every ailment, the medication is the ‘KK’ pills - plain paracetamol.

“And the doctor checks you from six feet away, without touching you,” said Uthayakumar, who said he was usually appointed the spokesperson by his fellow inmates to speak to the wardens.

He said he had to be very careful and be at his utmost politeness while choosing the least strict of the wardens to ask for sickly fellow inmates to be given medical care.

He said his fellow inmates, before he left, lamented that in his absence, no one would speak up for them now.

Uthayakumar, however, said that he survived being sardine-packed in cells by keeping a journal, which at times was checked upon. They even took away his pencils and then he was moved on from one block to another.

Despite the ordeal, he said other prisoners had it worse.

He claimed that prisoners were persecuted on a daily basis and no one could answer the wardens, who struck fear with their violence and shouts.

He said inmates were treated like “mere slaves”; being beaten up, shouted at and ill-treated.

Despite that, the inmates stuck together for fear of the wardens.

He related how he witnessed inmates of different races helping each other - a Malay helping out a Chinese, or even of a Malay inmate cleaning up a paralysed Indian inmate every time the latter answered the call of nature, to the extent of using his fingers to ease the bowels of the latter.

Cultural Purity is an Oxymoron

by Luqman L

The current discourse of ‘Malays being pendatang’ initially prompted me to write a letter in which I hoped to provide a researched and balanced historical overview.

Since RPK has written two articles on the subject, I shall refrain from doing so. In view of his framing of his dialectic that Malays are not pendatangs on the basis of historical timeline, I am in agreement with him.

There is too much research and information that covers the significantly heterogeneity of the category ‘Malay’ that it will be a futile effort to write it all, so what I would like to add briefly is similar in theme to my previous letter; that any assertion of ancestral, racial or cultural superiority is a social construct that should be done away with if we are all really serious about nation-building.

This transcends any pendatang or no-pendatang discourse.

The readership now knows that Malay as a language has its roots as an Austronesian language, with heavily borrowed Sanskirt words, and was spoken and written in Old Malay in the form of Jawi. In fact the word ‘Bahasa’ is a Sanskirt word. (Pollock 1998; Day 2002) We should also note that this has existed since the Sri Vijaya empire, which is Indian in origin. (Milner 2011) Note that Old Malay here in the form of Jawi is not something that belongs to what our modern concept of Malay is, nor is it an Islamic language. It has part of its roots in Hinduism and is Indianized.

To trace the Austronesian speakers, we know that their origins in our geographical region can be traced back to their colonization of the Malay Archipelago from southern China and Taiwan. (Collins 1998; Bulbeck 2004)

Additionally, many of the terms and words that are used in the language heavily references Indian concepts and vocabulary, especially about worship, potions, curses, and the afterlife. (Wheatley 1966; Coedes 1968, p81; Milner 2011)

1. So, from a language point of view, we have Old Malay/Jawi which isn’t Islamic in origin, that is heavily influenced by Sanskrit, and has a significant word-concept association based on Hindu cosmology. Additionally, with the Austronesians coming from China and Taiwan, we can assume that the current form of Malay as a tool of constituting the Malay category is syncretic and has certain roots in the other ethnic groups comprising modern Malaysia. Why then the 1930s slogan of Hidup Bahasa! Hidup Bangsa! (Hooker 2000) that has today been equated to be integral to Malayness and to describe the race itself. (Milner 2011)

When Sri Vijaya emerged as an empire in the late 7th century, this saw a mass migration of Sumatrans and Indians into the peninsula (Cortesao 1990; Milner 2011). In later centuries, there have been reports by Arab traders that ‘Kalah’ (believed to be in South Kedah) on the Peninsula are ‘inhabited by Indians’ as well as ‘Chinese’, as settlers to the region. (Tibbetts 1979; Jacq-Hergoualc’h 2001)

Additionally, in the fluid ‘social organization’ that was typified by the ruler-subject kerajaan in the later centuries post-Sri Vijaya, there was no segregation by the raja/maharajah/sultan as to ethnicity or descend but rather, propensity for work – all were known as subjects to the area’s Raja/Sultan, (Jawi Peranakan 26 September 1887; Dumont 1992; King 1993; Milner 2011) and these included people whom we now term Dayaks, Bataks, Ibans, among others. (Rousseau 1990) As we can see, unlike the ethnic currents today, the ‘Malays’ of old had a relative lack of concern about descent. (Bellwood 1985; Macknight 1986; Fox 2006)

Further, in an anecdote related in Hikayat Hang Tuah, the people of Melaka identified themselves to Hang Tuah as ‘hybrid Malays’. (Md. Salleh Yaapar 2005) Let us remember the significance of Hikayat Hang Tuah as a central text to Malay culture and literature, and the assertion of the Melaka sultanate as the golden age of the Malays.

2. As a racial category, ‘Malay’ has roots in Malay, Indian, Chinese, Arab, and Orang Asli categories. Why are we quibbling over racial purity? How more Malaysian can the category be? Similarly, the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia have no such claims to racial purity.

From an aesthetic or visual manifestation of ‘culture’, the wakaf design that is vernacularly Malay in origin, can be attributed to the Indic (Indian) element that represents ‘Mount Meru’ (Bosch 1960, p95-98) going back to the Indianization of the Malay Archipelago during the Sri Vijaya period; Mount Meru being the axis of the universe in classical Indian thought. Many originally Indian and Chinese zoomorphic motifs that typified traditional Malay carvings and architecture have also been changed to floral and plant-based designs after Islamic consciousness. It has also been well documented that many of the early Malay architectural forms are derivatives of architecture from Chinese, Indian, and Arab concepts.

It is also now commonly known that cultural practices such as cukur jambul and bersanding as it is practised, are essentially Hindu practices based on Hindu devotional beliefs that in its early days saw the couple seated on a dais with the motif of Mount Meru. (Nagata 1974; Karim 1992; Peletz 1997)

3. What is culture? With a wide range of influences from all communities inhabiting Malaysia, isn’t cultural purity an oxymoron?

The spread of Islam from the 13th – 14th centuries in the Peninsula and Sumatra has been attributed in large part to the Indian polities rather than the Middle Eastern traders as has been commonly thought. (Wheatley 1966; Bellina and Glover 2004; Milner 2011)

In the Islamic Museum in Kuala Lumpur (when I checked in 2003), there is also an exhibit that bears a plaque that communicates it is believed it was not the Arab traders that first brought Islam to the Melaka Sultanate but the Chinese traders. Further to this, one of the first conversions to Islam in Melaka was by the Sultan who was influenced by a Moorish Sufi (Moors originate from Africa who then controlled Spain). (Milner 2011)

4. What is this Melayu-Muslim? Is there a need for another social construction to further try and hem in what it means to be Malay?

Let us not be carried away by a presumed intent for me to offend or insult. I am merely trying to convey several points that I have highlighted above that stand in the way of Malaysia’s nation-building efforts.

Late in the 19th century, one of the observations that Sir Frank Swettenham made of the Malays was that they were “… extraordinarily sensitive in regard to any real or fancied insult.” (1907, p134-143; 1901) Governor Raffles noted that they were “alive to insult” (1992, p236). Chinese were also observed to be “hicksters” and “tricksters”.

Let’s move beyond that, as has oft been proven by later writers who debunk such stereotypical traits. We are each individuals with the same set of negativities and strengths. Those observations were made almost a century ago – have we not evolved as peoples? Why do we still insist on reconstituting the idea of race to these stereotypes?

While I should probably write a 4-parter of sorts on this topic providing more depth per-category, I think it is time we all did more research instead of just mouthing off – the references I provided are explicitly for that reason. This is especially pertinent if we want to contribute positively to the discourse at hand with any degree of sincerity towards a Malaysia that was envisioned at the time of our Independence.

Each of our communities has roots in many diverse influences that make any claims to cultural or racial purity a sham.

It’s about time we all stop with the Malay-nationalist/Chinese-nationalist/Indian-nationalist projects and truly start with the Malaysian Project.

P.s. Due to time constraints, the list below is not the complete bibliography. Please do request if you really want the full bib list.

Bulbeck, D. (2004). ‘Indigenious Traditions and Exogenous Influences in the Early History of Peninsula Malaysia’, in Glover and Bellwood (eds), Southeast Asia, 314-336.

Coedes, G. (1968). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. Honolulu: East-West Center Press.

Cortesao, A. (ed.) (1990). The Suma Oriental of Tome Pires. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services.

Collins, J. (1998). Malay, World Language: A Short History. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

Day, T. (2002). Fluid Iron: State Formation in South-east Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Dumont, L. (1992). Essays on Individualism: Modern Ideology in Anthropological Perspective. London: University of Chicago Press.

Hooker, V. (2000). Writing a New Society: Social Change through the Novel in Malay. St Leonards: Allen and Unwin.

King, V. (1979). Ethnic Classification and Ethnic Relations: A Borneo Case Study. Hull: University of Hull.

Pollock, S. (1998). The Cosmopolitan Vernacular. JAS, 57, 1, 6-37.

Milner, A. (2011). The Malays. Sussex : Blackwell.

Swettenham, Frank. (1901) The Real Malay: Pen Pictures. London : John Lane.

Swettenham, Frank. (1907) British Malaya. London: John Lane/Bodley Hade.

Tibbetts, G. (1979). A Study of the Arabic Texts containing Material on South-East Asia. Leiden: Brill.

Jacq-Hergoualc’h, M. (2001) The Malay Peninsula: Crossroads of the Maritime Silk-Road (100BC-1300AD). Boston: Brill.

Wheatley, P. (1966). The Golden Khersonese. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press.

Vatican wants end to discrimination, violence

The Vatican in its Deepavali message wants people to 'foster a culture of inclusion'


PETALING JAYA: The Vatican, concerned with increasing discrimination and violence has sent a Deepavali message to Malaysian Hindus to foster together a culture of inclusion.

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue said in the face of increasing discrimination, violence and exclusion throughout the world, ‘nurturing a culture of inclusion’ can be rightly seen as one of the most genuine aspirations of people everywhere.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Council said globalization has opened many frontiers but it can also be said globalization has not achieved its primary objective of integrating local peoples into the global community.

“Rather, globalization has contributed significantly to many peoples losing their socio-cultural, economic and political identities.

“The negative effects of globalization have also had an impact on religious communities throughout the world since they are intimately related to surrounding cultures.

“In fact, globalization has contributed to the fragmentation of society,” he said.

The Cardinal said the negative consequences of globalization, such as widespread materialism and consumerism, moreover, have made people more self-absorbed, power-hungry and indifferent to the rights, needs and sufferings of others.

“As people grounded in our own respective religious traditions and with shared convictions, may we, Hindus and Christians, join together with followers of other religions and with people of goodwill to foster a culture of inclusion for a just and peaceful society,” he said.

IS mis-using Islam to gain support

Struggle for Islamic State (IS) is a political ideology, say experts.


KUALA LUMPUR: Claims of jihad with the so-called Islamic State militant group in the Middle East, specifically Syria, should be stopped because the objective of the ‘war’ was more to build up the ideology of the militant group.

Dean of the College of Law, Government and International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Associate Professor Dr Ahmad Marthada Mohamed said the IS was inclined to gaining independence for its country from rulers who had no direction.

“The differing ideologies led to feelings of being oppressed and created a desire to form a nation which reflects the policies and ideologies of the group,” he told Bernama here today.

Ahmad Marthada said it was important that a person has an understanding of the group’s ideology before joining.

He added that the name of the group itself, using the word ‘Islam’ would be a magnet to draw the attention of more Muslims to join.

“Muslims are easily attracted to the word ‘Islam’ whereas to the non-Muslims, the militant group claims that its struggle is to fight oppression and attain basic rights.

“The concept is not fixed but changes often, depending on the subject that is being approached. Which is why it has to be fully studied before it can be considered ‘jihad’,” he said.

On October 15, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police had identified 39 Malaysians, including a woman, who was involved with the militant groups such as the Islamic State

There are three militant groups in Syria believed to have Malaysian members – the Islamic State, Jabhat Al Nusra and Ajnad Al Sham – and they usually use Quranic verses and the word ‘jihad’ to attract the target group.

Ahmad Marthada said the religious authorities should disseminate information on the objectives, ideology and beliefs of these groups or organisations like them to avoid Muslims in this country becoming confused.

He added that even if the IS succeeded in having its own government, it would face difficulty getting recognition from the international community as well as 100 per cent support of the people of its country.

“The extreme action of the group, such as cruel killings which are against the teachings of Islam, has resulted in the group losing support of Muslim nations including Malaysia, as well as the Arab countries,” he said.

According to Universiti Putra Malaysia’s (UPM) head of the department of Government and Civilisation Studies in the Faculty of Human Ecology, Dr Ahmad Tarmizi Talib, those who joined the IS have been influenced by groups who are used by other parties for political purposes.

Meanwhile, religious speaker Assc Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said it was not right for individuals to join a group to ‘jihad’ under uncertain conditions about what was happening there.

The ex-mufti of Perlis said it was better if that struggle was left to the residents of that country as they would understand the geo-political situation better, based on their own experiences.

“Those people (citizens of other countries) go there just for jihad? Or are Muslims fighting among themselves to help create a group that has its own agenda?” he asked.

“The IS ‘struggle’ is still unclear in the basics, including its objectives,” Mohd Asri added.

He suggested that the government conduct a humanitarian mission so that Malaysians could channel their empathy while the mission could be a way to jihad as the meaning of the word was wide and not confined to using weapons.

“Medicating people is also jihad. If you really want to jihad, do it without weapons but by taking medicine or food to the right places,” he said.

Mohd Asri added that those who want to ‘jihad’ should emulate Muslim warrior Salahuddin Al-Ayubi who also treated the Christian forces who were wounded in battle.


Anwar has no hope of Canberra’s support

The Abbott government loves Najib, says analyst.


PETALING JAYA: PKR has no hope of support from Canberra in its Australian mission to champion Anwar Ibrahim, whose appeal against his sodomy conviction will be heard in the Federal Court next week.

This is the opinion of political science professor James Chin of Monash University.

“The Abbot government loves Najib,” Chin was quoted as saying in an article that appeared today in the Sydney Morning Herald.

He said Tony Abbot’s administration favoured Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government because of a long-standing view that Malaysia is a modern, Western, secular, like-minded power.”

But he added that the view was “based on a country that hasn’t existed for the last ten years.”‘

PKR’s seven-member delegation to Australia is headed by its secretary-general, Rafizi Ramli. According to a posting on the PKR President Wan Azizah Ismail’s Facebook, the mission is to update Australian parliamentarians of political developments in Malaysia.

The delegates would also address Malaysians in Australia in a series of forums in several cities, where they would provide information on Anwar’s court case and the recent sedition dragnet. The forums are organised by Malaysian Progressives, an organisation of students.

The delegation had a meeting with Australian MPs last Sunday. Yesterday, the delegation met with academics of the Australian National University in Canberra.

A meeting with the Australian Foreign Ministry is scheduled for today.

It’s a joke to say Chinese have no identity

Zaid Ibrahim says Chinese are quick to adapt while Malays get lost in rules and regulations.


PETALING JAYA: Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim has made an honest observation, saying it is the Malays and not the Chinese who have no identity.

In his latest blog entry, Zaid writes, “So don’t make people laugh by saying the Chinese have no identity. It’s the Malays who are struggling to know themselves.”

Lamenting that Malays have still not found a firm footing in society, Zaid observed, “They (Malays) only know about rules and regulations, and if the world does not fit into this frame, they punish themselves and each other.”

He said this in response to a statement by a former Umno minister that the “Chinese are suffering from an identity crisis and becoming misfits in Malaysian society.”

He also ridiculed prime minister Najib Tun Razak for preaching moderation versus extremism to Gerakan delegates recently saying, “The Chinese may be selfish, parochial, greedy, egotistical and whatever other ungodly labels some may want to slap on them, but extremist they are not.”

Zaid said that in contrast, it was the Malays who believed that “instant success and reward in this life” was theirs if they followed the teachings of their “ulamak and preachers”.

Proving the Chinese knew that “To succeed, they have had to be adaptable and accommodating”, Zaid pointed to the Chinese Babas who married Malays, spoke Malay and wore Malay dress.

Zaid said the Chinese were also resilient in regard to the NEP. He wrote, “They didn’t care about what percentage of the nation’s wealth the Malays received, because they were shrewd enough to claw some back for themselves.”

Taking a direct hit at “those who are making the headlines”, Zaid was of the opinion that they were the ones in reality who were in denial about their identity and “unable to adapt to the real Malaysia.”

Anwar confident he won’t go to jail

Nancy is forgetful and confused – Ravinder Singh

n one breath Nancy said that her parliamentary reply “would have been similar, if the threat was to burn the Quran”.

In the very next breath she said “But I had to answer based on what was done, what was carried out. Based on their analysis, there wasn’t enough evidence (to charge), that is their answer,”

So, can Nancy clarify: if the answer she gave was “their answer”, how could she assure the public that “if the threat was to burn the Quran”, “their answer” would be the same, for she would only be reading “their answer” again. No?

She is all confused. While saying that the answer she gave was “their reply”, she is at the same time asserting that it was her reply. For only if it were her own reply, could she give an assurance that she would give the same reply if the threat was to burn the Quran.

If somebody takes her courageous words to heart and threatens to burn the Quran, can she guarantee that her reply would be the same? How would that be since the reply would be prepared by the A-G Chambers, or would she do a ‘copy and paste’ job and would the A-G let her do so? He might charge her for plagiarism.

The A-G is being made out to be a human that is infallible. Let us just compare this case with the “celaka” case. ‘Celaka’ is not a vulgar word. The Kamus Dewan gives 4 meanings: 1) malang (bkn nasib seseorang), sial, tidak baik. 2) sesuatu yang menyebabkan penderitaan (kesusahan dll), kemalangan, kesialan. 3) makian, keparat, jahanam, bedebah. 4) seruan utk menyatakan kemarahan (kekecewaan dll).

The ‘celaka’ outburst was not pre-planned. It was something spontaneous. It was not a vulgarity and was directed at a few specific persons.

The call to burn bibles was obviously pre-planned. There were no such bibles. So why was it made without such an incident having taken place? It was directed to all and sundry.

Is the A-G not answerable to anyone in the country, not even to the PM or the Cabinet? Does any provision of law or the Constitution say that?

Said Nancy: “Actually, we the cabinet don’t make decisions for the A-G (attorney-general), okay? The A-G acts in accordance to the law, so if we give orders to the A-G, people would ask why are we meddling in A-G’s duties,” she said when asked to comment on the reports.

Is asking the A-G to be accountable for the way his chambers is charging or not charging people which the public sees as biased or on-e sided “meddling in the A-G’s duties”? Can’t Nancy, the PM or even the cabinet ask the A-G to give detailed reasons for the way he is charging or not charging people so that an assessment of the fairness of his actions can be made? Is it wrong for Nancy, the PM or the Cabinet to assess the A-G’s work?

What is the purpose of having ministers if they have no authority to ask people in their ministries to be accountable for their actions and inactions, if they have no authority to assess the performance of these people?

So Nancy’s bold assurance that her parliamentary reply “would have been similar, if the threat was to burn the Quran” holds no water at all. She forgot so quickly that the reply she gave was not her reply. – October 21, 2014.

*Ravinder Singh reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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Don't Be Distracted By Extremist Views - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged Malaysians not to be distracted by extremist views as they journey towards their common goals.

He said they should prevail over those few who sensationalised narrow and sectarian views, by recognising and reaffirming their commitment to each other.

"What will keep Malaysia strong and stable is not the few who say things to divide us but the many who do things to unite us," Najib said in his Deepavali 2014 message.

Najib noted that Malaysians had brought together their unique cultures and traditions to enrich the national fabric and had worked hard and made sacrifices to make the nation what it was today.

"This is only possible because all Malaysians share a similar aspiration to live in harmony and prosperity with one another," he said.

"Of course, we may not always agree on the way to achieve our common goals, but we must remember that we have common ingredients to succeed.

"These ingredients are a love for our Malaysia, compassion for our fellow Malaysians and moderation in everything we do," Najib said.

The prime minister said Malaysia's formula for success had been acknowledged not only by its neighbours but also the wider world.

The latest manifestation of this, he said, was the country's recent resounding election to the United Nations Security Council.

"Our success in securing a seat is testimony to the respect the international community has for Malaysia, and, our moderate approach in overcoming domestic, regional and international challenges," Najib said.

Wishing "Deepavali Vaalthukal" (Happy Deepavali) to all Malaysian Hindus, Najib called for hands of friendship to be extended to each other during this meaningful time and once again, bring this diverse country together in harmony and happiness.

"As we share the joy of Deepavali together, let's remind ourselves that this Festival of Lights enjoins us to look forward to the future and embrace it with all our hopes and dreams.

"I urge the Indian community to continue their partnership with the government based on 'nambikei' (trust). We still have much to do to ensure that light and hope reaches all those in the community who need it," he concluded.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Selain Anwar, Hadi Awang juga patut undur, kata LENSA

Gerakan man suspended for 'pendatang' remarks

Dutch battle surge of desperate, violent Muslim refugees

Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party pushes government’s hard-line immigration stance

By Gordon Darroch — The Washington Times

THE HAGUE — Nasir Galid fled Somalia hoping for a better, safer life. Instead, he died in an Amsterdam hospital five days after being attacked in a garage where he was living with other homeless immigrants.

Galid, 26, was one of about 100 refugees who have been roaming the Dutch capital for more than two years, occupying empty offices, abandoned garages and a disused church. All of them were supposed to have left the country after Dutch authorities rejected their asylum claims.

Police arrested two men, both in their early 30s, shortly after Galid’s assault in August. It’s not clear why Galid was attacked, but Pim Fischer, a Haarlem lawyer who represents some of Galid’s fellow refugees, said many of them are desperate and violent.

“Many of them are traumatized by their experiences, and they are being offered no future,” Mr. Fischer said. “The risks are very high.”

The Dutch Refugee Council estimates that 100,000 people live illegally in the Netherlands. Many are asylum seekers who are supposed to leave the country within 24 hours after the government rejects their requests to remain. Instead, they take over abandoned buildings as squatters or set up makeshift shelters.

The problem is expected to grow. A record 137,000 people moved to the Netherlands from other countries in 2013, though most were legal immigrants in a country that hosts many European headquarters of multinational corporations.

Since 2008, the Dutch government has taken an increasingly hard line on immigration as officials try to allay public concerns about overcrowding in Europe’s most densely populated nation.

Right-wing populist leader Geert Wilders has played an outsized role in the debate.

Mr. Wilders‘ anti-immigrant Freedom Party has been the third-largest group in the past two Dutch elections, in 2010 and 2012. He has used that position to pressure the government to “de-Islamize” the Netherlands, where Muslims make up about 5 percent of the population of 16.8 million.

His latest campaign, announced last month, calls for everyone holding a passport from a Muslim-majority country to sign a declaration formally renouncing Shariah law.

“If they don’t do that, there should be no place for them in the Netherlands,” Mr. Wilders said in a parliamentary debate. “Shariah is hate.”

From 2010 through 2012, Dutch prime ministers have relied on the votes of the Freedom Party to stay in power. In return, Mr. Wilders has secured concessions in a range of policy areas, including immigration.

His proposals to block arrivals from Islamic countries, tax Islamic headscarves and impose a Swiss-style ban on new minarets at mosques failed, but he made his mark in other ways.

Three years ago, NATO asked the Netherlands to accept 250 Libyans wounded in the North African country’s civil war. After Mr. Wilders protested, the number was reduced to 52.

“I have no desire to put casualties from an Islamic country in a Dutch hospital,” he said at the time.

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Humiliation replaces fear for the women kidnapped by Isis

Widow with child sold for marriage after raiding Isis militants shot her husband and took them into captivity

Annabell Van den Berghe in Duhok

They sold Amsha for $12. Other girls and women went for more, much more. But Amsha had a small son and was pregnant with her second child. She had already seen Islamic State (Isis) militants execute her husband in front of her. Now the terror of that crime and the fear of captivity was to be replaced by the indignity and humiliation of being traded like cattle.

“A 50-year-old man with a dark beard came to buy me,” she recalls. “From that day on, I didn’t want to live any more.”

Amsha is one of hundreds of Yazidi women from northern Iraq captured during Islamic State’s rapid advance this year. Interviews with women who escaped reveal that Isis corralled the women into halls and other detention centres and gradually sold them off to fighters as the spoils of war.

Isis said in an online article that it was reviving an ancient custom of enslaving enemies and forcing the women to become wives of victorious fighters.

“One should remember that enslaving the families of the [non-believers] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the sharia, that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Qur’an and the narrations of the prophet,” the article said, adding that mothers were not separated from their young children.

For Amsha, the only mercy is that she managed to retain her son, who is 21 months old. He sits on her lap, holding on tightly, as she recounts the story of the past three months.

The fighters attacked her town in early August, around sunset. Thousands fled to nearby mount Sinjar, but those who weren’t fast enough faced a fate that was sudden and savage.

“When we heard that [Isis] was approaching, we left everything behind and started running,” Amsha says. She and her husband joined a group of tens of other families before they found themselves face to face with Isis.

“The men were then separated from their families and we were forced to follow orders from these men who had just captured the village,” she recalls. “They were told to lie down and face the ground. My husband and brother-in-law laid there shoulder to shoulder.”

Amsha’s voice cracks as she resurrects a terrible memory. “I thought they would rob them. Steal their phones or something like that.”

For a brief moment, Amsha looks up from under her headscarf. It is covering a face full of tears. She plays with the tips of the scarf between her fingers.

“But they killed them. They shot them in the head, one by one.”

After Amsha witnessed her husband’s death, she was forced alongside other women and girls into one of several minibuses that brought them to Mosul, the Iraqi stronghold of the self-proclaimed caliphate.

“I was held prisoner in a dark hall together with hundreds of other women, and girls. Some of them children who were not more than five years old.”

For Amsha, it was not the killing of her husband nor the imprisonment that broke her, but the marriage she would be forced to succumb to.

“Nobody was allowed to leave the prison, unless they were sold,” she says. “On a daily basis, men entered the room to pick out a girl. First the most beautiful girls, the young ones.”

Amsha remembers how mostly Iraqis, but frequently foreigners as well, entered the room to choose themselves a treat. “One day, a 10-year-old got separated from her mother, because a group of men decided to buy the girl. I am constantly worrying for that girl, and all the other girls that are still stuck in that prison.

“When the young girls were sold, I knew my time had come,” Amsha says. Her 50-year-old husband, a man called Zaid, was rough with her. “When I didn’t obey, he’d hit me. You can still see the scars on my back,” she says, pointing at her shoulder blades. “He humiliated me to the bone.

“I was forced to call my mother to tell her I was married. A shame for our family,” she says.

In a recent report, Human Rights Watch said the precise number of women being enslaved and sold into marriage was unknown. But it cited several escaped women saying they had personally seen hundreds in captivity.

The principal centres for the trade appear to be the main cities under Isis control – Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.

Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch, said his group had heard of forced religious conversions, forced marriage, sexual assault and slavery, with some of the victims being children. “The Islamic State’s litany of horrific crimes against the Yazidis in Iraq only keeps growing,” he said.

Dozens of women have escaped and are in hiding. Amsha is one of them.

“Muhanned was thirsty and didn’t stop crying,” she says. “I was banging the door but nobody answered. When I opened the door, I found the guards sleeping,” Amsha says. “I ran away with my son, as fast as I could.”

Without knowing which direction to go, she kept running until she met a man who offered his help. “I wasn’t convinced, but what could I do?” Amsha asks rhetorically. “I decided to put my fate in his hands, and he kept his word.”

The man smuggled her out of Mosul that week, using his daughter’s papers. But, for Amsha, the ordeal isn’t over.

“My parents are happy that I’m here. But I don’t have the courage to continue. At this moment, I only wish to die.”

Nancy Shukri must face up to her responsibility in Bible-burning issue, says DAP

Lim today hit out at Nancy Shukri for evading responsibility in the Ibrahim Ali Bible-burning controversy. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 20, 2014.Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri cannot run and hide from her responsibility over the Datuk Ibrahim Ali Bible-burning controversy, DAP said.

Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng took the embattled de facto law minister to task today for saying she had only read out the decision of the police and Attorney-General in her parliamentary reply on why Ibrahim was not charged with sedition.

"That is ridiculous. She is a minister but she said she was only following what the civil servant said.

"The A-G is not elected by the people... Are you (Nancy) saying that you have no power but it is the civil servant who is not elected by the people who has the power?

"It is a shocking admission that there is no point to elect Barisan Nasional because it is a government without power," Lim told reporters in Penang today.

It was reported on Saturday that Nancy said she would not advise the public prosecutor on using the Sedition Act against the Perkasa president.

Malaysiakini quoted her as saying that she did not want to interfere with the Attorney-General's job.

"(The investigation) is not done by me, so I have to read it out," she said, referring to her parliamentary written reply on October 7 that the police had concluded Ibrahim's call for Bahasa Malaysia Bibles to be burnt was in defence of Islam and directed at specific individuals, and not a threat to the larger society.

Last Friday, Lim said Nancy should redeem herself and get the A-G to review the decision and charge Ibrahim with the relevant law.

"She has to face up to the responsibility that she had failed to carry out.

"Whether she likes it or not, she had been willing to go along with what was decided by a civil servant.

"That is not leadership. That is not leading from the front, but leading from behind," said Lim, the Penang chief minister.

Ibrahim, who is Perkasa president, had made the call to burn Bahasa Malaysia Bibles that used the word “Allah” when talk surfaced that the publications were distributed at a school in Penang in January last year.

The government's decision not to charge Ibrahim has been slammed by Christian groups as well as Pakatan Rakyat politicians, with Nancy heavily criticised. – October 20, 2014.

Don’t over-simplify Islamic teachings, touching dog not ‘haram’, says Dr Asri

Dr Asri feels Muslims should not come to shallow conclusions based on a narrow view on what constitutes 'najis', when there are wider implications of such interpreatation that can affect many jobs that people do. - The Malaysian Insider pic, October 20, 2014.Touching a dog is not "haram" (forbidden) although the animal is categorised as "najis" (unclean), says Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

To conclude that it is "haram" was an over-simplification of the Islamic teachings, the former Perlis mufti added.

He said this is because Muslims scholars have agreed that touching a dry dog is not "najis" despite differing views when it comes to touching wet dogs.

Pointing out that the Shafie school of thought (which Malaysia follows) is strict on the matter, he said the views in other Islamic schools were wider and easier.

"The Maliki school of thought is the most flexible and wide when it comes to dogs,” he said, commenting on the controversy surrounding the "I Want to Touch a Dog" event held in Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

"One can touch 'najis' but there are rules that need to be adhered to that includes washing and cleaning.

"If it is 'haram' to touch 'najis', then it is 'haram' for a person to touch their own waste or that of their children or those under their care when in the process of cleaning them.

"What about those whose work involves cleaning toilets or working with blood or other bodily fluids?" he asked.

"What about veterinarians? So, all these are shallow conclusions," Mohd Asri said on his Facebook page DrMAZA today.

On keeping a dog at home, he said Muslims are not encouraged to do so except for certain purposes such as hunting, farming and security purposes.

He admitted there were scholars who forbid keeping dogs at home but said there was no hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) that said it was a sin.

"Only that it will effect our merit. Thus, many scholars agreed that it is 'makruh' (disapproved). The reasons for it has something to do with spirituality and societal impact," he said.

It was reported today that Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha told Bernama that the programme should not have taken place, adding that Jakim would investigate the matter immediately.

This came after the event received overwhelming response from Muslims in and around the federal capital yesterday.

Syed Azmi Alhabshi, a pharmacist in his 30s, had organised the event to help people overcome their fear of dogs and learn compassion for all animals.

The Kuala Lumpur native also said he wanted to help people overcome certain misconceptions and sensitivities surrounding dogs.

Over 1,000 people had attended yesterday’s event which saw Muslims and non-Muslims alike interacting with dogs of various breeds. – October 20, 2014.

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