As Murum natives continue to fight the ongoing impoundment of the hydroelectric dam there, natives in Baram are protesting the construction of another dam in their area.
According to Miri MP Dr Michael Teo, to date, at least 350 natives have camped out in two locations in Baram for 40 nights to protest the proposed dam.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, he said the camps are in “sordid” condition but the natives refuse to budge for fear of the “poor treatment” of the natives of Bakun and Murum will happen to them. (more…)
In Malaysia, history has a way of repeating itself, that too at the whims and fancies of the ruling government.
The country’s leadership has proven its penchant for extravaganza, with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and deputy Muhyiddin Yassin wasting away millions on renting and maintaining private jets.
If spoiling the country’s top most seven VVIPs is not bad enough, the federal government between 2010 and 2012 gladly wasted US$25.2 million (RM80.53 million) for rental, RM16.515 million for maintenance and RM3.32 million on improvement of the VVIP jets. (more…)
The natives want the government to pay interest on delayed payment of compensation.
Residents of the Bakun Resettlement Scheme (BRS) in Sungai Asap and Sungai Koyan in Belaga, Kapit have filed a suit against the Sarawak government for failing to pay interest on the compensation for the loss of their original longhouses.
They named the Kapit Land and Survey Department superintendent and the Sarawak government as the first and second defendants. (more…)
Members of a church congregation. Lawyers have warned that the October 14 ruling by the Court of Appeal applies to Christians nationwide. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 13, 2013.Sarawak churches have urged Putrajaya to show more commitment to religious freedom in Sabah and Sarawak in a three-point request unveiled at a forum in Kuching today.
According to the three-point request, read by Association of Churches Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok to more than 1,000 people at the forum, Putrajaya should: (more…)
Alfian ZM Tahir
- Displaced Penans say they are thirsty, hungry and have no protection from severe weather.
Three hundred Penan families displaced by the ongoing construction of Murum Dam are living in desperate circumstances as they battle for justice.
They have no access to clean water and decent food, and their tents, constructed from tree branches and tarpaulin, are ineffective against heavy rain. (more…)
Today Padang Serai MP N Surendran will join an illustrious group comprising Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong), Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh), Azmin Ali (Gombak) and R Sivarasa (Subang) as MPs who have been suspended from Parliament for a period of six months.
Gobind, Anwar, Azmin and Sivarasa incurred this penalty in the course of the 12th Parliament. If Surendran is suspended today he will the 13th’s first such casualty.
A motion for Surendran’s suspension will be proposed today by a member of the cabal – Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department – that has grown so corpulent it is draining a whopping RM7.2 billion since 2009, about which members of the House should properly be in high dudgeon rather than choose to divert their attention to secure the esteem of erstwhile speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia. (more…)
A Penan lawyer-cum-activist has called on the IGP and the federal government to intervene in the Murum issue.
MURUM: Penan protestors mounting blockades at the Murum Dam site here claimed policemen who intimidated and harassed them were drunk.
Penan activist cum lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said based on ground reports from the blockade site, the police officers stationed in the area were allegedly being provided alcohol by the dam’s main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB). (more…)
Sarawak Energy made a great presentation to the United Nations in Geneva last month, boasting about their plans to resettle the Penan, after forcing them from their homeland in Murum to make way for the latest controversial dam project.
It seemed they were going to be moved from a deprived existence (true, especially since Taib took their forest) and placed into a modern settlement with schools, clinics, training, lands, comfortable accommodation and a great compensation package!
As SEB’s statement to the UN put it: (more…)
The Catholic Church has filed an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court the decision of the Court of Appeal which had allowed the government’s appeal to ban its weekly publication The Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God.
Benjamin Dawson, one of the counsels representing the church, said they had filed the application at the Federal Court registry yesterday.
“The church has raised 26 questions of law in the leave application to appeal to the Federal Court,” he told Bernama when contacted today. (more…)
The Malaysian government has always been a vocal voice in international arena, slamming foreign governments for their failures in championing human rights. Malaysia has also stood tall amongst its other “peers” in advocating for a non-aligned, peaceful and moderate world for all.
Malaysia has had its firm stand against the encroachment of the Palestinian territory by the Israeli forces, the United States’ military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, under the premise of “War on Terror” and even against the Apartheid regime of South Africa prior to the blacks’ disenfranchisement in 1994. Why, the articulate former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad even initiated an international tribunal to prosecute Tony Blair and George Bush Jr. for war crimes. (more…)
- PRESS STATEMENT – SUARAM Condemns Crackdown in Murum : Protesters, Including Children, Arrested and Detained
SUARAM condemns ongoing harassment of Penan communities in Murum and Baram. Yesterday (7 November 2013), saw another action from the Royal Malaysian Police which clearly shows the failed role of the police force. Eight Penan who have been blockading against the Murum damsince August were arrested yesterday and brought to the Belaga Police Station. (more…)
We have no pictures of today’s arrest of Penan natives at the Murum Dam blockade, because two boys trying to take photographs were themselves arrested for recording the event.
The youngest, Tingang Lingok, is believed to be around 13 years old.
The two teenagers are now among 8 Penan who have been jailed at the police station in Belaga, some three hours drive away, and are due to appear in court tomorrow.
This is the second time in a week that Sarawak police have arrested and incarcerated young boys caught up in native land rights disputes. (more…)
- Picture: NGO campaigners protest in front of Mr. Sjotveit’s home in Bekkestua, a suburb of Norway’s capital, Oslo (Picture: BMF/FIVAS)
(OSLO / NORWAY) In a surprise move, Swiss rainforest advocacy group, the Bruno Manser Fund, and its Norwegian partner, FIVAS, have lodged an urgent complaint against the state-owned Malaysian power supplier, Sarawak Energy, with Norway’s anti-corruption agency, Okokrim. The complaint is directed against Sarawak Energy’s Norwegian CEO, Torstein Dale Sjotveit, for unduly favouring the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. Under Norway’s tough anti-corruption laws, Norwegian citizens can be held accountable for their involvement in corruption anywhere in the world. (more…)
Najib addresses the World Islamic Economic Forum in London on October 29, 2013. – Reuters file pic, November 1, 2013.Once again, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has chosen to open up on a touchy subject in Malaysia while travelling abroad, defending the court ruling which effectively banned Christians here from using the word Allah.
He said that the curb against the Catholic weekly, Herald, using the word Allah was necessary to protect public security and national harmony, going as far to describe the Herald as a publication with wide circulation.
The Herald publishes 14,000 copies every week and all are sold within the confines of churches. (more…)
The main reason given by the Prime Minister for the removal of the sugar subsidy is that nearly 10% of Malaysians are diabetic. And he made it appear as though this was the core reason for him to remove the sugar subsidy. How ridiculous? A justification that falls short of any acceptable argument by any standard.
It is agreed that various consumer groups – both locally and globally – have for long called for sugar intake to be curtailed for health reasons. Similarly, many health experts have urged the public to make a healthy lifestyle change by reducing the intake of sugar.
But for the Prime Minister to use diabetes as a reason – even then, by only making a sweeping statement – definitely lacks the finesse expected from a leader to remove the sugar subsidy. (more…)
Sam Chee Kong
The task of the taxing authorities is to “so pluck the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.” We the taxpayers, of course, are the geese. – Jean-Baptiste Colbert
The highlight of our Budget 2014 is the long anticipated introduction of the 6% GST or Goods and Services Tax. Under the current tax regime we pay 10 % sales tax (mainly manufacturing goods) and 6% service tax (mainly on F&B).
To illustrate how the operations of a company in Malaysia will be impacted by the implementation of the GST we will use the following scenario. (more…)
- In reality Sarawak has no real need for Putrajaya and the recent ‘Allah’ controversy and Taib Mahmud’s stand has clearly set it apart from Sabah.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s verbosity over a list of recyled projects on Budget 2014 and his spineless silence on the Allah issue is in sharp contrast with his counterpart in Sarawak.
Musa and Taib Mahmud are CMs of once ‘independent’ nations who signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, thus stepping in together with Federated Malaya and Singapore (who got purged out two years later) into a newly formed Malaysia. (more…)
Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), Sabah’s second largest church, has assured Muslims that the Catholic church’s appeal against the Allah ruling is not against them or Islam, but against the wrongful conduct of the Federal Government and its officials.
In a communique to its leaders and members today, SIB said the church has never undermined the position of Islam as the religion of the federation.
However, by the same token, Christians also expected their constitutional right to profess, practise and propagate their faith to be respected by the courts and the government. (more…)
Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam (pic) had sought the intervention of a Barisan Nasional MP in Sabah while questioning an order from the Home Ministry to stop the distribution of the latest Herald publication in Sabah.
Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said, in a Facebook posting today, that he had interceded with the Home Ministry on behalf of the Catholic Church to obtain approval for 2,000 copies of Herald to be released in Sabah.
Wilfred, the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) deputy president, said the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur had sought his assistance last night. (more…)
- Heavy police presence in downstream Long lama and fresh blockades by natives in upstream Baram has turned the area into a hotspot of demos.
BARAM: Native protestors who chased out 30 Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) workers doing geological studies at the Baram dam site last Wednesday, have set up fresh blockades on the access road into the construction area.
The indigenous landowners set up two blockades and appeared to have successfully prevented workers in the area from returning and pursuing their work on the proposed dam.
Swiss based Bruno Manser Find (BMF) in a statement today said the native are demanding an immeidate halt to all planning and costruction works at the dam site and its access road. (more…)
Hafiz Yatim & Lee Way Loon
Two foreigners and a Malaysian have died while one foreigner is missing after a gate at the Cameron Highlands hydro-electric dam was manually opened early this morning.
Cameron Highlands Fire and Rescue Services Department chief Yusri Abdullah Sani said the department was alerted on the casualties at 1.38am.
“A total of 28 personnel are involved in the search-and-rescue operation. So far we have recovered two bodies – a Bangladeshi male, and an Indonesian female. An Indonesian woman is reported missing,” Yusri said. (more…)
Barisan Nasional (BN) must strive harder to regain the Chinese support, apart from garnering full support from Malay voters to enable the coalition to rule the country, said Umno supreme council member Datuk Razali Ibrahim (pic).
Razali, who is also Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said BN needed at least 30% of the Chinese votes to build a strong government.
“We must not forget that Chinese voters helped BN retained power in the 1999 general elections when Umno was split following the sacking of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as deputy prime minister. (more…)
The Court of Appeal’s unanimous decision to ban the use of ‘Allah’ by Catholic weekly The Herald is constitutionally flawed and factually unsustainable.
In overturning the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision, Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali has imputed extra meaning without basis to distort the interpretation of Article 3 of the federal constitution that grants freedom of religious practice.
There is also not an iota of evidence that could have supported the home minister’s order to prohibitThe Herald from using ‘Allah’ in its Malay edition. (more…)
An appellate court’s decision that “Allah” was exclusive to Muslims suggests that Malaysians’ only recourse for civil liberties and freedom was to seek these elsewhere, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said today.
The former de facto law minister said the Court of Appeal’s ruling that barred the Catholic Church from describing its god with the Arabic word “Allah” in its Herald weekly paper revealed a “hopeless” situation and showed that “we have become a nation we were not”.
“For those who are not happy with the decision; who want to live in a free country and who value freedom, we should make plans to migrate,” Zaid told The Malay Mail Online. (more…)
The Court of Appeal decision to uphold the ban by the government on the use of the word Allah in the Herald publication is a sad day in the history of the nation.
No, I am not going to touch on the merits of the judgment or why it is an injustice to Christians who use Bahasa Malaysia in their worship. There are many who have written (or writing) on both these issues right now.
What I want to do here is to look at the larger picture of this decision on the political health of our nation with the help of the J.S. Mill (the 19th century English philosopher) and George Orwell (the English writer). (more…)
“Allah” means God, unless you are a non-Muslim Malaysian, in which case you have to find another word.
After a recent court ruling in the country, Allah can now be used only to refer to the Muslim God, and non-Muslims (mainly the Malaysian Christian Catholic community and press) have been banned from using it.
It is a decision that has inflamed opinion among minority religions and disheartened Muslims.
Apart from all the practical implications of this (re-printing Bibles and so on), there are other intangible but more heartfelt grievances. (more…)
Having stolen another general election through gerrymandering electoral boundaries, stacking the rolls, buying votes and otherwise rigging the ballot, now the BN gang is more hell-bent than ever on giving its competitors in crime the bullet.
This BN band of thieves and killers has long employed its police as its security guards and enforcers in its bid to monopolise organised crime, of course, but current Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is as far as I know the first regime functionary to make the ‘shoot first’ policy openly official.
And in the process, going so far as attempting to justify blue murder of ‘suspects’ on ‘humanitarian’ grounds, and also to blasphemously blame it on the Almighty. (more…)
Mohd Izzudin Saedon
It is believed in Malaysia that ‘Tuhan’ is the general Malay word for the deity of any religion.
The recent Malaysian court ruling banning the word “Allah” from a Catholic newspaper denies religious freedom of the minority Christian community in Malaysia. How true is this?
Christians make up less than 10% of the Malaysian population. Although the percentage is higher than Hindus, the religion is a little uncommon among the native Malay Muslims, especially to those living in the peninsula. As the more familiar religions of Buddhism and Hinduism refer their deity in words alien to the native Malay Muslims, it is unofficially known that the word Allah denotes only the Muslim “Tuhan” or God in Malay. (more…)
Court decides only Muslims can use the term “Allah” in what critics say is an attempt to appease right-wing extremist supporters of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak
“Allah” can no long be used by a Christian newspaper in Malaysia to refer to “god” after a landmark court ruling on Monday, reversing a decision made four years previously that maintained the term transcended different faiths.
“It is my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religions to the followers of Islam,” said Chief Judge Mohamed Apandi Ali, announcing the change. (more…)
I had the greatest learning experience through my doctoral programme at the George Washington University’s (GWU) Faculty of Business and Government from 1987-1993. I was on formal study leave but without a Civil Services Department (JPA) scholarship because the Training Division of JPA lacked foresight and instituted the ‘1986 Budget cuts’ upon in-service scholarships with immediate effect.
I therefore lost my JPA scholarship which I had only obtained under very challenging circumstances, and by the grace of God and one exemplary public official who decried discrimination.
Nevertheless, the Good Lord still had great plans for me; and it was located exactly within the George Washington University’s faculty and campus experience, right there in the capital of the United States of America. There, slowly but surely, their experiential learning programme allowed, through its very design of their doctoral journey, the most excellent learning outcome uniquely designed for/by me. (more…)
JENNIFER GOMEZ AND DESMOND DAVIDSON
The state government is concerned over the impact of the Allah ruling on the locals in Sarawak, such as those seen here participating in a service at a Kuching church. The Malaysian Insider pic, October 14, 2013.Hours after the Court of Appeal banned the word Allah in Herald, Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers in Sabah and Sarawak began scrambling to assess the political impact of the court decision in the two Borneo states.
In Sarawak, attention is now on the Christian Dayak rural seats that shored up the ruling coalition in the May general election. (more…)
The Umno Baru politician is the envy of the world. He is at liberty to buy up multi-million ringgit properties in capitals around the world, convert mangrove estuaries into refineries or thumb through armaments catalogues to select the most expensive ‘toys’ to purchase on behalf of the Malaysian government.
He is found at the most swanky KL bars, breezing through the VVIP airport lounges, or crucially, every five years, making his presence felt in the villages in his constituency.
The Umno Baru politician is a part of the traditional Malaysian scene and is equally at home in Knightsbridge or Bayswater, where many have purchased apartments for their children who are studying at colleges in London. (more…)
In what appears to be an urgent response to allay growing unrest among Christians in Malaysia, Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi has clarified that a ban on the use of the Arabic word Allah only applied to Catholic magazine, the Herald. Other Christian publications including the Malay-language Al-Kitab, which is widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, would not be affected.
To effect this, Junaidi said Prime Minister Najib Razak could introduce a Bill in Parliament to exempt Sabah and Sarawak from the Allah ban. This way, the government would not be seen to be usurping the powers of the court and the legal system – (more…)
If it wasn’t so serious, what Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said would be seriously funny. Although others have said that Zahid was joking, he has not said he was but continues to defend parts of what he said and denies those parts that are more difficult to popularly justify.
There are three things that he said that particularly stand out:
1. He not only defended Tiga Line, a Malay gang outlawed by the police, but included himself and others as part of the gang. He further condoned their actions and asked them to carry on. So, is he a gangster? (more…)
If there is any threat to Allah, it comes from Umno because of the manner it does its politics, which is totally against what Islam professes.
Islam, according to Department of Islamic Development (Jakim), is under threat and Muslims are being denied of their rights as Muslims.
And if Islam and Muslims are under threat, then Allah too is under threat! So says Jakim, but which Allah and which Islam is Jakim talking about?
Is it the Islam that began when Prophet Muhammad started to preach the revelation from Allah in the year 610 AD? The Islam that had it’s tentative beginning from Medina in 622 AD where Muhammad first established his political and religious authority in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence? (more…)
Umno has political, and not religious, reasons for its ban on the use of the word “Allah” by the Catholic newspaper The Herald. Therefore, the only solution to such a ban is political. The ban should be met with a thoughtful response by our society, rather than religious fervour or rage.
PAS MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa gave a rebuttal of the ban that was intelligent and measured (and obviously prepared in advance). “Interfaith dialogue is the way forward.”
Language used as a weapon
Language is perhaps our most beautiful human trait. Our Creator has bestowed on us a gift of language that sets us apart from other species. (more…)
I like the saying “Don’t get mad, get organised”.
I find repetition and predictability extremely boring, but I cannot help but belabour this point (this will unlikely be my last article to do so) because its relevance to an extremely influential part of Malaysian society screams at me daily.
One of the main reasons I like the saying is because it replaces the better known “Don’t get mad, get even.” Such a sentiment is certainly understandable among people who feel like they have been wronged. Nonetheless, it is a sentiment that if practised universally, can only lead to the Gandhi-esque conclusion of leaving the whole world blind. (more…)
Administration remains cautious, refusing to comment on the banning of Christians from using ‘Allah’ in their prayers until it sees the written judgment
KUCHING: Christian BN leaders here have rebelled and declared that they will continue to mouth the term “Allah” in their worship irrespective of the latest ruling by the Court of Appeal barring its use.
Whilst BN leaders in Sabah have kept mum, in Sarawak the affront has been widely reported.
The majority of Sarawak’s population are Christians while in Sabah although on record Christians are a minority, in reality many of the outwardly Muslims are closet practitioners. (more…)
The Malaysian Bar expressed deep concern over the Court of Appeal’s ban on the word Allah in the Catholic weekly, Herald, notably in the way the court interpreted the provisions on the status of Islam and other religions in the Federal Constitution.
The Bar also questioned the court’s quick research on the Internet in coming to the conclusion that the word was not integral to the Christian faith.
In a strongly-worded statement, Bar president Christopher Leong (pic) highlighted among others the “unnatural” way in which the three-man bench interpreted Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution on the status of Islam and other religions. (more…)
Like the history of most religions, the history of Islam is complex and much debated. But there are a few elements that are not in dispute, chief among them that the God of the Quran is the same as the God of the Bible and of the Torah before it.
The mission of Islam, as expressed in the Quran, is not to bring a new faith, but to update the messages of the monotheistic faiths before it.
It is therefore surprising to see, as The National reports , that a Malaysian court has ruled that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God. (more…)
I propose we look at the coming Budget from a different angle, let’s get not trapped into discussing the budget type – whether surplus or deficit. It will be deficit anyway.
Because of that, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has sensitises himself to Fitch Rating – why respond if international ratings are irrelevant to Malaysia’s credit standing?
Because from now on, it will become costlier for Malaysia to borrow money from external lenders who will be followed by internal lenders. Imagine the amount of debt servicing quantum which are absorbed into non-productive activity. It will drag down economic growth. (more…)
The Umno party elections last weekend and this Saturday will decide the leaders for the country, well at least until GE14. Umno party elections have traditionally been the venue to set the course for Malaysia’s future and the decisions this month are equally significance.
The two leadership positions – president and deputy president – have been decided as a result of months of deal-making and accommodation on the part of Prime Minister Najib Razak. He effectively avoided a challenge and sweetened the deal by offering the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment (BEE), an Umno contract-oriented affirmative action policy. (more…)
Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? It is never hard to find to devout followers of either faith who answer that question with a resounding negative.
Evangelical Christians were dismayed when former United States president George W. Bush welcomed a group of Muslims to the White House with the words: “We see in Islam a religion that traces its origins back to God’s call on Abraham. We share your belief in God’s justice…”
Actually, the “same God” question is not one that a monotheist can meaningfully ask.
The question does make perfect sense for an atheist (who thinks that all gods are human constructs), for a polytheist, and indeed for a henotheist—a member of a tribe that worships one deity but accepts there may be others. (more…)
The Court of Appeal was wrong in its decision banning Christian weekly Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God in Bahasa Malaysia, said a constitutional law expert.
“By linking religious rights under the chapter on fundamental liberties with Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution which effectively makes Islam the benchmark for everybody, this runs counter to the general meaning of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution itself,” Dr Abdul Aziz Bari told Malaysiakini today.
“The plain meaning of Article 3(1) is simply this: that despite the fact that Islam has been made official religion, non-Muslims may go on practising their religions freely without restriction,” said the former Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) law lecturer. (more…)