Archive for August, 2009

Was there a big bull in their protestation?

So the Section 23 residents action committee chairperson Mahyuddin Manaf, who actively participated in yesterday’s protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple, insisted that the appearance of the severed cow’s head during the demonstration was a ‘mystery’.

Not only that. He also stressed that “the protest was not intended to stoke racial tension”.

To be sure, this was said after he earlier “warned that the state government must give in or the residents would retaliate”.

“We will not budge one inch, even if lives are lost or blood is made to flow. We will still defend Section 23 from having a temple built there,” he said.

The protest apparently became so unruly that the Shah Alam police dared not move in so as not to “spark more anger”.

Was there a big bull lurking in their midst?

Of Dr M, justice and the law

When commenting on the Syariah Court’s decision to sentence 32-year-old model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to six strokes of the cane for having drunk beer, former premier Mahathir Mohamed rightly reminded Malaysians, particularly Muslims, that there are 43 verses in the Qur’an which stress on the importance of being just when meting out punishment.

He went on to say that “Islam propagates justness of the highest order”. So far so good.

But not far enough. Apart from showing due concern for cases like Kartika’s, Mahathir should also have wondered aloud whether the draconian ISA, which permits detention without trial, goes against the teachings of Islam that, to reiterate, “propagates justness of the highest order”.

For those who forget easily, Mahathir himself had used this very unjust law during his premiership against some people. We are reminded here in particular of the political crackdown codenamed ‘Operasi Lalang’ in 1987. 

This explains why to this day Malaysians have continuously called for the repeal of this obnoxious law, which, I am sure, is against the teachings of other religions as well.

Salam Ramadan

Wishing fellow Muslims a blessed month of Ramadan.

This is the month of fasting, self-discipline, self-purification and patience for the faithful.

Equally important, this is also the month in which one offers prayers more than usual and commits oneself to all that is good and rejects all that is evil and bad, which includes defamation. Of course, this doesn’t mean that evil acts such as defamation are permissible in other months of the Islamic calendar.

Parking tickets: we can work it out?

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin likened the disbarment by Malaysia’s Bar Council of lawyer Rohaizat Othman, BN’s Permatang Pasir by-election candidate, to getting parking tickets.

According to The Malaysian Insider

Rohaizat had been disbarred last year after he was found guilty by the Bar Council’s disciplinary committee of misconduct by failing to return RM161,000 belonging to his client, the Penang Rubber Smallholders’ Cooperative.

The Bar Council also clarified that Rohaizat had been found guilty of personal misconduct and had lost his appeal against the decision in the High Court last Wednesday, five days before Umno nominated him for the by-election.

Are we to conclude that such misconduct is something to be taken rather lightly?

Or is this something that they all could ‘work out’? But today’s ‘revelation’ of Yusri Isahak, Rohaizat’s former business partner, may make such an endeavour problematic.

The first cut of 15Malaysia

This film, called ‘Potong Saga’, is the first of the 15 short films released for public viewing. Check this out.

Who’s who in Malaysian politics?

Within a span of two days Malaysians have been given an impression that there’s something really amiss in the world of Malaysian journalism.

Today, The Malaysian Insider reported about a RTM reporter who was, and still is, not well acquainted with Malaysian politics. This rookie was sent to cover a politically important event on Feb. 6 this year, i.e. a press conference held by DAP politician Karpal Singh, who is now accused of having committed sedition.

General knowledge, it seems, is not within the grasp of certain members of the journalistic fraternity. Hopefully this revelation does not cause ‘ultra vires’, or rather insult, to this group of professionals.

Guess what’s the reason for the rising crime rate?

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has just offered the reason why crime rate in the country has increased.

The Star quoted him as saying that “More street protests may result in more crimes because there will be fewer police to combat crime as thousands of them would have to be deployed to handle the demonstrations.”

Simply put, more street protests = more crimes.

Go figure this out.

I don’t know much (but I am still a journalist)

A revelation in a Kuala Lumpur High Court today pertaining to a case in which lawyer-politician Karpal Singh was accused of committing sedition must have raised more than a few eyebrows.

It appears that the Utusan Malaysia journalist concerned was clueless about many things, including English language.

Check this out and here too.  

The race of Sedition

(Photo courtesy of

Prime Minister Najib Razak warned of stern legal action to be taken against anyone who causes ethnic unrest or tension in the country.

Perhaps Najib may want to start the ball rolling by first reading the past issues of certain newspapers that have been accused of being racist and seditious by some quarters in our society.

For the uninitiated, ‘race’ (and religion) is exploited in Malaysia to the hilt for short-term political gains by unscrupulous politicians and other individuals, especially those from ethnic-based political parties that survive on somewhat Jurassic political strategy of evoking narrow ethnic sentiments.

Blocking the Malaysian blogosphere

So it looks like Malaysia is about to tread the path taken by China, a country where freedom of expression and dissent are frowned upon, if not criminalised.

According to Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider, the government plans to filter websites that are ‘undesirable’. Malaysians, particularly those who are concerned about democracy and civil liberties, would find it extremely difficult to believe that the present government has some degree of appreciation for freedom of information, media freedom and freedom of expression if this censorship plan were to materialise.

And this plan would certainly fly in the face of Mahathir Mohamad whose previous administration had given the guarantee in 1996 that there would not be censorship of the Internet — as a way of attracting foreign investments to the much touted project of his, Multimedia Super Corridor.  

What has triggered the government to take this path? There are a number of possible reasons, one of which is that there is much dissent expressed within Malaysia’s blogging community to the extent that it causes political embarassment and, to a certain degree, electoral losses to the government. In other words, the ruling coalition’s political hegemony is being undermined.

Another is that views and news found in the virtual world make much of the mainstream media, which are closely aligned to the government, look silly, if not incredible, as they often resort to the distortion of social reality.

This tendency of not listening to criticisms, dissent and truth would only bring about an increasing rate of disconnect between the government and the rakyat, which can be politically unhealthy in the long run. 

The upshot of all this is that Malaysia’s democratic space will obviously be further constrained.

August 2009

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