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Friday, September 19, 2014

‘Malaysian Isis member’ shares Syrian experiences on social media

The blog of the Malaysian woman who claims to have traveled to Syria to join Isis in their efforts. - September 18, 2014.“Shams”, a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and who claims to be a 26-year-old doctor from Malaysia, is on social media to narrate her months living in war-torn Syria.

Her posts on her blog, Diary Of A Traveler, describes her activities in Syria, including her marriage to a fellow Isis member after she set foot in the country in February, as well as the medical treatment she provides to the people there.

"After two months in Shaam (Syria), I finally think about getting married because life without a Mahram (husband) is quite hard and it can cause fitnah.

"When I told this matter to one of my best friend, she was the happiest person because I was never interested before," wrote Shams.

Her story spread on social media today first on the BuzzFeed website. Her Facebook account under the name "Diary of a Muhajirah" appears to have been started less than 24 hours ago.

She said she agreed to marry a man whom she had not yet met – a friend of her friend's husband – and wedded him the day she first laid eyes on him.

"He looked at me, our eyes catches each others'. I had palpitation that is faster than the speed of light," she wrote.

"He smiled. And he asked a question that I shall never forget for the rest of my life.

"'Can we get married today? After Asr?'

"Deep inside my heart shouted, 'noooo'. But I have no idea why I answered 'Yes'."

Such anecdotes are interspersed with posts advising interested Islamic State fighters to "re-new" their intentions, and with facts regarding marriage within the Islamic State.

“Shams” also gives reminders to women to join the Islamic State for Allah, and not for marriage.

According to "Shams", Islamic State members are given free houses in Syria and they need not pay electricity and water bills. Monthly groceries are also providedto all, as well as monthly allowances for married couples and children.

She also attempted to dispel the media's "attacks" against the Islamic State fighters, and described most of them as being "just like us".

"These men, mostly are in their 20-s and unmarried. Most of them are just like us, they were once lived in Jahilliah (ignorant) life, that made them fed-up with this worldly life and wants (sic) to make a change.

"These men, they are not from illiterate background. Many of them came from a wealthy family and lived like a king/prince back where they came from."

According to her Twitter and accounts, which have both been deleted, "Shams" is from Malaysia and was 26 when she left for Syria in February.

However, it is unclear whether "Shams" is a real person, or is part of the Isis's social media propaganda to recruit women into joining their fight to set up a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

Shams' writings gloss over the brutal war and violence that has ravaged the state since Isis forces lay claim over it.

Instead, she elicits sympathy from readers over her "bittersweet life" and her constant fears that her husband, too, may be martyred.

"Eleven days after we got married, he told me that he is off for an operation. It was the most heart-breaking thing I have ever heard since I came to Syria. I can’t deny that my heart bleeds and I can’t hold my tears...," she wrote.

"He noticed my gloomy face and said this to me, 'Habibty, I’m married to Jihad before I’m married to you. Jihad is my first wife, and you’re my second. I hope you understand'."

Sham's posts have attracted a large following online, despite the numerous times her Facebook accounts have been removed.

Although created only yesterday, her latest Facebook page has already received over a thousand "likes" and comments from Malaysians supporting her "hijrah" to Syria.

Last month, The Malaysian Insider reported that Malaysian women are believed to have joined Isis forces to offer Jihad Al-Nikah or sexual jihad.

Senior intelligence officials confirmed that three Malaysian women have journeyed to the Middle East to join up with Isis forces.

Jihad Al-Nikah refers to a controversial concept where Sunni women allegedly offer themselves in sexual comfort roles to fighters for the establishment of Islamic rule.

The concept originated from a Wahhabi edict around 2013, that called for Sunni women supporters to come forward for sex jihad and boost the morale of fighters battling against Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. – September 18, 2014.

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Azmin for MB is ‘awkward’, say PKR sources

Azmin at the PKR Congress last month. His name is being touted as the likely choice by the Selangor Palace for the post of menteri besar. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 18, 2014.PKR sources are hesitating to confirm rumours this evening that party deputy president Azmin Ali would be made the new Selangor Menteri Besar as he was never nominated for the post.

Party sources told The Malaysian Insider that they were also hearing news that the Selangor Palace had chosen Azmin, but did not dare confirm, calling the situation “awkward”.

They said even if it were to be true, Azmin could change his mind and not accept the post as he did not have the support of the majority of Selangor legislators.

Azmin’s name was tweeted all evening as social media users speculated that he would be the palace’s choice.

Bernama, the national news agency, also reported that Azmin and PAS Cempaka assemblyman Iskandar Abdul Samad were both in the running for the swearing-in ceremony this Tuesday.

Bernama did not say where it got the information from.

Berita Harian this evening also reported that PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail would most likely not be appointed, citing palace sources who told the paper’s online news site that the Sultan would not be selecting a female menteri besar.

The palace source, however, declined to reveal who the actual candidate was nor even the party involved.

It was reported earlier today that the Selangor palace had issued invitation cards to state leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony to be held on Tuesday, at 10am at the Istana Alam Shah in Klang.

The name of the new menteri besar, however, was not revealed.

DAP and PKR have submitted only one name – PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – for the state’s top post. But PAS broke ranks when its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang sent three names to the palace.

The three are said to be Dr Idris Ahmad (PKR-Ijok), Dr Yaakub Sapari (PKR-Kota Anggerik) and Iskandar, who is also the Selangor PAS commissioner and a state exco member.

It is not known if PKR and DAP have submitted more names following a reprimand by the Sultan of Selangor, who had asked the Pakatan Rakyat parties to submit more than two names. – September 18, 2014.

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AG blasted for appealing arrest order issued to IGP

The Attorney-General’s Chambers came under fire today for appealing against the order issued to Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to arrest Muslim convert K Pathmanathan @ Mohamad Ridhuan Abdullah for taking away his daughter Prasana Diksa from his former wife.

The lawyer for Prasana’s mother M Indira Gandhi, M Kulasegaran, who received the notice of appeal filed with the Court of Appeal on Monday, said the attorney-general (AG) should, in all fairness and justice, discontinue with the IGP's appeal to Court of Appeal in the inter-faith custody dispute.

Kulasegaran (left), who is also DAP national vice-chairperson, said by appealing the Ipoh High court’s decision, the AG is sending a message to the IGP and other public servants that court orders are open to question despite having a conclusive determination.

“With this, all decisions of the court can now be open to question by the IGP and every police officer. The rule of law becomes an illusion in Malaysia. An appeal will only impose unnecessary, mental torture and cause much anguish to Indira Gandhi and her children.

“Public interest dictates all court orders and warrants of arrest must be obeyed without question and it is in the welfare of Prasana Diksa for her to be reunited with her mother and her other siblings.

"An appeal only confirms that the AG, as the principle lawyer for the government of the day, agrees and feels that what the IGP is doing is correct and right. Is this truly the case?" Kulasegaran asked.

The Ipoh Barat MP further asked if the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and other cabinet ministers, support this decision to appeal.

The High Court in Ipoh last Friday ordered Khalid and police to arrest Ridhuan and retrieve Prasana Diksa @ Ummu Habibah within seven days.

The senior federal counsel had on the same day applied for a stay but this was refused by Justice Lee Swee Seng, who heard the matter.

No resolution if no political will

Kulasegaran said if the AG does not proceed with the appeal, it would do justice to Indira as Ridhuan has yet to purge his contempt of court and Prasana Diksa is yet to be found.

Ridhuan, Kulasegaran said has exhausted all legal avenues as he has no further appeals pending, and what remains outstanding is for him to purge his contempt.

“A refusal to arrest him only sustains the false proposition that orders of the court can be disregarded with impunity,” he warned.

Citing Justice Lee's judgment, the Ipoh Barat MP said if the IGP's appeal's is successful it cannot prove to be nugatory as all that happens would be that the child be returned to the father with the mother granted reasonable access.

On Wednesday, it was reported that the Court of Appeal had struck out Ridhuan's application for extension of time to file his record of appeal to set aside the contempt order served against him for not returning Prasana Diksa.

Kulasegaran also warned that matters pertaining to parental abduction by converting spouses cannot be resolved if the AG continues to lack the political will to see that the rule of law prevails and no injustice is caused to the other spouse or member of any minority community in Malaysia.

“We must not forget to put a human face to the law and here it is a case of a mother having to wait for five years to see the child of her womb.”

Prasana Diksa was taken by Ridhuan since 2009, when she was just 11 months old, after he had converted to Islam. She is presently six years old.

Although Ridhuan obtained custody of Prasana and his other two children, the Ipoh Syariah High Court did not issue any order for the police to retrieve the child.

The two other older children are now living with the mother.

Kulasegaran said the AG should see this dispute from a human perspective as she had filed her case in 2009 and till today it remains unresolved.

Indira Gandhi, who was also present in the Ipoh press conference, also asked why was it taking so long to get back her youngest child.

'My brother should have been acquitted'

Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia (PHM) chief P Waythamoorthy said today his brother P Uthayakumar should have been acquitted of sedition by the Court of Appeal, which instead reduced Uthayakumar's sentence.

The former deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department said he was "disappointed" with the court's decision.

"Uthayakumar should have been acquitted instead of the sentence being reduced," he said.

Waythamoorthy (right) took oath as a deputy minister on the same day Uthayakumar was jailed after refusing to appeal his sentencing under the Sedition Act.

Uthayakumar was found guilty of sedition for a letter he penned to former British prime minister Gordon Brown in 2007, at the height of the Hindraf movement that the brothers had once led.

Waythamoorthy said the Malaysian government should have investigated claims made by Uthayakumar that the government practised "ethnic cleansing" on Indians, instead of taking action against him immediately.

"The Malaysian government should have acted responsibly in investigating Uthayakumar's claims, instead of silencing the voice of justice.

"The Court of Appeal, in considering Uthayakumar's appeal, should have scrutinised the whole contents of the said letter and its intentions instead of just looking at the alleged offending words literally," he added.

Waythamoorthy previously had asked his brother to appeal his sedition sentencing, which his brother did belatedly after being imprisoned in the Kajang prison.

Uthayakumar (right) is set to be freed on Oct 3 after his sentence was reduced by six months by the Court of Appeal.

He leads the unregistered Hindraf movement while Waythamoorthy's faction, PHM, was registered as a NGO prior to his short-lived participation in the government.

Uthayakumar had previously accused Waythamoorthy of wanting to be the new S Samy Vellu, the long-serving former MIC president, and also "sacked" his brother from the Hindraf movement prior to the 2013 general election.

Waythamoorthy campaigned for BN during the election while Uthayakumar contested as an independent candidate for both the Kota Raja parliamentary seat and the Seri Andalas state seat.

Uthayakumar lost his deposits for both seats.

Pengguna FB biadap hina lagu Negaraku

(Kuala Lumpus Post) – Selepas dua hari Negara menyambut Hari Malaysia ke-51, pelbagai kontroversi dan sindiran timbul membabitkan lagu Kebangsaan, Negaraku yang dimainkan di pawagam seluruh negara dan lebih menyedihkan ia dicemuh oleh rakyat Malaysia sendiri.

Terbaharu, status yang di muat naik oleh seorang pemilik akaun Facebook menggunakan nama, Tenashar Low (QiQi) dilihat turut dikecam oleh pengguna di laman sosial ekoran tindakan yang disifatkan sebagai melampau.

Tenashar Low dalam status yang di muat naik mengutuk usaha kerajaan yang mencadangkan lagu Negaraku dimainkan di pawagan dengan menjadikan status yang di muat naiknya sebagai kapsyen kepada artikel yang diterbitkan oleh sebuah portal berita, The Rakyat Post, baharu-baharu ini.

“Government alrdy (already) fucked me everyday, now they aspect me to respect them by standing up while the full of lie songs playing? And after i paid for my bloody ticket that include of A tax B tax C tax? Bitch please o0o!! I just want to enjoy my movie, those who blame others for not standing up, so u (you) think ur (your) country threaten u (you) very good? Idiot (Kerajaan telah menganiaya saya setiap hari, Adakah sekarang mereka minta saya menghormati mereka dengan berdiri semasa lagu (Negaraku) yang penuh penipuan dimainkan? Sudahlah saya membayar harga tiket (wayang) yang termasuk cukai A, cukai B dan cukai C? Saya cuma ingin menikmati filem yang ditonton, kepada mereka yang menyalahkan orang lain yang tidak berdiri, adakah anda fikir negara mengancam anda adalah suatu yang baik? Bodoh),” tulis Tenashar di laman Facebooknya, semalam.

Status tersebut menerima cemuhan daripada ramai pengguna laman sosial yang menyifatkan sikap gadis itu sebagai kurang sopan dan tidak menghormati negara.

Sehingga kini, status yang dimuat naik di Facebook, Friends of BN – Barisan Nasional, itu telah mendapat perkongsian sebanyak 326 dan disukai oleh lebih 2,300 orang.

Sebelum ini, rata-rata portal berita melaporkan gambar segelintir rakyat Malaysia yang tidak berdiri ketika lagu Negaraku dimainkan di pawagan yang menyifatkan ianya sesuatu yang sia-sia apabila dimainkan di pusat hiburan.

Kerajaan semenjak Ogos tahun lalu telah mengeluarkan kenyataan dimana lagu Kebangsaaan, Negaraku akan dimainkan di seluruh pawagan sebagai salah satu cara menyemai semangat patriotik dalam kalangan rakyat Malaysia, lapor Malaysian Digest.

Forum organiser quizzed by cops

PIPPA plans to hold another forum soon and says the police’ questioning of them will not dampen their enthusiasm.

KOTA KINABALU: The Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis (PIPPA) which organised a forum, Malaysia at the Crossroads, in Labuan on Aug 24, and in Kota Kinabalu from Aug 27 to 29 was hauled up by the police on Wednesday for an explanation.

The forum had apparently been cleared earlier by the relevant authorities including the police.

Sabah Progress Party (Sapp) deputy president Amde Sidek, who represented PIPPA, said that he was no wiser after being questioned by the police.

Saying he did not know whether someone had lodged a police report against him or PIPPA, Amde explained, “I told the police that we held the forum because the topic is relevant. We had speakers from the academia and politicians who are experts.

“I don’t think we offended anybody since what was said was based on facts and figures.”

The forum, Amde stressed, was educational for the people as they discussed issues pertaining to Sabah’s Independence, Malaysia Day as well as local sentiments which had raised concerns.

Announcing that plans were already underway to hold another forum before the year end, Amde reiterated, “The police’ questioning will not dampen our enthusiasm,”

Former Sabah Secretary Simon Sipaun was also quizzed by police on Wednesday and whether others too were called in remains unconfirmed.

PIPPA is an NGO that organises forums, among other things, besides carrying out research.

Anwar mohon ampun kepada Sultan

Sekiranya ada kekhilafan berlaku, Anwar mohon ampun dari Sultan Selangor

PETALING JAYA: Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim memohon ampun kepada Sultan Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah kerana mengeluarkan kenyataan pencalonan satu nama menteri besar merupakan konvensyen sejak zaman kemerdekaan 1957.

Menurut Anwar, beliau merujuk kenyataan daripada Setiausaha Sulit Sultan, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani dan Istana Selangor mengenai soal amalan (convention) itu berdasarkan pengetahuannya yang diamalkan oleh kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Saya ingin saya jelaskan dan ingin menyatakan apa yang berlaku adalah dalam pengetahuan saya terutama sepanjang saya dalam kerajaan UMNO-BN, sejak 1982 hingga 1998.

“Sekiranya ada kekhilafan berlaku, saya mohon ampun dari Sultan Selangor,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan.

Sebelum ini, Istana Selangor hari ini menafikan kenyataan Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dalam akhbar-akhbar tempatan berikutan penghantaran nama calon Menteri Besar.

Menurut satu kenyataan media oleh Setiausaha Sulit Sultan Selangor Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, kenyataan Anwar Ibrahim bahawa hanya satu nama calon Menteri Besar sudah dijadikan amalan sejak 1975 tidak tepat dan mengelirukan rakyat.

Mohamad Munir berkata, sewaktu pentadbiran Kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN), pemilihan calon Menteri Besar Selangor dipersembahkan kepada Sultan Selangor oleh Perdana Menteri melalui Majlis Menghadap Sultan.

“Semasa Majlis tersebut, Perdana Menteri akan menyembahkan beberapa nama calon yang difikirkan layak untuk mendapat perkenan Sultan Selangor.

“Kemudian, daripada senarai nama calon-calon tersebut, Sultan Selangor akan memilih hanya satu orang calon untuk dilantik sebagai Menteri Besar,” katanya dalam kenyataan tersebut.

Manakala pada tahun 2008, Sultan Selangor menitahkan PKR, DAP dan PAS membincangkan calon-calon nama untuk menjadi Menteri besar Selangor berikutan kemenangan parti tersebut di Pilihan Raya Selangor.

Setelah sepakat untuk mengesyorkan beberapa nama calon, Sultan Selangor melalui Mohamad Munir telah meminta dua nama calon dan PR telah sebulat suara mencalonkan Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor.

Sultan Selangor telah melantik Khalid setelah beliau memenuhi kriteria-kriteria untuk menjadi Menteri Besar dan menepati syarat-syarat yang telah diperuntukkan dalam Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Selangor 1959.

Pada 2013 pula, Sultan Selangor menitahkan melalui Mohamad Munir agar PR mencadangkan empat nama calon Menteri Besar. Walau bagaimanapun, Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat Datin Seri Wan Azizah ada membuat kenyataan dalam kempen Pilihanraya Umum ke-13, Khalid tidak semestinya kekal sebagai Menteri Besar.

Namun, ketua-ketua parti dalam PR telah menulis surat kepada Sultan Selangor agar mengesyorkan Khalid kekal sebagai Menteri Besar.

Walaupun pada masa yang sama baginda telah menerima beberapa lagi nama calon, namun baginda berkenan supaya Khalid kekal dengan jawatan tersebut kerana Khalid mempunyai hubungan yang baik dengan pihak Istana dan juga rakyat Selangor.

Malaysia’s Sultans Regain Power

Leadership vacuum at both state and national levels opens the door

By John Berthelsen - Asia Sentinel

The long-running political crisis in Malaysia’s Selangor state has shone a spotlight on what was thought to be an unlikely political phenomenon, the resurgence in power of the country’s nine sultans.

In particular, two of the sultans have refused to bend to parliamentary power. They are Sultan Sarafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor and Tunku Ismail Idris of Johor.

Tunku Ismail was batted back earlier this year in his bid to gain control of the regulation of land development in his home state. However, he remains involved in massive land reclamations that subvert Malaysian laws and pose an environmental dilemma for Singapore and he has not decreased the pressure. He is said to be a substantial shareholder in several real estate and other ventures within the massive Iskandar Malaysia Development Region, covering 2,200 sq. km and including the city of Johor Bahru and three surrounding towns. The project, started in 2006, is named for the current sultan’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

In Selangor, Malaysia’s richest and most populous state, Sultan Sarafuddin Idris Shah, also has extensive business interests. He is involved in many business deals with his partners Ong Beng Seng of Singapore and Syed Yusoff Syed Nasir, his old friend. They are building the Four Seasons Residences in KL City Center next to the iconic Twin Towers, Hard Rock Hotels and other projects, either together, mostly, or the Sultan on his own.

He has stepped into the middle of a controversy generated when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim attempted to replace a rebellious chief minister, Khalid Ibrahim, with his wife, Wan Azizah Ismail. However, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, one of the component parties in Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition, has staged its own rebellion, refusing to go along with Anwar’s plans, instead asking the sultan to name a PAS member to the job.

The resultant impasse has stretched on for weeks as Sarafuddin has insisted on the prerogative of picking his own choice. On Sept 8, he said he would weigh names put forward by all three opposition parties, but would not limit possible candidates to those put forward by the coalition. The prolonged political mess has nearly wrecked the opposition, resulted in what appears to be a growing split between PAS fundamentalists and moderates, and, according to one source could result in a fundamentalist PAS government in one of Malaysia’s most moderate states.

That is a far cry from the 1980s and 1990s, when former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad , in a bitter political struggle, broke the absolute power of the nine sultans, seeking to reduce them to figurehead status. They have been largely content to rule their fiefdoms, some of them running up astronomical gambling debts in London casinos that they demanded their own state exchequers to pay. But during the reign of the current prime minister, Najib Tun Razak, they have begun to reassert their sway.

“Even the Sultans were afraid of Mahathir because he took them on in 1983 and 1992/3 and curbed their extravagance and powers,” said a Kuala Lumpur-based political analyst. “After Mahathir left, the sultans were kept in check until they saw that (former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) was a weak leader.”

In 2008, the normally quiet Sultan of Perlis objected to Badawi’s choice of chief minister and appointed his own, as did the Sultan of Terengganu. In 2009, the late Raja Azlan Shah, the sultan of Perak, stepped into the middle of a political crisis in that state after the opposition won a majority in the statehouse in the 2009 general election, only to have Najib attempt to take the state back by wooing three opposition members, reportedly with offers of cash, into the Barisan Nasional fold, causing the state government to collapse.

Azlan Shah then refused the request of Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the opposition chief minister, to dissolve the state assembly and call for new elections. Instead, the Barisan Nasional (BN), with support from the three defecting assemblymen, now independents, formed the new state government.

“Given the lack of strong political leadership in Malaysia – where Najib’s silence and all too frequent travels overseas make it appear as if we have an absentee PM – people are carving out little fiefdoms, be it Perkasa, Mahathir, Isma, right wing NGOs, Malay Chambers of Commerce, and of course, some of the Sultans,” said a business source with close connections to the United Malays National Organization. :”Even the quiet Sultans are flexing their muscles a little bit, at the moment, demanding or putting in business proposals and getting them.”

The sultans of Malaysia have always been a strange graft onto the political system, in effect created by the British during the colonial period when they elevated a bunch of minor Malay chieftains into power as a means of controlling the country. Nine of Malaysia’s 13 states are constitutionally headed by the traditional rulers.

State constitutions limit eligibility for the thrones to male Malay Muslims of royal descent. Seven are hereditary monarchies based on male primogeniture. Malaysia’s kingship, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, rotates among the nine with each serving a five year term.

Outside of Malaysia, and even inside the country, they have often been privately derided as a bunch of inbred freeloaders although rural Malays regard them as spiritual leaders and protectors of Islam despite the fact that many have broken a wide variety of laws and spend their time in casinos in the UK. Mahathir clearly regarded them as a bunch of ingrates. In a flame-throwing February 14, 1993, speech in Malaysia’s parliament, he accused them, among other things, of giving away parts of the country to the British, oppressing the people, breaking civil and criminal laws, misusing the money and property of the government and pressuring government officials.

He pushed through a measure that included a rule to allow commoners to criticize the Sultans, even the Agong, without fear of the Sedition Act other than questioning the legitimacy of the monarchy itself. It was passed overwhelmingly by the parliament, apparently without outcry over Mahathir's rather tough treatment of the country's nine monarchs.

In the past decade, however, the Barisan Nasional has seen it convenient to regenerate the power of the sultans to use them as a cudgel against the opposition despite the legislation pushed through by Mahathir. When the late Carpal Singh, then the national chairman of the Democratic Action Party, merely discussed whether it was legal to sue Azlan Shah in the courts to get his decision reversed, scores of UMNO members filed complaints and led rallies against him for insulting the sultan. Karpal Singh was facing sedition charges when he was killed earlier this year in a car accident.

Mahathir’s bill controlling the sultans has never been repealed. Nonetheless, the country’s courts, which have long bent to the political will of the ruling national coalition, have never declared the use of the sedition laws against opposition members to be illegal.

In the political vacuum that has come into being with the weakened national coalition, which lost the popular vote for the first time since 1969, the United Malays National Organization, the leading party in the coalition, has found it expedient to rehabilitate the sultans for political uses. That in turn has resulted in opportunities for the sultans to rebuild their power base.

“There is only so much wealth and so many titles to go around and now, the loud ones believe that you have to be louder to get what you want. Hence, the flexing of muscles by the natural claimants to power - the Sultans - and the minions in Umno,” according to the Malay businessman.

Congratulations Najib for the Democracy Setback of the Decade and making moderation sedition and his brainchild the Global Movement of Moderates virtually a seditious organisation

By Lim Kit Siang Blog

The Cabinet meeting yesterday has come and gone and there are no signs that it has achieved any historic distinction when Cabinet Ministers drew the line in the sand to declare their repudiation of the sedition dragnet in the past month and their commitment to move forward to be among the world’s best democracies and not going backwards to be among the world’s worst democracies.

There are no inklings that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato Sri Idris Jala had raised serious objection, led alone led the charge of conscientious and conviction Ministers in their opposition to the obnoxious dragnet of the draconian sedition law to stifle dissent and criticism to crate a climate of fear in the country reminiscent of the Internal Security Act (ISA) days especially during the th 22-year Mahathir premirrship.

On the contrary, congratulations are in order to the Primer Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on three grounds:

Firstly, achieving the Democacy Setback of the Decade since Mahathir’s stepping down as Prime Minister in October 2013, when for the first time in a decade, the country has been enveloped in a climate of fear as a result of the sedition spree in the past month with a whole spectrum of victims, from Pakatan Rakyat MPs and SAs to social activists including members of the legal profession and the press, student leaders, preachers and simply laymen.

Secondly, for the worldwide feat in making moderation an offence of sedition to the extent that Malaysians are beginning to feel that the fundamental right of freedom of speech is cursed by the burden of unfreedom after speech.

Thirdly, in virtually making his brainchild, the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) into virtually a seditious organisation. As a result, the media were asked not to report the proceedings of the GMM forum on the “Future of Malaysia” with NGOs, because the GMM cannot ensure the freedom of the participants and protect them from the sedition dragnet even when advocating moderation!

Najib will go down in history as the Prime Minister who turned the colonial Sedition Act into a repressive and draconian instrument to stifle criticism and dissent although he had promised to repeal it as part of the country “political transformation” to become the world’s best democracy.

The Sedition Act is an arcane law of a bygone colonial era to protect the white colonial masters from the freedom struggle of subject peoples in colonies when freedom of speech was not seen as the right it is today, and has no place in a modern age where freedom of speech is now seen as a touchstone of democracy, and the ability of individuals to criticise the state are crucial to maintaining freedom and human rights.

Najib cannot continue to equivocate but must decide one way or another whether he is still committed to the goal to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy, in which case he should halt the sedition blitz, drop all sedition charges and repeal the Sedition Act, or he should unashamedly announce the end of whatever political transformation and democratisation under his administration and a new Najib phase of a counter-revolution where the Sedition Act replaces the ISA of earlier decades as the weapon of choice in a reign of “white terror” to suppress criticism and dissent in the country.

Saying one thing but doing another

“Sedition and seditious and defamatory libel are arcane offences – from a bygone era when freedom of expression wasn't seen as the right it is today.

“Freedom of speech is now seen as the touchstone of democracy, and the ability of individuals to criticise the state is crucial to maintaining freedom.

“The existence of these obsolete offences in this country had been used by other countries as justification for the retention of similar laws which have been actively used to suppress political dissent and restrict press freedom.”

The above statement is the words of UK justice minister Claire Ward in 2009 when she announced that the government was doing away with sedition offences.

The UK government had remarked that it was troubled by the fact that other countries used components of this archaic 1661 British enactment to justify quelling political dissent and differences opinion.

Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Zimbabwe were named among countries which have used the iron-clad interpretation of sedition as a blank cheque to go after anyone who criticises the authorities and bring the government of the day into disrepute.

Sedition laws after all, said Ward, have no place in a society that emphasises the freedom of the individual and a nation which aims to be a leader in the fight for equality and civil liberties.

Following pressure from its own society, the UK government moved for the repeal of laws governing sedition and criminal defamation.

However, this was not something that was done overnight.

The idea for the abolition of UK’s sedition laws was first mooted in 1977 by the Law Commission and working papers were only drafted in 1985, with the actual repeal coming into fruition in 2009.

Hopefully it will not take us 32 years as it did the English to junk sedition rules.

While our Sedition Act is a 1948 enactment that was focused on national security during the emergency, as we have seen and experienced, the Sedition Act is a brush with wide bristles – depending on who is using it and what it is used for.

But it will be nice to know that Malaysia – or at least our leaders – are not alone in this dilemma of doing away with an act that in effect helps in self-preservation.

India, for instance, is debating doing away with its own 1870 Act and introducing components for the protection of national security in its Penal Code.

The National Harmony Act and the National Unity Act which are being drafted are Malaysia’s feeble attempts at demonstrating to the international community that it is serious about the respect of civil liberties and freedom of expression – a cosmetic measure that parallels its ambitions for a seat on the UN Security Council.

The new act allows racist statements as long as they do not incite harm. Fears are its wide interpretation will be used as a “get out of jail” free card for extremist groups with ties to the ruling party while minorities who speak out and scholarly opinions will be reigned in.

It could end up being worse than the Sedition Act that we have now.

Two years ago on Malaysia Day, the prime minister made this promise:

“The Sedition Act represents a bygone era in our country and with today’s announcement 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.

“Our country’s strength lies in its diversity. The new Act underlines my commitment to nurturing the spirit of harmony and mutual respect that has been the foundation of our stability and success.”

Since then, the prime minister has reiterated the “government’s commitment” to repeal the Sedition Act. Unfortunately all we have heard from the prime minister is lip service. Actions speak louder than words.

The dragnet over the last month flies in the face of the “reforms” this administration has promised.

First they came for the politicians, and then they came for the lawyers. Next they came for the NGOs, following which they came for the academicians. Then they came for the press.

That many voices of differing opinions are spending their Malaysia Day week at police stations only goes towards underscoring the “cakap tak serupa bikin” syndrome which seems to define the Najib administration. – September 17, 2014.

* Terence is a veteran at giving police statements. He hopes this article will not make him a guest of the Royal Malaysian Police yet again. He is investigations editor at The Edge and can be reached at

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

Press Release | Cease the Sedition Act Onslaught

ImageThe Malaysian Bar is appalled by the unrelenting misuse of the Sedition Act 1948 and other laws, and investigations and threats of prosecutions thereunder, to stifle speech and expression over the past four weeks.  The abuse has continued unabated in the past few days.
We refer to the following incidents:
(1) A preacher, Abu Bakar Baikalani, was reported in the news media on 11 September 2014 as having been arrested and under investigation pursuant to section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly insulting the Government and police, by criticising the mass arrest of members of Pasukan Peronda Sukarela (“PPS”);

(2) A lawyer, Edmund Bon, was reported in the news media on 12 September 2014 as being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 in relation to his alleged comments on the Federal Constitution, by way of legal opinion, in a news report entitled “Bukan Islam tidak perlu patuh kepada titah Diraja atau fatwa, kata peguam”;

(3) An opposition politician and lawyer, Hassan Karim, was reported in the news media on 13 September 2014 as being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 over postings on Twitter with regard to the Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) crisis.  The police had attended at his house and confiscated his laptop and mobile phone;

(4) A director of a Malaysia-based think-tank known as Inter-Research and Studies, Wong Hoi Cheng, was reported in the news media on 15 September 2014 as having been charged in court under section 504 of the Penal Code for allegedly insulting and provoking the Inspector General of Police (“IGP”), by having tweeted a criticism of the mass arrest of members of PPS and comparing the IGP to Henrich Himmler, the leader of the feared “SS” during Adolf Hitler’s World War II rule over Germany.  He also faces an alternative charge under section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
These recent events or actions are alarming.  The Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned that as we celebrate the 51st anniversary of the formation of Malaysia we are lurching steadily towards an intolerant authoritarian State.
The recent reports of a lawyer, Edmund Bon, being placed under investigation for expressing his legal opinion on matters in the public domain are deplorable.  The Malaysian Bar also recalls the recent prosecution of Dr Azmi Sharom, a law lecturer, for offering an opinion on matters connected with the law and the Federal Constitution.  It is unjustifiable and unacceptable that people are being placed under investigation or charged for expressing opinions or views with regard to or based on the law and the Federal Constitution.

Lawyers are duty-bound by the Legal Profession Act 1976 and the Montreal Declaration of June 1983 to uphold the cause of justice without fear or favour, and without regard to their own interest; and to protect and assist the public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the law.

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers provides that lawyers shall have the right to freedom of expression, belief and assembly, and shall have “the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice, and the promotion and protection of human rights”.

The United Nations Basic Principles go on to provide that governments shall ensure that lawyers “are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference”, as well as “shall not suffer, or be threatened with prosecution or administrative, economic or other sanctions for any action taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards and ethics”.

Previous to the recent events, we witnessed various actions being taken by the authorities under the Sedition Act 1948, or section 499 or section 504 of the Penal Code, against students, an academic, members of civil society, journalists, Members of Parliament and Members of the State Assembly.  There was additionally the mass arrest of members of the PPS immediately after they completed their participation in the Penang State National Day parade.

These actions by the authorities have given rise to grave concerns that a culture of intimidation, fear and subjugation is being perpetrated and perpetuated by the misuse of the Sedition Act 1948 and other laws such as section 499 and section 504 of the Penal Code.

The Malaysian Bar shares the wishes and hopes of all right-thinking Malaysians for genuine peace, harmony and unity.  The Malaysian Bar however questions whether these can simply be legislated into existence, and whether the use of the Sedition Act 1948, and the other laws as described, would serve to achieve these aspirations.  In addressing the substantive issues, the people of Malaysia should honestly ask themselves these questions: “Who is it that is behaving in a menacing manner and threatening public disorder?  Who is it that is causing disharmony and disunity?  Is the Sedition Act 1948 being evenly used?”  The answers are plain for all to see, if only one bothers to look.

The Malaysian Bar calls on the authorities to cease their action against all of these individuals, and to recognise the right to freedom of speech and expression.  The authorities must not use an abhorrent piece of colonial-era legislation to protect themselves from fair comment and criticism. 

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar

Swearing-in Of New Selangor MB On Sept 23

SHAH ALAM, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- The Selangor Palace has confirmed that the new Menteri Besar of the state will be sworn in on Tuesday, Sept 23 at the Istana Alam Shah, Klang near here.

The Sultan of Selangor's private secretary, Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani, when contacted by Bernama Thursday, however declined to divulge the name of the new menteri besar.

He said this would only be known on the day of the ceremony.

Bernama understands that Bukit Antarabangsa state assemblyman Mohamad Azmin Ali and Cempaka assemblyman Iskandar Abdul Samad are likely to be made MB, holding the highest administrative post in Selangor.

However, Mohamad Munir refused to confirm this when asked to comment on the matter.

The Sultan had ordered on Aug 26 that the parties within Pakatan Rakyat - DAP, PKR and PAS - submit more than two names each as possible candidates for the new menteri besar post.

His Royal Highness had earlier postponed accepting the resignation of Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar until after the process of appointing his successor was completed.

However, both PKR and DAP maintained that they wanted PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the sole candidate for the post.

Their actions angered the Sultan, leading to them make an apology to the palace on the matter but maintaining that they stil wanted Dr Wan Azizah to be the new MB.

The political crisis in Selangor came after the "Kajang Move" started by PKR director of strategy Rafizi Ramli in the Kajang by-election in March, aimed at making Anwar the new menteri besar of Selangor.

However, his hopes were dashed when he failed to gain the Kajang seat when the court declared him guilty of sodomy. Subsequently, his wife who is PKR president contested and won the seat.

On Aug 8, PKR expelled Abdul Khalid from the party with the plan to make Wan Azizah the new menteri besar of Selangor.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hak pekerja Malaysia antara terburuk

Youth delegates see red over chief's speech

Vienna imam tried over teen jihadists

The imam of a Vienna mosque told the District Criminal Court on Tuesday he had nothing to do with the disappearance of two young girls who left Austria in April to fight in Syria's civil war.

"I have never seen the girls," said the imam, who goes by the name Ebu Tejma.

The tabloid daily – Österreich - claimed the 15 and 16 year-old girls of Bosnian origin were "driven" to the so-called holy war in Syria by the imam, who preaches a particularly radical form of Salafism at the Altun-Alem mosque in Vienna's second district.

The 32 year-old preacher has gone so far as to file a legal complaint against the media for misrepresentation.

"There are no facilities for women in our mosque. There is no place for women," he told Judge Gerald Wagner.

The newspaper has "totally ruined my reputation. I have never spoken to the girls. My name has been dragged through the mud."

However, the defendant's legal representative, Peter Zöchbauer, wants to examine the evidence, suggesting it is also possible that he came in contact with minors outside the mosque.

Zöchbauer named a witness he claims can confirm the imam had "confronted (the girls) with religious content."

The hearing has been adjourned until early October.

Before setting the date, the judge played Youtube clips in which the imam was shown preaching.

Along with praise of Osama bin Laden, he also mentioned "duty" to a "defensive war".

The imam described the sequences as being taken out of context.

"If I said so, I was not right in the head. I do not recommend even adult men to go into battle."

Muslim Brotherhood cleric declares his support for the Islamic State

WagdyGhoneimWagdy Ghoneim, just expelled from Qatar along with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, used to live in the United States. He served as imam at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, California in the early 2000’s, and raised funds for Hamas-linked Muslim charity KindHearts. How many people are still in the United States today who learned about Islam from Wagdy Ghoneim?

And why doesn’t this Muslim cleric, who has dedicated his life to understanding and teaching the Qur’an and Sunnah, see what Barack Obama and David Cameron and Tony Abbott and so many other non-Muslims see so clearly, that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam?

“Video .. Wagdy Ghoneim after being expelled from Qatar announces support for ISIL,” my translation of the Arabic article “بالفيديو.. وجدي غنيم بعد طرده من قطر يُعلن تأييده داعش” by Hassan Bahi, Al-Masry Al-Youm, September 16, 2014 (thanks to Coptic Nationalism):
Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim on Tuesday announced his rejection of the war being organized against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and his “support for them, despite differences on some issues,” he said, and asked for “unity in the face of the Crusader alliance against Muslims.”

Ghoneim said, in the first video he recorded and put his on Facebook page after being expelled from Qatar, under the title, “Do not crusade against the Islamic State”: “America is heating up the world against ISIL. The West and America and the Crusaders in general are vengeful against Islam and Muslims, and they desire evil for Islam.”

He added: “Our enemies are Crusaders, their faith is based on bloodshed and murder, and this is evident in their Bible,” accusing the West of fabricating videos depicting the “slaughter of hostages in Iraq at the hands of ISIL.”

He continued: “America is the largest terrorist state, and the West, too. We will not forget what it did to America’s Indians, and the Abu Ghraib prison, Allah is sufficient for me, the most excellent in whom I trust, and yes, America threw the body of the martyr bin Laden into the sea, is that respect for human beings and human rights?”

He explained: “I am with my brothers in ISIL in some matters, but I advise them always to adhere to the Qur’an and Sunnah and to unite against their enemies, and I reject the Crusader alliance to defeat them.”

Sabah Christians tell Putrajaya to stop interfering in their religion

The use of the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible, AlKitab, in Sabah and Sarawak is one of the ways that Putrajaya is interfering with freedom of religion, say Bumiputera Christians. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 17, 2014.Christians in Sabah, already hard pressed in fending off attempts to convert Bumiputera Christians to Islam, have told Putrajaya to leave non-Muslims alone to manage their respective faiths and that laws enacted for the administration of Islam should not be applied to non-Muslims nor should non-Muslims be subject to Shariah law.

They said while Islam is the religion of the federation, people of other religions and faiths should have “the constitutional right and freedom to profess, practise, propagate and manage their respective faiths without interference and intervention by the state”.

They claimed that while freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and is also set out in the 18- and 20-point conditions of Sarawak and Sabah respectively, to be part of the Malaysia Agreement, “the legislative, executive and judiciary have trampled upon such rights of people of other faiths by making laws and decisions that militate against such freedom”.

Citing the prohibition of the usage of the word ‘Allah’ by Bumiputera Christians to refer to God and the restricted ban on the use of the AlKitab – the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible – since the early 1980s, they said this was a gross violation of human rights.

In their 30-point Kota Kinabalu Declaration at the end of a three-day “mamangkis” held at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association in Penampang, Sabah Christians also accused the judiciary of being “increasingly more inclined to defend the supremacy of race and religion than to abide by their oath of office to defend the supremacy of the constitution”.

The mamangkis, which was organised to coincide with Malaysia Day, was an old Kadazandusun war cry used by their pagan ancestors to rally warrior troops for battle but a new mamangkis movement spearheaded by Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) is now making it a Christian clarion call for revival.

Following the feud over the use of the word Allah, the Sabah churches said the state, including Islamic agencies and the sultans as heads of Islam in their respective states, must not intervene in other faiths.

The declaration also stated that “the proliferation of oppressive laws that violates our fundamental civil liberties continues unabated”.

They pointed to the trampling of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that gives recognition to the inherent dignity and of the equal rights of all people.

They also said the legislative, executive and the judiciary must restore “just, fair, and democratic principles of governance as envisaged by the framers of our Constitution and our founding fathers”.

“The Federal Constitution shall be the supreme law in the nation and all citizens have equal protection under the law and any other form of supremacy is clearly ultra vires the Constitution and unacceptable.”

The Sabah churches also defended the rights of the indigenous Orang Asal communities in Peninsular Malaysia when it said it was timely after half a century of “unjust exclusion, the rights of the indigenous Orang Asal communities must be given due recognition with utmost urgency” under Article 153 of the Constitution.

They said while Article 153 accords special position and privileges to Peninsular Malays and indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, the Orang Asal are excluded from such protection.

“While the special position of the Malays and natives of Malaysia shall be safeguarded, it is timely that the legitimate interests of other communities in Malaysia be equally observed and upheld in accordance with the provisions of Article 153.”

In signing the declaration, Sabah Council of Churches president Bishop Datuk Dr Thomas Tsen, National Evangelical Christian Fellowship–Commission of Sabah Affairs chairman Reverend Datuk Jerry Dusing, PAN chairman Pastor Esther Golingi, and Pastors Fellowship of Kota Kinabalu English and Chinese leader Pastor Steven Choon and Pastor Daniel Chin, also pledged their commitment to defend the sovereignty of Malaysia as a federation composed of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya. – September 17, 2014.

'Queens ruled in Acheh, so Azizah can be MB'

Seven Islamic NGOs have backed PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the Selangor menteri besar post on the basis that the Acheh Sultanate had been ruled by queens.

Spokesperson for the group, the Centre for Studies in Modernity and Civil Society (Cesmacs) director Muhammad Nur Manuty said the Acheh Islamic government had been ruled by four successive female monarchs between 1641 and 1689.

They are Queen Sofiatuddin (1641-1675), Queen Naqiatuddin (1675-1678), Queen Zakiatuddin (1678-1688) and Queen Kamalat Syah (1688-1689).

“The rule of these female rulers for 59 years in Acheh clearly shows that they can govern fairly, and were successful in providing welfare for the people,” he told a press conference in Shah Alam today.

The former PKR information chief added that Islam does not forbid women from taking on leadership roles, and women have become presidents and prime ministers in Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh as well.

When asked to comment about doubts about Wan Azizah’s capabilities after an incident in June where her written questions to the Selangor State were rejected, Muhammad Nur said Wan Azizah’s track record needs to be evaluated as a whole.

“Whatever we want to use to measure up a person, let it be comprehensive and not based on a single incident.

“Recently she had just become a Selangor assemblyperson so in Selangor’s context, she is still new, but she has been an MP since 1998,” he said.

In June, Selangor speaker Hannah Yeoh reportedly rejected all 10 questions that Wan Azizah submitted on the basis that it exceeded a requirement that the questions are limited to 40 words or less. She was sworn into office two months before.

Meanwhile, Nik Yusof Nik Ismail from Badan Dakwah Selangor rebutted allegations that Wan Azizah is a puppet to her husband and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

He said Wan Azizah can listen to advice from any person, but the final decision rests with her alone.

Also present at the press conference this morning were representatives from the NGOs Wadah Selangor, Selangor Abim, Yayasan Takmer, and Pusat Kerohanian.

Uthaya to be freed on Oct 3 as sentence slashed

The Court of Appeal has dismissed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Uthayakumar’s appeal to set aside his sedition conviction.

However, the appellate court reduced his jail sentence from 30 months to 24 months.

With the remission, his lawyer M Manoharan (left) said, Uthayakumar would be set free on Oct 3.

Justice Aziah Ali led the three-member panel that made the unanimous decision.

"We find that the complaints raised against the conviction made by the appellant on the sessions sourt and High Court decisions are without merit, and the appeal against the conviction is dismissed.

"After considering the mitigation plea, we agree to reduce the prison sentence to 24 months, from 30 months," Justice Aziah said.

The other judges sitting with her are Justices Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Ahmadi Asnawi.

Deputy public prosecutor Azlina Rasdi appeared for the prosecution.

As this case originated from the sessions court, this was Uthayakumar's final appeal.

Uthayakumar was found guilty of sedition by a sessions court in Kuala Lumpur June 5, 2013, for publishing seditious material in a letter, written between Nov 15 and Dec 8, 2007, to then British prime minister Gordon Brown.

In the letter, Uthayakumar claimed that the government had state-sponsored 'social-ethnic cleansing' of the Indian poor in Malaysia.

For this, he was ordered to be jailed for two-and-a-half years.

The High Court in KL upheld the sessions court decision, which led to Uthayakumar's final appeal which was heard today.

Detained under ISA

Prior to this he had been detained under the Internal Security Act for more than 800 days, from December 2007, on similar grounds, along with his lawyer Manoharan and three others.

His younger brother P Waythamoorthy (left) who was also part of the Hindraf movement, escaped the ISA crackdown on the Hindraf leaders and lived in the UK for several years before being appointed as a senator and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department last year, following the 13th general election.

Waythamoorthy eventually resigned over claims that the promises made to Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia, an entity registered with the Registrar of Societies, were not fulfilled.

Earlier, Manoharan submitted that there was no corroborative evidence between the investigating officer and the Malaysiakini journalist to prove the article was seditious.

The Malaysiakini journalist was a witness in the case.

He also told the court that what was printed by the investigating officer from the Police Watch website was no longer available and there was no evidence to suggest that the letter was sent.

Manoharan also said that the 30 months jail sentence was excessive as the courts had, prior to this, at most imposed an 18 months jail sentence for sedition.

He asked that a fine be imposed instead of a jail sentence as the late Karpal Singh was ordered to pay RM4,000 fine for a similar charge of sedition.

"The number of police reports lodged against the late Karpal were higher than what Uthayakumar had faced," Manoharan argued.

About 20 Hindraf supporters gathered since this morning to hear the appeal. Also present was his wife S Indra Devi.

Former top cops to join pro-Sedition Act roadshow

(Malay Mail Online) – A former inspector-general of police and retired Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief will join a nationwide roadshow calling for the retention of the Sedition Act 1948.

Ex-IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan and former CID head Tan Sri Zaman Khan is set to embark on the roadshow together with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) chief executive officer Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman as part of the Gerakan Malaysia Mempertahankan Akta Hasutan (Movement of Citizens Defending the Sedition Act 1948) campaign.

The campaign and the involvement of the three was publicised over Facebook today by the movement’s organiser, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, who was also listed as a speaker in the roadshows.

“We live in a fragile country with different races and we need a guideline, should anything happen..we need a law to refer to, in ascertaining if one has crossed their limits, or not,” lawyer Mohd Khairul said when contacted by Malay Mail Online.

When asked the purpose of the roadshow given the growing call for the act to be repealed, Mohd Khairul answered; “We love this country more than anyone else.”

“We have already started our activity, with Ipoh being our first stop. We have already received many invitation to give talks in Pahang, Kedah and even Tawau, Sabah,” he added.

He added that although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has announced the plan to repeal the colonial era law, the movement is seeking to ensure that Putrajaya does not “err” as it did by abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance (EO) security laws.

When launching the movement last week, Musa suggested a mandatory death sentence for “habitual” offenders under the Sedition Act.

This prompted former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to tell the former IGP to “try it on himself” before suggesting it for others.

There now exist opposing movements either calling for the retention of the colonial era law or pushing for it to be repealed as pledged by the government.

Putrajaya was recently forced to reaffirm its commitment to repeal the Sedition Act, which remains in use two years after Najib said it will be replaced with laws on national harmony.

Critics, however, believe the government is deliberately dithering on the promise due to pressure from strong right wing elements within Umno and its supporters, who want the Act to stay.

Defenders of the Sedition Act, primarily pro-establishment conservatives including Dr Mahathir, contend that its removal will open the floodgates of attacks against the Bumiputera, Islam, and the Malay rulers in the absence of the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).

Those pushing for the law to be eliminated, however, insist that its ambit is too broad, as it criminalises speech with an undefined “seditious tendency” and without need to prove intent.

Azmi tells public to keep fighting for freedom

He calls for patience, saying academic freedom isn't something that can be achieved overnight.

KUALA LUMPUR: Azmi Sharom has called for patience in the fight for academic freedom but said the public must not stop pushing for it.

“Trying to achieve standards in democratic practice, I see it as a process,” the Universiti of Malaya law lecturer said in an interview with FMT.

“It’s a process where we have to be patient, and we have to keep pushing every single step of the way.”

Azmi today filed an application with the High Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Sedition Act, under which he has been charged because of comments he made in relation to the ongoing Selangor political crisis.

He referred to a 2011 case in which another law lecturer, Abdul Aziz Bari, had his service with the International Islamic University suspended for a similar offence. Police investigated Aziz under the Sedition Act, prompting numerous student demonstrations calling for academic freedom and university autonomy.

Azmi said the current movement against the Sedition Act and for academic freedom actually began with Aziz’s case.

“The act should have been gone back then,” he said.

But it was not a lost cause, he added. “It’s difficult to sustain a protest for three years, but it is clear that what happened to Aziz and what is happening to me now has raised awareness about the Sedition Act not only amongst students but also the general public.”

He said the greater public awareness was crucial in the fight to get the Sedition Act repealed and, by extension, in achieving academic freedom.

Referring to the application he filed today, Azmi said, “The constitutional rights that exist for us as Malaysians have to be protected.

“Limitations to these rights have to be done exactly the way the constitution allows. The wording is very specific. These rights have to be taken pedantically because they are extremely important.”

PAS going back and forth on gender issue

NGO Empower says it is disappointed PAS cited gender as one of the reasons to reject Wan Azizah as the Selangor MB.

PETALING JAYA: The Communications and Media Officer of Empower Yasmin Masidi has stated her disappointment that PAS’ clergy wing still cannot accept Wan Azizah as the Selangor Menteri Besar (MB) because she is a woman.

Citing a statement a PAS representative made to an online news agency recently, Yasmin quotes PAS as saying they rejected the PKR president “due to her gender, along with two other reasons”.

Expressing her disagreement Yasmin said, “Honesty and integrity are qualities that should be part of leadership criteria, not gender.”

Yasmin also said that following PAS’ statement on gender, members of the NGO were “especially disappointed that PAS continues to hide behind its version of Islam to justify gender discrimination.”

Yasmin added, “Malaysian women – including Muslim women – have proven themselves capable of being leaders and decision-makers at all levels of society, despite the many barriers in their way.

“Even in the classical period, Islamic history is filled with examples of women leaders such as Hurrah Malikah Arwa’ bint Ahmad, who was the head of administration for Yemen on behalf of the Fatimid Caliphs in the 9th century.”

Yasmin cited modern Muslim-majority nations including Pakistan and Bangladesh that have had women heads of state.

Another issue of contention was the conflicting statements PAS has made regarding the suitability of Wan Azizah as the MB.

Yasmin said that on August 14, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali had said that “gender was not the reason” however a later statement saying the exact opposite was told to an online news portal.

Youth of the nation

Thank you Zaid Ibrahim, for exposing the political hypocrisy of our PM and other Umno leaders.

COMMENT By Koon Yew Yin

The latest assault on DAP and PKR, from the Prime Minister (PM) himself, concerns their “loyalty” to the Sultan of Selangor.

This cheap political trick to question the loyalty of opposition parties should not come from a PM. In a democracy anyone who has a public duty has to be accountable for his actions.

Instead of talking to the people about the complexities of democracy and how constitutional monarchs and political leaders should conduct themselves, the PM took the lazy route of inflaming the feelings of the Malays by suggesting PKR and DAP would not protect the Malay rulers and their religion.

For a man who talks about the great transformation of the country, this was irresponsible and most disappointing.

My concern is that this anti-DAP feeling will spin out of control into anti-Chinese sentiment, that in turn has the potential to become anti-Malay and, ultimately, anti-Muslim.

Hatred will then consume the nation. Then what? Racial clashes? Innocent lives will be lost, both Chinese and Malays, and the country will grind to a halt. Wealthy leaders will flee and the so-called defenders of the Malay race will run off to London or Argentina.

Ordinary people who just want to live in peace will have to start over.

Speaking as a non-Malay Malaysian, I wish to express my deep appreciation to Zaid Ibrahim for exposing the political hypocrisy of our PM and for spelling out, in easily understood terms, the looming scenario of violence should racial hatred and anti-opposition bashing continue unabated.

Unfortunately it is not the PM alone who engages in this duplicitous double talk. The Deputy PM, the Home Affairs Minister, the Minister in the PM’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs, even the most junior Umno deputy ministers and parliamentary secretaries do it.

Where’s the political moderation?

Speeches at an international level show political moderation, while back home it’s a different story.

When speaking to Chinese, Indians or East Malaysians, a moderate slant is adopted. When speaking to Malays, a hard line and racially or religiously ultra-nationalist slant is taken, urging Malays to defend Malay royalty, the Malay race and Umno, their saviour against rampaging and disloyal and traitorous non-Malays.

Where the rot started

Many attribute this radicalisation of Umno politics to opportunistic leadership, with the rot starting with Mahathir Mohamad’s prime ministership.

Others have argued that this is due to the fear of loss of power, wealth and status, should BN and Umno’s rule come to an end.

Whatever the reasons, the reality is that we have today Umno as a party that is committed to moderation on paper but in reality is the breeding ground of intolerance and bigotry, which will bring about the destruction of our country as we know it.

What is the solution?

Zaid has proposed to his non-Malay readers to “interact with them … so that they see that you are not the enemy.”

He notes that in Kelantan, Malay and non-Malay relationships are excellent, and it is the same in many other places. He also makes the important point that the people are tired of these leaders’ defeatist mantras but that “since they have a monopoly over TV stations and newspapers, they will keep working to get (ordinary Malaysians) to believe that the threat truly comes from within.”

This is sound advice aimed at the grassroots. But time is needed to build up these interracial and interreligious relationships and time is not on our side. More rapid responses are needed to fight this mother of all battles to ensure a peaceful, democratic, pluralistic and progressive nation.

Perhaps the most urgently needed of these rapid responses is for similar voices of sanity and moderation to come from within the ranks of Umno.

Zaid has long been a voice of common sense, even from the days when he was part of the ruling party. He has championed the case for greater freedom and basic liberties and is now taking up the cudgels to fight political and racial extremism.

Another is the former Deputy Minister of Higher Education and now CEO of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation, Saifuddin Abdullah, who has a track record of advocacy for democratic reform and has championed youth empowerment. He has also refused to play the race card, despite his long time membership in Umno.

Are there other moderate and progressive Umno leaders out there who can rise above racially laced platforms and rhetoric now deemed de rigueur for any aspiring Malay with ambitions to rise to political prominence in the country. Or is this a no-brainer?

The PM himself should lead the way and not smear the opposition governments of Penang, Selangor and Kelantan as enemies or traitors to the Malay cause.

The answer to this question, I believe, holds the key to the kind of future facing the Malays and all other Malaysians.

Youth of the nation

ImageThe Star

THEY are creative, intelligent, passionate and, most important, patriotic.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve featured young Malaysians – from all walks of life – who have been running initiatives and movements that encourage nation-building, unity and political participation.

As a youth news platform, we’re proud to say our fellow young Malaysians have taken on the challenge to drive the nation forward, and they’re doing it with some fresh, amazing ideas. Here are some of their stories.


In 2010, a group of friends organised a focus group, during which they concluded that young Malaysians intent on starting nation-building initiatives rarely get the support they need.

“So, we felt what was needed was an independent platform … not one regulated by the government,” said myHarapan CEO Nurfarini Daing.

The result of that aspiration was the birth of the aptly-named NGO myHarapan, which aims to help youths drive initiatives on their own.

“We advocate social entrepreneurship. It’s really about creating the right mindset,” said Nurfarini. “We get them to do projects on their own and facilitate the process, instead of spoon-feeding them.”

To do that, myHarapan provides engagement programmes, organises workshops, provides content and offers grants, among other things. Simply put, they act as an “accelerator” to get determined young people to work on their ideas.

In fact, those hoping to kickstart their projects can opt for one of two grants by myHarapan – The Youth Action Grant (which offers up to RM15,000) for one-off projects, or the Social Venture Fund (which provides up to RM250,000) to establish organisations with long-term plans.

On top of that, myHarapan also provides ample opportunities for young people to share and pitch their nation-building ideas to a global audience.

One example is the ongoing Social Business Challenge. This competition, to formulate project ideas designed to address and alleviate poverty in urban communities, is open to those aged 18-35.

The winning ideas, besides earning startup funds, will also be sent to this year’s Global Social Business Summit (GSBS) in Mexico, where opportunities for them to grow are aplenty.

“GSBS is the biggest social summit in the world right now. It brings together all the big shots in the industry interested in pitching good social business ideas,” said Nurfarini. “Through this, we’re also trying to showcase Malaysia on the global stage.”

Last year, the fifth edition of GSBS was held in Kuala Lumpur, the first time the event took place outside of Europe – thanks to myHarapan.

“It was a big achievement for us,” said Nurfarini. “It can be hard getting funds. But after hosting the GSBS last year, there has been a lot of local interest in social entrepreneurship.

“I think social entrepreneurship has become very trendy now. In the future, it will be something people really look out for in terms of running businesses.”

Next year, myHarapan hopes to continue promoting social entrepreneurship internationally, by including it in the agenda at the ASEAN Summit here in Malaysia.


Political awareness among young people has certainly increased over the past few years, and with that comes a desire to make a change. But change cannot happen without an understanding of the fundamentals behind policies, right?

Understanding our constitution, however, can be pretty difficult for the average person. Enter MyConsti. First formed by the Bar Council in 2009, it aims to educate citizens – especially those aged between 15 and 35 – on the Federal Constitution, and the law in general.

“Lack of knowledge and understanding on the law particularly the Federal Constitution often leads to misinterpretation and misinformation,” said Firdaus Husni, chairperson of the Bar Council Constitutional Committee (BCCC).

“That’s why we spearheaded MyConsti – to bring the contents of the Malaysian Federal Constitution to all Malaysians in a manner simple enough for the public to understand and appreciate without compromising the substance.”

To reach out to the youth, MyConsti produced a series of public service advertisements (called Rakyat Service Advertisements, or RSAs), and guides (called The Rakyat Guides) based on nine main themes they identified within the Federal Constitution. They’ve also run a series of public forums, conducted television and radio interviews and written articles – all based on the constitution.

On ground, MyConsti has developed and run workshops, mostly in partnership with school and college students, NGOs and even churches. And in keeping with their aim to educate the youth, they’ve even held two concerts called Rock 4 Rights.

These efforts were not just contained to urban areas, either. MyConsti has also organised trips to orang asli settlements.

“We are all beneficiaries of the Federal Constitution. I hope the younger generation realises that,” said Firdaus. “And that’s why they need to protect the Federal Constitution.”

She also added that the constitution has been amended several times, which shows that change is possible for the young people of Malaysia.

“But first, they need to arm themselves with knowledge. How can we protect the Federal Constitution if we don’t even know what’s in it?”

Firdaus’ hope now is for the people to take ownership of MyConsti, and help spread its message throughout the country.

“Get a copy of our Rakyat Guides,” urged Firdaus. “Read them and pass them on. Organise a MyConsti workshop in your area.” She promised they would be there, once told of the time, venue and date of the workshop.

You can also join MyConsti for free! Just send an email to and complete the registration form, and you’ll be on your way to helping spread sorely-needed knowledge to your fellow countrymen.

“In the course of our campaign, we have met many youths who are enthusiastic to do their part for nation building. Seeing them never fails to inspire the MyConsti campaigners to do more. It tells you that there’s hope for the country,” said Firdaus.

Perdana Fellows Programme

If you’re talking about getting young people involved in nation-building, there’s probably no better way to do it than to actually stick them straight into the Government – which is exactly what the Perdana Fellows Programme does.

Through the programme, the country’s brightest young minds get to apply to be interns under Cabinet ministers for a period ranging from six weeks to six months.

This means the youth won’t just get a chance to learn, but also have their voices heard by the people who run the country.

In the two years since it was initiated, the programme has given 70 future leaders the chance to learn, first-hand, the ins and outs of policy-making and ministerial administration.

“The Perdana Fellowship Programme helps bridge the gap between the government and the youth, making both parties better informed of each other. This way, the youth will have a well-rounded understanding of issues and know not to criticise policies blindly,” said University of Nottingham undergrad Victoria Cheng, 22, who is currently a Perdana Fellow under Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.

University of Warwick student Muhammad Mikhail Rosli, 21, who worked with Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, said one of the most important things he learnt was how tedious and complex policy-making can be.

“I’ve learnt that the recurring criticism that governments are slow to implement things disregards the need to be careful when exercising government functions.

“Most people do not consider the trade-offs involved when good policies are politically unattractive, or the wide gap between planners and implementers,” he said.

In an earlier interview with The Star, Perdana alumnus Hafiz Ariffin, 25, confessed that he had underestimated the amount of work a Prime Minister had until he was placed under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself.

According to Mikhail, some people tend to be quite skeptical about the motives behind the programme; but his personal experience as a fellow was very positive.

“I think it has given urban youths, like myself, the opportunity to experience first-hand this distant and controversial figure we call ‘the Government’.

“The programme does not breed (negative) ideologies but instead gives direction for more informed conversations among the youth,” said Mikhail.

Cheng believes the programme serves as an effective awareness platform and encourages Malaysian youths to get involved.

“The most crucial aspect of this programme is having the government opening itself up to the people,” she shared.

“I also see youths becoming more proactive and passionate about public policy and civil welfare. More of us are actually involving ourselves in concrete ‘servanthood’ activities as opposed to just making noise on social media and the blogosphere.”

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RM1 Million Pledge For Education Of MH370, MH17 Cabin Crew's Children

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
GENTING HIGHLANDS, Sept 17 (Bernama) -- Eu Yan Sang and Genting Group have pledged RM500,000 each to kickstart the Flagbearer Education Foundation for the children of the cabin crew on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and MH370.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who was appointed as the patron of the foundation, applauded Eu Yan Sang for establishing the foundation and other charitable drives that have improved the conditions of Malaysians who were less fortunate.

"My heart reaches out to the affected families (of the MH17 and MH370 tragedies). Their loss is great, an incomprehensible one that cannot be soothed by mere words of consolation and comfort.

"We could not begin to imagine their pain as much as we can try to be empathetic to their grieving. What we can do is to continue our best efforts to ensure that every affected family receives closure and to pray for the peace of those who have tragically departed regardless of our racial and religious background," he said in his speech at Eu Yan Sang's 135th Anniversary Celebration Gala Dinner, here, Wednesday night.

Hishammuddin said with the kind of struggles that the nation had been going through recently, it was extremely commendable to witness a strong sense of communal responsibility from the local industries that supported those who were in need.

"It echoes the aspiration of the government to have more private and public organisations undertake strong positions in their corporate social responsibility programmes that centre upon the ideology of mutual respect, love and charity.

"In the future, we hope to see more such entities embodying this philosophy as we strive to become a nation that is not only economically driven but also morally responsible," he said.

At the event, Eu Yan Sang also donated RM1.26 million to the Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation and the Registered Trustees of the Joseph William Yee Eu Foundation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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