Sunday, February 28, 2010

Malaysiakini: Jeswan Kaur: Open Letter to PM

An open letter to Najib Abdul Razak

Jeswan Kaur |
Malaysiakini, Jan 14, 10 10:33am

Mr Prime Minister,

I am compelled to pen you a letter, feeling very distraught over the racial discord rearing its ugly head yet again.

The negative outbursts resulting from the High Court's approval for the Catholic weekly Herald to go ahead and use the word ‘Allah' in its publication and the subsequent attacks on churches have made it very clear, that 1Malaysia is only and only political propaganda.

Your giving the go ahead for protests at mosques only added fuel to the fire, one that is sure to ‘engulf' Malaysians across the board if not enough effort is put into extinguishing it.

You know very well that the unity in diversity Malaysians once enjoyed has been destroyed by the powers that be for their own gain.
God by any other name is God and the house of worship is simply that.

Is a Chinese denied entry into a kuil? If yes, then the annual show at Batu Caves in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration is nothing but an exercise at making money, thanks to the devotees who offer prayers at a fee.

What about the Sikhs, whose holy scripture the Guru Granth Sahib Ji makes reference to ‘Allah' and its derivatives Alah, Alhu, Allahu and Allahi some 46 times?

What does this tell you? Will the Sikh holy book be tampered with to erase all references made to Allah? Will the Sikhs be banned from reciting prayers from their holy book?

Mosque and blessed feeling for non-Muslim

If religion is so ‘private', I wonder what will happen to that tourist with a tattoo of the word ‘Allah' on her or his arm walking innocently along Petaling Street, Malaysia's very own Chinatown?

I was 22 when I started off as a journalist with an established newspaper company. Even then I had no hang ups over ‘my religion and your religion'.

This explained why I asked my Muslim colleague if I could accompany her to the surau and wait while she did her solat. She was more than happy and said ‘yes'.

As she fulfilled her religious obligations, I sat, feeling blessed at being in a house of worship.

It never crossed my mind that the surau was a place of worship exclusive to Muslims, until a senior reporter walked in and ordered me out, as she said the surau did not welcome a non-Muslim.

Along the way I had more Muslim friends, some who said it was a no-no for me to set foot inside a mosque or to hold the Quran.

But there was one Muslim whom I befriended who was only very helpful in helping me understand more about Islam, including going through the Quran, understanding the Sunnah, Hadith and even experiencing the month long fasting during the Ramadan month.

Urgent need for comparative religion studies

As a reporter, I was assigned to cover assignments at mosques. It was never unnerving for me as it was for the Muslims who became restless noticing the presence of a non-Muslim at their place of worship.

I cannot understand why Muslims become so insecure at the sight of a non-Muslim inside their mosque. But they will only be too happy if the non-Muslim comes in with a purpose to convert.

Doesn't a non-Muslim have the right to set foot inside a masjid, since it is yet another house of worship, to seek God's blessings?

Maybe this is why many Malaysians especially are ignorant about religious practices in Malaysia because they are not given a chance to learn, with no conditions attached. Is comparative study not possible without converting?

A Muslim friend passed away a year ago and we, her non-Muslim friends, gathered at the mosque. We brought along selendang or scarfs to cover our heads, knowing well what was expected of us.

And we later marched to the Muslim burial ground after the Zohor prayers to bid our friend farewell. No hang-ups there.

Even shampoo and toothpaste not spared

I remember as a child listening my grandmother uttering the word ‘Allah Taala' to the Muslim makciks in the kampung where we lived each time they talked about their respective health.

No one took umbrage then, so why today the unnecessary excitement over the court approval for a Catholic news bulletin to use the word ‘Allah'?

Why does the government take offence and demonstrate absolute authority in displaying its dismay over this, to the point that your colleague Nazri Aziz went on to say that the judge had erred in allowing the word ‘Allah' to be used? Is he saying that we no longer trust the judiciary?

Mr Prime Minister you definitely have lots to do, but your to-do list will be hogged by the utmost urgent need to address the issue of 1Malaysia, in the true sense of the word, where the Indians, Chinese and the Malays live as brethrens, with no hint of doubt or syak wasangka.

I believe advertisements showing toothpaste and shampoos exclusively for the Muslims have been doing a lot of damage. Is this a good example of 1Malaysia? Should the Indians and the Chinese follow suit?

I do not understand how Malaysians of today are united in their diversity. A walk to the pasar malam scares me as I dread passing by the stall that sells beef, as there hangs the head of the cow that was slaughtered. Can the non-Muslims make noise about this?
We do not because we 'understand'. But if pork meat was sold openly there would be chaos in the country.

Whither ‘love thy neighbour' ?

Why? Just like we ‘understand' when opulent mosques are built throughout the country.

But how would the Sikhs feel when Astro's Zee station abruptly ends the morning prayer telecast live from their holy shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, because of Astro's timing glitch.

This shows Astro's insincerity in making available such service to the Sikh community, not to mention complete disrespect for the prayers.
Also, why must the term ‘babi' (pig) be used to hurl abuses at non-Muslims? Do the non-Muslims stoop as low as use the term ‘lembu' to offend the Muslims?

Non-Muslims keep their pet dogs miles away from their Muslim friends who avoid ‘man's best friend' like the plague.

Sad, truly that even animals are not spared by mankind, God's most challenging creation.

If we have stooped so low, then it is time the country's national anthem ‘Negaraku' be relooked, for the rakyat no longer live bersatu dan maju (the people live united and progressive) nor does the rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan (God bestow His blessings and happiness on us) seems applicable anymore, keeping the racial tensions in mind.

I am sure God is thoroughly dismayed with his creation, for they have failed to grasp the true meaning of ‘love thy neighbour' and are ever thirsty for each other's blood.

Attacking churches like that happened recently is a bleak demonstration of 1Malaysia.

When will the politicisation of religion stop?
How many more hearts will your administration break to protect the interests of the dominant race of this country?

Is worshipping the creator an exercise in politics?

Mr Prime Minister, where were you when a Muslim transsexual was accused of bringing shame to Malaysia?

For human rights sake, why did you not utter a word?
Is the issue of transsexualism a petty affair to you? What happened to your catch-phrase of ‘rakyat diutamakan etc'.

Is Malaysia gearing towards a second black May 13? If the current events are to be looked at, then yes, the worry and fear are very real as we watch the nation emasculate gradually but surely.

But if we all come to our senses and realise the truth and beauty of ‘love thy neighbour', all will be well, insyallah.  

Comments (DQ):
A very brave and heartfelt plea to the PM to reconsider his style of leadership and to defuse the ethnic and religious tensions that appear to be spiralling out of control, that the Muslim ascendancy and strident bigotry are making Malaysians feel more and more disenchanted and lost, to the point of losing any semblance of belonging or patriotism. 

We as non-bumiputra Malaysians can no longer continue to be marginalised and repeated told that we do not belong and are pendatangs and of secondary importance...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Malaysian Mirror: Martin Jalleh: An Unhappy Chinese New Year?

An Unhappy Chinese New Year?  Share
Martin Jalleh
Sunday, 21 February 2010 03:55
A CHINESE New Year has dawned. The Prime Minister declares that Malaysian Chinese should be daring to help build a more dynamic 1Malaysia.

Such a dramatic invitation by Najib Abdul Razak  is made against the dark and depressing background of discordant voices by Umnoputras which the drums and deafening firecrackers fail to drown out and exorcise.

We hear the disturbing insult of all the Ahmad Ismails labelling the Malaysian Chinese "immigrants" and "squatters" and adding that they have no right to equal treatment with the Umnoputras – who just happened to migrate here a little earlier than the rest of us.

Lost in translation

We hear the deranged Nasir Safars spitting on us in 1Malaysia seminars with their vile claim that our mothers and grandmothers came here to sell their bodies, whilst never mentioning how the Umnoputras sell their principles, souls and even the country away.

We hear the devious speeches of Umno “intellectuals” in the Biro Tatanegara such as the ridiculous claim of a Chinese conspiracy with Singapore, when the Malays are disunited, to topple the Malay government, when very obviously the BTN courses are meant “to promote certain government leaders” (Nazri Aziz) and to protect, perpetuate and preserve their political power!

We hear the disgraceful racist rant of all the Abdul Rauf Yusohs in closed-door Umno functions abroad and at home calling non-Malays “‘bangsa asing” and accusing them of “trampling on the Malays in ''Tanah Melayu'', when the glaring reality is that of Umnoputras trampling on each other and on ordinary Malays to grab and gobble the largest piece possible of ‘Tanah Melayu’ that is left!

We hear the despicable and highly racist hysteria of Perkasa whose president Ibrahim Ali has hopped back as the saviour of the hapless Malay by waging war against the supposedly avaricious Chinese, whilst hiding the fact that the real enemy of the Malays are people like him and his cohorts who have been Umno’s self-serving sycophants who suck up to the powers that be to satisfy their insatiable greed.

We hear the views of Dr M claiming (without any substantiation, solid evidence or statistics) that the Chinese are the real masters of the country – when in reality it is he, his cronies and a few Chinese capitalists whom he had created who are the real “tuans”. He is also the real mastermind of Umno’s racist policies – the “Father of all racists” as Nazri Aziz has crowned him!

The real culprits

We hear the disgusting attempts to make the Chinese the scapegoat of Malay poverty when for the last 39 years of the NEP it was the Umnoputras who have squeezed and bled this country dry, siphoned and stashed their ill-gotten gains overseas and sent their children abroad to study in premier schools, whilst deceiving, denying and depriving the poor Malay of what was due to them.

We hear the deafening silence of the Umnoputras on the many bail-outs, buy-outs and the mind-boggling billions wasted and still more which went missing without being accounted for or anyone held responsible for, especially during the Mahathir years, and which goes on unabated till today, whilst the Chinese are accused of getting richer at the expense of the Malays!

We hear the derogatory remarks of Umnoputras against the Chinese newspapers while Umno-owned English and Malay papers, especially the Utusan Malaysia, are allowed to go on a spree of spinning falsehood, spouting lies, spewing seditious articles and spreading what Nazri Aziz calls “outdated racist propaganda” with impunity and immunity by the Umno Home Minister.

We hear the diabolical voices in Umno who politicise religion for the party’s survival by creating unfounded fears and insecurities amongst Muslims, deepening distrust of adherents of other religions and derailing sincere efforts at inter-religious dialogue whilst declaring those who detest their devious ways as anti-Islam and anti-Malay.

We hear the desperate attempts by Umnoputras to manufacture imaginary threats and bogeymen such as the Chinese wanting to conquer this country from the Malays, the Christians hell-bent on confusing and converting every Muslim and even the CIA having covert operations here! Alas, Umno can only survive with a siege mentality which Khairy Jamaluddin had urged it to abandon.

We hear the deceiving hypocrisy of Umnoputras who portray themselves as the protectors of the Malays to revive their comatosed political careers, and when in actuality Malay rights have always been outlined, stated and guaranteed clearly by the Federal Constitution (Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari), i.e., the Malays do not need further protection from Umno or the likes of Ibrahim Ali!

We hear the Umnoputras’ drummed-up danger of the Malays losing their rights – when they in fact control all the (Malay) institutions, dictate all laws and policies, own all the state-owned companies, GLCs (Petronas), banks and national assets and resources and are accorded priorities and privileges when it comes to properties, public contracts and scholarships! If indeed the Malays do lose their rights – it is to the Umno elite!

Pervasive delirium

We hear the delirium of the Umno warlords who are drunk with power, warning non-Malays not to push the Malays too far (who is pushing?) or they would go amok, create a bloodbath and start another May 13 “or Feb. 13”, when it is obvious that such intimidating threats of thuggery and mob violence are meant to defend “the most corrupt institution in this country” (Lim Kit Siang), Umno!

We hear Najib’s voice spurring the country towards oneness, but will it be silenced by Umno’s cacophony of racism? Will the PM show spine, substance and nerves of steel and stop the mounting dissonance by the Umno warlords, government officials and extremist groups like Perkasa or will he be satisfied in being a sloganeer and somnolent PM and meet the same tragic fate as his predecessor?

We hear Najib’s invitation to the Malaysian Chinese to be more courageous, committed and to contribute to a more dynamic 1Malaysia.

At the same time, Umnoputras are allowed to gamble away the country by playing the racist card to the hilt!

Is this part of Najib’s charade and chicanery of “concrete change” on Chinese New Year’s Day? If it is, he and Umno will not last very long.

Mysinchew: The moment when dream is awakened

The moment when dream is awakened 
mysinchew, 02/12/2009

I wonder if you feel the same as me, all of the sudden, I realized friends and relatives around me seem to get lesser by the day.

Those years when the New Year drew near, all sorts of gathering appointments almost completely filled the diaries, but this year it seems so quiet.

Even in normal time, phone calls become less and less, face to face meet up also become much less.

Perhaps, everybody is busy with their own things, or perhaps, nowadays people prefer to stay in.

However, it is not entirely like this, thinking further, actually old friends and relatives are not around any more. God bless, they are still alive and well, they just left the country, Malaysia.

They have gone to China to set factory; Ah Wang quit his engineer job and migrated to Australia to set up his little food store business, Ah Fong left the local University went to Hong Kong as a lecturer. 'Frog' went to Taiwan to pursue his second career life. Others went to Americia, England, even Indonesia... 

At first, I thought these are individual cases, but gradually, people around me realized the same, these are not individual cases but a general symptoms of our society. they are not small numbers but the pretty big indeed.

Department of Foreign Affairs released the figures earlier, it confirmed the situation is real.

From March 2008 through September 2009, a total of 300,000 Malaysian migrated to other countries, among them 200,000 left between Jan - Aug 2009. (in 8 months)

Cumulatively, there are 2 million Malaysian migrated, this figure is close to the number of Indonesian workers in Malaysia today.

The difference are, those migrated are mostly professional and middle class people.

They have many reasons to leave: pursue career development, for the future of
their children,  in search of better life and environment...   

In one sentence, they lost hope of Malaysia.

50 years ago people said: Malaysia is very good, better than Hong Kong and even Japan.

30 years ago people said: Malaysia is not bad, comparable to S.. Korea and Taiwan. (No mention of Hong Kong and Japan any more).

20 years ago people said: Malaysia can do lah, at least better than China and Thailand (Cannot compare with Taiwan and Korea lah)

10 years ago poeple said: No matter how bad Malaysia is, cannot be worse than Vietnam and Indonesia (China is already in a different category).

Today, the economic growth rate of Vietnam and Indonesia already far exceeded Malaysia. Social activity and intellectual development of the country is also better, the gap between us and them is closing up.

Why worry? there are still Philipines, Cambodia and Myanmar behind us.  
However, according to an economist who recently surveyed Phillipines,  he thinks in 20 years' time, Malaysia can replace Phillipines to become the World exporter of Malaysian maids. 

Over half the century, Malaysians live in the big old imperial housing complex, closed up and survive on properties left behind by the ancestor; continue to consume up social resources, wasteful, and drive away talents; they never talk about competitiveness, totally neglect productivity and hate meritocracy. 

When Asia economic storm hit in 1997, Malaysia closed their doors, thinking we beautifully avoided a disaster, they even think of themselves as genius being able to handle the situation so well.

However, just look at other countries in our neighbourhood, they stand up, face the storm, and walk out of the storm. They overhauled the system, improve the processes and march forward, they moved up to a new level. And Malaysia, still walking on the same spot.

Dear Malaysia, it's time to wake up! We are very very late now ! 

For original article, please see link below:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Malaysiakini: Ramon Navaratnam, Lim Teck Ghee: Civil service: More non-Malays would benefit Malays too

Civil service: More non-Malays would benefit Malays too
Ramon Navaratnam, Lim Teck Ghee
Malaysiakini, Feb 8, 10, 6:23pm

We refer to the article Emphasis on raising standards.

This was written as a commentary in response to the above article by Shagul Hamid Abdullah, director-general of Biro Tatanegara which appeared in The Star.

Since the paper has declined to publish it, we are making it available to other media outlets in the hope that it will be widely read and the subject of the racial composition of the Malaysian civil service is given the serious analysis and policy attention that it deserves. We consider this issue of paramount importance to our future as a united country.

The article seems to be aimed at ensuring that the situation of Malay dominance in the civil service should remain unchanged and unchallenged. The director-general's analysis fails to point out some very important reasons why a representative and multi-racial civil service should remain a key national priority, especially in the context of building '1Malaysia'.

One crucial reason is that the second prong of the New Economic Policy (from 1970) – the reduction in the identification of economic function with ethnicity – was intended to apply to both the private and public sectors. This second prong has been deemed to be so vital to the cause of national unity that the restructuring of the private sector continues until today (nearly 20 years after the NEP was supposed to have ended in 1990).

What has happened to the restructuring of the civil service that was part of the original NEP?

Although great strides have taken place towards a more multiracial private sector, the reverse has happened in the civil service.

According to available statistics for the year 2005, the proportion of Malays in the civil service had grown from 60% to 77% from 1970 to 2005 whilst the Perkhidmatan Tadbir dan Diplomatik (PTD) had 85% Malays in its staffing, or six Malays for one every non-Malay.

The situation of Malay dominance of the civil service, especially for the higher level service groups, is likely to have been enhanced since. It is not simply the issue of Chinese under- representation mentioned by the DG that is of concern. Representation of other communities and the East Malaysia native communities in the civil service at all levels is of as much concern.

Official statistics such as the racial and regional breakdown of civil service staffing by ministries, agencies and departments and categorised according to top management group, management and professional group and support group and other key variables can provide us a better understanding of the representational issue. From it we can draw related racial, regional and other ramifications and implications.

Though easy to collate, analyse and make publicly available, these data are conspicuously unavailable. Many government leaders have acknowledged that we need more transparency in government to raise public confidence.

Should these data and the relevant analysis be made publicly available, we are confident that they will agree with the concerns of many Malaysians that the current Malay over-dominance of the civil service is unhealthy and undesirable and that it adversely affects national unity, social cohesion and economic competitiveness.

Another important reason why the civil service in Malaysia needs to be made fully representative of the country's racial make-up is that in all modern governments, civil servants are fully engaged in formulating and implementing public policies on behalf of, and in the interests of, all the communities.

Democratic norms call for a representative, impartial and neutral bureaucracy not only to ensure that public policies are responsive to the legitimate needs of all citizens in a fair and equitable fashion but also to ensure that there is an absence of racial bias in the individual or collective manner that the civil servants formulate policies and conduct their work.

In February 2006, a study titled 'Towards a representative and world class civil service' was presented to the government as part of the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) proposals for the Ninth Malaysia Plan. The study contained a full set of arguments as to why the civil service needs to pursue an appropriate and racially diverse representation policy in its staffing. It also provided practical suggestions on how this policy could be implemented in the form of a quota system in recruitment and career advancement.

The quota system would be similar to the quota systems long used by the government in sectors such as education and commerce to bring about Malay advancement. The civil service quota system – in this case specifically used as a temporary affirmative action tool to increase non- Malay numbers and reduce marginalisation – could be formulated in such a way as to meet with the constitutional provisions providing for the special position of the Malays and bumiputera groups of Sabah and Sarawak.

This 60-40 recruitment system would be relatively easy and painless to implement. It would ensure Malay dominance but not over-dominance by helping bring a gradual increase in the number and proportion of non-Malay civil servants in the country.

Since that CPPS study aforementioned, the growing number of racial profiling allegations aimed at the police and various other ministries and agencies is a clear danger sign that changes in recruitment of new staffing and racial composition at the higher levels are urgently needed if these allegations are not to spiral out of control.

The director-general has emphasised that "there has never been any deliberate and conscious effort to discourage the non-Malays from entering and staying in public service'. The veracity of this statement can be questioned. If a full and open inquiry is held on the issue of whether or not bias exists in terms of recruitment and promotion in the civil service (and this includes staffing in the public universities and many strategic ministries and agencies), we are sure that many conflicting views – including those based on personal experience – are likely to dominate the proceedings.

Even if we accept as largely true the statement that there are no 'deliberate and conscious' attempts to discourage non-Malay participation in the civil service, it does not absolve the government from its responsibility of ensuring a fully representative civil service – a national objective which it has long pledged to pursue but has cynically ignored instead.

In fact, if only a miniscule fraction of the public resources that has gone into the restructuring of the private sector had been allocated towards the restructuring of the civil service, we would have long ago achieved that goal and arrived at a higher stage of national unity, resilience and competitiveness.

Instead what we have had is a lot of rhetoric, foot dragging, attempts to 'blame the other side', and now another garbled attempt at explaining why the status quo in terms of the civil service composition has to remain the same. That is why the contrasting statement by the Second Minister of Finance Ahmad Husni Mohd Hanadzlah, that the civil service should be more multiracial is most welcome.

In order to fulfill this noble aspiration, we hope that Husni and his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional will support the introduction of a quota system reflective of the country's racial composition and for the system to be introduced as soon as possible for all civil service recruitment and promotion.

It is important for the government to change its mindset on the issue and not to view the issue of a representative civil service in zero-sum game terms. It is not simply the interests of the non -Malay communities presently under-represented that would be enhanced with more equitable representation. Malay interests would also benefit in many ways.

Implementation of reforms providing for the recruitment and career advancement of non-Malays in the civil service will help ensure that national unity and the goal of '1Malaysia' will be more quickly realized.

Dr Lim Teck Ghee is director, Center for Policy Initiatives and Ramon Navaratnam is former president, Transparency International Malaysia.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Judge Young: Shoe Bomber Sentencing: January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid.

Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it?

 Did you know his trial is over?
 Did you know he was sentenced?
 Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV or Radio?

 Didn't think so.!!!

Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

  Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.  His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah,' defiantly stating, 'I think I will not apologize for my actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.'

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid.

Judge Young:   'Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General.  On counts 2, 3, 4and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutively.  (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed.  The Court imposes upon you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine of $2 million.  The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes.  It is a fair and just sentence.  It is a righteous sentence.

Now, let me explain this to you.  We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid.  We are Americans.  We have been through the fire before.  There is too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.  Here in this court, we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals.  As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant.  You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war.  You are a terrorist.  To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are not----- you are a terrorist.  And we do not negotiate with terrorists.  We do not meet with terrorists.  We do not sign documents with terrorists.  We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court.  You are a big fellow. But you are not that big.  You're no warrior.  I've known warriors. You are a terrorist.  A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted murders.  In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific.  What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing?  And, I have an answer for you.  It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate our freedom.  Our individual freedom.  Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.  Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom.  It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea.  It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.  It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom.  Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties.  Make no mistake though.  It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.  Look around this courtroom.  Mark it well.  The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here.  The day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.  The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid?  That's the flag of the United States of America .  That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom.  And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer.  Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets?  We need more judges like Judge Young
.  Pass this around.  Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home.

Malaysian Insider: The ideal of a united Malaysia is under strain

The ideal of a united Malaysia is under strain

Malaysian Insider, Canberra, Feb 7 — What’s happening with Malaysia? The country has long been viewed in Australia as not only an especially friendly Southeast Asian neighbour — the “recalcitrant” Mahathir Mohammad excepted, though he’s been retired six years — but also a model of middle-class success and tolerance in that region.

Today, however, the country is having a hard time holding things together, in the face of religious and ethnic divides, political battles, and economic challenges.

Michael Danby, who chairs Australia’s foreign affairs subcommittee, told parliament last Tuesday night that “fellow democrats around Asia are flabbergasted at events unfolding in Kuala Lumpur.”
He was referring to the second trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy.

“For the second time,” Danby said, “the Malaysian legal system is being manipulated by supporters of the incumbent government to drive Malaysia’s best-known leader, Anwar Ibrahim, out of national politics.

“For the second time, documents are being forged, witnesses are being coerced, and evidence is being fabricated. This trial, like the first trial, is a disgrace to Malaysia, a country that aspires to democratic norms.”

Danby said it was long past time that Malaysia repealed these British colonial laws, which could not then be used for such political purposes.

“In the second place, everyone in Malaysia, and everyone in the international legal community, knows that Anwar is innocent of these charges.”

The underlying problem is that Anwar, leader of the People’s Justice Party, is the first charismatic Malay opposition politician with sufficient appeal for Malay voters to pose a real threat to Umno’s 52-year hold on power.

This episode indicates that it’s also long past time Umno took a spell in opposition, as Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party is doing.

Declared a middle-income country by the World Bank several years ago, Malaysia has grown accustomed to patronising its giant neighbour Indonesia — even though it still rankles that Malaysia itself continues to be patronised by its tiny neighbour Singapore.

Now, though, it is Indonesia — the raucous democracy with a rapidly acquired capacity to change leaders and governments peaceably, the world’s largest Muslim country renowned for its moderation and pluralism — that is receiving international praise, with US President Barack Obama flying across the world to visit (with a side-trip to Australia).

In 2008, last year and — as estimated by IMA Asia — this year, Malaysia’s economic growth figures are 4.6 per cent, -2.8 per cent, and 4 per cent. Indonesia’s are 6.1 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent.

Since taking office last April, Prime Minister Najib Razak has started to dismantle the 40-year-old New Economic Policy, Sydney-based business consulting firm IMA notes.

It says: “While the NEP did little for ordinary Malays, its supposed beneficiaries, it enriched a handful of businessmen and contributed to corruption in Umno.”

Najib also has to tackle the over-reliance on oil money — for more than 40 per cent of government revenues — while just 2.3 million of the 28 million population pay income tax. And he needs to open more sectors of the economy to foreign investors.

That’s hard to do, while at the same time grappling with the plethora of problems resulting from Malaysia’s restrictive religious laws, reflecting Islam’s role as the state religion.

Queensland University political scientist David Martin Jones, currently working in Malaysia, says: “There is now an interesting collection of scandals dating from the first Anwar case in 1998 that coincides with the fragmentation of Umno-controlled politics.”

One such scandal comprised the tragic case of Lina Joy, aged 45, who was born into a Muslim family but began attending a church in 1990 and was baptised in 1998, and naturally wished to marry her Christian fiance. But marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslim men is forbidden under Malaysian law, and after years of battling the authorities in the courts, in 2007 she was refused permission to convert formally.

This year, Malaysia has seen its simmering religious and racial conflicts boil over after a ruling of the High Court that the Malay language pages of the Catholic Church’s weekly newspaper, the Herald, could use the term “Allah” as a translation for “God”.

Malaysian Christians say they have used “Allah” for God for centuries.

The government is appealing the decision. But in the meantime, it has triggered violent protests from Muslim Malays who comprise 60 per cent of the population, and who claim exclusive rights over the Arabic word “Allah”. Christians comprise just 9 per cent of Malaysians.

Eleven churches, a Sikh temple and two Muslim prayer rooms have been attacked so far, as a result of the row, and the severed heads of three wild boars — considered unclean by Muslims — with their mouths stuffed with bank notes, in plastic bags, were found outside two mosques.

The High Court last April sentenced to death two policemen who were assigned to the office of Najib Razak, the then deputy prime minister and defence minister. They were found guilty of murdering a Mongolian woman who had had a relationship with Abdul Razak Baginda, a defence analyst for a think tank, and had translated for him on a deal to buy submarines from France.

Abdul Razak, arrested for abetting the murder, was acquitted. But the motives for the policemen to have killed Atlantuyaa — by explosives — remain murky.

Martin Jones says: “Malay political scandals and the cynicism they engender, together with the bitter debate over the ‘Allah affair’, are seriously fragmenting the Malay community, whilst minority communities are increasingly rejecting the Umno model of Satu Malaysia (1 Malaysia). I suspect this portends some trouble ahead for the Malay political process.”

Razak has launched a multimedia 1 Malaysia campaign to promote the virtues of “perseverance, a culture of excellence, acceptance, loyalty, education, humility, integrity, and meritocracy.”

This looks to be a hurdle too high for a political establishment whose credibility is too low, for an economy that for two years has suffered net outflows of foreign investment, and for a culture suffering some confusion.

Jones points out: “It’s somewhat ironic that an ostensibly puritanical political culture that won’t contemplate a Beyonce concert seems to lap up details of Anwar’s alleged penetration of his aide.”

The singer Beyonce last October cancelled a second planned concert in Malaysia after accusations by Islamic conservatives that her show was immoral. She scored a huge hit when she flew instead to a Muslim neighbour with less stringent rules on dress or behaviour: Indonesia. — The Australian

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Malaysiakini-Dean Johns: The sodUmny never stops

Dean Johns
Feb 3, 2010; 10:39am
At the risk of repeating some of the sentiments I expressed back when Anwar Ibrahim was charged with Sodomy II, his latest trial is just one more in an unending series of Umno/BN sodomies on the Malaysian people.

Ever since Tun Razak shafted Tungku Abdul Rahman by allegedly orchestrating the May 13 riots back in 1969, successive Umno/BN regimes have violated every principle of civic virtue and good governance in their insatiable lust for power and plunder.

This species of SodUmny became routine during Mahathir's premiership, a 22-year debauch that saw the ravaging of the judiciary's political independence, the defilement of the media and other civil institutions by a combination of force and corruption, and the rape and pillage of the nation's riches by Umno/BN members, relatives and cronies.

One of Mahathir's dirtiest public deeds, of course, was his vicious assault on his erstwhile deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, in 1998. A charge of sodomy that was so clearly and evidently false that the judge in the case, the late, unlamented Augustine Paul, had to give prosecution three goes at getting the time and scene of the 'crime' straight.

NONEAs you may recall, the condominium at which the 'offence' was at first alleged to have occurred turned out not to have been built at the time. And on the second occasion on which the sodomy was alleged to have taken place, the defence demonstrated that Anwar had been out of the country on that date.

Then, in the course of the hearing, 'victims' and other procured witnesses recanted the testimony that they had initially given. But despite all this perjury and other irregularities the charade proceeded, and Anwar was convicted and jailed.

But Mahathir hadn't finished with him yet. When Anwar complained of a black eye and other injuries as the result of a beating by the then head of the Royal Malaysian Police, Mahathir brazenly sneered that Anwar had probably inflicted the injuries on himself.

This was a glaring example of possibly the most disgusting sodUmny that Mahathir, his two successors and their entire regime have committed, and continue to commit against the people of Malaysia: utter perversion of the truth.

A pack of pernicious lies

Official government propaganda and public relations are a pack of pernicious lies. Najib Razak's “1Malaysia. People first. Performance now,” is so plainly and patently false as to constitute a sodUmny on the people's intelligence.

Far from truly promoting a united Malaysia, Umno persistently plays on the issues of race and religion to keep-up its pretense of championing the cause of the Malay/Muslim majority at the expense of the rest. Witness the notorious “cow's head” protest against the construction of a Hindu temple. The police stood by and did nothing to stop it, and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein excused the perpetrators on the grounds that they had “no intention” of provoking racial or religious ill-feeling.

NONEAnother glaring example of Umno/BN's promotion of racial and religious disunity has been its involvement in the latest episode of the God/Allah controversy, in which it has allowed one of its newspapers, Utusan Malaysia, total license to inflame the sectarian passions of its readers.
But of course Utusan Malaysia is just an extreme example of the fact that Umno/BN commits its ultimate sodomy of the truth by means of a Printing, Presses and Publications Act that requires virtually all of the nation's news media to submit to Umno/BN's rapacious demands for special treatment.

No coverage of news of the few Umno/BN crimes that escape the net of the Official Secrets Act. No criticism of Umno/BN derelictions, lies or idiocies. No positive coverage of opposition politicians or supporters. Nothing, in fact, from the pathetically prostituted 'mainstream' television, radio and press but the Umno party line.

So, despite the heroic efforts of the few independent virtual media and the burgeoning pro-democracy blogosphere, millions of Malaysians still live in blissful ignorance of many of the obscenities of the Umno/BN regime.

And will continue to, if the authorities have anything to do with it. Barry Wain's book 'Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times' is apparently not yet allowed into the country, presumably to spare Malaysians from revelations of putrid dealings like the preposterous public funding of Umno headquarters, Putra World Trade Centre.

And two other books apparently headed for the banned list are '1Funny Malaysia', a collection of cartoons by Zunar lampooning the Umno/BN regime, and 'Where is justice?', an account of countless atrocities committed in police and MACC custody, including the cases of Teoh Beng Hock, A Kugan, Altantuya Shaariibuu and Anwar Ibrahim.

A good account

Now that we're back to Anwar, according to the ongoing Malaysiakini report he's giving a good account of himself on the first day of his Sodomy II trial.

On the grounds that his accuser and alleged victim Mohd Saiful Bukhan Azlan met at least twice with Prime Minister Najib Razak prior to reporting the 'crime', Anwar said that he intends to request the court to subpoena Najib and his wife Rosmah as witnesses.

“If Najib and the government have managed to cover up the Altantuya (murder),” he asked, “what more is this? This is a desperate attempt to implicate me.”

Anwar's lawyers also applied for a review of last week's decision by the Apex Court denying them additional evidence, documents and CCTV footage needed for his defence.

anwar sodomy trail first day 020210 diplomatic corp lining upThe trial is being attended by foreign diplomats, legal observers and global media, with BBC News already running a report on the first day of proceedings.

So Malaysia's image, already darkened by Dr Mahathir's global notoriety, Najib Razak's dubious reputation and the ruling regime's dismal record of financial, social and human-rights abuses, is bound to be blackened even further by this latest bum rap.

Let's hope there's enough of an international outcry, and sufficient revulsion on the part of sufficient Malaysians, to finally depose the political inverts of Umno/BN, and put an end to their sodUmnies for once and for all.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he mentors creative writing groups. Soon to be published in Kuala Lumpur is a third book of his columns for Malaysiakini, following earlier collections 'Mad about Malaysia' and 'Even Madder about Malaysia'.