Friday, November 30, 2007

1st Malaysians (or Indian sherpas) at Everest?

K Sugu is another of my fave columnists at Malaysiakini, who should be persuaded to write more often. Today he posted a great piece on Indians and Hindraf, but I want to give you just an extract of what Malaysiakini has published.

The extract refers to the conquest of Mt Everest by M Magendran and N Mohandas, the first Malaysians to reach the top of Chomolungma (Goddess Mother of the World) as Everest is known in Tibetan.

Malaysiakini photo

Sugu wrote:

An excellent example of this attitude was when two Indians in the first Malaysian team to attempt the conquest of Mt Everest managed to reach the peak first.

The question in Parliament was: “Why didn't they wait for the others?” which beggared belief and exposed that particular YB's abysmal ignorance of conditions prevailing in the Himalayas. His question implied they should have waited for their betters.

The poor benighted man was reacting from a deeply entrenched habit, a product of his environment that continues to this day.

I wasn’t aware of this story, but it's an unspeakable unbelievable unforgiveable words testifying to ethnocentric arrogance and parochial narrow-mindedness!

And who was that Yang Berbodoh?

By contrast, this was what Magendran said: "For all Malaysians it shows racial unity, teamwork, that we could do anything if we work as a team and believe in what we are doing. People are very proud."

Well, you can hardly blame the poor Indian Malaysians for feeling right royally pissed for being considered as the Malaysian Harijans by people like that YB idiot.

200 years of residence in this great country (don't blame country, it's the system) with 50 years of Malaysian citizenship, and the Yang Berbodoh wanted the two Malaysian Sherpas to wait until the UMNO anointed Sahib could catch up and step up to the peak to plant the Jalur Gemilang.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Zorro impersonator circulating Tamil-bashing post

I was utterly shocked when at Malaysiakini I saw a post of my blogger brother mahaguru58 carrying a provocative title Blogger Zorro's sound advice to Hindu Racists in Malaysia.

Zainol (mahaguru58) posted a letter purportedly from blogger Zorro which, even if it was a satire, was extremely racist and in bloody poor taste. It’s Tamil bashing at its irredeemable worst.

The piece of unmitigated bigotry made irrelevant references to Tamils in India and Singapore as if those justify the appalling marginalisation our local boys had been subjected to for decades.

I have heard of Zorro but have never visited his blog, but from time to time I have come across him indirectly, therefore I have doubts he would post such a nasty piece of shit. So I did a quick check over at Zorro’s.

The purported post of bigotry allegedly from Zorro was not only a piece of nasty shit but a bloody crock of shit. Blogger mahaguru58 has been had.


There has been a such an impersonator masquerading as various bloggers and planting terrible racist and hurtful postings all over, including comments designed to hurt lady bloggers. That unknown person has no scruples, conscience, or sense of respect for the fairer gender, but certainly lots of hatred, vile, poison and a very very sick mind.

Brother Zainol, have you check the authenticity of the article you believe to be from Zorro?

Why change Constitution for one civil servant?

Malaysiakini tells us in its news article More rallies in Kuala Lumpur next month that despite the government’s increasing and unjustified brutal reactions to protest rallies, there will be three more such marches in Kuala Lumpur next month.

Kaytee reckon the most important one is the planned Dec 11 demonstration in front of Parliament to coincide with the second reading of the Constitutional Amendment Bill.

Tian Chua representing Bersih (instead of PKR) said he believed that the government was fast-tracking the amendments in order to keep Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman as EC chairperson.

This is because Abdul Rashid turns 66 on Dec 31 and should by right retire. But by proposing the constitutional amendments to raise the age limit for the Election Commission members, the government gets to keep dear Abdul Rashid as the ‘independent’ Election Commissioner to serve at least another one year.

An election won is good to the winner for five years which will then provide plenty of time to ‘train’ another dear ‘independent’ Election Commissioner.

Tian said: “In order to extend Abdul Rashid’s term for another year without constitutional amendments, the prime minister needs the King’s approval. We think the government is worried that the King would not approve.”

Then in just one simple query, Tian exposed the iniquity of the AAB government:

“Why change the Federal Constitution just to save one civil servant?”

Indeed! The Constitution is a document of sacrosanct status - Keluhuran Perlembagaan (Supremacy of the Constitution) - and not some inconsequential piece of paper to muck around with.

But I guess the only stuff sacred to the UMNO government is its intention to win and rule the country, at any cost.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Indian interference in Malaysia = Tamil Harimau?

In Malaysiakini today, the news article screams a call made by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, yes that one in India, to the Indian PM to Act against 'sufferings' in Malaysia.

I hope Malaysiakini won’t mind me producing its article in full here (those who don’t have subscription at Malaysiakini yet, and want good reliable news, well, what are you waiting for?)

********

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been urged to take immediate action concerning the state of the Indians in Malaysia.

The premier’s intervention was sought by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and other politicians in the state following the mass rally held on Nov 25 in Kuala Lumpur.

According to the Hindu newspaper, Karunanidhi wrote to Manmohan on Tuesday asking him to employ the necessary measures regarding the “sufferings and bad treatment” of Tamils in Malaysia.

Karunanidhi said the people of Tamil Nadu were disturbed over the happenings in Kuala Lumpur.

The daily reported that he also conveyed their concern over the treatment being meted out to the Tamils living in Malaysia for a very long period of time.

On Sunday, some 30,000 Indian Malaysians took to the streets in a protest organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

[...]

Meanwhile, another Tamil Nadu politician and popular actor Vijayakant also called on the Indian prime minister to act on this issue.

In a news report, Vijayakant, who is the founder leader of the DMDK party, said: "The Tamils were taken there 200 years ago by the then British rulers to work in the plantation fields but the way police dispersed them by firing tear gas showed that the Malaysian government is still treating them as slaves.

He alleged that Malaysia was "becoming a Sri Lanka" where the government "sidelined Tamils from all government departments".

He warned that ignorance by India to intervene in this issue could create a situation similar to that of Sri Lanka, which is gripped by ethnic strife. "What started as a spark, is now burning all over Sri Lanka," he said.

The Nov 25 rally received widespread coverage in the Indian as well as international media. The event was reported, among others, in the UK, US, China, Taiwan, Australia and the Philippines.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's warning that the government could invoke the Internal Security Act (ISA) against the protestors has also received wide media coverage.


********

Now, we are lucky that those seditious words of Tamil insurrection a la the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, were mentioned by a foreigner, Tamil Nadu politician and actor Vijayakant.

Additionally, and more ominously, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu also chipped in his two rupees worth of parochialism, by urging the Indian PM to employ the 'necessary measures' regarding the sufferings and bad treatment of Tamils in Malaysia.

What ‘necessary measures’ did he have in mind?

I have supported Hindraf’s rally and campaign of highlighting Indian Malaysians’ plight of their miserable marginalization and abject poverty – a situation that was brought about by a combination of years of government neglect and the pathetic performance of local Indian politicians who claim to represent Indian Malaysians.

But I resent such interference in Malaysian affairs by any foreign politicians or government officials. Last I heard, India is still a foreign country.

Let's examine the worrying factors of such alien interference.

For a start, any intrusion by India, whether political or by other means, has grave implications because of the ethnic association, and the openly voiced suggestion by a foreigner that Malaysia could face the consequences of a possible Tamil insurrection. This was compounded by a high level suggestion for India to take ‘necessary measures’.

These are provocative interference in Malaysian affairs. At the same time, I have read of Malaysia's (or rather one of its State's) gross interference in the insurrection in Southern Philippines years ago. Aiyoyo, what goes around may frighteningly come around, so I'll keep my mouth shut about Southern Thailand.

Tamil Nadu has always been a spiritual home for Tamil Malaysians. If we were to dig into our news archives I believe we would be able to obtain a report showing that some years ago, the MIC leaders, who were fighting each other here in Malaysia took a trip together to Chennai (Madras) to resolve their differences, presumably in a 'Camp David' style retreat.

I wonder whether the CM of that Indian State then, played host like successive American Presidents have done at the Camp David retreat?

Surprisingly, UMNO then didn't make any noise over the Chennai Camp David affair. Can you imagine what would have happened if the MCA's Camps A and B were to seek such a 'retreat' in Beijing or Taipei to solve their internal strife?

Beijing or Taipei? Hahaha, even a gathering in a Kuala Lumpour temple was enough to launch Ops Lallang where a few of the Chinese political, educational and NGO leaders, who had the temerity to 'reenact a gathering at Shaolin Tze', were escorted to a secluded but enclosed camp and 'persuaded' to spent two years in contemplative meditation - of course with 'free board and food' thrown in by our kind hearted and hospitable Internal Security Minister. Please read my previosu post MCA or DAP - the Chinese dilemma.

But those Tamil Nadu voices are far more serious.

Indian Intelligence, the highly secretive and powerful Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), India's (far more competent) equivalent of the CIA, has a legendary record of mischiefs.

There were press reports (or speculations) that, at one time, RAW had attempted to interfere with Fijian internal affairs by sending arms to the Indians of Fiji, but fortunately, something or someone intervened to stop that.

However, what is known is that RAW was successful in its executed programmes in creating Bangladesh through the splitting up of Pakistan, annexing Sikkim as India’s 22nd State, and turning Bhutan into a virtual vassal State with a pro-India puppet government.

In 1988 RAW was reported to have orchestrated a coup in Maldives by 300 to 400 strong well-trained well-armed force of mercenaries, initially said to be of unknown origin. Those mercenaries resorted to indiscriminate shooting and took high-level government officials hostage.

Then ... ahem ...India reacted promptly by sending the Army (paratroopers), Navy and Air Force to rescue the Maldives government and restore order.

The news article said: But the international community, however, viewed with suspicion the overall concept and motives of the operation. Although the apparent identification of two Maldivian nationals among the mercenaries, at face value, link it with previous such attempts, other converging factors indicative of external involvement could hardly be ignored.

That the mercenaries sailed from Manar and Kankasanturai in Sri Lanka, which were in complete control of the Indian Peacekeeping Force, and the timing and speed of India's intervention proved its involvement beyond any doubt.

Now, this bit by Wikipedia about RAW is scary. It states that RAW started training the Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers (
LTTE) to keep a check on Sri Lanka, which had helped Pakistan in the Indo-Pak War by allowing Pakistani ships to refuel at Sri Lankan ports.

However, it created a monster in the Tigers which went out of control, forcing Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi to send Indian Peace Keeping Force to restore normalcy in the region. Rajiv was eventually assassinated by a Tiger sympathizer.

Would a Malaysian Tamil Harimau be a 'necessary measure'?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The minister who makes me cringe in shame

Malaysiakini published news item 'Gathering of crooks' hasn't tainted community's image.

The title may be attributed to Nazri Abdul Aziz, the government’s chief head kicker. Read the report and either fume or laugh.


********

The mammoth rally which saw about 30,000 Indians taking to the streets has not tarnished the government’s view of the community, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

"Some 20,000 penyangak (crooks) who participated in the rally would not jeopardise our viewpoint of the entire community," he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.

"There were hundreds of thousands of Indians who did not participate in the rally. They stayed back and showed that they still support the government," he added.

He also questioned the rationale of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which aimed to submit a petition to the British High Commission.

Hindraf, which organised the rally, wanted to submit a petition to Queen Elizabeth II asking Her Majesty to appoint a Queen’s Counsel to represent the organisation in its class-action suit against the British government.

"If they want to submit a petition or a memorandum, they should just send it to the Prime Minister's Department. There's no need for a street rally," said Nazri.

********

'... just send it to the Prime Minister's Department ...' hahahahahahahahaha

********

"All the allegations put forward by them (Hindraf) that Indians are marginalised are lies and nothing more than accusations," he said, adding that the government would trace those who are responsible for the gathering and charge them in court.

However, he denied the possibility of using the Internal Security Act (ISA) against the perpetrators.

"We will not use the ISA. If we do, they will fire back at us saying that we're using the law unnecessarily. But we will use other laws, and among the penalties could be prison sentence," he said.

********

'... other laws, and among the penalties could be prison sentence ...' Ooooooooh

This is a minister? And he makes such talk? I cringe in shame for Malaysia.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Israel, free speech, and the Oxford Union by Prof Avi Shlaim

The collapse of a public debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a case-study of the vulnerability of open dialogue to closed minds - Avi Shlaim

Too often we read in Malaysiakini of letters prasing Israel for its upholding of free speech as much as we hear of Israel's amazing democratic institutions (which many have complained seem to be reserved for Israelis only).

I thought it might be timely to post an article by
Avi Shlaim, a professor of international relations at St Antony's College, Oxford which was published in OpenDemocracy. The article is below in different (green) highlight.

Among Professor Shlaim’s books are
The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (WW Norton, 1999) and (as co-editor) The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). His most recent book is Lion of Jordan: the Life of King Hussein in War and Peace (Penguin, 2007)

********

Israel is often portrayed by its supporters as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. But these very same supporters, in their excessive zeal for their cause, sometimes end up by violating one of the most fundamental principles of democracy - the right to free speech. While accepting free speech as a universal value, all too often they try to restrict it when it comes to Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians. The result is not to encourage but to stifle debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Britain prides itself on its tradition of free speech and civilised debate on all subjects, including Israel. The great majority of British Jews are part of this tradition. Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, is a notable example of this fair-minded, liberal, and pluralistic tradition. One of his sixteen books is called
The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations.

On the other side of the Atlantic, on the other hand, the public debate on the subject of Israel is much more fierce and partisan, leaving relatively little space for the dignity of difference. The passion with which many prominent American Jews defend Israel betrays an atavistic attitude of "my country, right or wrong".

One example is Alan M Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor and crusader on behalf of Israel. One of his books is called
The Case for Israel. As the title suggests, this is not an objective, academic treatise but a lawyer's brief for his client. The lawyer in question is no friend of free speech when it comes to criticism of Israel, however well substantiated. Recent events in Oxford suggest that those of us who thought that attempts to stifle free debate about Israel are confined to American campuses need to think again.

The Oxford Union is one of the world's most illustrious debating chambers and a bastion of free speech. It was founded in the 19th century to uphold the principle of free speech and debate in England at a time when they were being severely curtailed. Recently, however, the union failed to live up to its lofty ideals. A debate was scheduled for 23 October 2007 on the motion "This house believes that one-state is the only solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict".


Ilan Pappé, Ghada Karmi and I agreed to speak for the motion; Norman G Finkelstein, the American-Jewish academic, David (Lord) Trimble, the Northern Irish politician, and Peter Tatchell, the gay-rights activist, accepted the invitation to speak against. In the end the debate took place without any of the scheduled speakers after an ugly and acrimonious, American-style row over the make-up of the panel.

Various friends of Israel complained to Luke Tryl, the president of the Oxford Union, that the debate was "unbalanced" because it included Norman G Finkelstein, a well-known critic of Israel, on the "pro-Israel" side.


What they failed to grasp, or deliberately chose to ignore, was that the motion was not for or against Israel but about alternative solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Professor Dershowitz was the first and the most aggressive of the protestors. He himself had been invited to speak but he replied that he would participate only if he could dictate the motion and approve the other speakers. These preposterous conditions were rejected and Dershowitz stayed away.

But he did not simply sulk in his tent: that is not his style. He wrote to Tryl that it was outrageous for the union to give Finkelstein a platform but, once again, he met with a rebuff. Dershowitz then turned his polemical blunderbuss directly against Finkelstein, calling him "an anti-Semitic bigot" in an article he posted on FrontPageMag.com on 19 October 2007 under the title "Oxford Union is Dead".

Peace Now-UK co-chair Paul Usiskin not only added to the pressure on Tryl to drop Finkelstein but offered to take his place. On 14 October a small delegation of Oxford undergraduates went to see Tryl to question the inclusion of Finkelstein and Tatchell on the "pro-Israel" side and to argue that the whole debate was unbalanced. It is perfectly legitimate for members of the union to communicate their concerns to their president. But the insistence on balance in relation to an unbalanced international actor like Israel raises more questions than it answers.

Israel's policies towards the Palestinians surely cannot be described as balanced by any stretch of the imagination. The Biblical injunction of "an eye for an eye" is grisly enough, but Israel goes even farther by its habitual practice of exacting an eye for an eyelash!


As Israel's policy towards the Palestinians becomes more heavy-handed and violent, the very notion of balance needs to be re-examined. Luke Tryl displayed neither wisdom nor courage in dealing with these broader issues and he eventually caved in to the pressure. On 19 October, four days before the debate, he curtly informed Finkelstein that his invitation was rescinded. Paul Usiskin realised his burning ambition to be included in the debate as a member of the team opposing the motion.

On 21 October I wrote to Luke Tryl: "I understand that you have been subjected to a lot of pressure recently. You have my sympathy. But perhaps it was a mistake to give in to the pressure. Some people are never satisfied. In any case, I cannot see how dropping Norman Finkelstein can be squared with the principle of free speech."


Paul Usiskin greatly inflated his own part in this sorry saga in the hopelessly distorted account he gave to the correspondent of the Jerusalem Post. He even claimed the credit for having prevailed on Tryl to drop Finkelstein, although Dershowitz has a stronger claim to this dubious distinction. Usiskin told the Post that the proposers of the one-state solution were disgruntled at his inclusion in the debate and demanded Finkelstein's re-invitation.

The truth of the matter is that it was not of the slightest interest to me whether Usiskin took part in the debate or not. My only concern was with the infringement of the principle of free speech at my own university by excluding an academic expert from the debate on solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fact that Finkelstein and I were on opposite sides of the debate was irrelevant. Finally, Usiskin told the Jerusalem Post that I am a key figure in the campaign for the academic boycott of Israel. In fact, I strongly oppose the boycott because it would infringe the freedom of Israeli academic.


In the two days before the debate was due to take place, all other five of the original speakers pulled out. David Trimble, not unreasonably, was fed up with all the controversy. So was I. Luke Tryl invited me to take part in the debate as far back as 11 July. Although I did not like the motion, I made no attempt to modify it out of respect for the student officers of the union. Nor did I try to influence the line-up of the speakers. Tryl left me the choice to speak either for or against the motion and I hesitantly opted to speak for.

I have in fact always been a supporter of the two-state solution but I planned to argue that that since Israel is systematically destroying the basis for a genuine two-state solution by its constant expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, the one-state is the only remaining alternative. These nuances were lost in the media reports and spin that came to surround the collapse of the debate.

My colleagues and I did not withdraw from the debate when we realised that we were going to lose, as our detractors told the media. Our démarche was intended as a protest against the shabby treatment of our academic colleague and the violation of the principle of free speech at the Oxford Union.


Even at the eleventh hour we were still ready to rejoin the debate but only on condition that Norman G Finkelstein was re-invited. He was not re-invited, so we stayed away. The debaters on the night were the ubiquitous Paul Usiskin and five students. The motion was defeated by 191 votes to 60. Groucho Marx once said to his host: "I had a great evening but this was not it!" I feel somewhat the same way about this particular Oxford Union debate.

********

Related posts on double standards:
(1) Europe's Dilemma - Holocaust Denial vs Caricatures
(2) European 'Freedom of Expression' took nosedive!
(3) What happened to British 'Freedom of Expression'?
(4) President Carter on Israeli Supremacist Racism
(5) Cartoons - Some Provocative to publish; Some Hypocritical not to!
(6) Jewish Goose, but no Arabic Gander
(7)
Israel & Palestine - a study in western hypocrisy & bias
(8) Aryan Purity Verboten! Jewish Purity Fantastisch!
(9) Israel 12-letter magic mantra!
(10) 'The Holocaust Industry' - a tale of sinister ethnic supremacy & evil hypocrisy

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hindraf stabbed in back!

Extract of news by Malaysiakini on the Hindraf rally:

It is believed that the police - a Muslim-Malay majority outfit - had intentionally restrained themselves to avoid turning the event into a racial clash.

Unlike previous demonstrations, media personnel also expressed appreciation over the police’s directive specifically for the media to get out of harm’s way when they take action.

I say kudos to the police struckout because the police had lied - many Hindraf supporters were physically abused.

... but I say shame to some so-called activists who refused to support Hindraf’s rally.

Like well-known blogger, Susan Loone, I am disappointed that some people who supported and called on others to support Bersih have refuse to support Hindraf’s march and even insinuated the Hindraf campaign is chauvinistic, communal and racist. Sheeeesh!

Who or rather what is a racist?

The dictionary informs us a racist is ‘a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others’, like a Nazi, white supremacist South Afrikaan, some extreme Israeli terrorist group like the Kahane LaKnesset to which the Israeli mass murderer Baruch Goldstein belonged, etc.

In Malaysia we too have our own racist organizations, promoting the ideology of racial superiority or dominance.

From ‘racist’, we have ‘racism’ meaning:

(1) a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.

(2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.

(3) hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Which of Hindraf’s grievances would fall under any of the above 3 definitions?

I am disturbed that these very people by refusing to support Hindraf, because of the pathetic excuse that Hindraf's campaign focused on Indian Malaysians, have effectively marginalised and isolated Hindraf, and by default made Hindraf into a single-ethnic campaign, when the problem that Indian Malaysians face is equally applicable to many and should be supported by all.

The argument that Hindraf has not embraced the poor and marginalised of all races in its campaign does not hold water – incidentally, which significant ethnic group in Peninsula Malaysia has been the most marginalised and poverty-stricken?

Fighting for the progress of one’s deprived, marginalised and even persecuted ethnic group is a noble and worthy strive, whether the ethnic group is Palestinians, Kachins, Montagnards, Indian Malaysians, etc.


I quote Susan Loone in her erudite post Only hypocrites will ask Hindraf not to rally, where she said (extracts):

In our over-enthusiam to reject anyone or anything ‘racist’, are we becoming like the cops who target merely Indians at roadblocks in order to quash the Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) rally tomorrow? Read Malaysiakini.

A rally is a rally. Anyone can do it. And if we support the three freedoms - freedom of expression, assembly and association - we must allow the rally - whether it is called by UMNO, Bersih or Hindraf.

However, we can have our reservations whether we want to support the rally’s issue or not.

Other than those good for nothing politicians and corrupt police force, it’s strange that I find “learned” individuals asking Hindraf to cancel their rally. Like….who do you think you are? To me, this is being very self-centred, myopic and totally against the spirit of Bangsa Malaysia that those same people are crowing about.

Aren’t Malaysian Indians Bangsa Malaysia as well? Don’t their problems affect all of us? From marginalisation, oppression and demolishment of temples and eviction, we are as much affected as our Indian brothers and sisters. Because, it we don’t help them stop this rot and cruelty, tomorrow it will be our houses, our villages, our temples and churches.

I agree that asking Hindraf to call off the rally is hypocrisy at the highest level. Accusing Hindraf of being racist in its content is riding yourself on a moral high ground of your own delusions.

I will support Hindraf’s call for social and economic equality based on the fact that Malaysian Indians are ethnic minorities in this country. Being minorities they are deprived of every possible opportunity, from politics to social to economics.

It’s wrong to ask Malaysian Indians not to rally for their own plight, just as it is wrong to ask the Orang Asli or the Indigenous peoples in Sabah and Sarawak not to fight for their own lands.

The right thing to do for all Malaysians is to join the rally organised by Hindraf and make it a Malaysian affair. That was what happened to other causes as well, for example, the fight to preserve mother-tongue language by the Chinese educationists. For the longest time, they were called racists as well and accused of sedition and threat to national security and what not.

And that is how we must view the Hindraf rally. It is a stand and a fight against oppression and dictatorship by the government. It is an issue that transcends race, religion, social status and whatever mental, physical or emotional barriers that limits the human spirit.

Thank you Susan.

I think next time there is a Bersih-like rally, we may need to examine it closely in the same (disappointing) manner that ‘some people’ have examined Hindraf campaign to find fault with it.



See also:
Is Anwar Ibrahim backtracking on his policy on NEP?

Saudi domedary dung continues ...

Related (or pre-reading for what follows in my post):
(1) Wahhabi syariah law system in action!
(2) Rape victim fights Saudi syariah 200-lashing verdict
(3) As if my wife 'raped' again by Saudi syariah court



Something I wish Malaysiakini will publish – from an AFP item published in the Sydney Morning Herald (my comments in different highlights):

***

A woman in Saudi Arabia sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes despite being gang raped has confessed to adultery, the justice ministry said as it tried to fend off mounting criticism.

Ya, and one of my numerous uncles is the Mufti of Jerusalem.

Despite being sexually assaulted by seven men who kidnapped her with a male companion at knifepoint, the unidentified 19 year-old woman was sentenced in November 2006 to 90 lashes.

The Saudi way is the best way for that Shiite whore who seduced good Saudi Sunni men.

The judge sentenced her for being in a car with a man who was not her relative, a taboo in the conservative Muslim kingdom which imposes strict segregation of the sexes.

But her story hit international headlines last week when her sentence was increased to six months in jail and 200 lashes after she spoke to the media.

She was correctly punished for being a Shiite minority but big-mouth trouble-maker.

The justice ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency that the woman had owned up to having an extramarital affair with the man in the car. "She admitted to ... exchanging sinful relations," the statement said, adding the woman was in state of undress with the man in the car before the attack took place.

Yes, did I tell you about another of my uncles who is the Ayatollah of Timbukto?

Oh BTW, earlier reports had her attempting to retrieve some photographs from the man. Well, it seems that with immediate effect in Saudi Arabia, the officially announced custom (or policy) for retrieving photographs is to strip naked, especially if you are a Shiite woman who has been sentenced by the syariah court to receive 200 lashes.

The woman and her alleged lover remained quiet about the attack, which was only reported to the authorities several months later when the woman's husband received an email from an unidentified source informing him of the affair.

"She admitted to what happened and the husband then reported the incident three months after it happened," the justice ministry said, adding it wanted to correct the "largely incorrect" details published in the media about the case.

Ya, one other uncle is the High Lama of Mongolia.

The ministry also stressed the Saudi judicial system was based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing.

Yes, and don’t we know about Saudi Arabia!

The men were initially sentenced to one to five years in jail, but those terms were also toughened on appeal to between two and nine years.

... between ...? Which is which, the lower end? ... bearing in mind these were good Sunni Saudis just giving it to the Shiite whore who was anyway asking for it ...

A rape conviction carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but the court did not impose it due to the "lack of witnesses" and the "absence of confessions," the justice ministry said on Tuesday.

Then why sentence those men at all, if there were no witness or any confession from those men – besides why would righteous men confess -sheeesh. Why perpetrate another injustice on top of another?

But can you Saudis with all your money at least f-ensure your camel dung-sh*tting is watertight?

The woman's husband told local media that they would appeal, even though the judge had warned that the sentence could be increased again if she loses the appeal.

But wasn't the husband the one who reported her after receiving an email from an unidentified source, according of course to "the Saudi judicial system ... based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing"?

As for losing the appeal, I am going to be outrageously daring and say that she will, against "the Saudi judicial system ... based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing".

But leaving that aside, isn’t the Saudi syariah system wonderful, where any attempt to appeal would be provided a warning – take it at your inevitable risk!


The justice ministry noted that the law gives the right of appeal, but warned that "resorting to the media" could have "a negative effect on the other parties in the case".

Yes, the ‘right of appeal’ and the ‘RIGHT of "the Saudi judicial system ... based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing" to increase the punishment’ if the appeal fails, which it will.

The court dealing with the case revoked the licence of the woman's lawyer, who has also been summoned by the justice ministry to appear before a disciplinary panel next month.

... which is just one small indication/example of why any appeal will (be guaranteed to) fail, but thanks to "the Saudi judicial system ... based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing" the Shiite whore female criminal was given pre warning.

New York-based Human Rights Watch slammed the ruling against the woman and urged King Abdullah to "void the verdict and drop all charges against the rape victim and to order the court to end its harassment of her lawyer".

Hahahaahaahahahahahaaaaa at the Saudi syariah system and its infantile attempts at post-scandal justifications, and a silent ball-less George Bush who was so brave to go to war in Iraq and planning to bomb Iran but who lacks the moral spine to exert political pressure to protect a rape victim from being persecuted for the sole reason she's Shiite who has the bloody nerve to challenge a ruling of "the Saudi judicial system ... based on Islamic law derived from the holy Koran and that a court ruling in the kingdom was only made after both sides in a case were given a fair and balanced hearing".

But I have tears in my heart for the injustice to the Shiite rape victim.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Aussie Government

You'll read about this tomorrow in Malaysiakini, but here's kaytee's advance version.

John Howard and his Coalition have suffered a drubbing at the hands of the Labour Party. He has conceded defeat to his opponent Kevin Rudd, who will be Australian's first Mandarin-speaking PM. Rudd has been Labour's leader for only 50 weeks.

Despite the Coalition's 'scare campaign', with a last minute incident of questionable standards, Rudd hung on to a principle which the military terms succinctly as 'selection and maintenance of AIM'. His 'aim' was to present to the Aussie people his party's platform as one of generational change of 'fresh leaders with fresh ideas'. He stuck to that.

He won. He needed to win 16 seats to gain government but he won with a majority of approximately 15 seats (counting still proceeding to confirm the exact number). This meant the Labour Party won approximately 30 seats from the Coalition.

John Howard is also in danger of losing his own seat of Bennelong to Labour's Maxime Mackew. If he does so, he'll be the first Aussie PM to lose his seat in almost 80 years. Only one other prime minister, Stanley Bruce in 1929, has been deposed while holding the highest office in the land.

Is Anwar Ibrahim backtracking on his policy on NEP?

Yesterday I was flabbergasted by Anwar Ibrahim questioning Hindraf’s campaign against the inequality and iniquity of Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution.

I asked myself what the hell had he been driving at when he called for Hindraf not to attribute its grievances to Article 153 of the Constitution, but instead to chase after UMNO, as was reported by Malaysiakini in its news article Go after Umno-led BN gov't: Anwar to Hindraf.

And I queried his urging to Hindraf “to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances”?

Puzzled and annoyed by what I saw as his apparent protection of the ethnocentric marginalizing apartheid-ish Article 153, I question his sincerity in his recent (PKR) policy on the NEP.

Early this morning I raised the issue in my post Anwar Ibrahim, Article 153 & Hindraf.

Only fellow blogger xypre of
Reduced and Recycled blog, said of the concerns and queries I posted:

“In this I agree. When I read what DSAI said in Malaysiakini, I had the sudden urge to tell him off. What more balanced and rational means? Through the castrated political process? Through an ambiguous opposition coalition? Through the intervention of MIC?"

"Just what balanced and reasonable way of doing things?"

"Indians are, if DSAI doesn't get it, damn angry. But for the consequences of any violence tomorrow on BERSIH's rally* - or any future rally, for that matter - I would be fully behind Hindraf's cry for something to be done."

* what he had probably meant was Hindraf's (not Bersih's) rally planned for tomorrow


Good on you xypre for speaking out on Anwar Ibrahim's inconsistency. But I am terribly disappointed that many, who have been quick to condemn UMNO for the NEP, have act dunno and kept silent over the questionable statement by Anwar Ibrahim to Hindraf.


I repeat, I question Anwar Ibrahim’s sincerity in his policy on the NEP.

When God only proposes while Man disposes

I wrote a letter to Malaysiakini which was published yesterday as Royal panel: Probe judiciary’s handling of religion.

I think it’s also timely because of the government’s oppression, suppression and harassment of the Hindraf campaign, an over-the-top persecution which under normal circumstances would be akin to crushing kacang putih (nuts) with a sledge hammer, but then, typical of the inexplicable but predictable behaviour of an arrogant but under-confident (combination of which = intolerant) UMNO-led government.

I am also using the blogging opportunity to correct a couple of grammatical errors and producing the revised version here in full.

The thrust of my message is that when we leave the laws of the country in the hands of the cleric, who would of course claim they speak in the name of or on behalf of God (and it’s a universal trait, not exclusive to any religion), we are immediately at their tender mercies, prejudice and vested interests, as a Shiite rape victim in Saudi Arabia has recently and unjustly been subjected to.

We are not completely oblivious to European history, biblical tales or the sagas of Hinduism where the Church and priesthood exploited religion for their political and personal advantage.

Our only defence against the insidious subversion of God’s laws into an unacceptable clerical ‘God only proposes but it’s Man (the cleric) who disposes’ is the strengthening, upholding and non-negotiable protection/defence of the secular Constitution and the civil courts.


***

I believe Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang has made a timely call for the royal commission to look beyond the mere authenticity of the Lingam videotape, when one considers that in late August this year, the chief justice Ahmad Fairuz made a startling proposal for the Malaysian courts to discard use of the time-honoured English common laws after 50 years of independence, and to use in its place syariah law.

Needless to say, Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for religious affairs, praised Fairuz's proposal. Abdullah said that syariah law gives importance to justice.

Amazingly, the attorney-general also responded favourably to the chief justice's proselytising proposal. The proposed royal commission should examine why the chief justice, the head of the civil courts, would have made such a radical call. What had his suggestion been based on?

We have just witnessed how in Saudi Arabia, mortal men have deliberately interpreted divine teachings of fairness, compassion and charity into instruments of persecution, to victimise a minority Shiite or a minority female (rape victim) in a medieval chauvinistic society.

We have heard of the predictable and lamentable excuses by the usual mob for the Saudi clerics' outrageous and draconian injustice, namely, that their decision was not influenced by Islamic jurisprudence but rather Arab tribal custom, despite the obvious glaring fact that the verdict had been delivered by three supposedly learned Saudi Islamic judges in an Islamic nation, the birthplace of the Prophet Mohamad (pbuh).

'Tribal custom' was the same pathetic excuse that was offered when Pakistan, a nation which subscribed to Islamic laws, saw the unmitigated horror of the oxymoronic 'honour rape' perpetrated against an innocent woman, Mukhtaran Bibi. Even the ridiculous claims of the alleged tribal revenge against the woman and his teenage brother were subsequently discovered to be nothing more than the sheer fabrications of lustful men.

It was only international pressure that saw a presidential order requiring the criminals be charged. But syariah-ruled or not, those 'honour rapes' continue in Pakistan even after that shameful case. Three years after the victimisation of Mukhtaran, another sensational case occurred where Pakistani police arrested seven men on charges of kidnapping and gang-raping a woman for two days in retaliation for some perceived wrong.

Were these the examples Abdullah Zin told us of the importance that syariah law gives to justice?

In religion when the tables have been overturned by evil men into 'God proposes, man disposes', the potential for gross injustice cannot be understated or overestimated.

I have recently read of M Zulkarnain Hamzah and his
eloquent exposition of Pertubuhan Jamaah Islam Malaysia's altruistic programmes, and while not questioning his sincerity, I am not convinced of its actual implementation.

We merely have to look around us to know all is not well. His arguments that the Muslims require protection because they are equally at risk from Christian proselytising may sound plausible in theory but hardly bears the scrutiny of reality or possibility.

Take the restricted screening of the 'The Passion of the Christ' or the banned animation movie 'Prince of Egypt' just as simple examples of near impossibility of proselytising local Muslims, or indeed, why not take the false but highly inflammatory accusation of Christians proselytising Muslims that had propelled the Perak mufti into notoriety.

By contrast, the marginalised Indians and aborigines are the groups most vulnerable to such proselytising. In June last year we learnt of the PAS Kelantan government offering a lump sum of RM10,000, free accommodation, a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a fixed monthly allowance of RM1,000 to each Muslim preacher who marries an Orang Asli woman. And that was only by an opposition party.

Malaysia is one of the most Islamic-programme driven societies, and the non-Muslims' only ballast against this proselytising tilt is the secular Constitution and, we would have hoped, the civil courts.

In January 2006, discussing the timidity of the civil courts in interpreting the constitutional rights of the syariah courts in the M Moorthy case, human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sawar informed former attorney-general Abu Talib Othman about civil court judges who admitted to being Muslims first when they hear such a case.

An enraged Abu Talib advised him to report the matter and if there was evidence, those judges should be removed, saying: "They are unfit to be judges, then. Judges should remember their constitutional oath to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land."

Well, how many judges have been removed since? Instead we have the chief justice of the civil courts proposing to replace English common laws with syariah laws, a proposal supported by the nation's No 1 civil law officer, the attorney-general.

The sins of men abusing God's messages are not confined to the noble religion of Islam alone. We have heard of the scary American preacher Pat Robertson who brought Christianity into disrepute but who enjoys privileged position in President George W Bush's camp, and the even scarier Rabbi Yousef Falay of Israel who called on the Israeli government to use their troops to kill all Palestinian males more than 13 years old so as to end Palestinian presence on this earth.

Then there was Rabbi Yaacov Perrin who eulogised Israeli mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, who with a machine gun slaughtered 27 Palestinians praying in the Cave of the Patriarchs. The bigoted Rabbi declared that "one million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."

And of course in Malaysia, we have our own scary Perak mufti who continues to repose in teflon-ised protection in Perak.

I urge the prime minister to include a term of reference for the royal commission to examine the alleged religious cringe of the civil court judges and complaints of the civil courts' loss of pre-eminent position in the legal system of Malaysia.

Anwar Ibrahim, Article 153 & Hindraf

The latest news in town is the intrepid Hindraf campaign to highlight the long outstanding issue of the marginalization of Indian Malaysians and their unanswered grievances. Yes, those poor Indians, after 50 years of independence and all they can show for themselves is the dubious title of Malaysia’s ‘Forgotten Community’.

So who can really blame the Hindraf people for taking the sensationalizing road to bring the world’s attention, especially the most important and much needed one of PM AAB, to their plight, that of being left behind, mired in hopelessness and carrying the impossible load of despair.

But Malaysiakini has reported that de facto leader of the PKR, Anwar Ibrahim has “… urged the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) to direct its grievances towards the ‘corrupt’ Umno-led Barisan Nasional government” and not Article 153 of the Constitution.

Campaigning against UMNO is a ‘given’ but why not against Article 153?

Let’s remind ourselves of what Article 153 is. According to Wikipedia:

Article 153 of the Constitution of Malaysia grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) responsibility for safeguarding the rights and privileges of the Malay of East and West Malaysia, and other native people of Sabah & Sarawak, Malaysia, collectively referred to as Bumiputra.

However, it should be noted that this special protection does not cover the aboriginals of West-Malaysia, who are the original inhabitants of West-Malaysia. As such, the aboriginals of West-Malaysia does not have special privileges.

The article specifies how the federal government may protect the interest of these groups by establishing quotas for entry into the civil service, public scholarships and public education.

It is often considered to be part of the social contract, and is commonly cited as a legal defense of
ketuanan Melayu — the belief that the Malays are the "masters" (tuan) of Malaysia.

Article 153 is one of the most controversial articles in the Malaysian constitution. Critics consider it to create an unnecessary and racialist distinction between Malaysians of different ethnic backgrounds, because it has led to the implementation of affirmative action policies which only benefit the Bumiputra (excluding the aboriginals of West-Malaysia), who comprise a majority of the population.

Technically, discussing the repeal of Article 153 is illegal — even in Parliament, although it was drafted as a temporary provision to the Constitution. Despite this prohibition on discussion, the article is heatedly debated both privately and publicly among Malaysians. Opposition groups, especially the Democratic Action Party, are often against the implementation of the article although ostensibly maintaining support for it. Nevertheless, the article is viewed as a sensitive matter by many, with politicians who oppose it often being labelled as racist.


Malaysia’s most famous blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin of the very popular and widely read Malaysia-Today website wrote 2 years ago, on 26 September 2005, that:

The truth is, the NEP is not ‘new’; meaning, created only in 1970. For all intents and purposes, the NEP, though it was never called that in the beginning, was always with us and was part of the Merdeka ‘package’, in that it had been written into Malaysia’s Federal Constitution. Therefore, whether one likes it or not, the NEP was something agreed by all races even before Malaya gained independence in 1957. The only thing is, it was never given any name (NEP) and was not aggressively implemented until 13 years after Merdeka.

Maybe that’s explains why Hindraf is suing the British for their colonial role or, to be more contemporary in Hindraf’s eyes, their colonial lack of due diligence to ensure equality and fairness for all Malayan/Malaysian citizens, by allowing such an Article to be written into the Constitution.

But then, why is Anwar Ibrahim concerned about Hindraf campaigning against Article 153? Why has he said, according to the Malaysiakini news report,
that “Hindraf has incorrectly attributed its grievances to the Constitution, in particular Article 153”?

Article 153 was, in Raja Petra’s words (see above), “aggressively implemented … 13 years after Merdeka”.

Raja Petra had also written: “The NEP, which was launched in 1970 after the infamous race riots of May 1969, was supposed to run for 20 years. By the end of the NEP in 1990 though, the 30% target set for the Bumiputera share of the economic pie fell far short, forcing the government to introduce a new policy that was basically the NEP in another form.”

If there was no Article 153, one could argue that Indian Malaysians might possibly not have suffered the same biblical fate as Moses (pbuh), wandering around for approximately 4o years in the Malayan/Malaysian ‘wilderness’ since 1969, during which time they fell off by the wayside, a callously castaway casualty of the relentless broadening and escalation of the ethnocentric NEP programmes, where now, even statistics on bumiputera economic achievements are deemed almost a State secret, sensitive and seditious to discuss.

Without Article 153 there wouldn’t be any legal legs for the NEP to stand on.

Now, isn’t dismantling the NEP one of Anwar Ibrahim’s latest policy? Or have I been wrong?

Anwar Ibrahim confuses me further by saying that while he expressed support for Hindraf to hold a peaceful demonstration,
"he appealed to the organisation to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances" (see Malaysiakini).

What does he mean by Hindraf “to consider a more balanced and responsible approach to address its grievances”?

How would Hindraf be not balanced and not responsible in its approach of campaigning against Article 153?

Within the context of his statements, would I be wrong in assuming that to mean “Hindraf, hands off Article 153”?


Related:
(1) Malaysia's Economic Pariahs?
(2) The Toddy Syndrome

Friday, November 23, 2007

Police helps Hindraf gain local & international attention

Who or what the hell is Hindraf? One month ago did many people know or care?

But thanks to the UMNO-led government and their too clever by half overreaction, almost everyone now knows who those Hindraf leaders are, what they have been and are fighting for, and is rooting for them – go aneh go, go aka go, go tambi go, and go tangachee go.

Malaysiakini reported the authorities' typical idiotic inflexible response in its unconstitutional denial of Hindraf's wish and application for a permit to protest in front of the British High Commission.

To give even greater prominence to Hindraf's campaign that it could have actually obtained, the police raided the offices of two Hindraf leaders as if they have the X-files. Then, we are told by Malaysiakini today that “the police have arrested three key leaders behind the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) - lawyers P Uthayakumar, P Waythamoorthy and V Ganapathy Rao, just as the movement is preparing for a mass rally this Sunday.”

The police also brought the unsuspecting public’s attention to the Hindraf’s plan to protest by mounting their attention-attracting road blocks and creating the consequential traffic jams.

Haven’t those idiots learnt that is precisely the best way to provide free publicity to a protest rally which it wants suppressed.

What national security would have been jeopardised if the police had allowed an orderly Hindraf protest rally? How many members of the public would have paid special attention to such an event?

PM AAB as the Internal Security Minister has been badly served by his moronic advisors. The Hindraf leaders want the very attention the police are helping them garner. They have already achieved their aim, of attracting both local and international attention.


All we now need for the icing on top of the Hindraf cake would be a bit of tear gas and chemically laced water sprays - yes please.

Thanks once again to the men in blue! Brilliant publicity directors ;-) - they have a future in the ads industry.

As if my wife 'raped' again by Saudi syariah court

Related:
Wahhabi syariah law system in action!
Rape victim fights Saudi syariah 200-lashing verdict


and

From the National Post of Canada.

***

Lashing Saudi rape victim an outrage: Clinton

Democrat asks U.S. President to intervene

Araminta Wordsworth, National Post, With Files From News Services

Published: Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, yesterday called on George W. Bush, the U.S. President, to express disapproval at the sentence of 200 lashes and six months in prison meted out to a Saudi rape victim.

"This is an outrage," she said in a statement
, condemning the Bush administration for declining to call for a reversal of the sentence on the grounds it was an internal matter for its Saudi ally.

"I urge President Bush to call on King Abdullah to cancel the ruling and drop all charges against this woman. As president, I will once again make human rights an American priority around the world."


Canada has said it would lodge a complaint and called the sentence barbaric, while human rights activists and politicians around the world have condemned the sentence.

The unidentified woman was raped by seven men in Qatif, eastern Saudi Arabia, last year and originally sentenced to 90 lashes.

But the three-judge panel said her punishment for being in the car of a man who was not a relative was increased because of "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media."

They also dismissed her lawyer, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, a human rights activist.

Speaking on CNN, the husband of the 19-year-old -- known only as "the Qatif girl" -- said one of the three judges "was mean and from the beginning dealt with my wife as a guilty person who had done something wrong."

"Even when he pronounced the sentence, he said to her, 'You were involved in a suspicious relationship and you deserve 200 lashes for that'.

"The court proceedings were like a spectacle at times," added the 24-year-old man, who married his fiancee after the rapes.

"The criminals were allowed in the same room as my wife. They were allowed to make all kinds of offensive gestures and give her dirty and threatening looks."

The incident happened after the woman, then 18, went to a mall in Qatif to retrieve a photograph of herself. Mr. Lahim said it didn't show her in an incriminating pose and according to phone records, the man who had it was trying to blackmail her.

After she climbed into his car, the vehicle was hijacked by two other men who drove it to a secluded spot, where she was raped and beaten by seven men.

Under the strict form of shariah practised in Saudi Arabia, women are forbidden to be alone in the company of an unrelated man.

A Justice Ministry statement said the permanent committee of the Supreme Judicial Council recommended an increased sentence for the woman after further evidence against her came to light when she appealed her original sentence.

The rapists also had their sentences increased to two to seven years in jail for the crime, which can attract the death penalty.

Mr. Lahim said the handling of the case is a direct contradiction of judicial reforms announced by the Saudi King this month.

"The Ministry of Justice needs to have a very clear standing regarding this case because I consider this decision to be judiciary mutiny against the reform that King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz started and against Saudi women who are being victimized because of such decisions," he said.

The Saudi government has recently moved to better the situation of women, including setting up special courts to handle domestic abuse cases, a new labour law that addresses working women's rights and creation of a human rights commission.

But the King's ability to press through reform is limited by his need to placate the kingdom's conservative clerics and religious police, and other members of the Saudi royal family.

Meanwhile, the husband feels as if his wife has been raped again, this time in public. "You could say she's a crushed human being."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Keep the bastards honest!

Dean Johns, one of my faves at Malaysiakini has an interesting article Garments and governments in which he captured rather neatly the entire Australian political scene, currently at its most exciting phase in the 3-year parliamentary term for each government – the federal general election will be on this Saturday.

Oh, did I mention those Aussies enjoy 6 weeks of jolly campaigning where each party has been outbidding one another in the pork barrelling game, but with all promises costed (and in a case or two, with the guilty party torn to shreds when the costing maths didn’t work out or the promise had been a case of hypocritical volte-face).

If you want a quick and lucid introduction cum summarisation of what’s happening in Australian politics, this is THE article.

Dean was not just providing a picture of politics down under. His article carries a none too subtle message for Malaysians, as his article title alluded to, that “Governments are like socks and underwear - they should be changed frequently or they begin to smell.”

Succinctly sweet stressed!

One of the most important moderating factors in Australian politics that Dean didn’t mention, perhaps out of journalistic humility (no doubt a modesty picked up from his Malaysian wife? Hahaha), is the powerful, probing and pitiless Australian press.

“Keeping the bastards honest” was the favourite saying of the Australian Democratic Party (a minor party which was significant at one time, and then only in the Senate). The Democrats used that saying to signal to the Australian voters that its role would be to monitor the major parties, the Coalition & Labour Parties, for any naughty policies or practice.

Really this saying should rightfully go to the Australian press.

It is a role that Malaysiakini also attempts to play, and very successfully too. This has been the main reason why the government has been reluctant to grant it a licence to print and distribute hardcopies. The ruling party wants to limit the damage that an independent and fearless news medium like Malaysiakini can inflict on it.

In “keeping the bastards honest” the Malaysia media has to play a crucial role but alas, as another Malaysiakini columnist, Dr Bakri Musa wrote of the Bersih rally:

It turned out that the only folks befuddled on both days were ministers and officials. The citizens knew exactly what was going on despite the news blackout by the mainstream media. That more than anything demonstrates the irrelevance of their editors and reporters.

No amount of post-event editorial contortions could alter that fact. These editors and journalists have little left of their personal pride and professional integrity; they have completely prostituted themselves to being instruments of the state’s propaganda machinery.

They may have fancy titles as Group Editor or Editor-in-Chief, but their functions are nothing more than as chief errand boys and girls for the establishment. They accede only too willingly to orders from their political masters.

Once informative news pages are today filled with nothing more than ministerial speeches and press releases. Their formerly critical and influential Op-Ed columns are today reduced to carrying unashamedly toadying pieces praising the current leaders.

[...]

The mainstream media have failed in their basic duty to keep the public informed and holding those in power accountable. The media have become part of the establishment; their role model is Pravda.

As we cannot, at least in the intermediate term, rely on any of the Malaysian press other than the independent Malaysiakini, it is left to you, the voters, to decide on your choice of good government, and not on the hope-for miracle that would be wrought by a political or royal messiah.

Let's
“keep the bastards honest!”

Rape victim fights Saudi syariah 200-lashing verdict

Yesterday I posted Wahhabi syariah law system in action!, a sorry stupid saga of unmitigated persecution by the Saudi Wahhabi Sunni clerical authorities against a minority Shiite woman.

It was also published in Malaysiakini blog corner.

Well, here’s the continuing saga, the AFP’s Gang-rape victim to fight lashings verdict from the Sydney Morning Herald. It's the usual story of blaming the rape victim, who so happened to be a persecuted minority in Saudi Arabia.


********

A Saudi woman sentenced to six months in jail and 200 lashes despite being gang raped has vowed to challenge the ruling in a case that has received wide publicity, embarrassing the Saudi government.

The case "sums up the major problems that the Saudi judiciary faces," said the young woman's lawyer, Abdurrahman al-Lahem.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, applies a rigorous doctrine of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism. It imposes strict segregation of the sexes and a host of restrictions on women, who may not mix with men other than relatives and must cover from head to toe in public.

The 19-year-old's identity has not been revealed but she has become known as "Qatif girl," after the Shi'ite-populated area of Al-Qatif in the Eastern Province she hails from.

After the rape in October 2006, she was sentenced to 90 lashes for having been in a car with a man who is not a relative.

The Higher Judicial Council granted a retrial, but, on November 14, a court toughened her sentence to six months in jail and 200 lashes.

The judges decided to punish the woman further for "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media," a court source told the English-language daily Arab News.

The court also revoked the licence of Lahem, a leading human rights activist. He has also been summoned by the justice ministry to appear before a disciplinary panel next month.

In the court's view, the girl, who was 18 at the time of the incident, was guilty because she was in the company of a male stranger who apparently had pictures of her she wanted to take back.

Both were abducted and sexually assaulted by a gang of seven men, newspapers said.

The court's "argument was that it was the girl's fault in the first place that (the rape) happened and none of that would have happened if she had not met up with the non-related male friend," Lahem told Arab News.

The young woman belongs to Saudi Arabia's minority Shi'ite community, while the rapists are Sunni.

The men were initially sentenced to one to five years in jail, but those terms were also toughened last week to between two and nine years.

A rape conviction carries the death penalty in Saudi Arabia, but the court did not impose it due to the "lack of witnesses" and the "absence of confessions," the justice ministry said on Tuesday.

The woman's husband told Arab News they would appeal, even though the judge had warned that the sentence could be increased if she loses the appeal.

The justice ministry noted that the law gives the right of appeal, but warned that "resorting to the media, which do not do justice or grant a right," has a "negative effect on the other parties in the case."

The punishment of the rape victim has been criticised in the United States and elsewhere.

Fran Townsend, US President George W Bush's adviser on domestic security and anti-terrorism, described the case as "absolutely reprehensible."

"I just don't think there's any explaining it or justifying it," she told CNN television yesterday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch slammed the ruling and urged King Abdullah to "void the verdict and drop all charges against the rape victim and to order the court to end its harassment of her lawyer."

Lahem said the moves against him "contradict King Abdullah's quest to introduce reform, especially in the justice system."

Last month, the king approved a new body of laws regulating the judicial system in Saudi Arabia, which rules on the basis of sharia, or Islamic law.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Citizenship, Sweeties and Obedient Wives

In Parliament, the parliamentary secretary to the Home Ministry, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, said 106,000 people have renounced citizenship since 1957. This of course doesn’t include the millions who are Permanent Residents (PR) in foreign lands.

Of those who renounced their Malaysian citizenship in the last five years (2000 to 2006), 87% (14,316) were Chinese, 6.6% (1,098) were Malays while the Indians account for the smallest percentage, only 5% (822). Does this make Indians the most loyal of all Malaysians ;-)


According to the news report by Malaysiakini titled Renouncing citizenship: Chinese top the list, Abdul Rahman said those former Malaysians had applied for citizenship in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, the UK, USA, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany, New Zealand, France, Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, Brunei, Finland and Jordan.

Jordan! Why not Saudi Arabia? ;-)

And most surprisingly, there wasn’t any mention of Australia - I am rather doubtful of this strange omission.

Mind you, some have been great looking Malaysian sweeties enticed away by those foreigners – bastards! ;-)

To equalize the spiriting away of sweeties, some Chinese have been marrying China dolls who unfortunately have problems getting citizenship here, while many of my Indian friends, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, have gone to India to look for well brought up and ‘obedient’ wives – hahahahahahahahahhahahaahahaa

… because after 6 months here in Malaysia, those Indian wives take to Malaysian way of life like duck to water and they behave even more liberated than local tangachis - ;-)

Wahhabi syariah law system in action!

I hope this article by (Reuter) in the Sydney Morning Herald finds its way into Malaysiakini. Please read the atrocious sense of justice, or if the word 'justice' should even be used:

*********

Saudi Arabia has defended a court's decision to sentence a woman who was gang-raped to 200 lashes of the whip, after the United States described the verdict as "astonishing".

The 19-year-old Shi'ite woman from the town of Qatif in the Eastern Province and an unrelated male companion were abducted and raped by seven men in 2006.

Ruling according to Saudi Arabia's strict reading of Islamic law, a court had originally sentenced the woman to 90 lashes and the rapists to jail terms of between 10 months and five years.

It blamed the woman for being alone with an unrelated man.

Last week the Supreme Judicial Council increased the sentence to 200 lashes and six months in prison and ordered the rapists to serve between two and nine years in jail.

The ruling provoked rare criticism from the United States, which is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to attend a Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland next week.

A State Department spokesman told reporters yesterday that "most (people) would find this relatively astonishing that something like this happens".

The court also took the unusual step of initiating disciplinary procedures against her lawyer, Abdul-Rahman al-Lahem, forcibly removing him from the case for having talked about it to the media.

"The Ministry of Justice welcomes constructive criticism ... The system allows appeals without resort to the media," said today's statement issued on the official news agency SPA.

It berated media for not specifying that three judges, not one, issued the recent ruling and reiterated that the "charges were proven" against the woman.

It also repeated the judges' attack against Lahem last week, saying he had "spoken insolently about the judicial system and challenged laws and regulations".

Lahem was not available for comment.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has called on King Abdullah, who last month announced plans to overhaul the system, to drop all charges against the woman.

A series of erratic verdicts have focused attention on the Saudi legal system, which is dominated by clerics who adhere to the kingdom's austere Sunni form of Islamic law. Personal status law remains uncodified and the system does not recognise the concept of precedent.

********

Wahhabi syariah law at its best!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Royal Commission - Suggestion to Lim Kit Siang

Malaysiakini carries a number of news articles about the Royal Commission that PM AAB has agreed will be set up to examine the case of the Lingam videotape. We have the Lingam brothers accusing each other, one of alleged ‘fixing’ of judicial appointments and the other of requiring ‘fixing’ of his mental faculties.

Then another Malaysiakini news article has Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang of the DAP proposing his dream team which he wants headed by royalty. I have stated that it’s improper to involve royalty in public inquiries. And the royalty shouldn't have their cake of teflonised immunity and eat it as well (mind you, to be fair, they haven't indicated their acceptance of Lim's proposal, but I'll be pretty pissed if they do).

I strongly believe Uncle Lim needs to take note that anyone who has the slightest, even indirect connection to an issue that may arise in the Royal Commission’s probe should not be proposed/appointed for fear of the investigation being compromised in mid stream.

Unfortunately in Malaysia, you can hardly find someone in that category to sit on Royal Commission who’s not connected in some small ways or holds a strong position or opinion about the judiciary. The ideal team should be foreign judges, and I am not proposing those from Asean or Sri Lanka, but rather from other Commonwealth nations like India, Australia, New Zealand etc - the further and least connected with Malaysia, the better.

Of course this is only a theoretical sugegstion as both national pride and political expediency/survival would never ever countenance such a proposal.

Reading through the archives, the case involving the trial of former Lord President Salleh Abbas was the most unjust of all for two reasons – (1) he was judged by his immediate subordinate who stood to gain personally if he (Salleh Abbas) was damned, and (2) the subordinate had the unmitigated shame to accept that appointment to judge his superior.

Whether Salleh Abbas was deserving of the sacking was beside the point, and even if he was, his ‘guilt’ paled against the above two sins of 'injustice in series'.

We have since learnt that Salleh Abbas’ subordinate who judged and found him guilty was indeed promoted into his (Salleh’s) vacated position as Lord President.

I blogged sometime ago as follows:

According to Malaysiakini, “… in 1988, Salleh, the former lord president, was found guilty of judicial misconduct by a special tribunal chaired by Hamid. At that time, Hamid was acting lord president and next in line to succeed Salleh.”

“Strong objections, especially from the Bar Council, were raised then over Hamid’s role in the tribunal.”

According to Param Cumaraswamy, then president of the Bar Council during the 1988 crisis, he went to see Hamid about the blatant ‘conflict of interest’. He said:

“We went to see Hamid to advise him not to accept the position for the obvious reason that he was next in line. I advised Hamid ‘please don’t (accept), you will cause a very ugly embarrassment to the judiciary.”

Param revealed Hamid’s reply: “His (Hamid’s) response was ‘Param, if I don’t accept, I will be sacked. If I am sacked, will you or your Bar Council compensate my losses of remuneration?’”

I am just staggered by such an unmitigated disgraceful, shameless and selfish response.

Param also quoted Hamid as telling him defiantly, “Param, if you want, you can go and advise the King” to which Param shot back at Hamid, telling him that as acting Lord President, he was in a better position to advise the King.

I wonder who was the King then?

We also know that judges may only be appointed by His Majesty on the advice of the cabinet.

Yes, indeed, Uncle Lim should find out who was the King who approved, of course on the cabinet's advice, Hamid’s ascendancy into the position that Salleh Abbas was ousted from?

Afterall, Lim said yesterday, as reported by Malaysiakini in Royal commission must 'go beyond Lingam tape':


“The royal commission should be empowered not only to investigate every aspect of the issues featured in it, but also all aspects affecting the independence and integrity of the judiciary in the past two decades.”

Indeed, I would include looking into whether there was then any royal objections to Hamid’s appointment.

Monday, November 19, 2007

MCA & DAP attack on EC Commissioner inviting Ops Lallang II?

I believe the last time Chinese Malaysians got together ‘politically’ was just prior to Ops Lallang, and which event unfortunately led to that draconian ISA exercise.

And by getting together ‘politically', I meant a congregation of MCA, its real nemesis Gerakan, the opposition DAP and the Dong Jiao Zong {comprising the Federation of Malaysian Chinese School Boards Associations (Dong Zong) and the Federation of Malaysian Chinese School Teachers Associations (Jiao Zong)}. Thank goodness the SUPP was separated from the talk by the South China Sea or it would have been a humongous 'yellow wave'.

Nothing gets under the skin of a Chinese Malaysian more than education, which I had often termed as one of the central pillars of Chinese culture, especially more so when the education 'threatened' was Chinese language education.


Thanks then to a Minister of Education – aiyah, me no name him, OK? so no get mad with kaytee lah ;-) – the Chinese community (and that meant ‘votes’ to MCA, Gerakan and the DAP) was really annoyed, nay not just annoyed, but damn bloody furious with the minister's appointments of around a hundred senior assistants and principals to vernacular Chinese schools.

Now, what actually infuriated the Chinese community, raising a 'storm of protest’, was the fact that those appointed were not Mandarin language educated. The Chinese community saw that as a deliberate attempt by an UMNO minister ;-) to dilute the high standards of Chinese vernacular schools.

Ironically the Chinese vernacular schools in the late '50s and early '60s were almost driven into extinction by the lack of Chinese support. That, the diminishing need by the pragmatic Chinese community for vernacular Chinese education, would undoubtedly have occurred ..... except for the unpleasant fact - though turning out to be a fortuitous blessing in disguise for Chinese educationists - that successive UMNO Education ministers and wannabe Education ministers turned Malaya/Malaysia's once-famed education system into a dirty political football, as the 'nationalistic' soccer ball was wont to be, once kicked and thrashed around for grubby political interest.

For more on how UMNO Education ministers had ‘saved’ Chinese vernacular education from extinction read my letter to Malaysiakini titled Chinese educationists must thank UMNO. Now, don't get angry with me ;-) because that was written more than two years ago

I concluded that letter with “The truth has been out there all this while” meaning the Chinese Malaysian obsession with Chinese vernacular education had its Genesis, not so much in ethnocentric cultural parochialism but more in ensuring good solid educational standards for their children - which is why education has always been 'a central pillar of Chinese culture.'

Yes, UMNO's repetitive nationalistic kicking of the education football had ripped the guts out of our once-famed National education system until Chinese parents have come to see the vernacular education system as the remaining hope for their children. But from there, the Chinese vernacular system has incrementally metamorphosed from a purely issue of 'standards' into one of a cherished cultural identity, given the siege mentality the Chinese community has been indoctrinated with over the last 40 years.

The recent rejection of English as the language for Science and Maths has also been driven by a perception of fear and suspicion that the UMNO-led authority has planned to sabotage the high 'standards' of the Chinese vernacular system, espcially on the teaching of Science and Maths subjects. It doesn't help when virtually everyone knows Science and Maths aren't exactly the ideal correct vehicles for the learning of English language.

Anyway, back to 1987, those Chinese parents wanted some answers from the political parties which claimed to represent them, so I heard from an uncle those Chinese Malaysian pollies including the Dong Jiao Zong decided to get together to talk about a common strategy to overcome the Minister’s policy. They gathered at the Hainanese Association Building, beside the Thian Hou Temple in KL. Some of the speeches were unnecessarily provocative including calling for the sacking of the (then) Education Minister ;-)

The predictable tit for tat reaction from UMNO Youth a la 'keris dripped in Chinese blood' set the scenario for another probable racial riot. The police correctly launched Ops Lallang to neutralize the racially explosive situation, but incorrectly (the usual Malaysian twist) apprehended many opposition and NGO leaders (yes, including the odd UMNO 'dispensibles' for show of fairness) while allowing the principal culprits to remain free. Uncle Lim plus several others including Chandra Muzzafar were taken into custody and locked up for a couple of years.

(Then) PM Dr Mahathir said of the situation, well, words to that effect, that a lesson from Chinese history has been the unacceptability of Chinese (Malaysia) leaders of all political denominations meeting at a Chinese temple. He was obviously informed by his Chinese affairs advisor of the history of Shaolin, that hotbed of Han rebellion against the Manchus. He obviously alluded to the Chinese meeting as another hotbed of Han rebellion against the Manchus Malay (government).

OK, now back to the future, and what we have today is a semblance of another combined political Chinese Malaysian (note: not Chinese Malaysian political …) attack on the Head of the Election Commission Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman because of his boast that he knows when the general election would be held. Er... Gerakan couldn’t be seen anywhere ;-)

Malaysiakini informed us that Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek lambasted Abdul Rashid for daring to
claim he knew when the polls would be held though keeping mum about the date. Chua said it would be only PM AAB who knows.

In fact Chua was so outraged that he publicly called Abdul Rashid 'a liar'.

Hey, Abdul Rashid, how can you take this public insult lying down? Are you going to be just like Suhakam commissioner N Siva Subramaniam, whom DAP MP Teresa Kok has labelled as either completely incompetent or utterly dishonest?

Chua was unrepentant and added: “He (Rashid) is just looking for some exposure. You can write that. I stand by it.”

Meanwhile, as reported by Malaysiakini, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said Abdul Rashid should refrain from ‘teasing’, guess who ;-), the BN leaders like Dr Chua with claims of a definitive polls date.

Lim twisted the knife in deeper by saying: “(Instead) Rashid would have done a greater service to the nation and greater justice to his job as EC chief to put in place an electoral system which is clean, free and fair.”

Lim wants to see such measures as ‘cleaning up’ the electoral roll, ensuring a strict level-playing field for candidates and fair media coverage’.

Then Uncle Lim explained why Dr Chua was so pissed off and driven into hurling a humongous public insult at the EC Commissioner. Uncle Lim said Rashid’s comments have caught the MCA off-guard and exposing them as even unable to tell their supporters when the next general election would be held, while a ‘lowly government functionary’ like Rashid knew.

Lim said: “It must be a tremendous loss of face for MCA leaders to be caught on the wrong footing.”

I wonder whether Uncle Lim was adding salt to the MCA injury when he glibly commented that a ‘lowly government functionary’ like Rashid would be privy to such important information while MCA ministers were left in the dark.

By the way, Uncle Lim’s ‘salt’ was a double-barrelled shot, (1) Abdul Rashid as the so-called independent EC Commissioner was dismissed as a mere ‘lowly government functionary’ while (2) the MCA ministers were left in the dark - adoi and adoi again ;-)

In most democracies, an EC has the equivalent prestigious status of a Federal judge but in Malaysia, that may not be a desired comparison as our judges are currently in Dodgee Land. But then, our EC is also resident on the 'dark' side of the force.

Unfortunately for Abdul Rashid the PM pulled the rug from under his feet, well 'at least on the surface', saying that the power to dissolve Parliament is exclusively his (AAB’s).

As reported by the Star Online, he said in annoyance: “How would he know? I have yet to dissolve Parliament to pave the way for the elections. It's I who will decide when to have Parliament dissolved.”

But what I suspect is that the PM could have consulted or alerted Abdul Rashid on/to the most suitable date. Now, either Abdul Rashid has been one who couldn’t keep a secret (I doubt that), or it’s all staged by UMNO strategists, meaning ‘hey, pretend to boast and give a misleading date and we’ll do the rest.’

If the second scenario has been the case, it means Abdul Rashid’s allusion to ‘January 2008’ as the likely time for the GE was a piece of disinformation meant for the opposition - which means the actual GE date will be a lot more closer.

Oh, how I love these UMNO manoeuvres. Afterall they have inherited the mastery of court intrigues from the days of Sultan Mansur Shah and Hang Tuah.

But the MCA should take this blabber mouth issue up with PM AAB rather than directly with a mere ‘lowly government functionary’ ........ perhaps to avoid a possible UMNO perception of a combined MCA-DAP attack on Abdul Rashid.

UMNO doesn't like Chinese ganging up to 'test the patience' of a Malay like poor innocent Abdul Rashid. It would smack of seditious Shaolin-ish rebellion which may lead the authorities to
invoke Ops Lallang II ;-)

Related:
(1) Stung by hornet, mute as only MCA can be
(2) SUPP & MCA - Mutes stung by hornets