Friday 31 October 2008

Malays Who Oppose Low Siew Moi as Head of PKNS: They Can NEVER be True Muslims in Presence of ALLAH

Read here article by Dr Farish Noor, "Race and Islam" on The Other Malaysia website

RACE and ISLAM

by

Dr. Farish Noor


Quote:

"... The success of ISLAM and the success of MUSLIMS are two entirely different things.

The victory of ISLAM has to be understood as the victory of universal values such as egalitarianism and equality before God.

The victory of MUSLIMS, on the other hand, may at times be understood as POLITICAL victories that may or may not conform to the standards of Islamic ethics.

When Muslims openly and abrasively demand special rights and privileges for themselves at the cost of equality and meritocracy: Is this really a victory for ISLAM?

Those who have criticised and opposed the appointment of Low Siew Moi as the head of PKNS on the grounds that the job should have been given to a Malay-Muslim instead should therefore look closely at themselves and ask: What is it that you are fighting for? Malay-Muslim dominance OR a better form of governance that is based on merit and equality?

The Islamic scholar will remind you that the latter is Islamic, while the former is not.

(Yet) among those who objected to the appointment of Low Siew Moi were some members of the PAS.

To quote Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, spiritual leader of PAS: 'Tell me, what race was Adam?’.
-Dr. Farish Noor


Excerpts: Read here for more

".... After more than fourteen centuries, there remain some people who claim to be Muslims but who still have not internalised the universal values of Islam.

Odder still, that there remain those who, on the one hand can embrace Islam’s universal claim of brotherhood (and sisterhood), but still cannot get around to understanding the simple idea that Islam and racism do NOT mix.

When it comes to governance and politics, some Muslims still place blood and race above competency and merit till today. Despite their profession of faith they remain embedded in the stagnant mode of racialised thinking that operates on the basis that some races are better than others.

One such case has popped up recently in multi-culti Malaysia, where a row was sparked off by the nomination of a Chinese woman – Low Siew Moi – as the head of a state institution linked to the economic management and development of the state of Selangor, the PKNS.

Despite the fact that Low Siew Moi was selected by the Chief Minister of the state, Tan Sri Khalid, on the basis of merit; some quarters chose to publicly disagree with her appointment on the grounds that the Malay-Muslims of the state would object to the appointment.

But objection on what grounds? On the basis that she is a Chinese woman?

Here the already convoluted waters of Malaysia’s racialised politics turns a shade murkier;

For among those who OBJECTED to the appointment of Low Siew Moi were some members of the Malaysian Islamic party, PAS.
Malaysia’s politics has been defined by racial concerns and the communitarian demands of the various religious and ethnic groups of the country since its independence in 1957.

Over the past three decades, however, the tone and tenor of the country’s conservative, right-wing ethno-nationalist politics was further coloured by the Islamisation race in the country with the Malaysian government attempting to further inculcate Islamic values into the norms of governance in Malaysia as well.

Ironically however, Malaysia’s Islamisation programme seems to be more concerned with book-banning, fatwas on social behaviour (including the recent revelation that there may be a fatwa on Yoga soon, wait for it), and moral policing instead.

  • Where, the Islamic scholar may ask, were the UNIVERSAL values of Islam in the midst of all this social engineering?

  • Did the leaders of Malaysia not realise, or forget, the simple idea that Islam is an egalitarian faith that is colour-blind; and that the concept of ‘RACE ’ is an ALIEN idea in Islam?

The dilemma that Malaysia is facing now is the same dilemma faced by many other Muslim societies where the defence and promotion of Islam often goes hand-in-hand with the defence and promotion of the communitarian interests of Muslims.

In Malaysia’s case, where Muslims are overwhelmingly Malay, then this also translates as the defence of MALAY interests – to the extent of propagating the ethno-nationalist idea of Malay cultural dominance as well.

Now what on earth is Islamic about this?

Here is where orthodox Muslim scholarship has to come in and make its timely intervention:

... The success of Islam and the success of Muslims are two entirely DIFFERENT things, that may also clash and negate each other at times.

The victory of Islam, so to speak, has to be understood as the victory of universal values such as egalitarianism and equality before God.

The victory of MUSLIMS, on the other hand, may at times be understood as political victories that may or may not conform to the standards of Islamic ethics.

When Muslims openly and abrasively demand special rights and privileges for themselves at the cost of equality and meritocracy, is this really a victory for Islam?

Those who have criticised and opposed the appointment of Low Siew Moi as the head of PKNS on the grounds that the job should have been given to a Malay-Muslim instead should therefore look closely at themselves and ask:

What is it that you are fighting for?

Malay-Muslim DOMINANCE OR a BETTER form of governance that is based on merit and equality?

The Islamic scholar will remind you that the latter is Islamic, while the former is NOT (Islamic).

In any case, for Muslims to even think in racialised communitarian terms is a misnomer of sorts as such modes of communitarian, sectarian thinking has no real place in Islamic orthodoxy and ethics.

To quote Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, spiritual leader of the Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: ‘tell me, what race was Adam?’.

‘Nuff said I think.


RELATED ARTICLE

Perkauman... Sampai Bilakan Berakahir...

Read here in Tranungkite Online or Here (Bekerja Untuk Islam blog)

by

"Attakiri"

Selesai sahaja PRU12, isu perkauman seakan-akan diletupkan kembali.

Bermula dengan:

  • demontrasi bangsa melayu kononnya di Pulau Pinang bagi menentang pemansuhan DEB,

  • kenyataan MB Selangor dalam isu quota UiTM yang dilihat seolah-olah meminggirkan bangsa Melayu,

  • kenyataan Ketua UMNO bahagian Bukit Bendera, Pulau Pinang seakan-akan meletakkan bangsa Tiong Hua sebagai kelas kedua,

  • kenyataan dan kelakuan YB Teresa Kok yang dimanipulasikan oleh Ketua Pembangkan DUN selangor YB Dr. Khir Toyo dan

  • banyak lagi isu-isu berbau perkauman yang melanda negara Malaysia hari ini.

Persoalannya, kenapa isu perkauman begitu digemparkan samada pemerintah atau pembangkang.?

Apakah isu ini diketengahkan bagi menutup segala kegagalan pemerintah dalam mentadbir atau untuk membela bangsa melayu.?

Bagi penulis, timbulnya isu perkauman ini disebabkan UMNO yang gagal membela hak rakyat.

Kezaliman UMNO bukan kepada perobohan Masjid dan Surau, bahkan Kuil pun dirobohkan. ISA bukan sekadar menahan penceramah dan aktivis PAS. Bahkan pemimpin DAP pun terkena ISA ini.

Islam telah mengajar umatnya bagaimana untuk mengatasi masalah perkauman.

Bangsa arab sebelum kedatangan Nabi SAW merupakan bangsa yang paling banyak kafilah, ini tidak termasuk golongan yahudi dan kristian. Aus dan Khazraj antara kafilah yang tidak pernah berdamai hampir ratusan tahun.

Tetapi semua ini dapat diatasi dengan ISLAM.

Islam berjaya membina negara dalam masyarakat majmuk. Lebih majmuk dari masyarakat Malaysia pada hari ini. ketika Islam masuk ke Kota Madinah, tidak kedengaran pula timbul perbalahan kaum. Yang timbul ialah perdamaian antara Aus dan Khazraj, yang timbul ialah persetujuan Yahudi terhadap Piagam (perlembagaan) Madinah.

Selepas Makkah di buka, bangsa Quraisy tidak pernah memberontak dan menentang, walaupun pemerintah selepas itu bukan dari golongan Quraisy seperti Saidina Umar Al-Khattab RA

Walaupun Islam berjaya menguasai 2/3 dunia. Tidak pernah timbul berlaku pemberontakan akibat perbalahan kaum. Yang kedengaran hanya pemberontakan untuk menentang khalifah yang kelihatan zalim di mata sesetengah pihak.

Keadaan di Malaysia berlaku sebaliknya.

Cukuplah dengan 13 mei menjadi pengajaran kepada rakyat Malaysia.

Sepatutnya sejarah 13 Mei dipaparkan dengan mengetengahkan kehebatan PAS dalam menangani isu perkauman sehingga TIDAK merebak ke Kelantan. Hebatnya PAS ketika itu hanya kerana ISLAM.

Islam telah menafikan perkauman yang sempit dan diganti dengan keadilan Islam yang terlampu luas.

Islam tidak pernah menafikan keistimewaan kaum di tempat mereka. Contohnya apabila saidina Umar tidak membenarkan pembelian tanah di parsi oleh tentera Muslimin kerana menjaga hak rakyat parsi daripada tergadai di bumi sendiri.

Islam juga tidak pernah mengzalimi golongan Non Muslim yang sanggup mengakui sistem pemerintahan Islam. Sehingga Nabi memberi amaran supaya golongan Non Muslim tidak disakiti dan dianiaya.

Tuan Guru Presiden PAS pernah menyebut bahawa perkauman ini mula diasaskan oleh penjajah. Penjajah yang sengaja meletakkan bangsa India di estet, bangsa cina di bandar, bangsa Melayu dipedalaman adalah untuk melahirkan satu jurang antara mereka.

Sebab itulah di awal merdeka, bangsa Cina dilihat seolah-olah menguasai ekonomi tanah melayu ketika itu, bangsa Melayu sebagai pemilik asal negeri terpinggir di ceruk kampung.

Oleh kerana itu, timbul perasaan tidak puas hari dikalangan bangsa melayu terhadap apa yang berlaku.

Isu ekuiti 30 peratus untuk bumiputera jangan dipandang secara negatif. Keistimewaan ini bukan bermaksud untuk menzalimi bangsa lain. Tetapi lebih untuk menaikkan taraf bangsa melayu agat tidak terpinggir di negara sendiri.

Dalam masa yang sama, kerajaan juga mesti bertanggungjawab menaikkan taraf hidup bangsa Cina dan India agar tidak terus berada dalam kelompok kemiskinan tegar.

Kerajaan PAKATAN RAKYAT Selangor contohnya mula mempekenalkan program modul Insan yang melibatkan semua bangsa. Sehingga ada seorang india mengakui selepas mengikuti program modul Insan SPIES (penulis akan menulis tentang konsep ini secara detail nanti) bahawa sekarang ini barulah dia merasa bahawa dia adalah seorang rakyat selangor (kerana diraikan bersama-sama). Begitu isu sign board dan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa rasmi.

  1. Hentikan polemik sempit ini. Biarkan bahasa Melayu menjadi bahasa rasmi kerana ini sebagai identiti negara Malaysia. Kalau negara Cina berbangga dengan bahasa mereka, Negara India berbangga dengan Bahasa mereka. Malaysia juga perlu berbangga kerana mempunyai bahasa tersendiri yang unik.

  2. Hentikan polemik perkauman yang sempit dan tidak berkesudahan ini, Yang penting hapuskan kezaliman yang telah dilakukan oleh UMNO sejak 50 tahun memerintah.

  3. Perkauman ini sebenarnya telah bermula ketika british menjajah dan diteruskan oleh UMNO/BN. Buktinya ialah kewujudnya parti yang mewakili bangsa.

Cukuplah….. hanya Islam yang mampu mengembalikan keamanan manusia sejagat.


The Total Failure of KETUANAN MELAYU

Read here in Malaysiakini

The ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ model has failed, declared former law minister Zaid Ibrahim in an incisive speech at the LawAsia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

It has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country,” said Zaid, who criticised the race-based policy despite being a member of the ruling Umno party which was set up to safeguard Malay interests.

Zaid also noted that ‘deputy premier in waiting' Muhyiddin Yassin had suggested the need for a closed-door forum for leaders of the Barisan Nasional to develop a common stand, a renewed national consensus grounded on the social contract.

"This is positive step but it should include all political leaders and be premised on the social contract that was the foundation of independence," said the lawyer by training who was made senator and subsequently minister entrusted with the task of reforming the judiciary by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi following the March 8 elections.

He quit last month in protest against the arrest of three individuals under the Internal Security Act, which provides for detention without trial.

Zaid said March 8 was a clear indicator that the ruling BN coalition NO longer exclusively speaks for the people.

He also underscored the importance of promoting discourse and dialogue so that Malaysians learn to talk and to listen to one another again. “Communication and trust amongst the people must be re-established,” he urged.

The former minister called on the BN government to abandon its ‘reworked' concept of the social contract and embrace a fresh perspective borne out of discussions and agreements made in good faith with all the communities in this country.

"It is time for us all to practice a more transparent and egalitarian form of democracy and to recognise and respect the rights and dignity of all the citizens of this country."

Singling out Mukhriz Mahathir for criticism, Zaid said the Umno Youth chief aspirant typifies what is perceived as the kind of Umno leader who appeals to the right-wing of Malay polity.

Zaid also referred to the recent remarks made by the son of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad that there was no need for law and judicial reforms as it would not benefit the Malays,
"That he may be right is sad as it leads to the ossification of values that will only work against the interests of the party and the nation," Zaid lamented in his 16-page speech.

"This type of thinking may pave the way to a suggestion in the future that we may as well do away with general elections altogether as they may not be good for the Malays for if the justice that a revitalised rule of law would allow for is not to the benefit of the Malays, what is? More inefficiency, more corruption and a more authoritarian style of government perhaps.

"We are a deeply divided nation, adrift for our having abandoned democratic traditions and the rule of law in favour of a political ideology that serves no one save those who rule,"
he added.

According to Zaid, the obsession with the Ketuanan Melayu doctrine has destroyed something precious in Malaysians.

"It makes us lose our sense of balance and fairness. When a certain Chinese lady was appointed head of a state development corporation, having served in that corporation for 33 years, there were protests from Malay groups because she is Chinese,” he said referring to controversy involving the appointment of Low Siew Moi as acting head of the Selangor Development Cooperation (PKNS).

"A new economic vision is necessary, one that is more forward looking in outlook and guided by positive values that would serve to enhance cooperation amongst the races. This will encourage change for the better, to develop new forms of behaviour and shifts of attitudes, to believe that only economic growth will serve social equity, to aspire to a higher standard of living for all regardless of race.

"We need to meaningfully acknowledge that wealth is based on insight, sophisticated human capital and attitude change. A new dynamics focused on cooperation and competition will spur innovation and creativity.

"Some might say that this is a fantasy. I disagree. How do we go about transforming the culture and values of the bumiputeras so that their ability to create new economic wealth can be sustained?

“By changing our political and legal landscapes with freedom and democracy."


On that note, Zaid said Mahathir was right to ask the Malays to embrace modernity but the 82-year-old statesman fell short by only focusing on the physical aspects of modernity.

"He was mistaken to think all that was needed to change the Malay mindset was science and technology. He should have also promoted the values of freedom, human rights and the respect of the law.

"If affirmative action is truly benchmarked on the equitable sharing of wealth that is sustainable, then we must confront the truth and change our political paradigm, 40 years of discrimination and subsidy have not brought us closer. There is a huge economic dimension to the rule of law and democracy that this government must learn to appreciate."


The former law minister conceded that relationship between Islam, the state, law and politics in Malaysia are complex.

"How do we manage legal pluralism in Malaysia? Can a cohesive united Bangsa Malaysia be built on a bifurcated foundation of syariah and secular principles? Will non-Muslims have a say on the operation of Islamic law when it affects the general character and experience of the nation? This is a difficult challenge and the solution has to be found."

Zaid quoted leading Muslim legal scholar Abdullah Ahmad an- Na'im who believed that a distinction should be made between state and politics.

Abdullah Ahmad, he added, believes that Islam can be the mediating instrument between state and politics through the principles and institutions of constitutionalism and the protection of equal human rights of all citizens.

"Whatever the formula, we can only devise a system that rejects absolutism and tyranny and allows for freedom and plurality if we are able to first agree that discourse and dialogue is vital. Democracy and respect for the rights and dignity of all Malaysians is the prerequisite to this approach."

Zaid stressed that the conflicts of jurisdiction in Malaysia requires resolution.

The civil courts, he said, are “denuded of jurisdiction” to deal with matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts.

"No court has been given the jurisdiction and power to resolve issues that may arise in both the syariah courts and the civil courts. The present separation of jurisdictions presupposes that matters will fall nicely into one jurisdiction or the other.

"However, human affairs are never that neat. What happens to the children of a marriage where one party converts to Islam and the other party seeks recourse in the civil court? Or when the syariah court pronounces that a deceased person was a Muslim despite his family contesting the conversion?

"Or where the receiver of a company is restrained from dealing with a property by a syariah court order arising out of a family dispute?

"Where do the aggrieved parties go? I had suggested the establishment of the constitutional court, but that plea has fallen on deaf ears."


The former minister had also touched on the use of draconian measures, which according to him had seen a marked increase in dealing with political and social tensions.

"Some people say that groups such as Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) advocate violence and therefore justifies the use of such measures. They may have overlooked the fact that violence begets violence.

"Was not the detention of Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act itself an act of aggression, especially to people who consider themselves marginalised and without recourse?

"It is time that the people running this country realise that we will not be able to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully if we ourselves do not value peaceful means in dealing with problems."


Zaid argued that the situation had been aggravated by the absence of an even-handed approach in dealing with organisations such as Hindraf.

"While I applaud the prime minister for calling upon the Indian community to reject extremism, should not a similar call be made on the Malay community and (Malay daily) Utusan Malaysia?

"I call on the prime minister, both the outgoing and the incoming, to deal with such issues fairly. Start by releasing the Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA. The release would create a window for constructive dialogue on underlying causes of resentment.


"I also appeal for the release of (Malaysia Today editor) Raja Petra (Kamarudin) from his ISA detention. He is a champion of free speech. His writings, no matter how offensive they may be to some, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen as a threat to the national security of this country."

The Malays, Zaid said, are now a clear majority in numbers and the fear of their being out numbered is baseless.

"They are NOT under seige. The institutions of government are such that the Malays are effectively represented, and there is no way the interest of the Malays can be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly."

Thursday 30 October 2008

A PKR MP Who Answers ONLY to ALLAH, and is Not Accountable to His Voters

Read here for more on Niamah Blog


QUOTE


"...I am actually fighting for Islam.

I do NOT care about what other people think of me because I will have to answer to Allah."
-Zulkifli Noordin,
PKR MP (Kulim-Bandar Baharu)/Lawyer



A Religious Psychotic




Excerpts: Read here for more

There is a new challenger for the Parliamentary Comedian/Moron of the Year title. This guy is to my mind the most idiotic of the lot.

I mean we've all heard of the saying that somebody is "jumping on the bandwagon" but to jump on the wagon using the name of God is a dastardly act.

Pakatan Rakyat MP Zulkifli Nordin (Kulim-Bandar Baharu) is using the RELIGION ramp to aid his jump on the bandwagon. The easy way out for a politician with nothing else to offer. Say he is defending God's will.

This fella is the one who led an illegal, unruly mob that stormed the presmises of the Bar Council recently to protest a peaceful, private forum. That time he dressed up as the super-religious hero, Pembela Exco Member Man (Pembela = Lawyers in Defence of Islam)

Listen to his rants this time...
"It insults Islam when parties go to court insisting they have the right to use the world Allah like Muslims do...".
This is in reference to the ongoing case where local Catholic weekly The Herald is attempting to get a court order to allow it to use the word Allah.

Hello, Allah is the name of God and unless the Herald was being insulting to the name of God who are you to say anything? When did Allah give YOU sole performing rights to His name?

This self-serving, racist idiot goes on to make a condescending statement suggesting that a mosque be built for Chinese Muslims and that the old Pudu Prison be the site.

First of all, moron, if we follow your line of reasoning all Chinese Muslims should rise up in arms that you suggest using an abandoned PRISON as their place to worship the same God you do?

And secondly, are you now telling us that there are and will always be Malay Muslims and Chinese Muslims and Indian Muslims???

He suggested certain articles in the Federal Constitution be amended "so that Islam is not challenged by irresponsible parties." I can't agree with you more, Encik Zulkifli.

There should be laws to prevent morons like YOU from using using the name of God in vain.
As with all politicians, this idiot doesn't know when to stop. He added that,
"...There are those that speak as if I am supporting another party but I am actually fighting for Islam. I do NOT care about what other people think of me because I will have to answer to Allah."
If that is true, Zulkifli, I will stand in line for a ticket to Hell to hear your answer to Allah and what HE will say to you on Judgement Day.

A New Dawn for The Maldives: A Political Prisoner Defeated a 30-year Dictatorial Rule of President Gayoom

Read here article by Jeremy Page in Times-Online UK




After 30 years as the undisputed President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Asia's longest-serving ruler was ousted yesterday by a former political prisoner, Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed, in the country's first democratic elections.

Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, won 54 per cent of the vote to 46 per cent for President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, according to the Election Commission.

Hundreds of Mr Nasheed's supporters danced and cheered and honked car horns in the streets of the congested capital, Malé, to celebrate the dawn of a new era in the Indian Ocean archipelago.

We've been waiting so long for this,” said Aishath Abbas, 28, a student. “It feels like a new world.”

Mr Nasheed, 41, held talks with Mr Gayoom, 71, and then addressed the tiny nation of 370,000 people, who are mostly Sunni Muslims and are spread across nearly 1,200 islands.

I don't think we should go for a witch hunt,” Mr Nasheed said in a joint press conference with his former rival and one-time jailer, whom he has accused of having him tortured repeatedly in custody. “That will not happen because it will not help democracy.”

He reassured voters and the international community that he planned to push forward with democratic reforms, including greater media freedom, before holding parliamentary elections, which are due by February. He also promised to tackle the issues of rising sea levels, a heroin crisis and the potential impact of the global financial meltdown.

The election was regarded largely as a referendum on Mr Gayoom, who had won six polls since 1978 as the only candidate on the ballot, before pro-democracy protests forced him to lift a ban on political parties in 2006.

Mr Gayoom's supporters say he has transformed the Maldives into South Asia's richest country per capita — based on luxury resorts that can charge international tourists as much as $15,000 (£8,700) for a room — and engineered a peaceful transition to democratic rule.

Mr. Gayoom's opponents brand him a latter-day sultan who has pocketed tens of millions of pounds in tourist revenue and tsunami aid, and who rivalled Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe, in his determination to cling to power.

Yesterday, however, the outgoing President appeared to be gracious in defeat as he heralded “the introduction of a new age of democracy”. “ Mr. Gayoom said in a speech broadcast live:

I don't like being beaten in sports. I don't like being beaten in politics. But it is a fact of life that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

In that spirit, I accept this verdict of the people. I am declaring my full support to him. In this change we are approaching, I assure you we will make this a peaceful process.

My prayer is that God gives prosperity to the Maldives and shows us peaceful and affluent days.”

Mr Nasheed is expected to be sworn in on November 11, 30 years to the day after Mr Gayoom took office in 1978.

Educated in Sri Lanka and Britain, Mr Nasheed spent six years in jail for opposing Mr Gayoom's rule before being granted political asylum in Britain in 2004.

He returned to the islands to found the Maldivian Democratic Party after Mr Gayoom allowed political parties to be formed for the first time.

The Maldives (read here for more)
The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls stretching south of India's Lakshadweep islands between the Minicoy and the Chargos archipelagoes, and about seven hundred kilometres (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka in the Laccadive Sea of Indian Ocean.

The twenty-six atolls of Maldives encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, two hundred and fifty islands of which are inhabited.

The inhabitants were Buddhist, probably since Ashoka's period, in the 3rd century BC and possibly Hindu before that.

Islam was introduced in 1153. The Maldives then came under the influence of the Portuguese (1558) and the Dutch (1654) seaborne empires. In 1887 it became a British protectorate. In 1965, the Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic.

The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of both population and area.

It is the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world. It is also the country with the lowest highest point in the world.

RELATED ARTICLE

Editorial, The Guardian UK

In praise of... Mohamed 'Anni' Nasheed

It sounds too good to be true.

A human rights campaigner, who bears the injuries of the torture he received in jail, topples Asia's longest-serving despot in a democratic election.

But it has just happened in the tropical Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives.

The election of Mohamed "Anni" Nasheed, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, had people dancing in the streets of the island's capital, Malé, yesterday. The president-elect said he would not pursue criminal charges against Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the strongman he defeated, but would instead arrange a pension and security for him.

This is a good start, but the charismatic former opposition leader will soon face other tests. The five opposition parties that Nasheed united includes everyone from democrats to conservative Islamic parties, and unity will be difficult to maintain as elections approach for a new parliament in March.

Nasheed campaigned for a stronger parliament with the ability to check presidential powers and block appointments to the cabinet.

As president, it will be up to him to make this system work. Autocracy brought wealth to the atolls but also glaring inequalities.

Nearly a third of children are malnourished and the archipelago has a big drug problem. It also faces rising sea levels. The IMF is urging a cut in public spending and Nasheed inherits an economy which earns 28% of its income from tourism, a sure casualty of the global downturn.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid is Still Carrying UMNO's Racist-Baggage into Pakatan Rakyat Government

UPDATE: 29 October 2008

Read here in Malaysiakini

PKNS Staff Should NOT Interfere MB's Prerogative

"Staff at the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) should respect the menteri besar's prerogative in appointing a non-Malay to head the state agency, said DAP vice-chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim."I hope the menteri besar's decision is respected by all and the PKNS staff will focus on doing their work professionally instead of questioning the prerogative of the state government to appoint the most suitable person for the post," he said in a statement today.Read here for more

Read here article in People's Parliament by Haris Ibrahim

Is Pakatan Rakyat perpetuating race-based politics and governance?

by

Haris Ibrahim

Excerpts: Read here for more

The People’s Voice & The People’s Declaration is the document endorsed by, amongst others, DAP, PKR and PAS in February this year, just before the 12th GE.

An excerpt (from the document )states:
…And we, the rakyat of Malaysia of all races and of various faiths, now declare that we REJECT raced-based systems of governance of the country in favour of non race-based, integrated systems of governance…
The rejection of race-based governance was the most important of all the aspirations spelt out in The People’s Voice & The People’s Declaration.

It was therefore with a great deal of frustration that we watched the Pakatan people in Penang, Perak and Selangor (in) trying to form the state government in each state, trying to find a formula that would keep ‘all the races’ happy.

  1. Hadn’t these parties just agreed with us that race-based politics was to be consigned to the bin?

  2. Shouldn’t we be focussed on getting the best man or woman for the job?

  3. Is not meritocracy supposed to now be the order of the day, at least in the Pakatan states?

The Appointment of Acting GM of PKNS

Why is Selangor(State Government) appointing Current Finance and Corporate deputy general manager Low Siew Moi, as acting GM of PKNS "until the state could source for a bumiputra person with high calibre and ethics and someone who is committed to lead the state’s business arm" - Star online.

Is it not enough that the individual is a person "with high calibre and ethics and someone who is committed to lead the state’s business arm"? Malaysiakini reports today that 6 staff bodies of PKNS have OBJECTED to the appointment of Low on the grounds that she is CHINESE.

The Malaysiakini report has it that: In their joint memorandum dated Oct 25 to Khalid, the (PKNS) staff associations said: " PKNS was established for Malays and to fulfill the Malay agenda. Because of this, the organisation needs to be led by a Malay.”

The memorandum stated that, as PKNS conducts activities that are spiritual in nature, its leader must understand and practice Islamic values. "In other words, the one who will become the general manager will be the ‘imam’ for all the staff," the signatories said.

PKNS conducts activities that are SPIRITUAL in nature? Bullshit!

In an updated Star online report today reporting on the same matter, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid is reported to have said that:

"...efforts had been made to find such a successor from within PKNS but there was a conflict of interests where a group of senior officers had been found to be holding 30% shares in PKNS Infra Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of PKNS".
This is spiritual??

What I also found troubling in this report was the following statement by Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid :

PKNS is supposed to uplift the Malays by providing them with business opportunities but checks showed that 75% of the projects in the past were awarded directly or indirectly to non-bumiputra firms.”
A quick check on the PKNS website will reveal the following mission statement :

Untuk merealisasikan wawasan ini, PKNS sentiasa menggalak dan mengamalkan nilai-nilai murni, tradisi keilmuan, penguasaan teknologi seiring dengan usaha untuk terus meningkatkan pegangan harta yang teguh, berpandangan jauh serta menggalakkan inovasi di samping terus menerajui dan meneroka pembangunan yang mewujudkan peluang-peluang untuk memenuhi keperluan rakyat dan aspirasi negara.


So where does (Selangor MB) Tan Sri Khalid get this crap about PKNS being supposed to uplift the Malays?

Should it not be uplifting ALL people in Selangor?

Did not Anwar say that PKR championed Ketuanan Rakyat?

Good people of Selangor, DON'T take this lying down.

Post 8th March, we resolved that we would NOT take any more crap from the politicians.

The people of Selangor must hold the politicians accountable.

The webpage containing the particulars of all the Selangor State Exco members may be reached by clicking HERE

It is complete with the e-mail addresses of your ADUN who now sit on the Exco.

If this whole episode of appointing a temporary non-bumi whilst looking out for a worthy bumi upsets you as it upsets me, write to your ADUN and complain.

If your ADUN does not sit on the Exco, write to your MB and let him know that you are pissed off.

Send a copy of your e-mail to
mailto:thepeoplesparliament@gmail.comso that the same may be displayed on this blog.
- Haris Ibrahim

Monday 27 October 2008

As Prime Minister, Dr.Mahathir Left Behind His FINEST Legacy

Read here article by Dr. Bakri Musa "A Ruler’s Latest Foibles"

by

Dr. M. Bakri Musa (read here profile)
(Dr. Bakri Musa is a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. His family roots are from Sri Menanti, N. Sembilan)

Excerpts: Read here for more

One of Dr. Mahathir’s finest legacies (as Prime Minister) is his amending the constitution in 1993 to remove the sultans’ absolute legal immunity. With that, our sultans can now be sued over both civil and criminal matters relating to their personal conduct.

On October 15, 2008, the Special Court unanimously ordered former Yang DiPertuan Agong and current Yang DiPertuan Besar, Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja’afar, to re-pay the US$1mil (RM3.5mil) loan to Standard Chartered Bank.

The Court also dismissed with costs a counter-suit filed by the former King seeking for a declaration that the bank was not entitled in law to uplift his fixed deposit in settlement of any liability arising from the loan.

(The Special Court) comprised of Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who sat with Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Justice Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Justices Ariffin Zakaria and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin. The proceedings of the Special Court, unlike that of the regular courts, are not open. We have to wait for the judgment to be delivered to get the material facts of the case.

Justice Abdul Hamid read out the 32-page judgment over the two suits on his last day sitting on the Bench as the top judge of the country.

If not for the Constutional amendment (driven by Dr Mahathir in 1993), Standard Chartered would have to swallow its bad debts to the ruler, just like other lenders had pre-1993.

Of course the bank would not have made that loan then; its loan officers would not jeopardize their careers, unless of course the bank is one of those GLCs where normal prudent lending practices do not apply, especially when the beneficiaries are “big shots.”

The mistake the ruler made here is in borrowing from a “real” bank, a multinational outfit where its officers are true professionals who put their banking reputation ahead of the prestige of some Third World royal potentate.

There was a time however when these foreign banks were not above bribing local chieftains, but enlightened legislations back in their home country put an end to that. Foreign especially Western bankers are now liable for criminal prosecution back home if they were to engage in such activities abroad.

It is to be noted that during pre-amendment times, local bankers and businessmen willingly extended credit to our sultans fully aware that these lenders would have no recourse should our sultans renege on their promises to repay.

Those lenders were not stupid; they considered those unpaid loans as part of the cost of doing business in the state. Meaning, their other customers would have to bear those costs of unpaid royal loans. Besides, those creditors now sport fancy royal titles; to them those are payments enough. Those loans are nothing more than barely-concealed and very expensive royal bakshis (corruption).

Shad Saleem Faruqi noted in his column(“Test Case On Right To Sue Sultans,” The Star, August 20, 2008), the constitutional amendment is silent with regards to the fate of rulers during the trial or once the verdict is delivered. If convicted on matters criminal, the ruler would have to vacate (abdicate) the throne unless pardoned by his brother rulers.

With matters civil, as with non-repayment of loans, the matter is less clear.

Regardless, it would be a great shame were the Council of Rulers to pardon the Negri ruler for a measly sum of RM 3M. Surely the council would not risk besmirching its dignity by doing that.

Let us hope that their collective judgment is wiser.

The Negri ruler has shown little judgment in risking the dignity of his throne over such a small loan. I do not expect that to change should the judgment be against him. Thus expect even greater assault on the dignity of the throne.

We could thus potentially see the ruler be subjected to bankruptcy proceedings. He would not be the first member of the royal household to be so subjected, but he would be the first ruler. That would be quite a legacy.

Absent a pardon, the country would face the specter of a bankrupt ruler sitting on the throne. Even if the Council of Rulers were to grant a pardon, that would not erase the fact that the ruler was bankrupt, someone who reneged on his promise to repay his loan.

Malay sultans are more than just rulers; they are the head of Islam, Allah’s representative on earth. During khutbas in all the mosques, the sultan is always mentioned and prayers offered for his longevity and wisdom in ruling.

One of the tenets of Islam is that we must be true to our words and contracts. Non-repayment of loans is a breach of that. Specifically in referring to loans, Muslims are advised to settle their debts before the end of Ramadan, so that on Hari Raya day we would start with a fresh slate, clear of debt.

This is a time for our (Negri Sembilan) Undangs to remember why our ancestors in their wisdom chose to name the ruler of our state (Negri Sembilan) not sultan but “Yang Di Pertuan Besar.” Literally it means, “The One We Make Big.” The WE refers to the PEOPLE, as represented by our Undangs.

On a larger scale this is also the title we give the “King” of Malaysia, “Yang Di Pertuan Agong,” meaning, the one WE make supreme.

Mahathir’s 1993 constitutional amendment gives substance to the meaning of the phrase “WE make supreme.”

That amendment also made it possible for Standard Chartered to pursue its current suit against the Negri ruler.
-Dr. M. Bakri Musa

Sunday 26 October 2008

Why the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and Other Idolater Nations Overtook the MUSLIM World?

Read Here

by

Ohmyrus

Related Articles:

Malaysian lawyer/MP Zulkifli Noordin, PKR (Kulim-Bander Baharu) said:

"For me, Islam comes FIRST.... (I am) a Muslim FIRST, a Member of Parliament, SECOND....We Muslims have been tolerant enough all this while,for so many years we have been asked, forced to live under the law that is not Islam. We have been forced.... If you don’t hear from us at 10am, you should all storm the building." Read here for more
- Zulkifli Noordin, Malaysian MP /Lawyer



READ HERE: Why Muslims are POWERLESS and Jews are POWERFUL


Quote:

“The evils which had sapped the nation’s strength had all been wrought in the name of religion.”
-Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
The Founder of Modern Turkey


FUNDAMENTALIST RELIGION AND CHILD ABUSE





MUST WATCH VIDEO CLIPS (Put on your speakers)


VIDEO-1:
Bill Maher and Guests Discuss
RELIGIOUS FANATICISM




VIDEO-2:
Bill Maher and Guests Discuss
RELIGION, POLITICS and NATIONAL SECURITY



Why is it that the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and some other idolater nations have overtaken the Muslim world?

(Former) President Perves Musharaf of Pakistan recently said that Muslims are the most illiterate, unhealthy, poorest of peoples in the world today. He is right and I might add, very few Muslim countries are democracies including his own.

Muslims at one time were the most powerful, richest and advanced people of the world. From them arose four great empires – the Ummayad Empire, the Abassid Empire the Mogul Empire and the Ottoman Turkish Empire.

Their decline can be traced to about 1700 when the west caught up with the Ottoman Empire, the last great Muslim empire.

A number of reasons were advanced for this decline and more recent failures by the Muslims themselves, including the invasion of the Mongols, the crusades, western imperialism and Israel, the perpetual whipping boy.

An idea gaining ground in the Muslim world is that their low estate is due to Muslims turning away from God. The remedy is therefore to become more Islamic.

Islam is a complete way of life as Muslims are fond of saying. Islam tells you how to punish criminals, how many wives you can have and even which hand is assigned for toilet duty. No other religion is so detailed as to what you can or cannot do.

But the rules governing this complete way of life were developed for a 7th century medieval desert society. Some of these rules are no longer applicable for the 21st century.

Let me give you FOUR reasons why Islam impedes progress.

But first, let me say that I am not interested in making a value judgement on what is right or wrong. I believe that religious ideas can have an impact on economic growth.

I am only concerned in assessing the impact of Islam on the economy and society.

  1. Shariah Law and Islamic State

    Imbedded in the Koran is the shariah law.
    This makes it difficult to separate mosque from state.

    A good Muslim desires to follow Mohammed’s teachings to the full and this means that he must desire to live in an Islamic state where the shariah law is enforced.

    Thus in every Muslim country, there exists a group of people who desires to live in an Islamic state. Pakistan tried it when Zia Ul Haq was president. The economy was ruined in the attempt.

    So far, there have been four other attempts at an Islamic state – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan and lately Afghanistan under the Taliban. None of them successfully led their people to sustainable industrialization though oil money in Saudi Arabia and Iran hid their failures.

    To make matters worse, out of the Muslims who desire an Islamic state, a minority is prepared to use violence to achieve it.

    Their reasoning goes something like this:
  2. God’s law is HIGHER than man’s law. Sounds reasonable, right?

    Democracy is man made. Therefore an Islamic state, which is ruled in accordance to God’s law, is SUPERIOR to democracy.

    In fact, democracy is a form of idolatry where you put man above Allah.
    This rejection of democracy not only hinders its establishment in many (fortunately not all) Muslim countries but some Muslims feel perfectly justified in using violence to create an Islamic state. They don’t see the need to let the ballot box decide since God is above any man-ade democracy.

    This is due to the nature of Islam itself where its founder, Prophet Mohammed was also a military commander.

    Thus to a militant Muslim, Al-Qaeda’s attempt to violently create an Islamic state in SE Asia is only doing exactly what Prophet Mohammed did in his lifetime.

    Let me give you a few examples.

      • Surah 8:39 (or thereabouts) says,Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.”

      • Surah 8:12 says, “God revealed his will to the angels, saying: “I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!”

      • Surah 9:39 (or thereabouts) says, “If you do not go to war, He will punish you sternly, and will replace you by other men.”
    If I am not mistaken, Osama bin Laden said this or something very similar in that famous training video that CNN and BBC kept playing many times after September 11.

    While most Muslims are peaceful people who interpret the Koran in a non-violent manner, such verses create the potential for a minority to justify the use of violence for the establishment of an Islamic state.

    For centuries, Muslims have declared jihad (holy war) against the enemies of Islam.

    If they die in a jihad, the reward is paradise filled with fruit trees and the loving company of numerous houris (heavenly virgins) with their “high bosoms”.

    It is somewhat similar to the ancient Viking belief in Valhalla where the brave warriors go to when they die in battle. None of the other major religions in practice today have this concept.

    Even if such people are a small minority, their presence destabilizes countries and frightens away western or Japanese investors.

    Between India and Pakistan, which country do you think is more attractive to an American investor? I think there is no comparison.

    Why go to Pakistan where there are people wanting to kill you? Some of these militants think that the killing of an infidel American or Jew will win them passage to paradise.

    The presence of violent men not only deters foreign investors but also make it impossible to have a functioning democracy.


  3. Suppression of Women

    The second way Islam failed Muslims is by suppressing its women
    . Women are considered inferior to man and in a hadith are described as mentally deficient.

    That is why one male witness is equal to two female witnesses in an Islamic court. Take a look at Surah 4:34 from the Holy Koran which approves of wife beating:

    “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them, forsake them in beds apart and beat them.”
    What is the economic implication of this attitude towards women? Since they are thought of as inferior, there is discrimination in the workplace. Since there is discrimination against women in the work place, parents give a lower priority for their daughter’s education.

    If you go the Middle East, you will find that men dominate the work place. Women are expected to be homemakers.

    Averroes (1126 - 1198) aka Abū 'l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd believed that much of the poverty and distress of his time was due to the fact that women were “kept like domestic animals or house plants for purposes of gratification, instead of being allowed to take part in the production of material and intellectual wealth, and in the preservation of the same.”

    Women who stay at home tend to have more children. They tend to see their children as their security in old age. That is why there is a high birth rate in most of the Islamic world.

    A high birth rate means poverty perpetuating itself, as there are fewer resources to educate everybody. That is why poor third world countries are advised to promote family planning.

    Saudi Arabia’s per capita GDP has declined compared to 20 years ago mainly because its population has grown and its oil revenue has not. It has not succeeded in developing manufacturing export industries like the East Asians have.

    As a result, Saudi Arabia is actually getting poorer-though still rich. Thus, suppressing women not only deprive a nation of half its work force but also increase its birth rate and hence make them poor.

    On the other hand, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, emancipated Turkish women. He banned polygamy, the veil and insisted that women be as well educated as the men.

    He gave them the vote and allowed them to be elected into parliament.

    Today, the most advanced Muslims are the Turks as a result of Ataturk’s reforms of which women’s emancipation was one.

  4. Usury - Lending Money for Interest

    The third teaching of Islam that impeded progress was the prohibition of usurythe lending of money for interest. This helped the west to overtake the Ottoman Turks because the west (initially also prohibited from lending for interest) developed banks earlier.

    Banks encourages savings which are then pooled together to lend to businessmen. Savings can later be tapped to invest in joint stock companies and business ventures. Companies can be larger and more efficient with greater economies of scale.

    Savings and investments together with a debt market promote economic growth. London, Geneva, Amsterdam, Milan, Venice were great financial centers from the days of the Renaissance.

    I believe the Muslims were late to develop the banking/finance industry because of the prohibitions against usury.

    Fortunately, today most Muslims ignore these ancient prohibitions. They borrow money from and deposit money into banks and use credit cards. For the pious, there are the Islamic banks. So this is no longer a problem. But the west had a head start in economic development.

    Islamic banks are not supposed to charge interest, which is forbidden. But they are allowed to make profits. I am told that for the most part, there is nothing essentially different between Islamic banking and the conventional banking.

    Very often, the “profits” they make is fixed and guaranteed. This means that profits are really “interest”. Theoretically, Islamic banks are supposed to share in the profits of the projects they lend to. If it is truly profits, they should earn more in good times and lose money in bad times.

    This is difficult to arrange. If the project is promising, the customer does not want to share in the profits. They prefer to pay a fixed sum for the money advanced to them by the bank. If the project looks dicey, the bank wants to be safe and would ask for a fixed guaranteed return for its money.

    All this goes to show that it is difficult to operate in the modern business world without usury. Islamic banking is thus an exercise in self-delusion.

  5. Stifling Science

    The fourth reason is that Islam stifles Science.
    For Science to flourish, there must great tolerance for new ideas, which is sorely lacking in the Islamic world. Ideas (both scientific and philosophical) need to be freely debated so that good ideas are adopted and bad ones discarded.

    Islam is not the only religion to stifle Science. Just look at what happened to Galileo when he said that the earth revolves around the sun. But eventually rationality prevailed in Christendom.

    This could happen in the west because there is a clear separation between Church and State. The separation was due to these famous words from Christ:
    “Render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar’s. Render unto God the things that are God’s.”
    The separation was not always perfect. But the principle ran like a golden thread since medieval times till the present.

    What it meant in practice is that the neither the medieval popes not the kings were as powerful as the Caliphs who possessed both temporal and spiritual power.

    For the Caliph any challenge to a religious doctrine also meant a challenge of the Caliph’s right to rule. Any challenge to the Caliph’s right to rule is also a challenge to God since the Caliph was by definition Prophet Mohammed’s successor.

    To be sure, the Muslim world did produce many noted poets, philosophers and scientists – Al-Farabi, Al-Razi (a famous physician), Avicenna, Averroes etc.

    After the 7th century conquests of major part of the Byzantine empire and the Persian empire, the Arabs came into contact with more advanced civilizations – Christian, Zoroastrian and Hindu. They were eager to learn and acquire knowledge.

    Books were translated into Arabic and the Caliphs were happy to employ non-Muslims, especially Peoples of the Book, to serve them. Greek science and philosophy were taught in schools and there was a fusion of Islamic ideas and Greek rationality.

    This inevitably led to a clash with the conservative religious scholars. These scholars believed that all knowledge came from God’s revelation and philosophical and scientific inquiry will ultimately lead to unbelief.

    Those scientists and philosophers, while not rejecting (at least publicly) Islam believed that truth could also be derived from human reason. Human reason can be reconciled with God’s revelations.

    The Mu’tazilites belonged to this rational school that had confidence in human reasoning. They initially enjoyed the protection of the caliphs and persecuted those who disagreed with them. But later they fell out of favour.

    A theologian, Al Ashari, who subordinated reason to revelation, dealt the rationalist Mu’tazilites a mortal wound.

    About two centuries later, Al-Ghazali drove in the final nail thus ending the influence of Greek rationality in Islamic thinking. He wrote:
    “The source of their infidelity was their hearing terrible names such as Socrates and Hippocrates, Plato and Aristotle.”
    He opposed the spirit of free inquiry saying that certain of the natural sciences were opposed to religion.

    He led Muslims back to an unquestioning literal interpretation of the Koran. The traditionalists had finally won.

    Science lost.

    It should be noted that most of the scientists, poets and philosophers in Islam’s golden age (the time of the Abassid Caliphate) were Jews, Christians or Muslims who were suspected of apostasy or blasphemy. Many suffered harassment and even death.

    Thus if science did flourish during this golden age, it was in spite of Islam and not because of it.

    In the Christian world, science managed to eventually triumph because the Pope was not as powerful as the Caliph thanks to the separation of Church and State.

    In Islam, where there is no separation of Mosque and State, the progressive forces of Greek rationality could not prevail and were ultimately stifled.
These are the many ways in which Islam impeded the progress of Muslims.

ISLAMISATION

However, there appears to be an idea sweeping the Muslim world that the path to greatness lies in greater Islamisation. By becoming more pious, they hope to win the favour of God and be restored to their former glories.

It is like a doctor prescribing smoking to cure lung cancer.

To sum up, Islam stifles science, women and to a lesser degree in present times the banking industry.

All these have a NEGATIVE impact on ECONOMIC growth.

In addition, its doctrine of jihad and its propensity for violence makes it stony ground for democracy to flower.

Let me leave you with a quote from Mustafa Kemal Ataturk:

“The evils which had sapped the nation’s strength had all been wrought in the name of religion.”
- Ohmyrus

Its Time for Science and Reason



Zulkifli Noordin: "I am Muslim FIRST,
Member of Parliament (MP), SECOND
"

Blogger Ahirudin Attan aka Rocky's Bru Allegations Against Bar Council Showed His Legal Ignorance

Read here article on the Bar Council Website


Quote:

"... Rocky's Bru 's final shot was rather perplexing.

He seemed to imply that Tun Salleh Abas ought to be treated differently, but what the current Council has demonstrated is that there should be equality before the law, and the earlier decision on Vohrah's application should now be best regarded as res judicata.

Be that as it may, perhaps blogger Rocky's Bru, being not legally trained, should be forgiven for his inability in appreciating LEGAL principles and the REAL issues involved.

- Stephen Chang Beng Cheng



Is Rocky's Bru barking up the wrong tree?

by

Stephen Tan Ban Cheng


Since Thursday (October 23) the day blogger Ahirudin Attan or better known as Rocky's Bru highlighted Tun Salleh Abas' application to be allowed to be called as a "consultant" in his article entitled Bar-red by Council's double standards, more than 150 comments were posted by the readers on his blog in the aforesaid article and two subsequent articles that followed.

Sadly, majority of these commenters (and writing anonymously) showed a deep ignorance of the real issue and went on a rampage, hurling abuses with RACISTS overtones at the Bar Council and its officers.

Even retired Court of Appeal judge, Datuk KC Vohrah was not spared.

This led to one reader writing,
"Rocky, I believe you are really barking on the wrong tree.

The perception you have moulded your readers to believe is that Tun Salleh has been deprived to practise meaning being deprived of earning a decent livelihood. This is definitely not the case.

.. Nobody is depriving Tun Salleh from practising and he does not need the blessing from the Attorney General nor the Bar Council to practise. That's a fact.

He is applying to have the title "consultant" which of course carries more status as not all members of the Bar can be a consultant as you would need to fulfil the relevant rule 60." (Edited]

Another anonymous commenter even alleged that:
"Talk had it that Tun Salleh has fallen out with them because the couple (Datuk Dr Yaacob Hussain Merican and Tunku Sofiah Jewa) - once great supporters and relatives of Tengku Razeleigh vowed never to talk to Tun Mahathir again are now close friends of Tun Mahathir. So Tun Salleh so pissed off because Tun Mahathir sacked Tun Salleh! In the Lingam inquiry, Tunku Sofiah even acted as counsel for Tun Mahathir!

... So you Rocky Bru and gang, if you bother to ask any senior lawyers, they will tell you in the 1988 judicial crisis, the Bar fought for judicial independence and not Tun Salleh. As a judge, Tun Salleh wasn't of good temperament and some lawyers even preferred to appear before the old Lord President Tun Hamid!

... Vohrah's application was approved years ago and not by the present Council who looked at principles and not personalities. If you had checked the legal directory on the Bar Council's website, KC Vohrah was called to the Bar on 19.12.1964.

This means Vohrah must have practised for sometime before he became a judge... Tun Salleh should learn to be grateful for what the Bar did for him!" [Edited]

Rocky's articles have also been reproduced on this website. Generally, members of the Bar were rather astonished by two remarks made by him in his first posting:
"Salleh Abas turns 80 next year. To say that he is disappointed with the Bar Council is an understatement. A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even.

The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help him in a matter that it has discretion to.

"BRU notes: During the hours we spent interviewing him for his biography, the former Lord President made no mention of how the Bar Council had been treating him on this issue. If he had told us, we would have strongly advised him against attending the Bar Council's dinner, supposedly in his honour, in April."

The first remark drew a strong response from senior lawyer, Robert Lazar who wrote here:
"On a different note I was rather peeved to note the following comment in Rocky Bru's article. "A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even. The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help
him in a matter that it has discretion to."

In the first place the "its cause" which must mean the pursuit of justice for all does not belong exclusively to the Bar.

Secondly it was not Tun Salleh's personality that drove the Bar in 1988.

If Rocky really wants to know, the Tun never really endeared himself as a friend of the Bar pre-1988 and neither did many of his actions and judgements. But it was the seat of justice and the institution that was attacked and it was that that the Bar rose to defend.

We recognise that Tun Salleh personally did suffer but to say that the Bar made use of him is a gross insult to the Bar and a gross distortion of history.

I am confident in saying that what motivates the Bar is the cause not the person."

To exemplify Robert's reference to "judgements", Tun Salleh Abas' decision in the famous case of Government of Malaysia v Lim Kit Siang in 1988 virtually dealt a death knell to public interest litigation in Malaysia.

Rocky's Bru's final shot was rather perplexing. He seemed to imply that Tun Salleh Abas ought to be treated differently, but what the current Council has demonstrated is that there should be equality before the law, and the earlier decision on Vohrah's application should now be best regarded as res judicata.

Be that as it may, perhaps blogger Rocky's Bru, being not legally trained, should be forgiven for his inability in appreciating legal principles and the real issues involved.

NOTE:

Rule 60.
Use of "consultant" and "associate".

(1) An advocate and solicitor may have his name appear as "consultant" on the letterhead of a firm of advocates and solicitors if-
(a) he has a valid practising certificate issued under Part III of the Act;

(b) he has been-
(i) in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for a period of not less than 20 years; or

(ii) in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for a period of not less than 10 years and, in addition, has served as a Judge or a member of the Judicial and Legal Service for a period which, aggregated with the period of his active practice at the Malaysian Bar, total not less than 20 years; and
(c) he is not a partner or legal assistant in any other firm of advocates and solicitors or engaged in any other capacity in any such other firm in the States of Malaysia.
[Subs. P.U.(A) 58/94]
(2) [Deleted by P.U.(A) 345/2001]

Update

Malaysian Bar's Press Release:

Clarification on appointment as Consultant

We refer to the Bar Council’s decision to reject the application of Tun Salleh Abas to be a consultant of a law firm.

We wish to highlight that Tun Salleh Abas as a practising lawyer enjoys the same rights and privileges without differentiation whether as a consultant or a partner.
In connection therewith, there is no issue of any adverse consequence on one's right to livelihood.

The purpose of the present
Rule 60 of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules, 1978 is to create a separate category of lawyers in recognition of their number of years of experience at the Malaysian Bar. The eligibility for qualification as a consultant is either at least 20 years of active practice at the Malaysian Bar or at least 20 years of experience, comprising active practice of at least 10 years at the Malaysian Bar and service as a Judge or a member of the Judicial and Legal Service. The present Rule 60 is more liberal than its original provision.

Unfortunately, Tun Salleh Abas does NOT qualify under the present Rule 60 because he has been in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for less than 10 years.

Tun Salleh Abas WILL qualify to be a consultant under Rule 60 on 24 March 2009. The Bar Council is proposing to liberalise Rule 60 further.

Rule 62 which empowers the Bar Council with the written approval of the Attorney General, to waive any of the rules within the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules, 1978, cannot be applied to any specific individual lawyer, and if applied to waive any rule it must be applied to all.
In respect of the comments associating this issue with that of the 1988 Judicial Crisis, the Bar Council has always spoken against the injustice caused by the 1988 Judicial Crisis.

The Report of the Panel of Eminent Persons to Review the 1988 Judicial Crisis in Malaysia and its promotion of the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission are a reflection of its continuous efforts to right the wrong of that era.

Lim Chee Wee
Secretary
Malaysian Bar
24 October 2008


COMMENTARY

From Readers on Bar Council Website

  1. From Roger Tan: Bar Council acted without fear and favour
    The current Bar Council's decision is a correct one. I am of the view that Rule 62 only allows the AG to waive the entire Rule 60 and not to waive it just to meet a particular application, in this case, Tun Salleh Abas'. Further, there is no cogent reason to have the entire rule waived.

    It must be emphasised that just because the application is from Tun Salleh Abas, he should not be treated differently.

    But then whether he should be treated similarly as Datuk KC Vohrah or any other case prior to this, my own view is that the previous Council had erred in its interpretation of Rule 60. Also, it is a golden rule that just because the previous Council had erred, Datuk KC Vohrah should not be punished for our error of judgment.

    Further, just because we had erred previously does not also mean that we must continue with the wrong precedent.

    In fact, I believe we have turned down many other applications from other eminent retired judges. This in fact begs the question whether we should now even re-look at the practice of allowing retired judges to practise or there should even be a cooling off period before they are allowed to do so.

    All said, the Council acted without fear and favour when rejecting Tun Salleh's application.
  2. From Khoo Gaik Cheng
    If the Bar Council has a very good reason not to waive compliance of Rule 60 for Tun Salleh, we would like to hear the Bar Council's side of the story.

    Otherwise, how does it explain the admission of our former Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah as consultant in a KL firm despite him not having met with the aforesaid Rule 60 requirement?
  3. From Mohamed Zaini Haji Mazlan
    After all that is done to this man, and all that we try to do for him, this revelation, if correct, is highly disturbing.

    I do hope that the Council members could proffer us an explanation, or perhaps, their justification.
  4. From Shanmuga Kanesalingam
    At the outset, I think it should be pointed out that the Bar Council is not prohibiting Tun Salleh Abas practising as a lawyer.

    As I understand it, he is otherwise qualified for a practising certificate and can be a partner, a legal assistant or a sole proprietor of a law firm. He is merely not allowed to call himself a "consultant" because he does NOT fit the criterion fixed by law.

    The point is whether the Bar Council can and should waive the application of that rule to him. I can see merit in Roger's point that the Bar Council should act consistently, and that if they are going to waive a rule it should apply across the Board.

    I also agree that a wrong precedent is NO precedent.

    But I am not so sure that Rule 62 constrains the Bar Council's hands that much. As I understand it, normally a waiver is something done for good reason for exceptional cases. Could not rule 62 be construed as such, permitting the exercise of discretion in giving exemptions on a case by case basis.

    The Chambers Dictionary definition of "waive" suggests to me that a waiver can be specific to a particular case, if need be:

    waive verb (waived, waiving)
    1 law to refrain from insisting upon something; to voluntarily give up (a claim or right, etc).

    2 to refrain from enforcing (a rule or penalty, etc). waiver noun 1 the act, or an act, of waiving.

    2 a written statement formally confirming this.
    ETYMOLOGY: 13c: from French weyver to abandon.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading the Bar Council's official response.
  5. From Robert Lazar
    It will be interesting to know the justification of the Bar Council then as to why KC Vohrah was given a waiver. If there is none then it should be revoked. I don't agree that that will amount to him being punished. It is the firm that that will be deprived. A consultant is nothing more than nomenclature. At the end of the day it is the individual rather than the label. We will not think the lesser of KC Vohrah if he was not to be described as a consultant.

    On a different note I was rather peeved to note the following comment in Rocky Bru's article. "A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even. The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help him in a matter that it has discretion to."

    In the first place the "its cause" which must mean the pursuit of justice for all does not belong exclusively to the Bar. Secondly it was not Tun Salleh's personality that drove the Bar in 1988. If Rocky really wants to know, the Tun never really endeared himself as a friend of the Bar pre-1988 and neither did many of his actions and judgements. But it was the seat of justice and the institution that was attacked and it was that that the Bar rose to defend. We recognise that Tun Salleh personally did suffer but to say that the Bar made use of him is a gross insult to the Bar and a gross distortion of history. I am confident in saying that want motivates the Bar is the cause not the person.
  6. From Stephen Chang Beng Cheng
    It has been conceded that the waiver for our learned friend Datuk K.C. Vohrah, whose record in service I hold dear, was the result of a statutory misinterpretation.

    If that is right, then it stands on its own facts and can no longer be cited, let alone applied, to the instant case.

    What must come shining through is that the Malaysian Bar's position on the judicial crisis of Aug 8, 1988 - the day when Tun Salleh Abas was disgracefully removed as President of the Supreme Court - transcends the personalities involved.

    In other words, whoever were the heads of the contending Executive and Judiciary were irrelevant. What was manifestly material was that the episode robbed this country of its judicial independence. We were robbed of our collective innocence.

    With respect, can I question why the particular firm is so interested in making the Tun a consultant when he is already 80 years old? It just does not compute with what the Tun has been quoted as saying in the April 17 dinner for the traumatised Judges.

    The Tun, whose total number of years on the Bench and Bar is less than 20, had told the diners that he was more interested in farming and talking to the trees.

    My aforesaid comments do not militate against my consistent empathy for Tun Salleh Abas and all the traumatised Judges.

    I recall with pride that I did support the "salute the six" campaign at that time, although I was not in the legal profession then.

    Indeed, I had very much earlier written to the Tun on the matter. I believe the firm has that letter on file.