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Friday, December 28, 2007

Permit without BM section likely for Herald

Permit without BM section likely for Herald
Soon Li Tsin | Dec 28, 07 2:45pm

The Catholic Church’s weekly organ, Herald, will most likely get its annual publishing permit but its Bahasa Malaysia section will have to go.

The newspaper’s editor, Father Lawrence Andrew, revealed today that the Internal Security Ministry had sent a directive to the Herald to remove its Bahasa Malaysia section and this will be effective when the new permit is issued.

The 28-page Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has an internal circulation of 12,000.

Lawrence also clarified that the suit - filed by the Herald on Dec 5 in the Kuala Lumpur High Court - is to seek a declaration on the use of ‘Allah’ in Bahasa Malaysia, and this is not directly related to the weekly’s problems with its publishing permit.

The Herald has been told by the Internal Security Ministry - which is in charge of issuing publishing permits - that it cannot use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to ‘God’ in Bahasa Malaysia.

In a statement yesterday, the Herald said it would leave to the court to determine the suitability of using the word ‘Allah’ in Bahasa Malaysia.

It was reported earlier that the weekly had been told to remove its entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the permit will not be renewed when it expires next week.

However, Lawrence said the permit is likely to be given but it will include a clause stating that the BM section be removed completely from the tabloid-size weekly.

The Catholic Church is currently negotiating with the ministry over the directive.

BM needed to communicate with East M’sians

Asked what the Herald will do if negotiations fail and the permit will come without the BM section, Lawrence hinted that they would abide to the directive.

However he said the church would find other ways to provide news in Bahasa Malaysia to its congregation.

“We can still use BM in our in-house magazines and set up a BM bulletin (which does not require a publishing permit). It’s not a problem,” he explained.

Lawrence said the weekly carries four pages of Catholic news in Bahasa Malaysia to cater to East Malaysians who don’t speak Tamil, Mandarin and English.

“How do you communicate with a Kadazandusun? BM is their language. We have to make such news available to them in their language. It’s unreasonable to deny them this.

“We worship in BM. The (BM) Bible has ‘Allah’. We have been doing this for centuries. If you look at the Kamus Dewan (official Bahasa Malaysia dictionary), it uses ‘Allah’ for God and ‘Tuhan’ for Lord,” he said.

Lawrence argued that ‘Tuhan’ is not a suitable Bahasa Malaysia word when referring to God.

Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’

Last week, Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum said the word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion.

“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word. It’s from (the Arabic language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right,” he told Malaysiakini.

The use of ‘Allah’ outside of Islam has stirred controversy in Malaysia previously. Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word ‘God’ as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam’s name for God. The ban was, however, lifted after protests from the Christian community.

A Sabah church has filed a lawsuit against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the government for banning the importation of Christian children books from Indonesia which contain the word ‘Allah’.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Do Malaysians have the constitutional right to use the word “Allah”?

SIB's application for judicial review on use of word 'Allah' to be heard on Jan 16

Thursday, 27 December 2007, 07:47pm

Praying©The Sun
by S.Tamarai Chelvi and Pauline Puah

• Dompok: BM belongs to all Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 27, 2007):
The High Court here today postponed the hearing of an application for leave by the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) and its president for a judicial review against the Internal Security Minister’s decision to stop them from importing Christian books which contain the word “Allah”.

They are also seeking a declaration that they have the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in all their religious publications and practices, and not just within the church.

Appellate and Special Powers Court Judge Lau Bee Lan decided in chambers to postpone the hearing to Jan 16, after Senior Federal Counsel Azizah Nawawi informed the judge that there were discussions between the two parties to resolve the issue.

Datuk D.P Naban, Lim Heng Seng and Bobby Chew appeared for the applicants, SIB and its president Pastor Jerry W.A Dusing @ Jerry W.Patel, who filed the application on Dec 10.

It is learnt that the government has tasked a minister and a deputy minister to discuss with SIB on how best to resolve the issue.

SIB, also known as the Evangelical Chuch of Borneo, is seeking a court order to quash the minister's decision to refuse the import of four titles and withhold delivery of another two titles impounded under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA).

The publications are:

• Anak Besar Umur 9-11 Tahun, Tahun I (Januari-Jun)
• Anak Besar Umur 9-11 Tahun, Tahun II (Julai -Disember)
• Anak Besar Umur 9-11 Tahun, Tahun III (Januari -Jun)
• Anak Besar Umur 9-11 Tahun, Tahun III (Julai -Disember)
• Anak Tengah Umur 6-8 Tahun, Tahun III (Januari - Jun)
• Anak Tengah Umur 6-8 Tahun, Tahun III (Julai-Disember)

According to court documents, they are also seeking the following declarations:

• Based on Articles 11 (freedom of religion) and 12 (rights in respect of education) of the Federal Constitution, it is their constitutional right to use the term "Allah" in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Bible, and in all religious materials used to instruct their children and in their practice of the religion;

• The right to import such publications;

• They are guaranteed equality under the law and protected from discrimination on the grounds of religion, in particular the PPPA and Internal Security Act 1960;

• Article 3(1) stating that Islam is the official religion of the Federation does not authorise the government to prohibit SIB from using the term “Allah” or own materials in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia using the word “Allah”;

• Article 3(1) guarantees the right of all religions to be practised in peace and harmony, and they have the right to use the term “Allah” and the relevant religious materials “not only in churches but in any place, dwelling or building in the practice of their religion”;
• The order published in the Gazette - PU (A)15/82 - banning the Alkitab, under Section 22 of the Internal Security Act on the grounds that the document is prejudicial to national interest and security, is beyond the Act’s legal authority and unconstitutional;

• Under Article 11(4), Islam and the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims is a state matter and not a federal matter, except for the federal territories; and

• the government’s categorisation of the use of the words “Allah, “Baitullah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” as words and phrases exclusive to Islam, and that this is a “sensitive” and a “security issue, through the order published in the Gazette and the circular KKDN. S.59/3/6/A dated Dec 5, 1986, is unconstitutional.

Dusing claimed the minister failed to take into account various relevant considerations, such as the fact that Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian natives had used the word "Allah" for generations, and "Allah" was also used in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Bible.

He said the congregationists were mainly native bumiputra from various tribal groups in Sabah, and used a common language, Bahasa Malaysia, in their worship and religious instruction.

"From the earliest days of the church, the Bahasa Malaysia congregations for the church have been freely using the Alkitab, the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible, wherein the word 'Allah' appears," he said.

"The Christian usage of the word 'Allah' predates Islam. 'Allah' is the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other places in Asia [and] Africa, where the languages that are in contact with Arabic have been using the word 'Allah' to refer to God," he said.

"In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word 'Allah' has been used continuously in the printed edition of Matthew's Gospel in Malay in 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible in 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible in 1879 until today in Perjanjian Baru and Alkitab," he added.

Dusing said that on Aug 15, the church's supervisor of children education, Kinambo Gaduan and a staff were travelling with three boxes of educational materials from Surabaya, Indonesia to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, with a transit stop at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, Selangor.

He said the materials were detained by a customs officer at the LCCT, and received no reply to his letter to the director-general of Customs requesting the return of the books.

He added that after further enquiries, he was informed that the publications had been handed over to the Internal Security Ministry.

After pursuing the matter with the ministry, Dusing received a letter from the ministry dated Sept 10 stating that the import of the publications had been denied, that Christian publications containing the four words "Allah", "Baitullah", "Solat" and "Kaabah" cannot be distributed in Malaysia. The letter also stated that “the publications can raise confusion and controversy in Malaysian society".

The church sent an appeal letter dated Sept 24 to the minister, stating that the previous prime minister had allowed the use of the word "Allah" in their publications.

Dusing said the church received another letter dated Oct 24 from the ministry, signed by Yaacob Samat from the Quranic Text and Publication Control Division, stating that all their publications, whether imported or published in Malaysia, which contained words or phrases exclusive to Islam, such as "Allah", "Baitullah", "Solat" and "Kaabah" were prohibited from distribution in Malaysia.

Among the grounds for the prohibition are:

• Article 3(1) states that Islam is the official religion of the Federation and Article 11(4) permits laws to be made to control the propagation of religious doctrine or belief among Muslims;

• Due to differences in the words and phrases prohibited, confusion has arisen as to what words and phrases are prohibited in Christian publications in the Indonesian language;

• In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was uneasiness (kegelisahan) among the community and problems of enforcement among religious officers due to differences about the words and phrases prohibited;

• The issue has become sensitive and has been classified as a security issue, and the Internal Security Ministry is to deal with the issue;

• Through PU (A) 15/82, the government gazetted the prohibition of the Alkitab in Malaysia under Section 22 of the Internal Security Act;

• Special exemption was made to the prohibition, permitting the Alkitab to be owned by Christians in churches;

• There was continuing confusion and uneasiness in the community when enforcement on the use of the words and phrases in religious publications was not effective;

• On May 19, 1986, the government decided that the words “Allah”, “Kaabah”, “Baitullah” and “Solat” are words and phrases exclusive to Islam and cannot be used in materials of other religions except to explain Islamic concepts;

• The government informed Christian publishers to comply with this through circular KKDN. S.59/3/6/A dated Dec 5, 1986;

• The government permits the use of the Alkitab in churches only and not in any other places but this does not apply to other Christian publications;

•The government practices religious freedom as enshrined in the constitution but bears the responsibility of avoiding any confusion in the community of various religions, which if allowed to occur, will threaten security and public order; and

• Religious sensitivity must be respected and preserved by all, including the applicants as a religious institution with many followers.


Dompok: BM belongs to all Malaysians

PETALING JAYA (Dec 27, 2007): The authorities should allow the use of Bahasa Malaysia, including the word “Allah”, in all publications and not restrict it to Islamic materials, a federal minister said.

“My view is Bahasa Malaysia is the national language for all, irrespective of the racial groups or religious beliefs. It should be a matter of pride for all Malaysians, followers of all religions, to use the national language for their worship,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

The bumiputra Christians have been using “Allah” in reference to the Almighty for a long time, he told theSun.

For instance, he said, the younger generation of the Kadazan, who could not converse in their mother tongue, used “Allah” instead of “Kinoingan” in Kadazan in their prayers. “They pray to ‘Allah’, just like the Indonesian and Arab Christians.”

Dompok, who is in charge of keeping the Prime Minister’s Department abreast of issues faced by Christians, was asked to comment on recent cases involving the right to use the word “Allah”.

He said “Allah” was also part of the Bahasa Malaysia vocabulary, and the Internal Security Ministry's directive that the Catholic weekly, Herald, stop publishing its Bahasa Malaysia section, could jeopardise the government’s effort to promote the national language as the language of unity.

In a letter on Dec 10, the ministry informed Herald to stop its Bahasa Malaysia segment. Its annual permit expires on Dec 31, and it has yet to receive a renewed permit.

SCC vs IPCMC: See the difference ....disrespecting the KING and the will of the people

Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission bill drafted by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police -- a ROYAL Commission - the KING's commission .....and then out comes the Special Complaints Commission (the brain child of the Prime Minister and his AG?) - THIS is total lack of respect by the Prime Minister, the Barisan Nasional government to the KING, his Royal Commission ...oh yes remember that the 2nd Royal Commission also supported the ndependent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission bill.

What is the use then of setting up Royal Commissions - if we have a Prime Minister and a government who just do not follow and implement the recommendations of these ROYAL COMMISSIONs..

SCC vs IPCMC: See the difference
Chua Sue-Ann | Dec 27, 07 4:28pm

The controversial Special Complaints Commission - a much watered-down version of the independent body mooted by the Royal Police Commission - has come under intense fire for its lack of power and independence.

Given the widespread opposition to this new proposal - which some ex-commissioners and opposition politicians described as a completely ‘different animal’ - the bill has been postponed to the next parliamentary sitting in March 2008.

The SCC bill is the government's answer to the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission bill drafted by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police two years ago.

In its report, the Royal Police Commission recommended the formation of an independent agency to oversee public complaints against the police, arguably the most powerful watchdog ever proposed in Malaysia.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang will be calling for a parliamentary roundtable tomorrow to discuss how to salvage the original proposal made by the Royal Police Commission.

The roundtable, which was originally scheduled for today, will be attended by a number of human rights organsations and some of the royal commission members.

But what exactly are the differences between the SCC and IPCMC? Malaysiakini compares the key features of the two bodies.

Members

The SCC chairperson and three other commissioners are appointed by the prime minister and may be revoked at any time without explanation. Commissioners will hold office for two years, not more than two consecutive terms.

The inspector-general of police, director-general of Public Complaints Bureau and director-general of the Anti-Corruption Agency will automatically be members of the SCC.

Whereas IPCMC commissioners are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The king is to choose no more than seven commissioners, including a chairperson and two deputies who will hold full time posts. The chairperson and deputies are required to have at least 10 years legal experience.

Parliamentarians, state legislators, former or current members of the police force are not eligible as commissioners. Commissioners may hold office for a period not exceeding two consecutive three-year terms.

Powers

The IPCMC has the power to launch its own investigations whereas the SCC would channel it to a special task force.

The SCC task force is to be headed by a chief executive officer and the commission is to engage task force officers from the public services, police force, legal officers or its own commissioners.

On the other hand, the IPCMC has the freedom to establish a task force or joint task forces or cooperate with other such groups. It may also engage consultants or officers to perform services for it and these may include retired or former police officers.

The commission will work with relevant bodies in its investigation including the Anti-Corruption Agency, the auditor-general, the Securities Commission, Bank Negara and overseas police forces.

Functions

The IPCMC's main function is to receive and inquire into complaints, particularly "to detect, investigate and prevent police corruption and other serious misconduct."

On the other hand, the SCC merely receives complaints related to an enforcement officer's misconduct and will direct its task force to investigate. The investigation will then be forwarded to the appropriate disciplinary authorities or public prosecutor if legal action is required.

In contrast, the IPCMC has the power to discipline and can, via its chief legal counsel, initiate legal action against police officers found guilty of misconduct.

It is interesting to note that the SCC bill has dropped corruption from its functions and focus.

The IPCMC has a broader scope of function that goes beyond investigating complaints. It is tasked to develop and implement mechanisms to detect, investigate and prevent misconduct. It may also examine and verify any procedural infringement, corruption and misconduct.

Further, the IPCMC will make provisions to audit and monitor particular aspects of the police force's procedure and operations. It may also play a role in promoting awareness of police ethics and integrity or recommending appropriate methods to the government for that purpose.

The IPCMC also has the right to visit police stations and other places of detention.

Investigative powers


The SCC may conduct preliminary investigations "to determine the merit of a complaint" after which it will refer its early findings to relevant bodies for further investigation or action.

On the other hand, the IPCMC may investigate on its own initiative any reports received, referred to it or complaints it has become aware of.

The IPCMC also has the power to direct the IGP to investigate or stop the investigation of any complaints. It may also take over investigation from the IGP without being required to disclose anything to the IGP.

Who can it investigate?

The SCC can investigate all enforcement officers at the federal level while the IPCMC can only probe police personnel.

The IPCMC will investigate any misconduct "by way of action or inaction or alleged" that includes corruption or any corrupt conduct as specified by the Anti-Corruption Act, the commissioning of criminal offences, failure to follow laws or the IGP's rules and any matters which a complaint can be made under the Police Act.

The IPCMC cannot investigate a case involving the employee of a public body or statutory authority if the complaint does not also involve a police officer.

However, it may investigate others cases involving police officers, regardless of whether a police officer was on duty or not, regardless of whether the alleged misconduct occurred within or outside Malaysia and if the misconduct occurred prior to the existence of this Act.

The IPCMC may even investigate cases where no police misconduct is suspected or cases where no particular police officer or other person is implicated.

The SCC will not examine any complaints that are deliberated by other disciplinary authorities, courts and enforcement agencies. Neither will it consider cases that have already been determined by those authorities.

Disciplinary powers

The SCC can only refer investigation papers and documents to the disciplinary authorities if the established misconduct is disciplinary or the public prosecutor if the misconduct is criminal.

The IPCMC may refer a matter to relevant authorities for investigation or action but it can also act on its own prerogative.

The IPCMC can caution and discharge, remove badges and allowances, stop salary increments or impose a fine upon establishing guilt and considering the severity of an officer's misconduct.

It also has the power to demote, transfer duties or dismiss the officer concerned. These disciplinary powers are final and cannot be "challenged, appealed or overturned in any court."

While the IPCMC can initiate its own legal action via its chief legal counsel, it may also refer to the public prosecutor matters involving money laundering, confiscation or recovery of crime proceeds.

The IPCMC may enter into arrangements with the public prosecutor and may recommend that legal immunity be granted to certain persons.

If a corporation is found guilty by the IPCMC, the maximum penalty is double of the monetary penalty stipulated for that offence.

Further action

If the IPCMC is unsatisfied with the disciplinary action taken by the appropriate authorities or public prosecutor, it may submit a report and recommendations to the prime minister after giving the relevant bodies a chance to comment. If it is still unsatisfied, the IPCMC may also submit a report to parliament.

There is no such provisions in the SCC bill.

Power to amend Act

Under the Special Complaints Commissions Act, the prime minister has the power to amend any provisions of the act to "remove difficulties and prevent anomalies" within two years of its enactment.

The IPCMC bill has no provisions for amendments.

Secrecy laws

The SCC's investigations are curtailed by the Official Secret Act 1972 [Act88] or any laws regarding confidentiality of documents or information while these do not apply to the IPCMC.

The IPCMC can intercept any method or form of communications for its investigations.

Commission reports

The IPCMC reports directly to parliament on any investigations or public hearings it has conducted.

It may also recommend that a report be made public, irrespective of whether it has been laid before parliament or not.

The IPCMC may submit special reports to parliament at any time on matters of administration and general policies that relate to its function. It may also submit reports to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at any time, with a copy made available to the prime minister.

The SCC submits its annual report to parliament while the IPCMC annual reports must be submitted to the prime minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who will then make it available in parliament.

Arrest and search warrants

The IPCMC has the power to issue arrest warrants for persons who have failed to appear at its hearings while the SCC can apply to a magistrate for a summons to secure a person's attendance.

IPCMC commissioners or any officer authorised in writing may enter premises, inspect documents at the premise and take copies. The IPCMC is also empowered to issue a search warrant if necessary and if there are reasonable grounds to do so.

IN BRIEF: SCC vs IPCMC

Appointments

SCC - Prime minister to appoint commissioners

IPCMC - Agong to appoint commissioners

Members

SCC - Inspector-general of police, Public Complaints Bureau director-general and Anti-Corruption Agency director-general are automatic members.

IPCMC - Unlike SCC, parliamentarians, state legislators, former or current police officers not eligible as commissioners.

Investigative powers

SCC- Task force to investigate complaints.

IPCMC - Power to initiate own investigation and to direct IGP on investigations.

Secrecy laws

SCC - Bound by Official Secrets Act and secrecy laws.

IPCMC - Not subjected to secrecy laws and can intercept any form of communication.

Investigative powers

SCC - Power to probe all enforcement officers at the federal level.

IPCMC - Can only investigate current and former police officers whether alleged misconduct was committed on or off duty.

Disciplinary powers


SCC - Refer investigation to disciplinary authorities or public prosecutor for legal action.

IPCMC - Has disciplinary powers and can initiate legal action via its chief legal counsel.

Amendments


SCC - PM empowered to amend the Act in the first two years.

IPCMC - No provisions for amendments.

Annual reports

SCC - Annual reports submitted to parliament.

IPCMC - Annual reports submitted to parliament through PM and Agong. Case and special reports can be made direct to parliament.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

URGENT APPEAL - RELEASE M Manoharan, P Uthayakumar, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, T Vasantha Kumar, ...

URGENT APPEAL

MALAYSIA: 5 Human Rights Activists detained under the Internal Security Act, which is a Detention Without Trial law
------------------------------------------------------

Dear friends,

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture )writes to inform you that 5 human rights defenders and activist were arrested by the police On 13/12/2007 under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without trial. Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan said the arrests, under Section 8(1) of the ISA, were made against the five for carrying out activities that threatened national security.

Those arrested are
M Manoharan, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal advisers P Uthayakumar, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau and T Vasantha Kumar.

The first 4 are lawyers, who have also been actively involved in human rights issues.
It is learnt they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order.The five were sent straight to the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping, Perak, to be detained for two years, without undergoing the usual 60-day investigation period..

This is most unusual because usually persons will be arrested and detained by the police, who can detain persons for not more than 60 days. Only after that if the Minister is “satisfied that the detention of any person is necessary” ..will the 2-year detention order be signed.


BACKGROUND: (Based on Malaysiakini and other media reports)

Nov 10 BERSIH ASSEMBLY & PROTEST. About 40,000 protesters took part in BERSIH’s assembly, whose intention was to hand over a memorandum to the King. BERSIH is calling for electoral reform including a review of the electoral roll, curbs on postal voting, which they say is being abused, and equal access to state media for all competing parties. Police fired tear gas and used water cannons on the protesters. (BERSIH, a coalition of 70 political parties and NGOs). This was the Malaysia’s biggest street protest in nearly a decade.

Nov 25, 07 - HINDRAF ASSEMBLY & PROTEST. About 20,000 protesters demonstrated under the shadows of Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Twin Towers after their efforts to petition the British High Commission was thwarted by the police with tear gas and chemical-laced water cannon. About 400 persons were arrested that day.

The protest is to support a US$14-trillion lawsuit by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) against Malaysia's former colonial power for bringing Indians to Malaysia as indentured labourers and exploiting them for 150 years. The assembly today was for the purpose of submitting a memorandum was to petition Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen's counsel to argue the case on their behalf.

A series of arrests and charges began on 6 December, when 31 Hindraf supporters were charged with attempted murder, after a policeman suffered injuries, and have been refused bail. In addition, three leaders of Hindraf, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waya Moorthy, and Ganapathy Rao, have been charged under the Sedition Act for remarks made during a speech on 16 November, and with a letter posted on their website.

Dec 9 LAWYERS HUMAN RIGHTS DAY MARCH: After the Bar Council succumbed to pressures and fears and called of its annual Human Rights Day walk, several lawyers in defiance call for concerned lawyers and members of the public to join them in their march from SOGO to the Central Market, and about 200 persons did join them for that 7.30 am march. The police stopped the march and arrested 8 persons (of which 5 were lawyers). Later that afternoon, the local authority tried removing banners placed around and in the Bar Council Building, to which the lawyers protested. The Human Rights Committee chairman was arrested for obstructions. All 9 were unreasonably detained overnight and brought to court to charge. The Attorney General personally came and asked that bail be denied. arrested They now face charges of illegal assembly and disobeying police orders to disperse.

Dec 11 BERSIH’S HANDING OVER MEMO IN PARLIAMENT: 17 members of BERSIH who attempted to deliver a memorandum to Parliament were arrested .

What has been happening prior to the arrest and detention under the ISA?

The police have been targeting HINDRAF lawyers over the past few weeks. The crackdown started with the arrest of chairperson P Waythamoorthy, Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau on Nov 23. They were then charged with sedition in Klang.

On Tuesday(11/12/2007), Uthayakumar was again arrested and charged on another count of sedition in Kuala Lumpur. He was arrested once more on the same day and kept overnight in remand before being released yesterday without being charged.

Both Waythamoorthy and Ganabatirau were also re-arrested over the past week and released after being held for some hours.

Waythamoorthy, who is Uthayakumar's younger brother and also a lawyer, is currently in London on a mission to lobby for support from international groups.

Hindraf has come under the police radar after organising nationwide talks in which they are alleged to have made seditious speeches in relation to the marginalisation of the Indian Malaysian community.

Hindraf's rally in Kuala Lumpur attracted some 30,000 people. The police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Thirty-one of the protesters have been charged with attempted murder and causing mischief with some facing a third charge of illegal assembly.

The government has been threatening to use the ISA against Hindraf leaders for some weeks now.

Last week,the Inspector General of Police claimed that Hindraf was linked to terrorist groups and was active in fanning racial sentiments among the Indian community by stirring up their anger and arousing hatred against the government.

He added that the police had been monitoring the group - helmed by six prime movers comprising five lawyers and a senior executive of a private company - since July 28.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has for several weeks been threatening to invoke the draconian legislation against Hindraf, which authorities have accused of having links with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. The group denies the charges.

Earlier this week the premier alluded to the use of the ISA by saying that he considered public safety to be more important than public freedom.


SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please call upon the Prime Minister for the immediate release of P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, T Vasantha Kumar and all persons being detained under the Internal Security Act and other laws that allow for detention without trial.


Sample letter:

Dear
Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,

We call for the immediate and unconditional release of
M Manoharan, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal advisers P Uthayakumar, R Kenghadharan and V Ganabatirau, T Vasantha Kumar and all others that are currently being detained under the Internal Security Act and/or other laws that allow detention without trial.

We believe that it is unjust to deprive a person of his right to a fair trial, and call for the repeal of the Internal Security Act and all other laws that allow detention without trial.

Yours sincerely,

------------------------------------
PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security,
Prime Minister's Office Malaysia,
Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya,
MALAYSIA


Tel: +603 8888 6000
Fax: +603 8888 3444
Email: ppm@pmo.gov.my



Thank you.

In solidarity,

Charles Hector
for and on behalf of MADPET
E-mail: chef@tm.net.my

** Do circulate this URGENT APPEAL to as many persons as possible
** No one deserves to be arrested and detained under the ISA and laws that allow for Detention Without Trial


the new Johari directive banning the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims?

Lim: PM's X'mas speech good but...
Khairil Zhafri | Dec 26, 07 7:00pm

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang praised Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for giving an “excellent Christmas message” yesterday but expressed bitter disappointment that the prime minister has again failed to put words into action.

In his message, Abdullah warned Malaysians to be on their guards against religious extremists who are bent on tearing the country apart.

Abdullah also stressed that the majority moderate Malaysians need to hang on to the "middle position" and never allow such extremists to rule the day.

However, Lim said the prime minister's message was a “great Christmas letdown” because he has failed to touch on the Herald controversy – the Catholic weekly organ which is facing a ban for using ‘Allah’ in referring to God in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

According to the veteran opposition leader, he had expected Abdullah to end the Herald controversy when he spoke at the Christmas gathering hosted by Christian Federation of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“Abdullah did not assure Malaysians that he will not allow the middle ground to be intruded and encroached by extremists,” he said in a press statement today.

Lim agreed with Abdullah that Malaysians must put the country’s interest before what the prime minister described as “narrowly-defined demands”.

But Lim argued that Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum's decision to disallow Herald's Bahasa Malaysia section was itself an instance of “narrow-mindedness and intolerance”.

“Abdullah owes Malaysians an explanation whether he was privy to Johari’s decision or he only knew about it when there was a public furore and protest,” Lim added.

He argued that Abdullah must be prepared to act against extremists “whether or not they hail from religious groups, political parties or from the bureaucracy”.

Should state anthems be changed?

According to Lim, the word 'Allah' had been used by the Arabic-speaking Christians even before Islam existed and that it is still used in the same context in the Middle East.

He also pointed out that several state anthems such as those of Johor, Kedah, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu contained the word 'Allah'.

“Does this mean that these anthems will have to be amended to conform to the new Johari directive banning the use of 'Allah' by non-Muslims?” he asked.

The controversy over the use of 'Allah' came to light when the Catholic Church encountered problems in renewing the publishing permit for its bulletin, Herald.

Johari said last week that only Muslims can use the word 'Allah' because otherwise it will lead to confusion among Malaysians.

The Herald - which is published in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, English and Tamil - is said to face a new condition for its licence to be renewed.

The ministry, which is headed by Abdullah, has told the publisher to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section altogether or a new licence will not issued.

The weekly, whose permit will expire next week, have previously received written warnings from the ministry on the matter.


Monday, December 24, 2007

PM, state your stand on Herald's 'Allah'

PM, state your stand on Herald's 'Allah'
Dec 24, 07 12:32pm

There is growing clamour for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to quickly douse the controversy over the use of ‘Allah’ by a Catholic weekly in its Bahasa Malaysia section as Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas tomorrow.

The Herald, a weekly bulletin of the Catholic Church has been warned it could lose its publication permit, which will effectively shut down the weekly, for using the word ‘Allah’ in referring to ‘God’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The powerful Internal Security Ministry - in which Abdullah is the minister in charge - has also allegedly told the publisher to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the permit will not be renewed when it expires next week.

The Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has a circulation of 12,000.

Social movement Aliran said it was flabbergasted that “the usage of a single, widely used term to refer to the Almighty could be used to deny a basic right – the freedom to publish”.

“The term ‘Allah’ has been used for centuries without any problem or confusion. It has been the common term used by Muslims and Christians alike in the Arab world to refer to God.”

Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum has earlier explained that the new condition imposed on Catholic bulletin was to prevent confusion.

“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’,” he told Malaysiakini.

"We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications - nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right.”

However, Aliran said that Johari’s “sudden claim to exclusivity” for the usage of the word “does not make sense”.

“Our own Bahasa Malaysia is littered with numerous words absorbed from many foreign languages. We have even stopped using existing words in preference to newly coined terms to reflect modernity and the scientific world. If foreign countries were to claim exclusivity for all these terms, what would become of Bahasa Malaysia?

“Aliran also understands that the line, ‘Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa...’ forms part of the Pahang state anthem. Does that mean that non-Muslims should not sing the Pahang state anthem?”

A retrogressive step

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang urged Abdullah to overrule Johari and rescind his ministry’s order to Herald to discontinue its Bahasa Malaysia section “so that Christmas Day this year will not be celebrated under a cloud of burgeoning religious intolerance.”

“As the word ‘Allah’ has been used to refer to God among Christians for generations in many countries and is never meant to offend or confuse the Muslims, Abdullah should intervene to rescind such retrogressive measure by the Internal Security Ministry,” said Lim.

He said that the ministry's decision to abolish the Herald's Bahasa Malaysia section shows that the government itself does not give pride of place to the national language.

The use of ‘Allah’ outside of Islam has stirred controversy in Malaysia previously. Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word ‘God’ as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam’s name for God.

The ban was, however, lifted after protests from the Christian community.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

If you don’t like the ISA, you have to elect people who don’t like the ISA.

Speaking on the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against five Hindraf leaders, Mahathir said if people were against the ISA - which provides for detention without trial - they should not vote to power a party whose politicians are in support of the act.

“As you know, we are a democratic country. If you elect people who are supportive of the ISA, naturally, the ISA will be there. If you don’t like the ISA, you have to elect people who don’t like the ISA. The choice is yours,” he said.

“I was elected despite the fact that I supported the ISA. I was elected by the people, so I thought the people approved the ISA. That’s why I implemented the ISA,” he added.

Many quarters have criticised the government’s detention of the ‘Hindraf 5' under the ISA as an act of ‘desperation’.


..........

Dr M: Demonstrate only as a last resort
Fauwaz Abdul Aziz | Dec 22, 07 4:44pm

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today demonstrations should only be held as a last resort when other avenues of communicating grievances are unavailable.

Mahathir said that as long as the channels are still open for issues to be raised and conveyed to community leaders, he is against demonstrations.

“They are entitled to raise (the issues), but there are other ways of raising it,” Mahathir told a press conference at his Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya.

“If they have no other choice, of course, they may resort to demonstrations. But if they have a choice, they have their own leaders, they can meet (and) they can explain their problems, I think that would be the first choice,” he added.

Mahathir - speaking after the launch of a book on ‘The Third World and International Law’ by legal expert Tungku Sofiah Jewa - was commenting on the spate of public gatherings organised recently, such as by polls watchdog coalition Bersih and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

Also present at the press conference were Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali and Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Rais Yatim.

While Bersih rallied about 40,000 people into the streets on Nov 10 in support of a petition to the King for electoral reform, about 30,000 rallied on Nov 25 in support of a Hindraf petition to the British embassy protesting discrimination against and marginalisation of ethnic Indians.

Following the crackdowns by the police on the events, civil society groups and organisations have pressed for the government to give greater freedom for public assemblies and to abolish laws requiring a police permit before public gatherings are held.

Vote wisely

Mahathir also denied that the Indian community had been refused opportunities to make their grievances known.

On claims of ethnic cleansing here as alleged by Hindraf, Mahathir said he read a lot about ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

"I have yet to see a lot of Indians being killed here. Malays killing Indians and all that....I think that's a bit absurd."

Speaking on the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against five Hindraf leaders, Mahathir said if people were against the ISA - which provides for detention without trial - they should not vote to power a party whose politicians are in support of the act.

“As you know, we are a democratic country. If you elect people who are supportive of the ISA, naturally, the ISA will be there. If you don’t like the ISA, you have to elect people who don’t like the ISA. The choice is yours,” he said.

“I was elected despite the fact that I supported the ISA. I was elected by the people, so I thought the people approved the ISA. That’s why I implemented the ISA,” he added.

Many quarters have criticised the government’s detention of the ‘Hindraf 5' under the ISA as an act of ‘desperation’.

Interesting book

On the newly launched book, Mahathir said "This book, to me, is very important".

"Most of the knowledge we have about international law and the Third World comes from the writings of Europeans and they are naturally bias."

He said he had not read about many of the things mentioned in the book.

"That is why it's interesting, and I think a lot of Asians, Africans and American Indians need to do research and write books from their own viewpoint for a better balance."

This was Mahathir's first press conference following his recuperation from two major heart-related surgeries in August.

Prior to those surgeries, Mahathir has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over the latter’s style of governance and alleged corrupt practices.

Allah refers to God - not just the Muslim God



Narrow-minded officials , or should I say "ignorant" - for this was a matter that came up many years ago - and it is a fact that the word "Allah" is used by Christians, Jews, Muslims and even Sikhs(if I am not mistaken).

Next, they may be saying that other than in Islam, nobody can pray in Bahasa Malaysia. In my church, we pray and sing in Bahasa Malaysia.

If "Allah" only belongs to the Muslims, then the question is whether non-Muslims should stop singing some of the state anthems which have the word Allah. If Allah is the Muslim God only, then it will be wrong for people of other faiths to pray and/or call on him. Allah, for me is the name of God - and it belongs to no person or people - it is universal as is God.

As an example, thePahang state anthem is as follows:-

Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa,
Lanjutkan Usia Duli Yang Maha Mulia,
Dirgahayu, Darul Makmur,
Aman dan Bahagia Sentiasa,
Ya Allah, Selamatkan,
Duli Tuanku Raja Kami
And as a loyal Pahang citizen, when I sang that song, I called upon my God(not the Christian God, not the Hindu God, not the Muslim God - but GOD) for long life for my Sultan, etc...



Catholic paper told to change word for God


Saturday, 22 December 2007, 08:41am

Praying©The Straits Times, Singapore

The word Allah in the weekly's Malay section is applicable only to Muslims, says official

KUALA LUMPUR - A CATHOLIC weekly newspaper in Malaysia has been told to drop the use of the word Allah in its Malay language section if it wants to renew its publishing permit, a senior government official said yesterday.

The Herald, the organ of Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church, has translated the word God as Allah, but it is erroneous because Allah refers to the Muslim God, said Mr Che Din Yusoff, a senior official at the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit.

'Christians cannot use the word Allah. It is only applicable to Muslims. Allah is only for the Muslim God. This is designed to confuse the Muslim people,' he said.

The weekly should, instead, use the word Tuhan, which is the general term for God, he told the Associated Press (AP).

Religious issues are extremely sensitive in Malaysia, where about 60 per cent of the 27 million people are Malay Muslims.

The minorities have often complained that they do not have full freedom of religion, even though the Constitution guarantees everybody the right to worship.

The Herald, which has a circulation of 12,000 for its members, has for years been publishing reports in four languages - English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil.

The Reverend Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the weekly's use of the word Allah was not intended to offend Muslims.

'We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word Allah,' he said.

'This is not something new. The word Allah has been used in Malaysia for a long time. There is no confusion,' Rev Andrew told AP.

The use of Allah outside of Islam has previously stirred controversies in Malaysia, online newspaper Malaysiakini reported.

Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word God as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam's name for God. The ban was lifted after protests from Christians.

The 13-year-old weekly is still in talks to renew its permit, which expires on Dec 31, Rev Andrew said, adding it would appeal if the government refuses to budge on the issue.

Publishers in Malaysia are required to obtain annual permits from the authorities under a printing law that has long been criticised by rights groups.

There are more than 800,000 Catholics in Malaysia, according to Rev Andrew.

Mr Che Din said Christians do not use the word Allah when they worship in English, so they should not use it in the Malay language too.

The word is used by Arabic-speaking Christians in the Middle East as well as by believers in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.


NOTHING NEW

'We follow the Bible. The Malay-language Bible uses Allah for God and Tuhan for Lord. In our prayers and in church during Malay mass, we use the word 'Allah'. This is not something new.'

REV LAWRENCE ANDREW, editor of the Catholic newspaper

Friday, December 21, 2007

Johari: Only Muslims can use 'Allah'

Johari: Only Muslims can use 'Allah'
Soon Li Tsin | Dec 21, 07 5:31pm

The word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, said Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum.

Asked why a new condition will be imposed on Catholic weekly newspaper Herald when its annual publishing permit is next renewed, the deputy minister said this is to prevent confusion.

“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word, you see. It’s from (the Arabic (language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted today.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right.”

The Herald, the organ of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, had been facing problems in renewing its publishing permit allegedly because of the word ‘Allah’ was used in referring to ‘God’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ministry has also allegedly told the publisher to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the permit will not be renewed when it expires in two weeks.

The Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has a circulation of 12,000.

Johari noted that other publications, such as Buddhist magazines, do not use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to God.

“The Herald can use other words but not ‘Allah’. That will confuse people,” he claimed.

Basis of decision

He said the decision was made based on a report submitted by the publications department of the ministry.

“Previously no one knew (about this). I made the decision based on a report submitted to me that was prepared by an officer,” he explained.

However, when asked why the Herald is being told to remove its Bahasa Malaysia section altogether - rather than demanding the weekly not to use the word ‘Allah’ - Johari was unable to comment.

“I’m not sure about this, I have to check again. As far as I know, they used the word ‘Allah’ and we cannot allow that,” he reiterated.

He further pointed out that the word ‘Allah’ cannot be printed on T-shirts or other garments and those who have done so have been warned by his ministry.

The use of ‘Allah’ outside of Islam has stirred controversy in Malaysia previously. Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word ‘God’ as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam’s name for God.

The ban was, however, lifted after protests from the Christian community.

Gerakan Youth vice-chief S Paranjothy alleged today....

Gerakan rep: Umno incites racial sentiments Print E-mail
Friday, 21 December 2007, 06:51pm

©Malaysiakini (Used by permission)

In an audacious move, a notable Gerakan politician has taken Barisan Nasional coalition leader Umno to task for inciting racial sentiments among Malays to gain political mileage.

“They incite racial sentiments among their community in a petty attempt to further their political career,” Gerakan Youth vice-chief S Paranjothy alleged today.

Such attempts, he said, include taking potshots at other BN component parties which draw their support from non-Malay communities.

“Umno leaders are very found of picking on component parties and use them as their punching bag or stepping-stone to gain popularity in their community,” Paranjothy said in a hard-hitting four-page statement entitled ‘Discrimination from Womb to Tomb’.

He singled out Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussien’s keris waving and his deputy Khairy Jamaluddin’s claim that non-Malays would take advantage of a weak Umno leadership, as prime examples of racial posturing.

He also cited Khairy’s speech at the Umno general assembly last month, during which heblamed newspaper vendors for not wanting to work on Deepavali day. He made a pointed reference to the fact that the sector is predominated by Indian Malaysians.

(Each year, the print media takes a break during the major festivals. This year, Deepavali fell during the week of the Umno general assembly, and there was no publication on the day following the delivery of the presidential address.)

“Umno is fond of playing up sensitive issues among Malaysians. Statements and decisions made by Umno politicians have been (discriminatory) and contain a lot of racial slurs. So who is playing racial politics in Malaysia?... So who is causing racial disunity?” asked Paranjothy.

He warned that national unity would be elusive as long as political parties and politicians continue their communal approach towards politics.

“Politicians always feel (they) must fight for (their) own party. Since we have mostly ethnic parties, they are fighting for their ethnic group. It is difficult to achieve any kind of consensus.”

He stressed that the 14 BN component parties must consolidate into a single party in order to “end racial manipulation in politics”.

“In a multiracial party, if a politician wants to succeed, he would need to prove his ability and win support from all races, not just his own,” he explained.

‘Fourth-class citizens’

Commenting on the Nov 25 Hindraf rally, Paranjothy said the 30,000 Indians took part to express their “frustrations and anger” because the community has been “marginalised, oppressed and ignored”.

Paranjothy said Indians form the most neglected group in economic terms, as shown by key performance indicators such as tertiary education.

“(They) are treated as fourth-class citizens. Where the Indians predominate over their fellow Malaysians is mostly in prison, violent crimes, gangsterism, suicide and social ills. Government policies have failed to improve (their situation).”

On the government’s hardline stance against public demonstrations, Paranjothy said the government has practised double-standards in the issuance of police permits.

“I have participated in street demonstrations and rallies organised by Barisan Nasional Youth, spearheaded by Umno Youth, to handover a memorandum... over certain issues that had taken place (abroad) which I believe would not have benefitted Malaysia.

“Did BN Youth obtained a permit to hold the rallies or demonstrations?... Looks like the government is one-sided when it came to the issuance of permits for public gatherings. BN started this culture of street demonstrations and now others have emulated it.”

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Will the Catholic Church, weekly publication, HERALD, get its permit renewed??

Why should they not renew the permits and licences in advance ---- at least 3 months before permits and licenses expire ----now 2 weeks to go and what do you want people in power.

Do you want people to BEG ..... do you want people to agree to whatever unreasonable conditions (and demands) placed?

For Harakah and the ROCKET - you tried to place an unreasonable condition that it should only be sold to members of that political party....

Therefore - opposition political parties can only communicate to its members. The cannot organize public gatherings to convey their views. They cannot have newspapers and publications that can be sold to the Malaysian public. They cannot have licences to have their own radio stations and TV stations. So HOW can NON-GOVERNMENT persons, bodies, political parties communicate their views and positions to other Malaysians......what is the LEGAL WAY of doing this MR PRIME MINISTER?????

In fact, there should be NO permit and/or license requirement for publications at all. People should be allowed to publish, print and distribute any magazine, newspaper and publication provided maybe that the name of the publisher is clearly stated - this is to ensure that there is someone responsible if there are things that is against the laws of the land or has injured some other in law. (There should be no requirement for even the name of the the PRINTER..etc...- only the name of the PUBLISHER...).

Catholic weekly in quandary over permit
Dec 20, 07 12:52pm

The organ of the Catholic Church, Herald is facing problems in renewing its yearly publishing permit allegedly over the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the weekly’s Bahasa Malaysia section.

According to Church sources, the government is not happy with the use of the word ‘Allah’ by the weekly when referring to ‘God’ in Bahasa Malaysia.

The use of ‘Allah’ outside of Islam has previously stirred controversies in Malaysia. Four years ago, the Bible in Iban language was banned because it translated the word ‘God’ as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam’s name for God, ‘Allah’.

The ban was however lifted after protests from the Christian community.

The Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has a circulation of 12,000. The weekly’s permit is due to expire in two weeks.

The Herald - which publishes news and information for Catholics in Malaysia - have previously received written warnings pertaining to the content of their articles primarily those which touch on religious and political issues.

Most recently, the Herald frontpaged both the Bersih and Hindraf rally which saw tens of thousands protesters hitting the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Remove BM section

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in a statement yesterday said the Home Ministry has imposed a new condition for the renewal of the Herald’s publication permit - that the BM section of the weekly be removed altogether.

This is confirmed by sources close to the Catholic weekly.

Lim has described Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration as one which has promoted religious polarisation the most as compared to four previous prime ministers.

Examples that the DAP veteran included are the demolition of the Sri Maha Mariaman Temple in Kampung Rimba Jaya in Shah Alam one week before Deepavali.

“This was followed by the disrespect and insensitivity when the Umno General Assembly was held on Deepavali – imagine the protest and outrage if the MCA or MIC had held their general assemblies during the Hari Raya holidays,” he said.

In addition, during the party assembly, Umno Youth deputy chief and prime minister’s son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin blamed the Indian news vendors for taking a holiday during Deepavali which resulted in Abdullah’s speech as Umno president not being prominently reported by the media.

Lim also noted the incident when two Umno parliamentarians - Syed Hood Syed Edros (BN-Parit Sulong) and Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) demanded the removal of the cross and demolition of Christian statues in mission schools.

“The PM must take urgent measures to arrest the worsening of inter-religious relations in the country and halt the growing number of incidents of disrespect and insensitivity felt by non-Muslim Malaysian,” he added.

No need for non-Muslim affairs dept

Meanwhile, Abdullah yesterday said it was not necessary to set up a non-muslim affairs department because an effective special committee is already in place.

He said this after Indian non-governmental organisations requested the government to set up the department to handle the affairs of non-Muslims in the country.

The premier explained that the existing committee in the PM's Department comprised of
Minister in the PM's Department Bernard Dompok (handling Christian matters), Works Minister S Samy Vellu (Hindu) and Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Ting (Buddhism).

Abdullah also said that the National Unity Department has a similar committee with a minister (Dr Maximus Ongkili) entrusted with matters pertaining to solidarity, religions and beliefs.

Muhamad Ideres Muhamad Rapee - a future Chief Justice?

Hindraf lawyer Manoharan fails in habeas corpus application

M. ManoharanHindraf men file habeas corpus writs
Detainee files fresh application


©The Sun

IPOH (Dec 19, 2007): Lawyer M.Manoharan had his application for a writ of habeas corpus seeking his release from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) struck off by the High Court here today.

Justice Datuk Muhamad Ideres Muhamad Rapee said the copy of the detention order that was attached to the application had not been certified by a Commissioner for Oaths.

He said the application thus did not comply with provisions of the Rules of the High Court and therefore "the application is struck out".

Counsel Krpal Singh told reporters later that he would submit a fresh application for Manoharan, 46, and another ISA detainee, V. Ganabathirau, 34, at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this afternoon.

The two, together with three others, namely P.Uthayakumar, 46, R. Kengadharan, 40, and T. Vasanthakumar, 34, are accused to be behind an unlawful Hindu Righst Action Force (Hindraf) assembly held in the federal capital last month. They were detained last Thursday (Dec 13).

The habeas corpus application was filed last Friday (Dec 14) and was fixed for mention before Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim today.

Karpal Singh said: "I was informed on Monday (Dec 17) that the case has been assigned for mention before Muhamad Ideres. I now want to know who directed the change of judge.

"The judge (Muhamad Ideres) was informed that I would be late. Why did Muhamad Ideres decided not to wait for me to be present?"

Karpal Singh was about 15 minutes late.

The court sat for only five minutes from 9.05am.

It was packed with members and opposition party members as early 8am with tight police security in the court compound.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

POLL RESULTS: Malaysia is in fact far worse than maybe even Burma

Although the government do not resort to much physical aggressive means of suppression, the state of freedom and human rights in Malaysia is in fact far worse than maybe even Burma , ..


YES - no freedom to even voice an opinion or freedom of expression 107 (59%)

YES - no freedom of even association - almost impossible to register
new political parties and rights organisations 90 (49%)

YES - no way to even organise a public forum and share views with
public 100 (55%)

YES - almost impossible to be able to be able to start a newspaper
and/or magazine that is critical 93 (51%)

YES - the government only talks PEACE & "UNITY" - but not
Justice 110 (60%)

YES - government controlled media suppresses alternative views
& even REAL news 135 (74%)

NO - Not at all true 9 (4%)

I ABSTAIN 3 (1%)


Votes so far: 181
Poll closed
(Those who voted had the option to make multiple choices - but some, possibly not being aware of this right only made a single choice. )

After the people protested - then "so-called leaders" speak out....(LOL)

They were all apparently silent about the plight and suffering of the Malaysian Indians - and now after the whole HINDRAF affair that saw some 30,000 persons involved in the peaceful assembly - we see the MIC, the Miba, the Hindu Sangam and others who had been apparently silent all this while suddenly coming forth and speaking out ....

MIC - aparently also did a report and submitted to the PM

Question - what were these "so-called" representatives of the Malaysian Indians doing for the last 50 YEARS.....

The people want transparency and openess - it is no use for the PM and the government to call and meet "selected NGOs" or groups, many of whom are led by good peace-loving "Yes, Mr PM" kind of personalities who sometimes have long lost contact with the ground as well - to even know and understand the problems faced by the normal person of the street...

The Indian community is again angry now about what ASTRO just did - they pushed this SUN TV channel - which was showing soap operas like Anjali and Kasturi into a new package called "Maharaj package" and is now requiring viewers to pay additional money to see these channels... After watching 100s of episodes of a soap opera to suddenly do this is EVIL and UNJUST. To charge for new channels with new programs is OK but not to charge for old channels with old programs (or new channels with old programs). Make them addicted - then charge more ----very bad ASTRO..and what is the government doing about this..


Miba president: What I told the PM
RK Anand | Dec 18, 07 11:29am

As citizens of Malaysia, Indians have the right to enjoy equal opportunities and must not be treated like third-class citizens.

This was the crux of Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar’s hard-hitting speech during the meeting between Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last Friday.

“In the past, only the educated and middle class Indians were unhappy about the difference in treatment. But over the last three years, every Indian in the country is unhappy and angry over the way we are treated,” he said.

Sivakumar told Malaysiakini that at the onset of his speech, he sought permission from Abdullah to speak without fear or favour and to tell the truth.

To this, he said, the premier replied: “Yes, please tell me the truth.”

Following this, Sivakumar continued: “As you (Abdullah) are aware, the communities in Malaysia are affluent and very much matured after 50 years of Independence.”

“The term bumiputera and non-bumiputera literally means ‘son of the soil’ and ‘not son of the soil’ (respectively). That means the Indian community was born where - in the sky?” he said, telling Malaysiakini that Abdullah tittered at this remark.

Sivakumar said in the past, the New Economic Policy (NEP) won the support of all three communities because it was initiated to address the socio-economic position of all races.

“So what is happening?” he asked the premier.

“What 40,000 Indians, you should have given the (police) permit, there would have been more than 300,000 Indians on that day,” he added in reference to the Nov 25 rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

The urban poor

Citing the agriculture sector, Sivakumar said there more than 70 percent Indians were involved in this sector.

“When the policies changed, what measures did the government take to address the thousands of Indians chased and driven out of the estates, with nowhere to go, and no housing left,” he added.

The Miba president said this led to the emergence of urban poor, resulting in serious social problems like gangsterism.

“Indians killing each other for a living, who is to be blamed?” he asked.

“If only a Felda-type (scheme) had been extended to these Indians, with proper nurturing and with land given to develop small holdings and animal husbandry, they would have contributed well to the economy and even cut down our import bill, especially on dairy products. We need not depend so much on foreign workers,” he said.

On the issue of funding, Sivakumar pointed out that MIC recently held seminars by calling Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who promised the Indian community help and support.

“But what happened? Let’s take Johor for example, I personally followed up with the (state) Agriculture Department after Muhyiddin reminded the director to help the Indians.

“Nothing, not a single ringgit was given to the Indians,” said the Johor-based businessman.

“Let’s take other funding agencies, like MIDF, SMIDEC and SME. Yes, all (of them) like to hold seminars, (produce) good paper work. But nothing for the Indians,” he added.

No help extended

As for privatisation, Sivakumar once again cited the situation in Johor.

He said the state government identified 43 projects. “The community was offered only one project, only to be retracted after two weeks. Why?”

Apart from this, the Miba president also reminded the premier that the latter had pumped RM100 million into a fund to help single mothers embark on business ventures.

“I checked with them (the fund), nothing was extended to Indian single mothers in Johor,” he said.

Turning to the construction sector, Sivakumar said: “You (Abdullah) had offered 30,000 jobs, (but) when a group of Indians went to apply for tender, they were told to leave because it was only for bumiputeras.”

“They had to leave the place with shame and tears. Is this fair? Aren’t they citizens (too)?” he added.

Moving to the civil service, Sivakumar quoted Abdullah as saying that Indians make up five percent of the civil service.

“But our population is nine percent, what about the balance four percent? At least, place Indians where help is needed. For example, EPF in JB (Johor Bahru), only one Indian, Socso none, post office none,” he said.

The Miba president also highlighted that the scrap metal business, which involves many Indian businessman, is now under threat of licences not being renewed.

“Who will take care of their families and children, if they cannot perform?” he asked.

Three-percent equity

On the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), Sivakumar noted that it has been three years since Abdullah announced the three percent equity target for Indians.

“What are the steps and measures that you have initiated, please tell us. Even now, it is not too late, we have initiated an independent co-op for the community without any political group’s control. PM can help by funding this.

“I have even given (MIC president) S Samy Vellu a project paper on where Indians can go into - Bio-Tech business as a self-help programme. Why not help us because the Indians need the government’s help. The Indians need opportunities,” he said.

Sivakumar also highlighted the issue of temple demolitions and asked for temples constructed before Merdeka not to be demolished.

On that note, he also urged Abdullah to review the detention of five Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and called for them to be charged in court.

He had also called for the release of the 31 people charged for the attempted murder of a policeman in connection with the Hindraf rally. Yesterday, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail withdrew the charge.

Sivakumar told Malaysiakini that he wrapped up his speech by apologising to Abdullah if he had offended the latter with his remarks.

According to him, the premier replied: “Not at all, Thank you for telling me the truth.”

The special meeting between the NGos and the prime minister was called following widespread debates on the allegation raised by Hindraf that Indians in Malaysia are being marginalised.



Special meet: Hindu Sangam bares it all to PM
Dec 17, 07 3:22pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was told to focus on the issues affecting the Indian community rather than attacking supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

This was among the points driven home by Malaysian Hindu Sangam (MHS) president A Vaithilingam during the special meeting between Indian non-governmental organisations and the premier on Friday.

Vaithilingam also pointed out that the large turnout at the Nov 25 rally organised by Hindraf proved that the Indian community is facing serious problems.

In a statement today, MHS general secretary Dr K Balakrishnan quoted Vaithilingam as saying in his speech during the meet:

“Hindraf is the result of many serious issues including the M Moorthy case and a series of cases where Hindu bodies were buried by Islamic departments as well as the unnecessary cruel demolitions of several Hindu temples.”

He said the huge response to the rally was probably the result of many social problems faced by the Indian community especially when urbanisation brought the community out of rural areas.

Balakrishnan said the MHS president had appealed to the prime minister to consider these issues rather than hitting out at Hindraf supporters.

Reconsider ISA

Apart from this, Vaithilingam also appealed to the prime minister to seriously consider the release of the five Hindraf leaders held under the Internal Security Act and for them to be charged in court.

“Holding them under ISA is improper of a democratic country and will affect the country's image,” he was quoted as saying.

Vaithilingam also urged the prime minister to reconsider the attempted murder charge against the 31 persons held without bail as many of them were merely bystanders at Batu Caves.

"MHS finds it difficult to believe that these people had intentions to murder and is pleased that the prime minister said he would speak to the attorney-general."

The attempted murder charge against the 31 were dropped this morning.

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam also called on the prime minister to stop all temple demolitions and to recognise all temples as official temples.

He also urged the prime minister to look into laws which do not protect wives of men who convert to Islam.

He requested that the prime minister asks the attorney-general to consider these issues which have been going on for too long without any proper results.

Non-Malay staff

Vaithilingam also asked for more non-Malay staff to be employed in all government departments, noting that when he entered the Prime Minister's Department to attend the meeting, almost all the staff there were of one race only.

Balakrishnan said Vaithilingam has been approached by numerous Indian-based NGOs to bring up problems of the Indian community with the prime minister.

He agreed to be the coordinator of a memorandum to be submitted to the prime minister for consideration in a few weeks.

It initially started off with 48 Indian-based NGOs but as of today it has risen to more than 70 NGOs, said Balakrishnan.

The MHS president has also expressed hope that all the NGOs cooperate with the prime minister in implementing projects to uplift the community's standard of living.

He has also stressed the need for national unity amongst people of different races and religions, said Balakrishnan.