So you want to be a datuk?

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT After three Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) members were allegedly assaulted by a 29-year-old businessman with a “datuk seri” title on Oct 27, the spotlight has turned on the awarding of such honorifics by rulers and heads of state.

It has been quite a while since this issue has generated so much public interest. If there is anything positive to emerge from this unfortunate and nasty incident, it must be the clear message to those holding such titles that they are not above the law. They must behave responsibly and with decorum in public and respect others like everybody else.

Rulers, heads of states, and others entrusted or empowered with awarding such titles must surely now be more wary of the “worthiness” of those being honoured. If there can be one positive resulting from the assault case, a clear qualifying criteria is absolutely necessary.

So the Kedah royal house has denied that the state awarded the “datuk seri” title to the businessman concerned. Why did the state issue the denial? Because the Kedah sultan wanted to make it clear that he does not award state honours to shady characters, and certainly not to the 29-year-old man.

Now, we’re left to wonder which state awarded the “datuk seri” title to the individual with a chequered past. Besides being charged with the assault of the Rela trio, he was also arrested in relation to a past drug offence.

Well, no other sultans or governors, except Kedah, have responded to public calls to strip the illustrious title from the individual concerned yet. So, we just have to wait and see.

Then, we heard Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (photo) issuing a stern warning to those bestowed with titles that the law spares no one. A timely reminder indeed. Continue reading

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Veterans group pledges to ‘defend and protect’ Dr M

A veterans group today pledged to “defend and protect” former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, following the government’s withdrawal of his personal bodyguard service.

The National Association of Patriots (PPK) president, retired brigadier-general Mohd Arshad Raji, also called on those who called themselves patriots to do the same.

“One cannot be a patriot of this nation if he or she becomes indifferent to national leaders who have served the people, nation, and the rulers.

“This latest deprivation of close security service for Mahathir challenges us Malaysians to show courage, and reinforce our belief that defending our rights for a better Malaysia is a cause we all rightfully deserve,” he said in a statement.

The withdrawal of protection for Mahathir on Wednesday is the latest in measures Putrajaya had imposed on the nonagenarian, since he became a vocal critic of the current administration, before subsequently becoming the chairperson of the current opposition coalition.

Previously, Mahathir has had the contracts of his personal cook and office assistant, ended, and before that, the privileges of police outrider service was also withdrawn. Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)

Focus on Clare’s more serious allegations, says Ambiga

Ambiga Sreenevasan has been in the spotlight since Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown dragged her name into the defamation suit filed by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in the UK.

Rewcastle-Brown’s defence statement mentioned the former Bar Council chairperson as the source, with regard to an article which suggested PAS received some RM90 million from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

However, Ambiga said the intense scrutiny she is being subjected to by Hadi’s followers and allies in Malaysia was missing the more contentious parts of Rewcastle-Brown’s defence statement.

“There are (no) more than two paragraphs (which concern Ambiga) in the defence and counterclaim. There are in total, 36.

“There are serious allegations contained in them. Perhaps that should be the focus,” she added in a statement this evening.

In her Oct 11 court filing, Rewcastle-Brown stated that Sarawak Report was on a “justified campaign” to seek Najib’s removal from office.

Hadi, she alleged, was “colluding” with Najib, the Malaysian government and their agents to disable or discredit Sarawak Report through the suit.

Rewcastle-Brown had argued that she was qualified to publish the words disputed by Hadi, based on Section 4 of UK’s Defamation Act 2013, because her statements were made in public interest. Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)

Politicians, let the IGP do his job

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | Many of us will still remember the Lahad Datu incursion by Sulu militants from the Philippines in 2013.

For Sabahans, that must surely be one episode they can never forget or rather, wish had never taken place. That invasion was the first attack on our soil by a foreign army in the nation’s modern history.

Tragically, we lost eight of our brave security personnel in Ops Sulu and Ops Daulat, which were launched to crush the invaders.

I recall ticking off politicians who made all kinds of weird and silly comments during the standoff with the Filipino terrorists which lasted for almost two months (photo).

There is something crucial which our politicians must bear in mind – there are certain issues which are beyond them and it is best that they keep their opinions to themselves, one of which is terrorism.

The issue of terrorism and the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) in Malaysia is a very serious one, so much so that Bukit Aman has also set up a special Counter-Terrorism Division. Its aim is to strengthen the country’s preparedness and enhance the police force’s capabilities to counter the increasingly intense global threats of terrorism.

As a keen observer of police work and the key staff movement within Bukit Aman, I must applaud the appointment of Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay as the counter-terrorism chief.

He has been known to be “eating, sleeping and breathing” counter-terrorism in his many years in the force. Ayob Khan certainly deserved his recent promotion as well to deputy police commissioner.

I am sure many Malaysians are deeply concerned with the IS threat on our shores. Although it is not a subject we want to talk about in our daily conversation, the threat is real indeed.

 

Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)

Let’s close the ‘Allah’ chapter and move on

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | I have written many articles regarding the Allah issue since it first surfaced a decade ago. It seems that the subject does not want to fade away.

Now, I wish to ask whether this long-running saga over the usage of the word “Allah” has done the people and nation more harm than good. The answer is obvious.

The issue has torn Malaysians apart. It strikes at the very core of what we, Malaysians, have long cherished – our precious religious tolerance and harmony, one that has long been talked about and greatly admired by others.

Let’s be honest about what’s going on and do some straight talking. We have heard enough about the arguments from both sides – constitutional rights, freedom of religion, the exclusive name of the Muslim God, Christians should use “Tuhan”, et cetera – both within and outside the confines of the court.

These arguments have been repeated so many times over the years that they now sound kind of boring to many, myself included. I would love to hear new and fresh points on the debate, but there are none.

At the end of it all, I think we have to concede that what this is all about is a petty quarrel between Muslims and Christians in Malaysia. Others may disagree that this is a serious issue and not petty. But it is to me.

Why do I think so? Because I believe that other than Muslims and Christians, Malaysians of other religious backgrounds are not bothered at all.

Then again, I doubt I’m wrong in saying that only a small group of Christians and Muslims are concerned or involved in the debate over the Allah controversy.

To the majority, there are other more important and pressing matters at hand. For them, this Allah issue is irrelevant. Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)

I’m in love with Vida, says personal aide

a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the cameraDATUK Seri Vida’s personal assistant Ahmad Iqbal Zulkefli has admitted to falling in love with the cosmetics millionaire and is willing to be her husband, reported Kosmo!.

“However, at this point I dare not talk about jodoh (match) matters, as it depends on God’s doing,” said the 23-year-old.

Ahmad Iqbal’s mother Mazmuni Che Yusof said she had given him her blessing if he wants to marry Vida, 46.

Ahmad Iqbal, from Kelantan, says he is a mature person and does not mind the large age gap.

“If she finds someone else, that is all right. I do not want people to think that I am close to her because of money,” he added.

Asked to comment on the matter, Vida, whose real name is Hasmiza Othman, said Ahmad Iqbal is too young and she is still traumatised by her previous divorces.

She also said her family is not ready for her to get a new partner.

Vida married Fairuz Ahmad Zainuddin, 39, in January 2014. It was her third marriage.

The couple filed for divorce in April this year.

  • The Star Online
Posted in Feel-Good story, MoCS (Sarawak)

Redesignate CM’s post in Sabah, S’wak as prime minister

By Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | Somehow, I feel vindicated. Following the initial backlash I received on my article “Are Sabahans, Sarawakians, only good as No 2?” published in Malaysiakini recently, I am glad that many of my fellow Sarawakians also share my views.

Initially, there were negative remarks such as “Don’t dream, Sarawak will always be No 2. Be contented”, “Do you have the numbers to become PM?”, and “Sorry, you are not even No 2”.

As a writer, I do not expect readers to agree with everything I wrote nor share my thoughts or sentiments on certain issues because only a fool will agree with you all the time. I do appreciate serious and sincere rebuttals.

There is one Malaysiakini reader in particular whom I wish to thank. He goes by the pen-name “Prudent”. His was the most logical and sensible reaction, one which has become the subject of this article.

Prudent commented: “If Sabah and Sarawak are re-designated as ‘territories’ and not merely the 12th and 13th state in Malaysia, then their chief ministers can be re-designated as ‘premiers’ – same title as Lee Kuan Yew when Singapore was part of Malaysia.

Certain devolution of powers to Sabah and Sarawak as per the Malaysia Agreement can be enacted. Of course, there is no question of Sabahans and Sarawakians being only good for No 2 as alleged. If Parliament so willed, any MP can be No 1, including any MP from Sabah and Sarawak.”

I agree wholeheartedly. I have not thought of that option. It’s definitely better than the so-called Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) promise of creating a second deputy prime minister’s post for Sabah and Sarawak if it wins the forthcoming 14th general election. Continue reading

Posted in MoCS (Sarawak)