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BROKEN PROMISES: THE MALAYSIAN CONSTITUTION AND MULTICULTURALISM

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 23, 2009

An  enlightening  article by By Dr. Azmi Sharom.

“Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.”

“The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?”

Malaysia Today –

In 1835 Malays made up nearly 90% of Malaya’s population. In 1947 this number was closer to 50%. Therefore during a time when Malayan political consciousness was awakening (the 1946 British introduction of the Malayan Union which effectively placed the entire peninsular under direct British rule galvanised what can be described as the Malayan left and the forefathers of the current ruling elite), it could hardly be described as homogenous.

The 1957 Federal Constitution of Malaya reflected this change in the personality of the country.  It was and is a strange creature that combines liberal democratic ideals and what can only be described as racially based preferential treatment. It also has elements of religiosity (the establishment of the scripture based Islamic law as the personal law for Muslims for example) which appear to contradict Article 4 of the constitution which reads:

“This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”

Race and religion litter the document in a way that scream “different treatment for different people”; a situation, which a mere 12 years after the excesses of Nazi Germany and nine years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a United Nations document which Malaysia as a prospective new member would have to respect) would seem out of place with the growing zeitgeist of the time. However, considering the socio political situation at the time, with an indigenous population feeling overwhelmed both in numbers and in economic disparity, the nature of the constitution can be accepted as an understandable compromise.

Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.

The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?

This paper will examine the issue on two main grounds that the author believes lie at the crux of the problem facing plurality in Malaysia, race and religion.

Religion

Article 3 of the constitution reads:

“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”

Does this phrase mean that Malaya was to be an Islamic state? The answer is clearly in the negative for two main reasons. Firstly one has to look to the Reid Commission Report and it states that the Alliance (this were the three political parties that made up the Malayan government at the time, the United Malay National Organisation, the Malayan Indian Congress and the Malayan Chinese Association, UMNO, MIC and MCA respectively) upon examining the draft constitution had this to say:

“The observance of this principle…shall not imply that the State is not a secular state” [Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission page 73].

It is very clear therefore that Malaya was not to be an Islamic state. This is not an assertion made by the Reid Commission, it is an assertion made by the very people who were to become the government of the newly independent nation. This statement combined with Article 4 which places all laws in the country under the overarching principles of the Constitution means that to claim Malaya was meant to be theocratic in any way is disingenuous.

The contention that Malaya is a secular country is further strengthened by the decision of the Supreme Court (the highest court in the land – now known as the Federal Court) in the case of Che Omar Che Soh [1988] where it was held that secular law governed the nation and Islamic law was confined only to the personal law of Muslims. Article 3 was taken to mean that as far as official ceremonial matters are concerned Islamic form and rituals are to be used.

With regard to religious freedom Article 11 is explicit: “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to clause 4 to propagate it”. Clause 4 allows the state governments (and the federal government in the case of the federal territories) to control the propagation of religion to Muslims. This is not limited to non Muslim propagation to Muslims; it includes Muslim to Muslim propagation as well.

Harding suggests that “…the restriction of proselytism has more to do with the preservation of public order than with religious priority” [Law, Government and the Constitution in Malaysia page 201]. He argues that even states like Penang which does not have Islam as its official religion has laws regarding propagating religion to Muslims therefore there can’t be an assumption that Islam is deemed superior in some way. If we were to work on this premise, then it would appear that this limitation, as restrictive as it is, does not actually stop individuals of any faith from choosing their religion.

This can be seen in the Supreme Court decision of Minister of Home Affairs v Jamaluddin Othman [1989]. In this case a Muslim convert was detained under the Internal Security Act. It was held that such a detention has to be made for the purpose of national security. The conversion of this individual does not breach national security and furthermore his detention was in breach of his freedom to choose his religion as enshrined in Article 11. Thus, although the propagation of religion to Muslims is restricted, their freedom to choose their religion would appear to be not.

READ MORE HERE

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Solar eclipse celebrated by millions across Asia

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 23, 2009

A statue of Houyi, a legendary Chinese hero reputed to have shot down nine suns with his bow and arrow, is silhouetted against a partial solar eclipse in Changzhi, Shanxi province, yesterday as the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century passed across Asia. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

A statue of Houyi, a legendary Chinese hero reputed to have shot down nine suns with his bow and arrow, is silhouetted against a partial solar eclipse in Changzhi, Shanxi province, yesterday as the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century passed across Asia. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi

THIS CENTURY’S longest solar eclipse plunged large regions of Asia into darkness at dawn yesterday, and millions watched the breathtaking spectacle, which will not recur for 123 years.

Lasting six minutes and 39 seconds in some Asian countries, it was visible for over four minutes over India before moving on to Nepal, Burma, Bangladesh, Bhutan and crowded Chinese cites along the Yangtze River, after which it headed out to the Pacific.

“I don’t want to wait hundreds of years to see this again,” said an animated Song Chun Yun, sporting special protective glasses and a new white dress for the occasion in coastal Shanghai, where clouds initially shrouded the eclipse.

Across superstitious India, however, where eclipses are linked with Hindu fables, one of which associate the phenomenon with the demon-dragon swallowing the sun, tens of millions shuttered themselves indoors and abstained from sleeping, eating and drinking – all such activity being considered inauspicious during the eclipse period.

Many Hindus believe the sun’s rays during an eclipse adversely affect newborns, and expectant mothers asked doctors to either advance or postpone births to avoid complications and wretched subsequent karma for their children.

Tens of thousands of Hindus also immersed themselves in the holy Ganges river at Varanasi in northern India, believing it would cleanse their sins and help their souls attain salvation by releasing them from the endless cycle of life, death and rebirth.

“We have come here because our elders told us this is the best time to improve our afterlife,” said Bhailal Sharma, a villager who travelled to Varanasi from central India.

Throughout the day, Indian television channels relaying the eclipse featured a host of astrologers informing viewers of how it would impinge on their respective birth signs.

A 10-member team of astrophysicists filmed the eclipse from a specially equipped Indian Air Force transport aircraft, while a commercial airline operated a charter flight with seats at 80,000 rupees (€1,159).

In neighbouring Hindu-majority Nepal, the government declared a public holiday, and thousands took the opportunity to head off to bathe in rivers and ponds.

“Taking a dip in holy rivers before and after the eclipse saves and protects us from disasters and calamities,” said Sundar Shrestha (86) – who had come to bathe in the holy Bagmati river with six children and grandchildren – with heartfelt conviction.

Eclipse-viewers in central China were luckier than those in the coastal cities near Shanghai, where overcast skies and rain in some places blocked the view of the sun entirely.

Crowds gathered along the high dykes of the industrial city of Wuhan exultantly waving the sun goodbye as the moon moved directly between it and the Earth, covering it completely.

In ancient Chinese culture, an eclipse was an omen linked to natural disasters or deaths in the imperial family.

– IRISH TIMES-

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Anwar takes Teoh’s case to the Malay heartland

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER


Anwar addressing the crowd in Sungai Besar last night. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

By Adib Zalkapli

SABAK BERNAM, July 22 — In an attempt to stop certain quarters from turning the death of Teoh Beng Hock into a racial issue, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim likened it to his black eye incident.

The former deputy prime minister was arrested soon after he was sacked in 1998 and was assaulted while in police custody by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, resulting in a black eye.

“I was beaten up to a pulp, but thank God I was rescued, but some people died in custody,” said Anwar to some 3,000 people at a public rally in Sungai Besar, near here.

The rally, held near the Selangor-Perak border, appeared to be an attempt by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to mobilise the Malays to support the coalition in pressuring the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Teoh’s death.

Anwar told the largely Malay crowd that it was hard for him to accept the outcome of police investigations.

“Our ministers said do not politicise the issue, let the investigations be completed, but who is going to investigate? Musa Hassan?” said Anwar.

“Last time they said, ‘Anwar was safe and sound’,” he added, referring to Rahim’s remark soon after his arrest 11 years ago.

Pakatan has been accused of undermining Malay institutions by Umno-controlled newspapers because of their criticism of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over Teoh’s death.


Four Things Najib can do on Teoh’s 7th Day

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

Four Things Najib can do on Teoh’s 7th Day

by Wong Chin Huat

Teoh Beng Hock does not need flowers from PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak, note attached in Chinese: “Heaven envies talent”.  Don’t blame Heaven for his death. Some earthly beings have caused his death after a torturous 11-hour interrogation.

Teoh’s death is anything but an “act of god”. It is neither natural nor purely accidental. He died after a lengthy interrogation without his counsel present. This is an established fact now, which needs no any commission or panel to verify.

It is unlikely that the MACC officers did not find out during the marathon interrogation that Teoh was to tie the knot with his fiancée the very next day. Yet, they kept drilling the bridegroom-to-be from 5 pm to 3.45 am.

MACC chief Ahmad Said had the guts to disown responsibility for Teoh’s untimely death even before the body was buried. Whatever you say about it, however you spin it, no official denial, no fanning of ethnic sentiments, and no white-wash can wipe off the anger and grief most Malaysians feel for his family, his fiancée and their first child she now carries.

Read More  :

http://dinmerican.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/wong-chin-huat-on-teohs-death/

Century’s longest solar eclipse – First pics

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

The century’s longest total solar eclipse began with thousands of skygazers thronging the major sites to catch a glimpse of the rare celestial spectacle.

The Sun rose eclipsed on Wednesday morning at 5:28 am at a local sunrise point in the Arabian Sea close to the western coast of India near Surat in Gujarat.

Time of the eclipse across the country:

  • Delhi: Eclipse began at 6.24 am
  • Bhopal: Eclipse began before Sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:11 am
  • Patna: Eclipse began at 05:29:57 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:37 am
  • Varanasi: Eclipse began at 05:30:03 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:10 am
  • Gaya: Eclipse began at 05:29:34 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:24:26 am
  • Surat: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:21:16 am
  • Ujjain: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:51 am
  • Vadodara: Eclipse began before sunrise; total solar eclipse began at 06:22:41 am
  • Siliguri: Eclipse began at 05:30:26 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:26:33 am
  • Darjeeling: Eclipse began at 05:30:35 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:27:01 am
  • Sikkim: Eclipse began at 05:30:40 am; total solar eclipse began at 06:27:15 am

Amazing pictures of the eclipse from NDTV.


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SOLAR ECLIPSE TODAY 22 JULY 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

THE MIGHT OF THE PEN


Image:Solar eclipse animate (2009-Jul-22).gif22/07/2009: The solar eclipse that will take place today Wednesday, July 22, 2009 will be a total eclipse of the Sun.

It will be the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting at most 6 minutes, 39 seconds. It has sparked tourist interest in eastern China and India.

The eclipse is part of series 136 in the Saros cycle, like the record setting Solar eclipse of July 11, 1991. The exceptional duration is a result of the moon being near perigee, with the diameter of the moon 8% larger than the sun (magnitude 1.080).

This is second in the series of three eclipses in a month. There was a lunar eclipse on July 7 and now a solar eclipse on July 22 and then a lunar eclipse on August 6.

TO READ MORE GO TO :

http://sjsandteam.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/solar-eclipse-today-22-july-2009/

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MACC death tragedy – My untrained CSI techniques

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

rights2write

My CSI findings I (drrafick)

1. The following writing is done based on assessment of various images and writings on the mainstream media (MSM) as well as the online media. I am trying to understand the tragedy that took place at Plaza Masalam. It would be great if I have access to MACC office and location where the body was found but without such access, readers can expect some gross margin of error in my writing. Do let me know what the errors are so that we can come to a clear conclusion on what transpired.

2. It was reported that Teoh Beng Hock (TBH) was supposedly to register his marriage on the 16th July 2009 at the registrar of marriage. He was already married (via traditional marriage ceremony) and his wife is pregnant. Is there a problem at home that is so gravely torturing that would force TBH to take his own life? My reading so far showed that there is no grave problem at the home front.

CONTINUE READING :

http://rights2write.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/macc-death-tragedy-–-my-untrained-csi-techniques/

My CSI findings II (drrafick)

1. After the release of the first part of my investigative findings on TBH death which is based on the information in public the domain, it appears that what I have been postulating so far seems to fall into place. With the trickling information from Selangor Police Chief and other readers, I believe we (me and my blog readers) would probably solve the first part of the mystery ahead of the police revelation.

2. I believe we are the first to postulate that TBH actually fell from height (possibly the MACC office) and first to highlight the relevancy of the torn pants on the motionless body and the possibility that the pants was caught in the window latch that leads it to a big tear.

CONTINUE READING :

http://rights2write.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/my-csi-findings-ii/

My CSI Findings Part III (drrafick)

1. After the first two write ups and further reading and observation of the various statements by several individuals in the media, I believe the police findings may not vary very much with what I have wrote. The IGP press statement after meeting Najib at KLIA indicated that the investigation is almost complete and they are expected to submit their report to the AG Chambers very soon.

2. The conclusion of the last 2 days of internet research and photographic evaluation has led us to the following conclusion.

CONTINUE READING :

http://rights2write.wordpress.com/2009/07/21/my-csi-findings-part-iii/

Mumbai reacts to Kasab’s confession

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

It was an emotional moment for ordinary citizens and the families of the Mumbai martyrs when Ajmal Kasab confessed to his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

Vijay Salaskar, Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte – three officers, all seated in the same car, drove down to confront the terrorists and were killed in a shower of bullets. The tragedy defines the losses of 26/11.

Kasab also shot at Abdul Qureshi at CST, and a bullet is still lodged in his shoulder.

”Kasab should be hanged. He did not differentiate between Hindus or Muslim, woman or children, just kept firing. He is not a Muslim,” said Abdul.

Karuna Waghela’s husband had offered Kasab water, and in return, Kasab killed him. She thinks the confession comes too late.

“Kasab’s confession is fine. But all this has come too late. My young children still ask about their father. I have nothing to say to them,” said Karuna.

During the trial that has completed 65 hearings, key witnesses have corroborated Kasab’s crimes – the doctors who treated him at Nair Hospital, the railway commentator who dodged his gunfire, and kept warning people to safety, the 10-year-old witness, who took Kasab’s bullet, and is on crutches, the photojournalists who captured his killing spree, and the constable who took him on with a gun that refused to work.

The terror attack in Mumbai was something all residents watched in shock and pain. And today as Ajmal Kasab has finally confessed his crime, this is what people have to say:

“The family members have already lost their loved ones. So what kind of justice is this?,” said a Mumbai resident.

“Still there are camps running in Kashmir and there are still blasts. So it will happen again,” said another.

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India gears up for longest eclipse of the century

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

In just a little while from now, the longest solar eclipse expected to occur in the 21st century will be visible in a stretch of Asia, beginning in India and crossing through Nepal, Bangladesh, China and part of the Pacific Ocean.

It is a rare celestial event. The solar eclipse that will take place will be a total eclipse of the Sun.

The eclipse will last six minutes and 39 seconds in some areas. The enthusiasts from around the world have descended on the region to view the event by land, sea and air.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth so that the Sun is fully or partially covered. This can only happen during a new moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction as seen from the Earth.

While large parts of central and eastern India will see a total eclipse, other parts of the country will experience a partial eclipse. The big worry, however, is that the monsoon clouds could play spoilsport.

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THERE IS MANY A TRUTH IN THE PARODY

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 22, 2009

MALAYSIA TODAY


Image

So the heat was on. Friday was the dateline. They wanted Tan Sri Khalid and his team arrested that same day. And they would have to use force if necessary to get Teoh to say what the MACC wanted him to say to meet this dateline.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Some of you may think that the MACC Downfall Parody video is in bad taste. I mean, how can we make fun of Teoh Beng Hock’s death when we should instead be mourning him? Yes, it was a hard decision to make as to whether to publish that video or not. But we decided to do it anyway not with intent to make fun of Teoh’s death but to reveal the real circumstances behind his death. And the video best describes the events behind what really happened.

Many months ago, soon after Perak fell, Malaysia Today had revealed the plan to bring down the Pakatan Rakyat state governments of Selangor, Penang and Kedah. Unfortunately, instead of taking corrective measures by strengthening their defences against the onslaught, Pakatan Rakyat became embroiled in inter-party and intra-party bickering. And most of the bickering was about petty and personal issues involving personalities and egos.

Perak was supposed to be the beginning. Selangor, Penang and Kedah were supposed to follow suit. In time, all the states under Pakatan Rakyat, save Kelantan, would be back in the hands of Barisan Nasional.

The Selangor plan was simple. The Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, and a few of the Selangor State EXCO Members would be arrested for corruption. They would be held a day or so in the lockup and then dragged to court to be charged. The trial would be speedy so that their resignations or disqualifications would come fast. And that would be the end of the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government.

The modus operandi would be the same as what they did to Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. One need not actually receive money or benefit financially for it to be regarded as corruption. Even if your office is used in what could be perceived as an abuse of power or you personally instruct someone to ‘do something’ — even if it does not involve money or financial gain — that too would be considered corruption and you can be sent to jail.

So the MACC was instructed to build a case against various people in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government, from the Menteri Besar down to his team of EXCO Members. And to implicate these people in corruption the junior officers would be hauled in and forced to make statements that their bosses instructed them to ‘do certain things’. This would be the ‘evidence’ they use to arrest and charge the Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

We must remember, Anwar Ibrahim was arrested, charged, put on trial, pronounced guilty, and sent to jail for six years in exactly the same manner. All they needed to do was to get the Special Branch to ‘reveal’ that Anwar had instructed them to ‘interfere’ in a police investigation. And that was strong enough evidence to send Anwar to jail.

This whole thing came out in Anwar’s trial back in 1998 although many did not understand the implications at that time. The Special Branch officers testified that Anwar had summoned them to his office. And in Anwar’s office they engaged in a conversation. And the conversation involved Anwar asking the Special Branch to help force the witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, to retract his allegation of sodomy.

Azmin Ali, Anwar’s political secretary at that time, testified that Anwar did not summon the Special Branch officers to his office. They had in fact come to Anwar’s office with a request to meet Anwar. Azmin told them that Anwar is busy and would not be able to meet them. But they told Azmin it is important that they meet Anwar and insisted that they be allowed to meet him.

And when they met Anwar they tried to persuade him to give them permission to arrest Azizan so that they could interrogate him and find out who are the ‘forces’ behind the allegation of sodomy. But Anwar was reluctant to allow them to do that and told them he would have to think about it first.

Anwar then went to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to seek his advice. Mahathir advised Anwar to just ignore the allegation. Mahathir said if he acted on every allegation made against him he would have no time to do any other work.

The Special Branch officers came to meet Anwar again and Anwar told them what Mahathir had said. The Special Branch officers, however, insisted that Anwar allow them to arrest Azizan. This matter involves national security, they said. It is not about Anwar. It is about ‘certain forces’ plotting the downfall of the Deputy Prime Minister and it is important that the police find out who they are for the sake of the nation’s security.

Finally Anwar had no choice but to say yes.

The issue is simple. Did Anwar summon the Special Branch officers to his office or was it they who came to see Anwar? And was it Anwar who wanted them to arrest Azizan or was it the Special Branch who sought permission to arrest Azizan?

Anwar and Azmin said it was the Special Branch officers who came to Anwar’s office and it was they who insisted that they meet Anwar. Anwar did not summon them to his office. And Anwar did not agree for them to arrest Azizan. It was the Special Branch that insisted Anwar allow them to arrest Azizan. But before they could do that Anwar would first have to make a police report.

The court accepted the Special Branch’s version of the story rather than Anwar’s and Azmin’s although during the trial the Special Branch officers testified that they were prepared to lie while on the stand if ordered to do so. Nevertheless, Anwar was found guilty and was sent to jail.

So it is not difficult to send someone to jail for corruption. All you need to do is to get someone to testify that someone instructed him or her to ‘do something’. And if that ‘something’ is considered an abuse of power then you go to jail.

The MACC wanted Teoh to say that he too was ordered to ‘do something’ by those in the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government. If he says that then the MACC would have a case against the Pakatan Rakyat leaders. And they wanted the whole thing done fast. It must be settled by Friday because that was the day they wanted to arrest Tan Sri Khalid and a few of his EXCO Members.

So the heat was on. Friday was the dateline. They wanted Tan Sri Khalid and his team arrested that same day. And they would have to use force if necessary to get Teoh to say what the MACC wanted him to say to meet this dateline.

And in their eagerness to get Teoh to talk they killed him. So the crucial witness was now dead. And they could not arrest Tan Sri Khalid and his team of EXCO Members on Friday as planned after all.

So it is back to the drawing board. They will now need new ‘witnesses’. Other junior officers in the Pakatan Rakyat state government would need to be hauled in as ‘witnesses’ and would have to be made to testify under force that they had been instructed to ‘do certain things’ by ‘certain people’. Then these ‘certain people’ can be arrested and charged for corruption. And only then will the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government fall as planned.

Yes, watch the MACC Downfall Parody video again. There is many a truth in that parody. The video may appear funny. It may look like it is meant as a joke. But it is not at all humorous in what they did to Teoh in their effort to bring down the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor state government.

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