Hornbill Unleashed

October 23, 2014

Sedition and ethno-religious reporting

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BOB TEOH

Ethno-religious reporting is critical to understanding the socio-political fabric of Malaysia but it is circumscribed by draconian laws, principally the Sedition Act 1948, like a millstone around the necks of editors and any discussion of race and religion is immediately stifled.

This piece of anachronistic legislation was introduced by the departing British colonial masters and has since been preserved in pristine condition as a prior restraint to free speech by the current regime to ensure that the media remains servile apologists for the establishment.

As J Herbert Atschull points out in his book, Agents of Power “the powerful has never been comfortable with a free press.” He discusses this in the context of the free press model in the US. In the Malaysian context, the press must be heavily shackled to keep the dictatorship comfortable. (more…)

Saari to launch ‘manual for political prisoners’

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Stephen Ng@Mkini

What is it like to be interrogated round-the-clock for a marathon 44 hours in the infamous Kamunting detention centre? And what should you do or say?

These are the questions answered in the book by PAS man and former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Saari Sungib.

In his preface, fellow ex-ISA detainee Syed Husin Ali said the book ‘Derita Penjara Tanpa Bicara: Kisah Kekejaman Akta Zalim’ (Detention Without Trial: The Ugly Side of the Draconian Law) is a “manual” on how to survive imprisonment without trial. (more…)

‘Oil royalty no excuse to not cut power tariffs’

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Joseph Tawie

Sarawak DAP today criticised Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem for saying that electricity and water tariffs will only be cut if the state gets an increase in oil and gas royalty.According to Sarawak DAP, Sarawak power provider Syarikat Sesco Bhd “can afford to lower tariff by 30 percent” even without the oil royalty boost.

The state is currently negotiating with the federal government and Petronas over the increase of oil and gas royalty from five to 20 percent as requested by the State assembly in May this year.

“I urge the state government not to find excuses to delay the lowering of the electricity tariff in Sarawak especially in light of the escalating costs of living and to help ease  the financial burden of the people, especially when it can afford,” said Bandar Kuching MP. (more…)

Baram blockade rebuilt after being dismantled

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Mkini

The blockade against the Baram Dam construction at kilometre 15 of Jalan Samling has been re-erected hours after it was dismantled by the authorities to access to loggers, locals claim.

According to protester Johannes Luhat, about 50 police and 10 Forestry Department personnel accompanied by logging company representatives dismantled the blockade to allow the loggers in.

However, the villagers manage to raise a new barricade and struck a deal with the Forestry Department to allow a three-day grace period before further action. (more…)

Rampant development is coming back to bite us

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Ace Emerson

“Our home has been frequently invaded by monkeys who seem to have quickly made themselves at home, they would launch themselves off our cabinets onto the bed, shrieking with delight and would wander into the bathroom to help themselves to the toothbrushes, toiletries and medicine cabinet,” Anne Raj of Bangsar told theantdaily.

“We were surprised to find two monkeys perched in front of our refrigerator helping themselves to the leftover food from the day before and one perched on our kitchen counter going through our cabinets and helping itself to the cereal boxes when we came home from work one day,” said Sue Lee of  Kota Damansara. (more…)

‘Muslims needn’t follow just one school of thought’

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Mkini

As debate rages on whether last Sunday’s dog-patting event contravenes the Shafee Muslim school of thought, a prominent scholar posits that it is not compulsory for Muslims to only follow one mazhab (school of thought).

In a Facebook posting yesterday, former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin(below) cites Syrian scholar Wahba Zuhayli that Muslims can “switch between schools” as he or she deems fit.

“Wahba said: “According to the majority of ulama, it is not compulsory to follow only one particular imam (jurist) in solving all problems. (more…)

Calls to close down Chinese schools ‘stupid talk’, says Sarawak CM

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Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem says his government will help all Chinese schools in the state. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 22, 2014.Bernama

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem says his government will help all Chinese schools in the state. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 22, 2014.The Sarawak government is committed in efforts to help Chinese private schools in the state, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem today.

He regarded the call by certain quarters for the schools to be closed as “stupid talk”, saying that the school enrolment also included children from other races in Sarawak.

Today, he presented a cheque for RM3 million to the Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board, to be distributed to the 14 Chinese private schools in the state. (more…)

Baram dam protesters confront forestry officials, set up new blockade

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Natives protesting against the proposed Baram hydroelectric dam are digging in their heels and ready to confront forestry officials out to dismantle their blockade. – Pic courtesy of internationalrivers.org, October 22, 2014.

ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH

Natives protesting against the proposed Baram hydroelectric dam in Sarawak claimed that authorities have dismantled their year-long blockade, forcing them to set up another one at the same site hours later in order to prevent the construction of the dam.

The blockade, set up at KM15 of Jalan Samling, Baram, was dismantled yesterday by about 50 police personnel from the General Operation Force (GOF), 10 Forestry Department officers and “a handful” of loggers from the logging company M.M. Golden and Autorich Sdn Bhd, the natives said.

The natives then confronted the men dismantling the blockade, to thwart them from entering the area. (more…)

October 22, 2014

Sex, innuendos and Malaysian politics

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From left: Zairil and DyanaHazlan Zakaria

In what seems to be an increasing trend in the grassy knoll of Malaysian politics, another shot was fired from an unidentified smoking gun aimed at assassinating the career and reputation of opposition politicians.

Surreal as it was, the same paper owned by a BN component party broke the news yet again.<

Previously, the English daily revealed a female Pakatan politician’s family matters and innuendos of a supposed close friendship just before her party’s elections kicked off.

(more…)

‘Pakatan must use rise in support to heal wounds’

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Mkini

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has urged Pakatan Rakyat to use a survey showing that support has risen for Pakatan to recover from “self-inflicted wounds” sustained in the Selangor MB crisis.

This, he said, can only be done if all three component parties adhere to the agreed upon common policy framework, and work on a basis consensus.

“The reaffirmation of these two basic principles of Pakatan will take the coalition to greater heights while their denial will dispatch Pakatan to the dustbin of history,” he said in a statement today. (more…)

4G corruption

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KJ JOHN

In ordinary life, it is argued that one generation is about 30 years. Therefore, me being already 60 plus, and my dad being 90 plus, and my grandchild being a week old; I need to now to look at life issues from a 4G perspective, especially to address lack of transparency in good governance at the level of local government. But, why do I frame it as a 4th generational model of moral corruption?
It is simple. In 1955 my father was elected a town councillor for Sungai Petani. Elections were held for local councils then. I was already five years old and vaguely remember many people coming to visit my dad and they always talked about “approval” for development projects. (more…)

UN study shows serious losses for M’sia after TPPA

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NIZAM MAHSHAR

A new paper by a United Nations senior economist has shown damning evidence that Malaysia joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will not be overtly beneficial for domestic value added trade, and may in fact prove detrimental to certain industries.In her report, Rashmi Banga of the Unit of Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries (ECIDC) said that Malaysia will have an unfavourable balance of trade (BOT, defined as exports minus imports) of negative US$300 million per annum, roughly RM900 million per annum, specifically to the US.

This means that while our government insists that the TPPA is an agreement where the “benefits outweigh costs” and is quoted telling the media such, it is a half-truth. (more…)

Orang Asal erect new Baram blockade

baramJoe Fernandez

Those who wrecked the earlier blockade vow to be back in three days to re-enact their act.

Orang Asal protesters against the proposed Baram Dam erected a new blockade in Long Kesseh village at KM 15 Jalan Samling to replace a year-old one demolished Tuesday morning by police, Forestry Department officers and loggers seeking access to the timber in the area. There’s another blockade within the same vicinity which was left untouched.

Apparently, those who wrecked the earlier blockade vowed to be back in three days to re-enact their act. (more…)

Open field for foreign law firms

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Raphael Wong

will be a crowded field soon enough. At least this is what many people expect to see in the legal fraternity with liberalisation.

The legal service, once the exclusive domain of Malaysian lawyers – essentially those who have been admitted to the Malaysian Bar – will now accept lawyers from other countries. Foreign law firms will also be allowed to set up branches in Malaysia.

This has been made possible with several amendments to the Legal Profession Act in 2012 and 2013 as well as the passage and enforcement of the Legal Profession (Licensing of International Partnerships and Qualified Foreign Law Firms and Registration of Foreign Lawyers) Rules 2014. (more…)

Hindus and Christians: Foster a culture of ‘inclusion’

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(Left): Pope Francis

Theantdaily team

Hindus and Christians, together with those of other religious beliefs in the country have been living together in great harmony and tolerance ever since Malaysia was born. In fact, long before the multi-racial and multi-religious citizens of this nation became Malaysians.

Unfortunately in recent years, the religious tolerance and racial harmony have been threatened by a small group of bigots and racists.

Perhaps a humble Kerling villager by the name of Jamil Mohd Yusof, 76, summed up best the sad situation today when he said that Malaysians have lost that loving feeling. (more…)

October 21, 2014

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

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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.JAMILAH KAMARUDIN

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. 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. (more…)

12,000 Bangladeshis to be recruited to work in Sarawak

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Bernama

Some 12,000 Bangladeshi workers will be recruited to work at various sectors in Sarawak, said Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia AKM Atiqur Rahman.

He said this followed a request from Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister Richard Riot to the Bangladesh Government to send 12,000 skilled and semi-skilled workers to work at the various sectors in Sarawak, during his recent visit to Bangladesh.

“The request will be finalised during a meeting between Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Sarawak government on Nov 5 in Kuala Lumpur,” he told a press conference in Kuching today.
(more…)

World-class education status? Not with Sarawak’s schools

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Jimmy Adit

Crowded classrooms and hostels, double-sessions, dilapidated buildings, too few toilets and washrooms, lack of conveniences like ceiling fans (forget about air-conditioners for now) and staff rooms with tables and chairs that belong to no one because they are used by just any one – that’s how most Sarawak’s rural schools look like.

Those in the far-flung interiors fare even worst. What can you expect, when there is no electricity, no piped water, but just some structures called classrooms?

Yes, in the towns and cities the schools are far better off, of course. In terms of infrastructure and facilities, rather the opposite in fact. But not all is rosy even here. (more…)

What you should know about Umno and sedition

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Dr Abdul Aziz

The law is expected to be blind to race and gender; something that obviously underlines equality. And that is why some say that Article 8 of the Federal Constitution – which guarantees equal protection of the law – is actually the bedrock of our basic law.

This is indeed a sound proposition given that such is also central to the notion of rule of law. Hence our abhorrence to selective prosecution which obviously runs counter to the notion of equality that is so central in any legal or constitutional systems.

It goes without saying that equality goes hand in hand with the idea of justice. Of course, the two are not interchangeable but nonetheless the former may be the prelude for the latter. In fact in some circumstances, justice is nothing but equality. (more…)

The best government in the world

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bn_malaysia_300Iskandar Dzulkarnain

If Malaysians would stop complaining and reflect a little, they’ll realise how lucky they are to be under BN rule.

Some Malaysians, especially opposition supporters, need to go for a reality check. They seem to always have a bone to pick with our time tested government policies. Can’t they see that these polices are the reason we have such wonderful racial and religious harmony, the best education system in the world and such prosperity that the government keeps increasing the BR1M handouts?

If they are not complaining about corruption and cronyism, they are protesting against the Sedition Act, GST and petrol hikes while forever accusing the Federal Government of mismanagement and extravagance, offering as “proof” the ridiculous allegation that the Prime Minister and his wife waste public funds to finance their jet-setting ways. Talk about envy and jealousy! How can you call them “public funds” when the money comes from the budget allocation to the Prime Minister’s Department? It’s for the Prime Minister’s household to use as it pleases. (more…)

The Malays’ post-NEP anxiety

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Wong Chin Huat

The rise of communal exclusivism among the Malay-Muslims may not be so much because of ideational shifts than because of the deeply-rooted anxiety over the uncertainty in the post-New Economic Policy Malaysia.

And this calls for an alternative to “state partiality” as a solution to “socio-economic inequality”, a core idea in Malaya/Malaysia’s nation-building.

The inevitable rise of communal exclusivism (more…)

Zahid: Time for single-stream school system

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Mkini

The time has come for the country to implement a single stream school system for the sake of unity, says Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

His statement echoed urgings by several Malay NGOs to abandon the vernacular school system which they claim keep communities in their ethnic bubbles in favour of a single national education system.

“Forget which country you came from because today we are Malaysians,” Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia reported him saying. (more…)

Anwar rejects exile

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MARIAM MOKHTAR

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.
(more…)

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

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Lim today hit out at Nancy Shukri for evading responsibility in the Ibrahim Ali Bible-burning controversy. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 20, 2014.LOOI SUE-CHERN

Lim today hit out at Nancy Shukri for evading responsibility in the Ibrahim Ali Bible-burning controversy.

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. (more…)

MACC: Set up Police Integrity Commission

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Mkini

The police should revisit their own suggestion to set up an Independent Police Integrity Commission (IPIC), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel (CCPP) says.

In addition, it said the police Integrity Department and Disciplinary Division should be expanded into an Internal Affairs Division that “has more teeth”.

“We are very satisfied with the explanations given by the police on their efforts to combat graft. We feel that the police have taken many initiatives and made many efforts on issues involving misconduct and others. (more…)

October 20, 2014

Religious conversion rears its ugly head again

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Mariam Mokhtar

When Muslim clerics claim that Muslims are being converted in churches throughout Selangor and Perak, all hell breaks loose. When Muslims are accused of converting people of other faiths against their will, nothing happens.

On Oct 10, Sarawak DAP vice-chairman Leon Jimat Donald said that some parents had complained that their children had been enticed into converting to Islam, in their schools, in Betong. Children were allegedly prevented from bringing their Bibles to the MRSM boarding schools and boys had been forced to wear the “songkok”.

The parents’ fears were heightened after reading reports that a group had been visiting longhouses in Belaga, to convert the communities. It was alleged that the group had misused the “goodwill and welfare” programme, to entice them to become Muslims, with an offer of RM6,000 per person. (more…)

Sarawak Pakatan’s future depends on PAS

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Joseph Tawie

The future of Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat which comprises DAP, PKR and PAS, will be known in June next year when PAS Malaysia will be having its convention, said Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.

It is expected that there will be a showdown between the ulama and the progressive factions in the party. The party is seriously divided, said Chong.

“If the progressive faction wins control of the party, it means the party is not going to implement hudud and it is not leaning towards Umno. This faction is for justice, fairness, equality and liberty. (more…)

Sodomy case can’t go on while Shafee probed

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KIM QUEK

The revelation of an on-going criminal investigation on lead prosecutor in the Anwar sodomy trial, Shafee Abdullah has cast serious doubt not only on the impending hearing of Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against his sodomy conviction at the Federal Court on Oct 28, but also on the legal validity of Anwar’s earlier conviction by the Court of Appeal on Mar 7.

It was reported on Oct 18 that the Attorney-General’s (AG) Chambers issued an order as early as Jan 3, 2014 to investigate Shafee for having possibly made false affidavit in response to Anwar Ibrahim’s application to disqualify him, and that such investigation is still on-going. (more…)

Dyslexic schoolboy sues exams syndicate, Putrajaya over UPSR leaks

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The UPSR leaks resulted in some 480,000 pupils having to resit four of the examination papers. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 20, 2014.V. ANBALAGAN

The UPSR leaks resulted in some 480,000 pupils having to resit four of the examination papers.

In an unprecedented case, a 13-year-old boy with dyslexia is suing the Malaysian Examinations Syndicate and Putrajaya for negligence in the handling of the UPSR examination papers which had leaked last month, resulting in some 480,000 Year Six pupils having to resit four of the papers.

Ananda Krishnan Menon, who has the learning disability, said in his suit that he suffered from emotional and mental stress as a result of the examination fiasco. (more…)

Losers, liars and looters

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DEAN JOHNS

By any measure you can think of, Malaysia has been on a losing streak for decades under the leadership – or rather the misleadership and bleedership – of the Barisan Nasional regime.

But this gang of crooks posing as a political coalition has no way of going straight even if it wanted to, as reform would entail retribution for countless crimes by its members and cronies, not to mention repayment of the untold billions they’ve plundered from the people.

So all BN can do in the face of its steady loss of credibility, respect and support is to redouble its lying and looting in hopes of postponing its eventual and inevitable loss of power. (more…)

Better fat ministers than the current corrupt crop

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(Left): Maggie

Hazlan Zakaria

Much is reportedly being said by critics about a woman minister tasked with leading Belgium’s fight against obesity, the long and short of it is that some say that the 127kg politician is too fat to be minister of public health.

While I do perhaps understand the painful irony that critics are trying to point out, but perhaps as the saying goes, sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief, and an obese to solve obesity.

And more so when it comes to our Malaysian context, many of us I believe would rather have a public official that is obese and can do the job than one who is less bulge-endowed but corrupt and spendthrift. (more…)

Malaysia’s Sedition Act crackdown ‘chilling’ free speech

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APF

A protest march was held by hundreds of lawyers who decried the Sedition Act as 'an antithesis of democracy, rule of law, justice and human rights' in Kuala Lumpur. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 19, 2014.A protest march was held by hundreds of lawyers who decried the Sedition Act as ‘an antithesis of democracy, rule of law, justice and human rights’ in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian government crackdown under its Sedition Act is creating a climate of fear in the country, according to rising numbers of critics who say it could stunt a recent flowering in freedom of speech.

About 40 people – mostly opposition politicians including leader Anwar Ibrahim, but also student activists, lawyers, academics and a journalist – have been investigated, charged or convicted under the act this year, activists say. (more…)

Let them eat MUET

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DR AZLY RAHMAN

There is so much worry that the Malays are going to be left behind in the new English Language requirements for university entrance – the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).

There are so many groups making excuses that the kids from rural areas will be left behind.

Well, hasn’t this been an argument since time immemorial? Never-ending excuses for those ‘speaking for the Malays’. (more…)

We must dismantle race-based policies

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WH Cheng

After more than 57 years of independence, it is indeed sad that we have yet to achieve the much desired one-nation and one-identity concept which stresses on equality for the citizenry regardless of race, culture or belief.

The running of our nation’s affairs is still heavily dependent on race-based policies. In addition to all those race-based policies and systems, some followers of one particular religion have also systematically evolved into a machinery of threat and fear in order to control and subdue others into submission.

A large number of elected representatives from the ruling party have also proven to be unable to articulate and analyse logically on issues of distributive and regulative justice. Instead, it seems that they prefer to harp on issues involving race, religion, the rulers, as well as fan hatred, violence and suspicion among Malaysians. (more…)

October 19, 2014

Sarawak DAP to boycott PAS, PKR over hudud

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Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen says any rise to power of the ulama faction in PAS would mean the state DAP leaving Pakatan Rakyat.  – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 18, 2014.TMI

Sarawak DAP today announced a boycott of all activities with allies PAS and PKR until the two parties clarify their stands on the implementation of hudud.

Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen, however, said the state DAP would remain in Pakatan Rakyat (PR), but would leave the coalition if PAS’s ulama faction comes to power after party elections in June next year.

“If the liberal progressive (faction) controls (the PAS central committee), there is no reason for us to go out,” he said, as quoted by Bernama. (more…)

MP: End Sedition Act if serious about UNSC

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Mkini

If Malaysia is to be worthy of its seat in the United Nations Security Council, it has to abolish the draconian Sedition Act, says Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung Leung.

Gooi noted that only last week the UN Human Rights Council issued a “scathing report” on Malaysia’s use of the Sedition Act to “criminalise dissent”.

“The world is watching us. How are we to convince them that we can take on critical issues, be counted on to stand up with the rest of the international community against injustices and human rights abuses perpetrated by oppressive regimes when, domestically, we crack down on and arrest our academicians, students, social activists, journalists, lawyers and politicians for their dissenting opinions?” he said in a statement today. (more…)

Rise of Salafism cause of controversial fatwas, says sociologist

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Dr Syed Farid Alatas, speaking at the roundtable discussion on fundamentalism today,  points out the danger of Wahhabism among Malaysian Muslims. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Raiezal, October 18, 2014.LEE SHI-IAN

Dr Syed Farid Alatas, speaking at the roundtable discussion on fundamentalism today, points out the danger of Wahhabism among Malaysian Muslims.

The rise of Salafism or Wahhabism in Malaysia has resulted in controversial edicts (fatwas) being issued, to the extent of interfering in the personal lives of Muslims, a sociologist told a forum today.

Dr Syed Farid Alatas, an associate professor at the Sociology Department, National University of Singapore, expressed disbelief over the recent proposal by Kelantan to impose jail term and fine on Muslim men who miss Friday prayers for three consecutive weeks.

“I read that the Kelantan state government intended to fine Muslim men RM1,000 and sentence them to a year’s jail if they skipped Friday prayers three times in a row. (more…)

Not my job to advise A-G on Ibrahim Ali, says Nancy Shukri

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Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali faces no charges despite calling for the burning of Malay Bibles, based on the Attorney-General's decision, says the de facto law minister. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 18, 2014. TMI

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali faces no charges despite calling for the burning of Malay Bibles, based on the Attorney-General’s decision, says the de facto law minister.De facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri, who yesterday said she did not agree with Datuk Ibrahim Ali’s religious and racial views, said today she would not advise the public prosecutor on using the Sedition Act against the Perkasa president.

Malaysiakini reported Nancy saying that she did not want to interfere with the Attorney-General’s job.

The minister in the prime minister’s department had attended the Gerakan women’s wing annual general assembly in Kuala Lumpur today. (more…)

Income disparity

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JOSH HONG

Internationally, Malaysia is widely regarded as a model in terms of addressing the issue of social exclusion.

Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, for instance observes that the incidence of aggregate Malaysian poverty was reduced from 8.9 percent to 1.7 percent and urban poverty reduced from 3.7 percent and 1 percent.

Most significantly, rural poverty saw a reduction from 15.3 percent to 3.4 percent over the same period.

Impressive, to say the least. (more…)

Anwar will not choose exile, despite jail prospect

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Mkini

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is in the United Kingdom now, dismissed any prospect of going into exile, insisting that he will return to Malaysia to face the sodomy charge despite the possibility of being jailed.

“Most Muslim scholars urge me to remain behind (in UK), as they cannot just fathom how difficult it would be to see me in prison.

“I said ‘no’, it’s a matter of conviction. I know exactly the difficulties and tribulations one has to endure in fighting a corrupt, opaque system,” he is quoted as saying in an interview with the UK’s Telegraph. (more…)

October 18, 2014

Nancy, think hard first before you speak in parliament

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From left: Ibrahim and NancyFrancis Paul Siah

I will be fair to Nancy Shukri. I don’t know her personally. Neither am I familiar with her constituency of Batang Sadong.

Nancy was an unknown until she contested in the 2008 general election, several years after I had quit active politics in Sarawak. I must apologise to my fellow Sarawakian because I have to search Wikipedia for information on her even though she is already a public figure and a minister. That’s how little I know of her.

A sentence of interest from the search and worth penning here for the record is that “before entering parliament, Nancy was the chairperson of the Sarawak Federation of Women’s Institutes and she is married with three children”. (more…)

Malaysia 19 years behind South Korea, complacency, graft among culprits

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Forbes discusses how Malaysia should compare it with the best economies in the region instead of the weaker ones at the Asli conference in Kuala Lumpur today. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, October 17, 2014.LEE SHI-IAN

Forbes discusses how Malaysia should compare it with the best economies in the region instead of the weaker ones at the Asli conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Malaysia are 19 years behind South Korea in terms of productivity, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today, naming graft, leakages, complacency and archaic labour laws as road blocks.

Its executive director Stewart Forbes said Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per worker productivity last year was equivalent to South Korea’s – but in 1995. (more…)

We must dismantle race-based policies

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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WH Cheng

After more than 57 years of independence, it is indeed sad that we have yet to achieve the much desired one-nation and one-identity concept which stresses on equality for the citizenry regardless of race, culture or belief.

The running of our nation’s affairs is still heavily dependent on race-based policies. In addition to all those race-based policies and systems, some followers of one particular religion have also systematically evolved into a machinery of threat and fear in order to control and subdue others into submission. (more…)

How will M’sia perform on the UN Security Council?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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JARED GENSER

In 2014, Malaysia has made international headlines with the two Malaysia Airlines tragedies.

The country did not, however, make much news when it was elected to the United Nations (UN) Security Council yesterday, yet the election gives this Southeast Asian country the opportunity to work with the global powers on a host of pressing and complex issues, among them the threat of terrorism from the Islamic State, the conflicts in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria, and the panoply of rampant human rights abuses worldwide.

How well equipped is Malaysia to contribute to the Council, and will its own domestic policy agenda get in the way? (more…)

Pan Borneo Highway: Questions for Najib

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Joe Leong

There are always the “highs and lows” of everything, including the 2015 Budget unveiled by Datuk Seri Najib Razak in parliament on Oct 10.

The prime minister’s promise of RM27 billion “to start construction of the 1,663km Pan Borneo Highway”, for instance, could very well be perceived as one of the high points for the people in the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah.

By any yardstick, 1,663km is a long, long highway and by comparison a RM27 billion budgetary allocation is indeed a huge, huge sum for any mega project in Malaysia. (more…)

Ahmad Maslan says the darndest things

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Ahmad Maslan

V Shuman

There’s a saying that goes “bombing for peace is like screwing for virginity.”

This story is, however, not about war or sex.

It’s behind the message behind the saying – something that you do to prove a point that end up defeating the very purpose of what you are vouching for.

Case in point, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan who recently showed off his brand new iPhone 6 to a group of civil servants while justifying next year’s payment of Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) in three instalments. (more…)

After RM700 million spent, automated traffic enforcement system now useless

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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More than a million summonses issued to speeding motorists caught by AES cameras have not been paid. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 18, 2014.ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH

Introduced just two years ago, the RM700 million Automated Enforcement System (AES) to nab speeding motorists is now nothing more than a white elephant, unable to fulfil its purpose to prevent speed violations because of pending legal issues.

Summonses are still being issued under the system – nearly RM1.5 million at the latest count – but few people are paying up because a freeze by the Attorney-General on the blacklisting of offenders who don’t pay fines in time is still in place.

The Road Transport Department (RTD) revealed that only some 200,000 summonses out of the total have been settled but without the power to blacklist those who don’t pay, the AES has become an ineffective tool to prevent speeding violations. (more…)

Say, where is that fuel subsidy?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Motorists queue up to fill their vehicles with petrol before the nationwide 20 sen petrol price increase at midnight in George Town, October 1, 2014. — Picture by K.E. OoiPAUL SI

Motorists queue up to fill their vehicles with petrol before the nationwide 20 sen petrol price increase at midnight in George Town.

So, tell me again, where is that fuel subsidy from the government that everyone is talking about?

You buy a car, below 1,800cc like most people, because that is all you can afford. Let’s say it rolls out the factory gates priced at RM40,000.

At that price, a fair profit has already been made by the factory, sufficient to pay for its factory rental, equipment amortisation, suppliers, employees’ wages, etc. All fair enough. (more…)

Public varsities given time to implement English entry test, says ministry

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Bernama

Public universities will be given sufficient time to introduce the new conditions for the Malaysian University English Test (Muet) next year.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan (pic) said the ministry would give public universities sufficient time to make full preparations to implement the new requirements.

“We will give public universities sufficient opportunity and time to implement the decision (new condition for Muet requirements).

“Public universities should not see the upgrading of the Muet grades as a burden,” he told Bernama after attending the graduation ceremony of Form Five students of the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Damansara Utama today. (more…)

A ‘Holy War’ crisis in the making

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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Tay Tian Yan

After the September 11 incident more than a decade ago, the United States waged a war against Afghanistan to exterminate Osama bin Laden along with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

I remember this incident took place in this country back then.

A young Malay man rode a motorcycle across the Malaysia-Thai border and as soon as he crossed into Thailand, he was stopped by the police there. The Thai police found him acting suspiciously and asked him where he wanted to go. (more…)

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