The Malay denial

By Mariam Mokhtar

COMMENT Hadi Awang, the PAS president, refers to some Muslims as “lost sheep”; ironically. this is a Christian metaphor. Hadi could be known as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

Religious men have ‘corrupted’ the Malay mind, so that he is unable to accept any hard truths.

When you tell Malay parents to practice family planning, they will say, “Children are a gift from God”. When you tell the Malay that driving recklessly may cause an accident, he will say, “If it is God’s will, then so be it”.

What a pity that the hadith, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim”, which when combined with the opportunity to correct one’s sins and mistakes to improve oneself, is lost on the Malay. Why are so many Malays recalcitrant?

Many Malays have difficulty in ‘opening up’ and acknowledging their shortcomings. The majority cannot distinguish between religion and culture. They confuse right with might. The more arrogant Malays think that the ‘special position’ mentioned in the constitution is synonymous with ‘special rights’. This is wrong!

If only the Malay would exercise his grey matter, he would have saved his community a lot of soul-searching, and the nation would possibly be more united, and have more racial tolerance.

If children are a gift from God, why does the child, or parent, treat his life as a cheap, worthless commodity?

The bicycling tragedy in Johor Baru was an accident waiting to happen. The police have unsuccessfully tried on numerous occasions to disperse the cyclists. The boys on their modified bikes quickly disappear at the first sign of a police car. Continue reading

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Minister: Tests confirm poison, Jong-nam died painful death

Kim Jong-nam died a painful death after being administered with a high dosage of chemicals with properties consistent with the VX nerve agent, said Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam said.

Authorities said Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was murdered at KLIA2 on Feb 13.

“He died in the ambulance (but) he fainted in the clinic (at the airport). I would say about 15 to 20 minutes,” he said, when asked about the approximate time of death after exposure to the substance.

“The dosage (administered on Jong-nam) was so high and (spread) so fast, all over the body.

“It only takes 10mg to be lethal, but this one (was much higher). The agent had absorbed well through the skin,” he said.

Subramaniam said that the body had shown signs of organophosphate poisoning and this was later confirmed by findings from the Chemistry Department report.

Organophosphates are used in insecticides, medication and nerve agents, with those poisoned showing symptoms like increased saliva and tear production, diarrhea, vomiting, small pupils, sweating, muscle tremors and confusion.

At the end of his explaination on how the chemical would have affected the body, Subramaniam was asked whether it would have been a painful death, to which he answered: “Yes.” Continue reading

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Johor exco’s son, special officer nabbed for graft

The Nissan Skyline (centre) owned  by Ahmad Fauzan. — Picture by Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, Feb 26 — At 25, Ahmad Fauzan Hatim Abd Latif led a lavish lifestyle.

He owned a Nissan Skyline R35, Porsche Cayenne, a Mercedes-Benz CLA 200, loved motorsports and often travelled to Europe for holidays.

However, the eldest son of Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abd Latif Bandi was among five individuals nabbed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Friday over allegations of graft.

Also nabbed were Abd Latif’s special officer Muhammad Idzuan Jamalludin, also in his 20s, a lawyer, two businessmen and another individual.

More civil servants, including ranking officers, were expected to be picked up soon.

Investigations by the anti-graft body revealed Ahmad Fauzan and Idzuan were allegedly in cahoots with civil servants from the Johor Land Office and other government departments in lowering the premium of land which had been approved for housing and industrial projects, as well as in converting the titles of various premises in the state.

This had resulted the state government losing millions of ringgit. Continue reading

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Catholics hold nationwide prayers to say no to hudud, corruption

Among other issues plaguing the nation, Catholics nationwide yesterday prayed to uphold a single system of law in the country, one that is in compliance with the federal constitution.

This refers to any attempts by PAS or the ruling government to implement hudud law in the country.

They were also told to reject corruption in whatever form and pray for more transparency and accountability in the country’s financial management.

Across the country last night Catholic churches in the nine dioceses all over Malaysia gathered in their respective dioceses to make a stand on their faith in simultaneous prayers from 7.30pm to 10pm.

The congregation also vowed to fight racism, extremism, religious supremacy and promote diversity and pluralism.

Their collective call was led by bishops nationwide, who have been boldly making public statements over several controversial issues plaguing the country.

Bishop emeritus Paul Tan Chee Ing has voiced concerns over PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s plan to get amendments to the syariah law passed in Parliament so that an “enhanced” hudud law (with increased punishment) can be implemented in Kelantan. Continue reading

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Dr M to baying crowd: Come after me after we get rid of Najib

  

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told a rather hostile crowd at a Reformasi event today that they could take action against him after they have worked together to win the next election.

“Can we unite and fight to get rid of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak? That is the main thing.

“After that, (if you) want to take action against me, go ahead, I do not mind,” Mahathir said during his speech at the Konvesyen Reformis in Shah Alam today.

This appeared to have won over the 300-strong crowd, comprising mostly of supporters of the 1998 Reformasi movement.

One man at the front of the hall howled with laughter and gave Mahathir two thumbs-up. “I salute you!” he shouted.

The Bersatu chairperson had made a surprise appearance at the Reformasi event where he was greeted with shouts of “Reformasi” (Reformation), “Bebas Anwar” (Free Anwar) and “Firaun” (Pharoah).

Before his arrival, the anti-Mahathir sentiment was palpable, especially whenever the former premier’s name was mentioned by speakers on the podium. Continue reading

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Christians raise concerns over pastor’s disappearance

COMMENT | Coming in the wake of the hudud bill tabled before Parliament, the mysterious disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh have raised concerns among the minority Christians in Malaysia.

The first foreign agency to respond to the news was ‘Voice of Persecuted Christians’, known under its portal name as Release International. It claimed Koh’s abduction was because of his church work.

Release International also claimed another pastor and his wife, who have not been named, went missing a month ago. Local Christian chat groups have identified this couple but police have neither denied nor confirmed it.

The UK-based Christian watch group pointed out that “Pastor Raymond … had previously received threats from jihadists.”

It also said, “Christians in Malaysia are increasingly concerned about the growing threat to religious freedom. Parliament is currently debating a bill proposing that parts of a strict Islamic penal code (hudud) are incorporated into the country’s legal system. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak supports the bill, apparently to win favour among hardline Muslims ahead of next year’s general election.”

One day later a US-based Christian monitor, Mission News Network (MNN) gave the context to Koh’s abduction. It said Malaysia still has the reputation as one of the most liberal and tolerant Islamic countries in the world. How long that will last is unknown.<!–more–>

“Thousands of Muslim Malaysians rallied in the capital on Feb 18 to support the adoption of stricter syariah law, a proposal that religious minorities fear could infringe upon their rights.

“The prime minister has thrown his support behind a bill that will incorporate parts of the Islamic penal code, or hudud, into Malaysia’s existing Islamic legal system. It is slated for debate in parliament next month,” MNN said.

It also said critics of the bill warn it could pave the way for full implementation of hudud, which could disrupt the fabric of Malaysia’s multicultural and multi-religious society. It added that’s the backdrop behind the recent abduction of 62-year-old Pastor Koh on Feb 13, in less than 60 seconds.

‘Under pressure and under attack’

MNN cited another International Christian monitor, Open Doors. It quoted the monitor’s United States president and CEO Dr David Curry as saying, “It’s this boiling point that I think is coming to the Christian community in Malaysia. They’ve been under pressure and under attack; they need our prayers there.”

Curry also said, “The pressure is increasing with every step toward syariah.”

He added, “We don’t really know who kidnapped him, but we know he was an outspoken person of his faith. He was a pastor well known for trying to reach out to people and share his faith and live his faith.”

Curry said there are concerns over possible religious motivation behind the abduction.

“It’s not uncommon in some of these Asian countries for the police force to pick up people to interrogate them, without reporting it, and then releasing them later. That would certainly be the best-case option. I think his chances of surviving would be much higher.

“People are beginning to wonder, ‘Why are they not speaking?’ I don’t know the answer to that. No one knows the answer to that, but it shows you how toxic the situation is there in Malaysia right now for Christians and for religious minorities.”

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), the country’s umbrella body for churches, has condemned Koh’s abduction, saying religious leaders should be spared from attacks or intimidation.

No one doubts the capability of the Malaysian police in investigating such cases.

Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted on the same day and about the same time as the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, 46, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Travelling under another name, Jong-nam was assassinated at the KL International Airport’s low-cost terminal.

Within hours, the first of the two women suspects was arrested, based on CCTV images at the airport. The identity of the dead man was officially confirmed by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister, as well as by inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar.

Police have confirmed that Pastor Koh was abducted by unknown persons on Monday, Feb 13, in broad daylight – but it took them 10 days to decide to set up a task force to investigate the abduction.

Speaking on the matter for the first time since the incident, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said, “So far we have found no clues.” When pressed further for an answer at a press conference, he retorted, “Please don’t say we are not doing anything.”

BOB TEOH is a freelance columnist and formerly secretary-general of the Confederation of Asean Journalists (1985-87).

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Envoy: Suspect claimed she was paid RM400 by Korean-looking man

The Indonesian woman arrested for allegedly assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother Kim Jong-nam, claimed that she was paid RM400 to smear his face with ‘baby oil’ as part of a reality show prank.

She told this to Indonesia’s acting ambassador to Malaysia Andreano Erwin during her meeting with him at the Cyberjaya Police Station today.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Andreano said that the suspect mentioned that she was approached for the job by several “Japanese- and Korean-looking men”, one of whom told her to do the job.

“She did not specifically say it. She only said she was introduced to some men who looked generally like Japanese or Korean. But she did not explain in detail where,” he said.

Adreano related that the Indonesian suspect said that the person whom she only knew as James or Chang paid her RM400 and asked her to smear Jong-nam’s face with the liquid which she claimed she did not know was hazardous.

According to Adreano, the suspect did not say if she later knew in KLIA2, that the substance was toxic during their 30-minute meeting with police officers in attendance. Continue reading

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