Saturday, February 28, 2009

Now, can use Allah - but put "For Christianity" - Why not just "Not For Muslims"?

Well, the government has now changed its stance and is allowing the Herald to use the word 'Allah'...but alas Christians do not need permission of the government of the day to use the word 'Allah', or do they?

Interestingly - the government wants the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” or “For Christianity” in bold font type Arial of size 16 placed on its front cover.

Firstly, we wonder why it should be so big?

Secondly, we wonder why that this is directed to Christians only, and not other religions as well - is it not discrimination? Should we not require all religious publications to carry bold font type Arial of size 16 with the "for this religion....or that religion".

Thirdly, we wonder why they just did not ask for "Bukan Untuk Orang Islam" or "Not For Muslims" - because the current ruling even goes against the Federal Constitution, and also will prevent what some religions consider as being a duty of their adherents - i.e. the work of evangelization,..In Malaysia, it is wrong to try to convert a Muslim OR maybe we should just have a no proselytizing for all in it shall be an offence for any person to try to convert any other to their faith. No more freedom to choose your religion. You stick to the religion you are born to. Maybe, we should consider this.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Catholic Herald magazine is permitted to use the word Allah provided the publication clearly states the words “For Christians only” in its masthead.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said this was stated in the recently gazetted Internal Security Act signed by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Feb 16.

“The next edition of the Herald will contain the word Allah, and we will print the words “For Christians only” on the masthead so as not to contravene the Act,” he said.

It is learnt the Act also forbids the use of the words Kaabah, solat and baitullah.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry’s Quran Publication Control and Text Division secretary Che Din Yusoh confirmed the content of the gazetted Act.

The High Court will today hear the mention of the case about the use of the word Allah in the Herald.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, who is the plaintiff, had applied for a judicial review of a Home Ministry directive last year forbidding the Herald publisher from using the word Allah as a synonym for “God.”

The plaintiff’s counsel Porres Royan had argued that the directive was unlawful and that the word was not exclusive to Islam.

On Dec 5, the publisher filed a writ of summons in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek a declaration on the use of the word.

The other respondents were the Home Ministry, the Government and the state Islamic Councils of the Federal Territory, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Malacca and the Malaysia Chinese Muslim Association.- Star, 27/2/2009, Herald allowed to use the word ‘Allah’

But, the matter is not over ...

PETALING JAYA: The Catholic Church will discuss with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the Home Ministry’s order to allow the conditional use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications.

The lawyer representing Catholic weekly magazine The Herald, Porres Royan said there was a need to study the implications following the order that required the publications to indicate that the material was only for Christians.

The directive, made under the Internal Security Act, was gazetted by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Feb 16.

Asked to comment on the magazine’s March issue which will carry the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” (For Christianity) close to its masthead, Royan said the order was not only for The Herald.

“It’s not a question of The Herald accepting it (the order), but of following the law as it is gazetted,” he told The Star on Friday.

The magazine’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew said there was now “no fear” on his part as the magazine had included the disclaimer in its next issue.

“So, in a way, there is a sense of security that our publishing permit would be renewed,” he said.

“We want to live in peace and harmony with one another and will do what we can to help ensure freedom and justice,” Father Lawrence added.

In a mention of the case on Friday, the High Court fixed May 28 as the date of the hearing for the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur’s application to recall and set aside the order for intervention from various religious bodies.

The court also decided that the application by the interveners’ to refer the case to the Federal Court be heard on July 7.

The religious bodies involved are the state Islamic Councils of Federal Territory, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Malacca, the Malaysia Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) and the Malaysian Gurdwara Association.

Meanwhile, the Council of Churches of Malaysia has called on the Government to accept the use of the term “Allah” as a heritage that is not exclusive to one religion.

“We further urge the Government not to attempt to regulate or circumscribe its use through the introduction of pre-conditions and by punitive criminal legislations,” said the council’s general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri in a statement on Friday.

He was responding to the order issued by the Home Ministry that Christian publications may use the word “Allah” if they indicate that the material is for Christians.

Dr Hermen also questioned why the order was specific to Christianity and cited the Sikh religion as an example of another creed which referred to “Allah” in their sacred texts.

He pointed out that the order would also cause those who have publications using the word “Allah” to be at risk of possessing prohibited documents unless they ensure that the words “Untuk Agama Kristian” or “For Christianity” in bold font type Arial of size 16 placed on its front cover.

“This is an unfair imposition and unwarranted restriction on the practice of the Christian religion in this country,” Dr Hermen said, adding that the conditions was also a limitation on the freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

“We regret that the Government did not see fit to engage with us before introducing this order,” he said. - Star, 27/2/2009 - Church to study implications of permission to use “Allah” (Update)

Friday, February 27, 2009

The usage of the term "Allah" may even predate Islam, and have been used by Christians for centuries

I just surfed the net and found a few interesting stuff, which I thought I should share with my readers.

I must state that I have relied on internet sources, which I believe are true. If there are any errors with regard the stated facts, I hope that you would take time to make a comment...

There are some who have come out and mischievously attempted to paint a very wrong picture, i.e.

1 - That Christians have just started using the word 'Allah'
* There is evidence that usage of the Arabic word 'Allah' in facts pre-dates Islam.
* It has long been used by Arab Christians, which number 15-20 million in the Middle East, and this word can be found in the Arabic translation of the Bible/parts of the Bible. *The earliest written record of the Gospel in Arabic is 897 A.D., and of the Old Testament is in 1475 A.D.
* The word Allah is also used in the AlKitab, the Malay translation of the Bible, and first recorded published Malay translation of part of a gospel was in 1629, and the full alkitab was finally published in 1733.
* The word Allah has been used by Malaysian Christians for a very very long time.

2 - That the usage of the word 'Allah' is part of a devious scheme to confuse Muslims, in Malaysia, and probably convert them to Christianity.
Well, this is really far-fetched, as the word Allah has long been used by Christians. It has not really confused Arab Muslims or Indonesian Muslims - and there really is no example of it confusing Malay Muslims here in Malaysia. I believe Muslims in Malaya are more intelligent than that what some believe

Let us consider the facts -

a) The word 'Allah' have been used by Christians for a very long time. In its written form, it appears, amongst others, even in the translation of the Bible (or parts of the Bible) in Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu, etc

Thus the first translations of the Hebrew Bible in Arabic appeared after the advent of Islam. In fact, the oldest dated manuscript of the Old Testament in Arabic as shown below dates from first half of the ninth century.

The Oldest Arabic Manuscript of the Old Testament (British Museum arab. 1475 [Add. 26116]). Source: Islamic Awareness Website

Sidney H Griffith has done extensive research on the appearance of Arabic Gospel. Regarding the manuscript evidence, he says:

The oldest known, dated manuscripts containing Arabic translations of the New Testament are in the collections of St. Catherine's monastery at Mt. Sinai. Sinai Arabic MS 151 contains an Arabic version of the Epistles of Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Catholic Epistles. It is the oldest dated New Testament manuscripts. The colophon of this MS informs us that one Bisr Ibn as-Sirri made the translation from Syriac in Damascus during Ramadan of the Higrah year 253, i.e., 867 AD.[11]

The author went on to say:

The oldest, dated manuscript containing the Gospels in Arabic is Sinai Arabic MS 72. Here the text of the four canonical Gospels is marked off according to the lessons of the temporal cycle of the Greek liturgical calendar of the Jerusalem Church. A colophon informs us that the MS was written by Stephen of Ramleh in the year 284 of the Arabs, i.e., 897 AD.[12]

Below is the MS of the Gospel in Arabic written by Stephen of Ramleh.

Colophon of MS. Sin. Arab, No. 72, dated 896 A.D. photograph supplied by Mr. Taufiq Iskarous of Cairo, late curator of Christian books at the Sultanieh Library. The photograph, hitherto unpublished, was taken by Dr. Moritz. Mr. Taufiq Iskarous also supplies the following information from an unpublished report in Arabic by Dr. Moritz, to the Egyptian government on the Arabic MSS. in the library of St. Catherine at Mt. Sinai: "The oldest of the Christian Arabic MSS. under the heading Biblica is The book of the four Gospels, arranged according to the divisions of the liturgical year of the Greeks. It was written in late Kufic hand by Istipana, known as al-Ramli, A. Mond. 6389=A. H. Muharram, 284. On parchment, 119 pp. of 26 lines, 13x19 cmm."[13]Source: Islamic Awareness Website

Usage of the word Allah in the Arabic Bible, whereby there are about 15 - 20 million Arab Christians in the Middle East. [ Source: Muslim Answers Website]

The images below, with the exception of the first image, were taken directly from The Holy Bible in Arabic. Referred to in Arabic as al-Kitâb al-Muqadis (i.e. ,The Holy Book), this is the scripture which is used by Arabic-speaking Christians (of which there are still about 15 to 20 million in the Middle East). So that those unfamiliar with Arabic script have something to compare these images with, the first image below is a verse from the Qur'ân - which is the Muslim scripture. In the images, the Arabic word Allah is underlined in red so that it can be easily identified. Upon comparing the images, one should be able to clearly see that the word Allah appears in both the Qur'ânic and Arabic Bible images. Indeed, the word Allah appears throughout Arabic translations of the Bible, since it is simply the Arabic name for Almighty God. Insha'llah, the examples below will help quell the doubts of those who have been duped into believing that Muslims worship a different god - either by the hostile media or by Christian missionary propaganda. We hope that this serves as enough documentation for those who still have doubts about this. We could think of no other way to prove this point, except to encourage everyone to do further critical and open-minded research on their own. Please, don't forget to compare the images . . .

[Qu'ran 1:1 - English translation]

"In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful."

[Qur'ân 1:1 - Arabic transliteration]

"Bismi-Allahi ar-Rahmani, ar-Raheem"

[Qur'ân 1:1 - Arabic]

[Genesis 1:1 - English Bible - King James Version]

"In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth . . . "

[Genesis 1:1 - Arabic transliteration]

"Fee al-badi' khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard . . . "

[Genesis 1:1 - Arabic Bible]

[John 3:16 - English Bible - King James Version]

"For God so loved the world, that . . . "

[John 3:16 - Arabic transliteration]

"Li-annhu haakadha ahabba Allahu al-'Aalama hataa badhala . . . "

[John 3:16 - Arabic Bible]

[Luke 1:30 - English Bible - King James Version]

" . . . Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God."

[Luke 1:30 - Arabic transliteration]

" . . . Laa takhaafee, yaa Maryam, li-annaki qad wajadti ni'amat(an) i'nda Allahi."

[Luke 1:30 - Arabic Bible]

[Luke 3:38 - English Bible - New King James Version]

"the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

[Luke 3:38 - Arabic transliteration]

"bini Anoosha, bini Sheeti, bini Aaadama, abni Allahi."

[Luke 3:38 - Arabic Bible]

Thursday, February 26, 2009

St John's Chapel(over 83 years old) being threathened with 'eviction' - help save this 'little' church

St. John's Chapel in the small town of Triang, Pahang is now being threatened with eviction/demolition.

This chapel has been in existence legally since at least 1926. The land on which this church was built was a leasehold title, which the government refused to renew in 1955, but the government continued collecting quit rent until about 1966.

Application for extension of the lease have been repeatedly send by the Catholic Church but alas no positive response was forthcoming.

The chapel continued to exist happily without any interference from the State for all this time. But suddenly, some Developer in 2005 has come in and have asked that the chapel be removed. It has been shown that the new owner of the land on which the chapel stands is a Pahang State agency, i.e. Perbadanan Kemajuan Ekonomi Negeri Pahang.

There are 3 Lots in a row, and Lots 1 and 3 already belong to the Catholic Church, and the middle Lot 2, where the chapel stood since at least 1926, now seems to belong to Perbadanan Kemajuan Ekonomi Negeri Pahang, or the Pahang State. On Lot 1, we have the Kindergarten run by the Catholic Church, on Lot 2 is the Chapel, and Lot 3 is now a road. [It really is absurd why Lot 2, the middle lot, was also not given to the church a long time ago]

St John's chapel has served the people and community in Triang. It acted as a refuge during the Japanese Occupation, during floods, etc.

And, that is why on 17/8/2008, some 300 over persons/residents took to the street to protest the possible future demolition of this church/chapel. Unfortunately, only the Chinese media carried reports of this protest, which also saw the presence of the infamous FRU (Malaysia's Riot Police). There may not have been thousands but for a small town in Pahang, that turnout is impressive and significant.

What is sad, is that the Catholic/Christians of Triang are now facing the threat of losing their at least 83 year old chapel after the UMNO-led BN government of Pahang openly stated that they will adopt a more liberal approach matters concerning religion and places of worship.

The 2005 government census revealed that 11% of Malaysians are Christians, 57% Muslims, 23% Buddhist, 6% Hindus, and the remaining 3 % are adherents of Confucianism/Taoism/Traditional Religions/Others.

The land, on which the chapel has been for the past 83 over years, is State land (or belongs to a State Agency), and as such there really should not be any problem giving it to the Catholic Church so that the St John's Chapel can continue its existence.

I appeal to the Pahang government, to our DPM (also from Pahang) intervene and save the St John's Chapel in Triang...

KUANTAN: The state government will adopt a more liberal approach to matters concerning religion and places of worship.

State secretary Datuk Muhammad Safian Ismail said they planned to improve the system and administration processes pertaining to applications related to places of worship.

“In the past, there were some glitches and we intend to improve the system and administration processes.

“The committee on places of worship for non-Muslims which I chair will meet more regularly,” he said during a dialogue with several representatives of the Kuantan Chinese Methodist Church members here.

Also present was MCA legal bureau chairman Datuk Ti Lian Ker, who brought up several related matters to Muhammad Safian.

Ti said in the past, the issue on places of worship was deemed “sensitive” and could not be debated in the open.

“Now, the time has changed and this

misconception should be corrected as under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, all

citizens are guaranteed the freedom to religion.

“What we are doing is to discuss our rights to renovate, expand and build places of

worship and what actually went wrong,” he said.

Citing an example, he said a church group had applied to the local authority in Cameron Highlands for years to build a church but was not given an approval.

He said in other instances, certain conditions were imposed by the authorities before approval was granted.

“These problems due to many factors such as individuals, administrative obstacles and delays should not have happened.

“We are glad that Muhammad Safian had given an undertaking to review the present approach and to give approval if all guidelines were adhered,” he said.

Pastor Lau Seng Lye said he was glad that the state government would be more open and accommodating on issues involving places of worship.

He said their church in Jalan Gambut could only take in 300 worshippers and would like to expand their premises.

Earlier, the church had submitted an application to expand their building but was rejected by the local council. - Star, 2/4/2008, Pahang to adopt liberal approach on religion

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gender Discrimination, and certainly NOT an 'Education For All' policy

Yes - children whose father is Malaysian, who have submitted application for birth certificate, citizenship and Mykad can go to school in Malaysia...

What about children whose mother is Malaysian?

I thought that the Federal Constitution has been amended to ensure that there is no discrimination based on gender.

It is the mother who deals with 9 months of pregnancy...and who suffers the pain of child-birth, and is generally burdened with most of work connected with child upbringing - and Deputy minister Wee Ka Siong says that they are irrelevant.

Even the current law with regard to citizenship does not discriminate - only requirement is that one of the parent is a citizen or has a permanent residency status. As example, see Article 1(1)(c) of the Second Schedule of the Federal Constitution,
(c) every person born within the Federation after September, 1962, of whose parents one at least was at the time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in the Federation, or who was not born a citizen of any other country;
So, why is Deputy Education Minister giving us bad education about rights and values...Is he a male chauvinist? Is he propagating that men are more important than women? Time he be removed as Deputy Minister - he embarasses Malaysia.

I also wonder how they will establish that the Malaysian male is the father...Will they be having DNA tests?

Also note that many of these children may be NOT children of any marriage - and, of course, many Malaysian men will not even come forward and acknowledge that they are the father of the child...

'STATELESS CHILDREN' - what the Minister is talking is about children, who really are Malaysian citizens, but who have yet to get their birth certificate and/or MyKad for various reasons.

The term 'stateless children' is used mischievously...for it does not refer to all stateless children BUT only to those children whose FATHER are Malaysians.

These are not really stateless children - they already are Malaysians - only they are yet to be registered, get their Birth Certificate, MyKad, etc..., that is all.

When you are talking about stateless children, we are talking about those who do not have nationality or citizenship.

You are talking about some of those who have fled Burma, Southern Thailand, Southern Philipines, Acheh(previously)... because they fear their lives and liberty of themselves and those of their family.

The Rohingyaans, for example, are not even recognized by Myammar as being people of that country. Here, in Malaysia, many are hiding without any passport and other documentations. It is for these children that Malaysia must reach out and ensure that they at least get an education.

Charity - that is what it is. We have to help these children - ensure that they at least get an education - i.e. basic primary and secondary education, at the very least.

Without formal education, they will not have a bright future at all given the fact that most employers now require their workers to have some form of formal education.

Without formal education, they may end up at the lowest echeleons of society devoid of the means for social movement upwards.

I have to say that Malaysia is under the obligation to provide education for all children in Malaysia - and that will include all stateless children (irrespective of which country their fore fathers hail from), children of migrants/asylum seekers/refugees, etc

When it comes to children - then we must be concerned for ALL children, and this commitment should be towards all aspects of the child's welfare - including education and healthcare...

The Education Ministry will soon issue a circular to all schools nationwide, advising them to accept all ‘stateless’ children, even if they have no birth certificate, so long as the father is a Malaysian citizen.

However, the advice will come with a caveat: the children must have already applied, through the Malaysian parent, to the National Registration Department (NRD) for a birth certificate, citizenship or MyKad.

wee ka siong mca pc 300708 03“A birth registration certificate will be issued to the child which will state that the child is not a citizen...,” deputy minister Wee Ka Siong said while on an official visit to Kota Kinabalu over the weekend.

“This will not be a problem as long as the father is a Malaysian citizen. The status of the mother is not important (whatever country) she is (originally) from...”

However, Wee could not categorically confirm, despite persistent questioning by the media, whether children of non-citizen fathers and Malaysian mothers will be accepted into government schools.

He merely said: “Malaysia definitely supports the Unesco policy of ‘education for all’. - Malaysiakini, 24/2/2009,
Stateless children's admission open to abuse
Mr Minister, we certainly do not support UNESCO's policy for all - as this policy is clearly selfish and is only concerned about children who are Malaysians, whose father is Malaysian, who is yet to get their birth certificates and MyKad..

This policy certainly do not cover even children whose mothers are Malaysians - and this goes against even our Federal Constitution. All children, whose one parent is Malaysian or a permanent resident, is a Malaysian.

This policy does not even cover stateless children... and certainly falls short of meeting the call of "Education for All'

Monday, February 23, 2009

BN fails workers in Malaysia - still no National Retrenchment Fund after 10 years.

There is still no 100% protection for workers in Malaysia who are retrenched and/or terminated by their employers.

We have the Employment (Termination and Lay-off Benefits) Regulations 1980...

But alas, only workers who have worked for more than 12 months are entitled, and this is not right..

The calculations of these benefits, which have to paid out within 7 days from the date of termination, are as follows:-

'An employee is entitled to lay-off benefits not less than the following: 1 to 2 years service - 10 days wages for each year service. more than 2 years but less 5 years service - 15 days wages for each year service. 5 years service or more - 20 days wages for each year service'
But, even those entitled may not get anything because the employer has no money to pay the employee..

And that is why, MTUC came up with the proposal for a National Retrenchment Scheme. The MTUC forwarded the memorandum below in 1998,



This Memorandum is being submitted by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) for the consideration of the Government in view of the escalating levels of retrenchments in the country brought by the sudden economic downturn.


Though the rate of retrenchments in Malaysia is much lower than that witnessed in South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia, this is by no means any less serious than that faced by these countries. There is still cause for concern as our population base is 20 million, and the social impact of retrenchments may probably hit us harder.

According to the Ministry of Human Resources, a total of 28,890 workers were reportedly retrenched up to 9 May 1998. The quantum of statutory benefits to be paid to them computed for the period January to March 1998 amounts to RM100, 813,459,57. According to statistics complied by the MTUC, up to 35,000 workers have been laid off till date, and this does not include the informal sector workers. Many workers have not been paid their separation benefits upon the termination of their respective contracts of service.

The problems becomes serious when companies voluntarily wind up their operations, abruptly close down their business without prior notice, are put under receivership or relocate their operations to other countries.

The issue reaches crisis levels when these companies renege on their legal and contractual obligations to their workers by defaulting on statutory contributions to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and to the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) as well as payment of retrenchment benefits pursuant to the Employment (Termination and Lay–Off Benefits) Regulations, 1980. In several cases, even terms and conditions stated in collective agreements entered into between unions and employers have been dishonoured.

The MTUC is aware that a number of irresponsible companies waste their funds by undertaking expensive office renovations and purchasing luxury cars for their managers and executives. They then retrench their workers, citing lower profits or accumulated losses as their reasons.

More than 85 percent of the affected workers are not members of unions and are ignorant of their rights under the labour laws. Since they are not unionised and do not know how to go about obtaining assistance, they have little opportunity to mobilise any effective collective action in order to protect their interests.

Enforcement procedures are often long, slow and inadequate. They yield little success if the companies have already relocated their operations to other countries, if their assets have been foreclosed by creditors, or if their directors have been declared bankrupt.

8. (a) Section 292 (1) of the Companies Act considers workers as "unsecured creditors". It gives priority to only workers’ unpaid wages as unsecured debts when companies are wound up.

The Act does not expressly include their unpaid overtime wages, bonuses, insurance premiums, health care and retrenchment benefits [although the words "workers’ compensation under any written law" have been used in section 292 (1) (c)] in the event companies are wound up or placed under receivership.

9. (a) The often unpredictable boom-recession cycle in economic affairs has made it extremely difficult for workers to plan their careers and the future of their families with any measure of certainty, as they do not know when they will be deprived of their livelihoods.

In many cases, both husband and wife who are breadwinners have been retrenched without prior notice at the same time. The impact of such uncertainty is more severe on workers who are in their latte forties or early fifties and have large families to support. They will find it difficult to secure alternative jobs during their advanced years upon being retrenched.

Given the greater emphasis placed on private sector participation in national economic activities, coupled with the downsizing of public sector involvement in infrastructure development and services, workers’ fear for the unknown will not only become worse but will also severely affect their productivity.

There is therefore a pressing need to set up a social safety net in order to cushion the impact of retrenchments on workers and their families. The MTUC proposes that a National Retrenchment Scheme be set up for this purpose.


The Scheme should be constituted under the aegis of the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO), which has 5 million members at the moment.

Employers and workers should each required to make a statutory contribution of RM1.00 per worker per month towards the Scheme. The contributions will grow at the rate of RM2.00 per worker per month, and contributions from the existing 5 million SOCSO members will be able to yield RM10 million a month, or RM120 million a year to the Scheme. This is another form of compulsory savings for workers, and will also help to increase national monetary reserves.

The funds so collected should be invested in Government guaranteed securities and in such other appropriate private placements that are reliable, adequately capitalised, yield high and competitive dividends and are well managed.

4. (a) The funds as well as the proceeds from these investments could be utilised to pay the retrenchment benefits of workers who have been deprived of their separation benefits. The quantum of such benefits should be pursuant to the Enployment (Termination and Lay-off Benefits) Regulations, 1980, or according to the terms and conditions of their respective collective agreements, if the same are higher.

The Fund could also consider paying retrenched workers a fixed monthly allowance to support their families until they get a new job.

5. (a) Retrenched workers should be required to register themselves with the Employment Exchange. They shall, upon being duly registered, be eligible to apply for the fixed monthly allowance suggested under 4(b) if they have been continuously unemployed for more than three months upon being retrenched.

Workers who refuse to accept alternative employment offers, or who reject job opportunities made available to them by the Employment Exchange, will be disqualified from receiving any assistance from the Scheme.

6. The Scheme should be managed by SOCSO.


The MTUC is hopeful that this Proposal to establish a National Retrenchment Scheme would be considered favourably by the Government. On our part, we are willing to extend every cooperation and assistance to the concerned parties in order to make this Scheme a reality.

Date : 26 May 1998
But, alas the government did not take up the idea - and today, if the employers fail to pay the workers retrenchment and termination benefits, the workers are at a loss.

If SOCSO was managing this fund - then, if the employers do not (or cannot) pay the workers the said benefits, the workers could get some monies from the National Retrenchment Fund.

In Thailand, when you lose your job (i.e. when retrenched, terminated..and even on resignation), you are entitled to get some payment from SOCSO. For those retrencehd, this is 50% of your wages (but not more than 15,000 Baht per month) for 180 days, and for those who resign, it is a lower percentage. See my earlier posts:-50% salary for 8 months for the unemployed...M'sia should follow Thailand in this, and If you lose your job, SOCSO pays you for 6 months maximum in Thailand

SOCSO is the one who will be making the pay-outs of the benefits - and as such, workers have a 'safety net' to rely on...It will be GUARANTEED 100%...

The proposal of MTUC was made in 1998, but alas the UMNO-led BN government did not do anything, and now in 2009 we are facing another financial crisis, and tens of thousands of workers may end up losing their jobs.

Whilst, the Malaysian Government did nothing to secure worker's welfare - they went ahead and set a Human Resource Development Fund, and collects from employers a certain sum per worker. This money is available to employers for 'worker training programs' ... In fact, with regard the levy paid by the employer to this fund, the government of Malaysia, who seems to be encouraging 'retrenchment' of workers, gave employers good news that they can take back the extra levy paid easier in the event of retrenchment. See my earlier post entitled HR Minister must be concerned more for the poor worker...

Today, we are told that there is still no such scheme that would really assist workers who have lost jobs...

And, it seems that this serious issue of workers welfare is not a priority of the government . MTUC tells us that the National Labour Advisory Council had not met in 2 years.

They should be meeting once a month at least, should they not?

The setting up of the National Retrenchment Fund, proposed by the Malaysian Trades Union Congrees (MTUC) more than 10 years ago to provide financial assistance to sacked workers, is as good as off.

It is learnt that officials from the Human Resources Ministry, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and MTUC have not been able to agree to the terms in setting up the fund.

Sources said the three parties have not met for the past two years although close to 20,000 Malaysians have lost their jobs in recent weeks alone.

“Ministry officials cannot explain why companies that

have been managed well and following related laws need to contribute to the fund,” the source said.

MEF executive director Sham-suddin Bardan admitted that employers were still against the fund although there were reports to the contrary by officials.

The MTUC had proposed each worker contribute RM1 monthly to the fund while employers pay the same amount for every worker but the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Government would consider the proposal if the amount to be contributed by both parties was halved.

It was then agreed that the Social Security Organisation (Socso) would be responsible to discuss the matter with workers’ and employers’ representatives.

Attempts to get comments from Socso chief executive officer K. Selvarajah drew a blank.

MTUC secretary-general G. Rajasekaren, who admitted that the National Labour Advisory Council had not met for two years, said it was strange that authorities were not getting things moving.

The MTUC, he said, would pursue the matter with the Government.- Star, 23/2/2009,Still no fund to help those sacked

The Malaysian Government looks into the welfare of those who lose their jobs. They allegedly have training programs, during which the worker attending receives RM500-00 from the government, and sometimes the potential employer also pays something to the worker. (Well, all this was mentioned in the TV program called 'HELLO Malaysia', which saw the host talking to a former HR Minister and the current MTUC President).

But, the problem is that there is nothing in black and white ....Nothing that is in the law, regulations, etc... that makes this entitlement of RM500 per month whilst undergoing re-training, is there

This is the biggest problem in Malaysia - policy...cabinet decisions...are all most of the time not written down (or gazzetted).

There was a policy that all plantation workers will have to be provided with houses -- and this too was a policy that we only got from newpaper reports. The moment, one tries to claim a right based on that policy - the good old Minister and government officials just turn around and say that there was no such policy - or that the newspapers got it wrong.

We need to have certainty with regard to rights and entitlements of workers, Malaysians, etc...and we need it now.

I also hope that the National Retrenchment Scheme and Fund be immediately put in place within the next 3 months...

In the interim, maybe the government should provide a reasonable sum to be put into some interim 'National Retrenchment Fund' to assist workers who are being retrenched. For those who have yet been paid their Retrenchment and Termination Benefits, the workers shall be paid out with money from this fund - and the government shall then take on the task of pursuing the employer and/or directors to recover the monies paid out.

By-elections...and struggle for political power seem to be occupying too much time of governments, and this must stop...and the welfare of workers and the people in Malaysia should now be the priority.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The power to suspend MP/ADUNs must be removed, and Judicial Review must be made available

It is the people, the constituents, that vote in a person as their Member of Parliament and/or State Assembly Person.

The primary forum in which these representatives are supposed to be listening, engaging in debates, deciding, and voting on behalf of their constituents is the Dewan Rakyat (Parliment) or the State Legislative Assembly.

It is absurd when some other, i.e. other than the constituents themselves, can prevent these elected representatives from attending and participating in the Dewan Rakyat and/or the State Legislative Assembly...

We may have not really considered this issue until very recently the Perak State Legislative Assembly Speaker announced that 7 State Assemblypersons were suspended for 18 months for one, and 12 months for the others... (And then we recall, that similarly, Karpal Singh was also suspended for 6 months

The Perak state assembly's special privileges committee today suspended the state's newly-minted menteri besar Zambry Abdul Kadir and all his six executive councillors.


The decision was announced by Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar after the committee's inquiry proceeding in Ipoh this afternoon.

bn perak state exco 180209Zambry was slapped with an 18-month suspension while the excos have been suspended for 12 months.

The latest development plunges Perak into another crisis following BN's seizure of the state government two weeks ago.

Sivakumar, a DAP state assemblyperson, is still the Perak speaker as the BN government has yet to convene the state assembly to replace him with one of their own.

In a statement to the media, Sivakumar said the decision was reached because the seven had failed to provide an explanation for their contempt of the state assembly by declaring themselves menteri besar and excos.

"I have decided to bar Datuk Zambry with immediate effect from attending any assembly session for the next 18 months and the six exco members have also been barred for 12 months," read the four-paragraph statement.

The inquiry was convened after Wong Kah Woh (DAP-Canning) had last Thursday made an official complaint. - Malaysiakini, 18/2/2009, Crisis looms: Perak MB, 6 excos suspended

Recalling some of the previous suspensions

In 2004, This was the decision by the brute nine-tenth parliamentary majority vote suspending DAP MP for Bukit Glugor, Karpal Singh, as a Member of Parliament, depriving him of all parliamentary allowances and perks, for 10 days if he apologises or for six months if he does not apologise within three days expiring today.

What was Karpal’s offence? Was the sentence commensurate with the alleged offence? Although there is considerable media publicity in the past few days about the parliamentary debate and Karpal’s suspension, I do not think more than a handful out of 25 million Malaysians could really answer these two questions – itself an indictment of the multiple failures of accountability, transparency and good governance in Malaysia. - Lim Kit Siang's Blog,
Civil society should stand up to remove the first “good governance” black-eye under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s watch as Prime Minister and demand that Parliament review and rescind Bukit Glugor MP Karpal Singh’s six-month suspension as it is the very antithesis of accountability, transparency, justice and good governance

No one would be surprised if the unjust, unparliamentary, biased and vindictive motion suspending Karpal had taken place under Mahathir’s Parliament – as Karpal himself had been arbitrarily expelled from Parliament in 1984 and three other DAP MPs had been suspended from Parliament during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership and Zahir’s speakership, viz. DAP MP for Sandakan Fung Ket Wing in 1984, DAP MP for Batu Gajah Fong Poh Kuan who was suspended for six months without allowance in December 2001 and my seven-month suspension in 1992.

But for such tyranny of the majority and travesty of justice to take place under Abdullah’s Parliament is a sober reminder that the country is not completely free from the mindset, culture and clutches of high-handed, arbitrary and undemocratic governance of the Mahathir era. The arbitrary and unjust suspension of Karpal has in fact gone a long way to undo the good of the Federal Court judgment the previous Thursday acquitting Anwar Ibrahim, allowing him to walk out from the Palace of Justice as a free man – raising hopes that real change and reform is possible under the new Prime Minister. - Lim Kit Siang's
to the Suhakam Malaysian Human Rights Day 2004 Conference themed “Human Rights and Good Governance” on “Accountability and Transparency for Good Governance in the Private and Public Sectors”
And, interestingly this decision is solid - and may not even be challenged in court. I believe only the State Legislative Assembly (less the suspended ones) can overturn this decision - and let the 7 back into the State Legislative Assembly.
In a related development, the Bar Council said one legal view is that the speaker and the special privileges committee have the powers that they have exercised, another is that the matter referred to the committee must be placed before the state assembly before it can take effect.

ambiga sreenevasanHowever, its chairperson Ambiga Sreenevsan said regardless of whether the speaker or the special privileges committee had followed the correct procedure, their conduct and proceedings may nevertheless be outside the jurisdiction of the courts. - Malaysiakini, 19/2/2009, PM: They've disrespected sultan's decision
Suspendion without all parliamentary allowances, perks ...(salary?) is draconian because there are full-time dedicated MPs and/or ADUNs who do not have any business in the side for them to get extra income. These MPs/ADUNs use their salary, allowances, perks... to pay for the rental of their service centres, pay the salary of their staff, etc.. and so never should allowances, perks, salary ever be denied any MP and/or ADUN.

For me, it is time that we make the necessary changes in law and/or Parliamentary (State Legislative Assembly) Standing Orders, Procedures, etc that will prevent any more in the future the ability to suspend any ADUN/MP from the Dewan Rakyat and/or State Legislative Assembly.

If punishment need to meted out, then maybe it could be in the form of a reprimand. Maybe, at worse, it would be to ask the ADUN/MP to leave the hall for that day only. Suspension should never go beyond the next sunrise...

We really do not want the majority in the House to be able to 'bully' the minority ADUN/MPs.

We must also introduce Judicial Review to all decisions made by such Committee and/or Speaker...The courts should be given the power to review such decisions...

Now, after what happened in Perak, I believe that the BN will also be open to this suggestion of mine.

I propose that the Pakatan Rakyat States should start the ball rolling now - and do away completely with the right to 'suspend MP/ADUNs'....

National Pride out of the window as UMNO runs to London to find lawyer

It is shameful when UMNO has to run over to the land of our colonial masters to find a lawyer - a Queen's Counsel to defend itself in the Malaysian courts.

Umno is seeking the opinion of a Queen’s Counsel (QC) on the constitutional issues which have bedeviled Barisan Nasional’s takeover of the Perak state government from Pakatan Rakyat.

A senior constitutional lawyer left Kuala Lumpur yesterday for London to engage the services of a QC on behalf of Umno to advise the party on a host of questions that is roiling debate in the country...

...Sources say the QC that will be engaged by Umno is likely to be someone who has already appeared in the courts here in a span going back almost three decades.

It is believed that a QC who has appeared in cases in Singapore is also on the shortlist.

Three high-profile QCs who have previously appeared in Malaysia and Singapore to argue on complex issues of law have been Michael Beloff, Anthony Lester and Geoffrey Robertson.

Beloff appeared in the Federal Court for proponents of the Merdeka University in 1982. He was unsuccessful in the Merdeka University appeal.

Lester was engaged by the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) as counsel when the late Mustapha Datu Harun sued Sabah governor Adnan Roberts and Chief Minister Pairin Kitingan for restoration as chief minister in 1985. Mustapha lost the case.
- Malaysiakini, 22/2/2009, Perak tussle: Umno seeks QC's opinion

This indicates how UMNO-led BN does not even have confidence in our own Malaysian lawyers - and there are about 13,000 of them in Semenanjung Malaysia.

Be proud of Malaysia - have confidence in Malaysian lawyers - do not everytime rush over to the United Kingdom to get lawyers. Malaysia boleh...

This is not the first time that the UMNO-led BN government of Malaysia has embarassed all Malaysians by running out there and engaging foreign lawyers. One situation was when we were fighting with Singapore for that little island. If the government of the day do not have confidence in our local lawyers, professionals, products - then how can you even hope that other Malaysians will...or even any other person or nation have.

This is about Perak - about Perak's Constitution...about our law, and it is a matter that will be argued in our own Malaysian courts - so what really is that shameful need to engage foreign lawyers. Are these foreign lawyers more well-versed about OUR affairs in Malaysia?

Use our own local Malaysian lawyers - do not still behave as though we are still being colonized by Britain (United Kingdom)...the West.

The attitude and the act of running to Britain is a clear indication that UMNO may still, after 50 over years, still be a puppet of United Kingdom.

In paper, we have independence - but alas in our minds we are still being colonized by UK and the sad.

Even if there is a need to get lawyers from other countries - why not look at Singapore, Hong Kong, India or even Pakistan - all of whom were former British colonies, and have similar laws as those that we have in our country, and there are brilliant lawyers and legal minds there as well...

But alas, UMNO is still a victim of 'brainwashing' that makes them believe that UK has the best lawyers... and sadly, this 'belief' is not just confined to politicians but also many of our Malaysian lawyers and Judges.

Look at how the halls are filled up when it is some lawyer/legal expert from the UK is there to give some talk on the law, and compare that with the numbers who attend when some local, sometimes so much more better, Malaysian lawyer is appearing...

The propagation of the thinking...the belief that UK (the West) is better is also maintained by the media we are exposed the movies that we are exposed to..., and we see that our UMNO-led BN have been guilty of continuing and reinforcing this attitude that UK (and the West) is better...far more superior than us here in Malaysia...

Even, when it comes to sports - now English Premier League is given more emphasis that our own football (or other sporting events..) Look at the papers...look at the TV..and it is obvious that today that is the case. 20-30 years ago, the government build Malaysian pride, and we all were aware of our footballers,...athletes. Ask today, who are the Malaysian football stars...and many will not be able to answer. Our football stadiums, that are so very big, are empty whenever there are local games.

I ask that UMNO..and the Barisan Nasional liberate yourselves from continuing to be slaves to our colonial masters of old (and the West), and free yourself. MERDEKA...MERDEKA.

This independence..and liberation must manifest itself through national pride...and a belief in the abilility of Malaysians...

I also wonder about our Malaysian judges - whether they will be swayed not by arguement of law - but by the fact that one side is being represented by some Queen's Counsel from 'overseas'...

Shame on you UMNO ...have confidence in Malaysian lawyers...

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Malaysia, all persons are equal but not the 'VIP', like MB Selangor

Our Federal Constitution guarantees that all persons are equal before the law...

Article 8, Federal Constitution - Equality.

(1) All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.

(3) There shall be no discrimination in favour of any person on the ground that he is a subject of the Ruler of any State....

But alas, there seem to be some inequality practiced when it comes to VIP, VVIPs, etc and this must stop.

Many of us are already concerned in the way the police and the then ACA have been dealing with cases implicating Mohd Najib Razak, our DPM...

And, now we find that our newly formed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) also treating 'VIP's differently

We wanted the MACC to be independent - and that is also the reason why we also wanted them to have the power to prosecute without having to go and get the consent of the AG...(or the DPM, or the PM...or some other)....but it was not to be.

If there is corruption - and you have sufficient evidence, then you must charge the suspect in court - and that is that. You do not have to go to the press and report to thye whole world the strength of evidence that you have. In any event, did you do it for all cases - or just the selected few, ...maybe those that involve opposition personalities.

I must ask that Ahmad Said Hamdan step down as the MACC chief because he just cannot get away from the old ways of doing this, and seems to be just too fearful of exercising his independence without fear or favour...

We need a new person to be made head of this New MACC - someone not influenced or contaminated by the old norms, the old ways of doing things...

MACC chief Ahmad Said Hamdan said the commission preferred the Attornet-General's chambers to handle the Selangor MB's case as "it involves a VIP".He said this when asked by reporters on the matter in Penang this morning as to why MACC did not proceed to prosecute Abdul Khalid, which is within its powers to do so. - Malaysiakini, 20/2/2009, Car 'n cows: S'gor MB could be charged

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said that there was strong evidence to show that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim misused his powers over the maintenance of his personal car and the distribution of 46 cows worth RM110,400 for slaughter during Aidil Adha celebrations in his parliamentary constituency of Bandar Tun Razak last December.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said the commission had completed its investigations and the matter would be referred to the Attorney-General (AG) for further action.

“We would suggest that legal action and so on be taken, as we have strong evidence for both the cases that abuse of power has taken place.

“Although we can make a decision to press legal charges, but the commission feels that it is better if the AG makes a decision.

“Since it involves a VIP, it is better that the case is referred to the AG, as there might be certain parties not satisfied with the investigation by the commission ,’’ he told reporters after the ground-breaking ceremony of the building of the state commission’s staff housing on Friday.

This follows a report lodged on Feb 6 by Selangor Umno Youth, alleging that Khalid had used state funds to pay for the maintenance of his personal car.

Its Shah Alam head Azhari Shaari, accompanied by the Kuala Selangor, Ulu Selangor and Kota Raja Youth chiefs, lodged the report at the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Shah Alam.

He said they were filing the report on behalf of the state Umno Youth and claimed that they had evidence that Khalid had misused his power.

On Wednesday, Khalid filed two defamation suits against Sungai Besar state assemblyman Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo over allegations related to his personal car, a Lexus, and the purchase of 46 cattle.

The suits were over “Lexus is my own, says Khalid”, a report in the News Straits Times on Jan 15, and “Lepaskan jawatan MB”, published in Utusan Malaysia on Jan 23.

“On my client’s part, there are no transgressions as he has the documents to back up his purchase of the Lexus and on the purchase of the cattle, which was made solely by PKNS and donor firms, without his involvement,” Khalid’s lawyer Sankara Nair had said then. - Star, 20/2/2009, MACC Chief: Strong evidence of misuse of power by S’gor MB (Updated)

I am also concerned about the fact that the MACC chief has spoken to the press about the status of the investigations, and the fact that he has a strong case, etc ... this is really not at all proper.

If there is sufficient evidence, then charge him in court, and let the trial begin...

After all, it is for the court to determine whether you have sufficient evidence or not to convict a person. The MACC chief may now say that he has strong evidence but then when it comes to Khalid's lawyers, they will say the opposite. It is the court that ultimately decides after the trial.

If he did have strong evidence against Najib (our current DPM), for the many allegations of corruption? Would he have come out and told the media that he did have sufficient evidence? I think not - and the reason is obvious...and it is very telling about the man that now heads the MACC.

So, his speaking to the press in the case of Pakatan Rakyat Selangor MB may also be seen by some as an indication of his political leanings, and a measure of his 'independence'.

We should never advocate trial by media - and this act of the MACC Chief speaking to the press about his opinions about the evidence collected in a corruption case involving the Selangor MB even before he is charged, or even before there is even any decision that he will be charged is very very wrong. he sending a "message" on behalf of some....i.e. if we want to, we can charge you and will most likely succeed in convicting you, so...

So what?

Maybe, if you leave PR and become pro-BN Independent, then maybe your case may disappear.. This is pure speculations, of course.

OR - maybe his going to the press and saying that he had 'strong evidence' was his way of denying the AG the option of not charging Khalid in court, Think about it. If the AG does not now charge Khalid, there will be many wondering as to the reasons behind that for after all the chief of MACC very confidently told everyone that he had 'strong evidence'

But, then again we will not know why he did what he did, will we?

Were Developers behind Elizabeth Wong's privacy invasion?

There have been a whole lot of theories/speculations out there about who was behind the circulation of the photos (possibly also a VDO) infringing the rights to privacy of Bukit Lanjan State Assemblyperson (State Assemblyman is a gender insensitive term), Elizabeth Wong...Why was it done?

Yesterday, a Star report suggested that "...It could be her no-nonsense approach to environmental and other issues that led to someone “framing” her by circulating her scandalous pictures...". It also reported: '...that Wong played a prominent role in ensuring that the state government issued a blanket ban on hillside development in the state following the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide on Dec 6...“If the culprit or culprits succeed in removing an ‘unfriendly’ exco member, this can be repeated again and again,”

It could be her no-nonsense approach to environmental and other issues that led to someone “framing” her by circulating her scandalous pictures, executive councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad said of his colleague Elizabeth Wong.

Iskandar, who is in charge of housing, building management and squatters, said Wong could have stepped on toes since she took office 11 months ago.

“She has been very firm when dealing with environmental issues and the culprit could have been anyone at the receiving end of her crusade,” he said.

He noted that Wong played a prominent role in ensuring that the state government issued a blanket ban on hillside development in the state following the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide on Dec 6.

Iskandar said Wong had also been uncompromising with polluters, whom she called bio-terrorists.

He said it was frightening that such a crime could befall other exco members.

“If the culprit or culprits succeed in removing an ‘unfriendly’ exco member, this can be repeated again and again,” he said. - Star, 19/2/2009, Iskandar: Wong may have been framed

So, when you get a clean and firm government official, ADUN, MP, Exco Member, Cabinet Member...then, it may be 'good business' for some to get rid of him/her as soon as possible using whatever means possible...that seems the theory....and, I do believe that this can and do happen.

Anyway, the report did not make any direct accusations against anyone - but somehow the Housing Developers (represented through their organisation, REHDA) seem to be feeling 'guilty', and I wonder why?

Maybe that they felt that the accusations were directed at them...After all, Housing Developers may/would have a lot to lose if there is a total hillside debelopment ban - or if there are more stringent conditions/requirements that they have to comply with, would they not?]

It reminded me of the Malay proverb (bidal) , i.e. siapa makan cili, dia terasa pedas... (He who eat cili, feels the heat...something like that).

Selangor state executive council member Iskandar Abdul Samad should retract his recent statement claiming that Elizabeth Wong may have been sabotaged by someone who was at the receiving end of her environmental crusade.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association patron Datuk Eddie Chen said Iskandar should make the retraction to “safeguard his reputation and good working relationship with developers.”

Iskandar’s statement on Wednesday had claimed the sabotage on Wong could be owing to her no-nonsense approach to environmental and other issues, leading to someone “framing” her by circulating her scandalous pictures.

Iskandar, among other things, said Wong might have stepped on someone’s toes as she played a prominent role in ensuring that the state government issued a blanket ban on hillside development in the state following the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide on Dec 6.

Chen said Iskandar’s statement implicating developers was simplistic and offensive.

“We will never use dirty tactics to get what we want. Rehda is not a political party. We seek to change government policies through technical and professional arguments and by lobbying.

“We may have disagreements with YB Elizabeth, but we are willing to wait until we can convince the Government of safe slope development. - Star Online, 20/2/2009, Retract statement, developers tell exco member

And, the reason as to why there should be a retraction - " ...should make the retraction to “safeguard his reputation and good working relationship with developers.”..." - does this not sound like a threat?

To safeguard his reputation - what does this mean? If not, are we also going to see some pictures and video about this ADUN as well? If not, are we going to see some other 'scandal'..?

safeguard ...good working relationship with developers - What is this? What does it mean? More political donations? More gifts? what does this really mean?

Peoples representative serve the people - their constituents, and are to act in their best interest without fear or favour.

I do hope this developer's association clarify this report - and certainly withdraw their 'threats' (And, in my opinion their words are threats...but you may have a different view..)

For peoples' representatives, we do NOT want them to have 'close/good relationship' with developers, big businesses, the rich, the employers, the powerful - they should be having the closest relationship with their constituents, the ordinary people ...the 'small' people.

It is sad that many politicians, after being elected, spend just too much time with the rich and the powerful, sometimes even side-lining the very people that they do represent. They have time to personally sit down with the rich...but is too busy for their ordinary constituents, who sometimes can only finally meet some assistant of theirs...

This was previously a phenomena with a lot of BN MP/ADUNs - but today some say that this is also becoming the case with regard to the Pakatan Rakyat reps as well...

Prefer fresh elections in Perak rather than some proclamation of Emergency

I have nothing to comment or add, but just share this Malaysiakini report that looks at what happened in the past in similar situations like what we have in Perak today...

In the past, UMNO-led coalition just cannot face the fact that they can lose - hence, they will even sometimes use declarations of Emergency just to stay in power...

It is this fear - that makes it so difficult to register new political parties.

It is this fear that makes it very difficult for opposition to UMNO political parties to expand their influences...restrictions on publications, restrictions on gatherings and functions, restriction....restrictions, etc..

The loss of 5 states was a bit too much to handle...and some other Prime Minister may have just resorted to some declaration of Emergency so that UMNO-led coalitions stay in power.

But, this Najib who hopes to be the next Prime Minister possibly after March, is not like Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and may resort to all kinds of tactics (clean or dirty) to wrest back power..and to also re-inforce the fear in Malaysian to ensure that they never again vote against UMNO-led BN...

Let's not forget, that there are some who do suggest that his father had a hand in bringing about 'May 13', with the object of forcing our 1st Prime Minister to quit so that he could take over as Prime Minister.

Najib, like his father, is impatient to get into the seat of power...and that is why we see Abdullah Ahmad Badawi being forced out earlier than should be as Presiden of UMNO...(But then Abdullah did the same to Najib's uncle, Dr Mahathir, did he not?)

Sarawak, Kelantan and Sabah have all faced a similar constitutional crisis affecting Perak today - in 1966, 1977 and 1985 respectively.


Sarawak 1966

HP Lee has written about the incident estensively in his 'Constitutional Conflicts in Contemporary Malaysia'.

On July 22, 1963, Stephen Kalong Ningkan was appointed as chief minister of Sarawak.

sarawak natives dayakThree years later, on June 16, 1966, Sarawak governor Abang Haji Openg called for Ningkan’s resignation with the support from majority members of the state legislature of Sarawak, also known as Council Negri. Openg and members of the council had lost confidence in Ningkan’s leadership.

Instead, Ningkan urged a reconvening of the state assembly to test the motion of no-confidence. In a move to dismiss Ningkan, the governor and state cabinet members appointed Tawi Sli as new chief minister on June 17, 1966.

Ningkan went on to institute legal proceedings at the Kuching High Court to declare his dismissal as void and to restrain Tawi Sli from acting as Sarawak chief minister.

During the trial, Openg stated he dismissed Ningkan upon receiving a letter of no-confidence signed by 21 members of the state assembly. In his judgment, chief justice Harley Ag ruled that the dismissal of Ningkan was void.

He concluded that based on the provisions of the Sarawak constitution, the lack of confidence can only be demonstrated by vote in the state assembly. Ningkan was reinstated.

Not giving up, Tawi Sli and Openg subsequently requested the reconvening of the state legislative assembly. A motion of no-confidence was moved. Openg had signed statutory declarations from 25 state legislative assembly members.

Ningkan retaliated by calling for a dissolution of the state assembly and for fresh state elections to take place. Openg refused as the position of a governor provided him with absolute discretion in matters of state assembly dissolution.

Under these circumstances, the Agong proclaimed a state of emergency and Parliament passed the Emergency (Federal Constitution and Constitution of Sarawak) Act 1966.

The Act resolved the constitutional crisis in Sarawak by empowering the governor to convene the state legislative assembly at his absolute discretion. The power to dismiss the chief minister, should he fail to resign due to a vote of no-confidence, was also bestowed upon the governor.

Kelantan 1977

pas and kelantanPAS joined the Alliance government in 1973 and was acknowledged to have a stronghold in the state of Kelantan. After the formation of Barisan Nasional in 1974, Umno’s promise of non-interference was not kept.

At the state level, the Umno-PAS rivalry intensified leading eventually to PAS’ decision to remove the incumbent Menteri Besar Mohamed Nasir for defying party instructions in 1977.

Mohd Nasir appeared more a recalcitrant than an Umno convert, but his defiance towards the PAS leadership gave Umno a golden opportunity to intervene. PAS called for his resignation, but Mohd Nasir refused and presented himself as the champion of an honest and clean government against corrupt and self-serving politicians.

A motion of no-confidence was tabled in the Kelantan state assembly and was supported by 20 PAS votes after 13 Umno and one MCA assembly members walked out in a show of protest.

A legal impasse ensued when Mohd Nasir called for the dissolution of the state assembly. His supporters took to the streets, leading to violence and looting.

At the federal level, Hussein Onn took over prime ministership following Tun Abdul Razak’s untimely death. This prompted the federal government to ask the Agong to declare a state of emergency and curfew in Kota Bharu in 1977.

HP Lee in his book notes that Hussein Onn invoked Article 150 of the Federal Constitution - relating to the proclamation of emergency - to deal with the problem.

An emergency bill for Kelantan, pending a new state election, was rushed through Parliament and passed with 118 votes in support and 18 against.

Of the 14 PAS members, 12 voted against while all six DAP members also opposed the motion. The bill is known as the Emergency Powers (Kelantan) Act 1977.

PAS members who held office in the BN government resigned but said they wanted to remain in BN. However, the BN supreme council decided to expel all members who had voted against the Kelantan Emergency Bill.

The state of emergency was later lifted in February 1978, allowing the state election to be held the following month, with Umno going on to form the state government after defeating PAS.

Sabah 1985

Berjaya under the leadership of then Chief Minister Harris Salleh lost Sabah in the 1985 state election to Joseph Pairin Kitingan's Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

PBS controlled 26 seats in the 48-seat state assembly. United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) led by Mustapha Harun won 16 seats while Berjaya only garnered six seats.

In an attempt to seize the state from PBS, Gordon P Means in 'Malaysian Politics: The Second Generation' explained: “Harris Salleh conceived of a scheme to deny his arch-rival and critic, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, of the fruits of victory. Under the Sabah constitution… the chief minister had the power to appoint six non-elected assemblymen.

“Berjaya, with its six appointed members would support Tun Mustapha for chief minister, who with Usno’s 16 elected members and the six appointed members would constitute a majority of 28 in the 48-member assembly.

"By this move, Berjaya would also have the power to force a new election at any favourable moment so as to recoup its losses.”

According to Ling Jiew Bu in 'The Night That Shook Sabah', "the Tun Mustapha writ stated that the incident was called 'palace coup'. Mustapha Harun along with his supporters entered the residence of the Sabah governor in the middle of the night, forcing the governor to appoint him chief minister on April 22, 1985 at 5.30am."

The appointment was revoked the same day as Pairin was appointed and sworn in as chief minister. Mustapha Harun claimed that the governor’s revocation of his appointment as chief minister on April 22 was ultra vires in court.

Justice Tan Chiaw Thong of the High Court dismissed Mustapha’s claim based on Article 6(3) of the Sabah state constitution.

No-confidence vote essential

How are all these crises relevant to the current Perak crisis?

They go to prove that a motion of no-confidence is essential in the removal of a chief minister or the current government. Failure to do so would open the option for a state of emergency. - Malaysiakini, 19/2/2009, Constitutional crises in the past