Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mark Webber testdrives Singapore F1 Street Circuit

Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber took a leisurely drive today, around the proposed Singapore F1 street circuit in a black Renault Megane Coupe convertible. He had this to say about the plan for a night street circuit race:

[He] said organisers would have to look into lighting and the effect of rain, which could create glare in dark conditions.

"There's a few unanswered questions which need a bit more research, but that happens when you have something very exciting and something very new which is what we have here."

On whether such a race could be held here next year, Webber quipped: "If there's people walking on the moon, you can make things happen very quickly these days."
Previous blogpost on the Singapore F1 Street Circuit saga here and video + report from Channel News Asia on Webber's Saturday drive below.

Formula One: More work needed on Singapore night race - Webber
31 March 2007 1757 hrs
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/267641/1/.html

SINGAPORE: Formula One's Mark Webber praised a proposed Singapore street circuit after driving it on Saturday but said more research was needed into a plan to race here at night.

The Red Bull driver from Australia said organisers would have to look into lighting and the effect of rain, which could create glare in dark conditions.

"They are talking about the night concept which again is very, very new and pioneering and something which has not been done before in Formula One," said Webber, 30, who is also director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association.

"The question of whether it rains has been mentioned," he added.

"It requires a lot of research and development into actually understanding how that could take place in terms of the amount of lighting required to make the event safe for the drivers, for marshals and (other) people taking part.

"There's a few unanswered questions which need a bit more research, but that happens when you have something very exciting and something very new which is what we have here."

Webber took a "leisurely" morning drive in a non-race car round the 4.8-kilometre (three-mile) route proposed by designer Hermann Tilke.

Despite the potential risks, Webber said "all the drivers are very, very keen to race on a new street circuit, which is definitely going to be the case here in Singapore."

"It's a very clean and beautiful city and I think it's a real signature event if you can have a Formula One Grand Prix here," he added.

"I can see the enthusiasm and the excitement to have an international sporting event such as the world Formula One championships here and it's something which looks exciting, no questions about it."

Webber's test drive comes after the Singapore government said negotiations were under way to host a Formula One event in the affluent Southeast Asian island-nation and that it was prepared to offer support.

It has been reported that Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone held talks in the city-state with a tycoon who is bidding for the right to host an F1 race here.

Ecclestone was believed to have had dinner with Singapore hotel magnate Ong Beng Seng, one of two local parties jockeying to host the event.

Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew said two years ago that he regretted not having built a Formula One race track to generate more money for the local economy.

Monaco hosts the circuit's only other street race, and there is no night race on the calendar.

Formula One organisers have made clear their intentions to stage night races to take advantage of time zone differences and boost TV audiences.

On whether such a race could be held here next year, Webber quipped: "If there's people walking on the moon, you can make things happen very quickly these days." - AFP

Destruction of non-Muslim worship centers riles faith minorities in Malaysia

An interesting article from AP about the current religious tensions. Seems like I'm not the only person who's heard of "bureaucratic" problems like delays and outright rejections when it comes to getting approvals to build non-Muslim places of worship. They are not spared even when they are to be built with PRIVATE money, on PRIVATE land.

Meanwhile, grand, sprawling mosques costing millions are built with money from taxpayers (of all races), and each new housing estate must have at least one surau, built by the developer (meaning the cost of the surau is spread to all housebuyers... yes, even the non-Muslim ones). And we haven't even begun to talk of the religious departments, state muftis, mosque clerics, snoop squads etc. all funded by tax money.

Is this the religious equality and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution?

Destruction of non-Muslim worship centers riles faith minorities in Malaysia
Sean Yoong - Associated Press
http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/newsncom.php?itemid=3505

The cavernous pink Putra Mosque with its soaring minaret is one of the most commanding sights and popular tourist photo backdrops in the new city of Putrajaya.

A house of worship for thousands of Muslims in the 8-year-old administrative capital of Malaysia, it is a showcase of the nation's dominant faith — Islam.

But the mosque also highlights the fact that Putrajaya doesn't have a single church or temple — a fact that minority Buddhists, Hindus and Christians see as one example of the second-class treatment other faiths get in this Muslim-majority country

Religious minorities have long complained about obstacles in getting the government's permission to build places of worship in Malaysia. But their frustrations have grown amid recent accusations by religious rights activists that authorities are destroying non-Muslim shrines, heating up racial bitterness that has simmered for decades beneath a veneer of multicultural harmony.

"There is much disillusionment" among non-Muslims, said P. Uthayakumar, a Hindu lawyer who has launched a court battle to prevent authorities from demolishing temples. "Every time a temple is demolished, the people's confidence is shaken further."

The issue of churches and temples is part of a wider debate in Malaysia regarding racial and religious rights. Majority ethnic Malays, who are exclusively Muslim, enjoy a host of privileges, while other groups struggle with issues such as a perceived lack of recourse when they get into legal disputes with Muslims over religious matters.

"The debate and conflict over places of worship for non-Muslims is one of the results of the radicalized communitarian politics," says Farish Noor, a Malaysian Muslim political analyst.

"Thus far the Malaysian government has been talking about being a government for all Malaysians, but sadly we see that the Malay-Muslim agenda still dominates politics at a major level."

Some observers say the destruction of temples reflects the government's failure under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who took power in 2003, to curb attempts by some Malays to assert their influence and privileges.

Abdullah, who espouses a philosophy of progressive moderate Islam, warned in November that he would not allow anyone to "hijack Islam in Malaysia in order to breed intolerance and hatred."

However, there has been an increasing perception among non-Muslims over the past year that some politicians and religious authorities have become overzealous in trying to ensure that the status of Malays and their religion remains unthreatened.

Malaysia has not seen major racial violence since May 1969, when hundreds were killed in riots between Malay Muslims — two-thirds of the country's 26 million people — and ethnic Chinese who are 25 percent of the population.

Most Chinese are Buddhists or Christians. Ethnic Indians, the smallest minority, are largely Hindus.

Racial harmony between the three groups is a fine balance, maintained mainly because the minorities have not made a fuss about Islam's primacy, and are accepting and thankful for the relative freedom they have to practice their faith.

But critics say that although religious freedom is a constitutional right, minorities are being indirectly victimized by laws and arcane rules.

Among them, religious conversion of ethnic Malay Muslims is illegal; authorities have strict guidelines that limit the number of non-Muslim places of worship, partly based on whether there are enough non-Muslims in an area to justify having a church or temple.

According to Town Planning Department guidelines non-Muslim places of worship can only be built after taking into account racial "harmony ... and not touch on the sensitivities of other faiths."

Laws also allow for the demolition of temples and churches built on sites deemed unsuitable by city officials.

In the past year, activists allege there have been increasing demolitions, especially involving Hindu temples. The Hindu Rights Action Force lobby group claims more than 70 Hindu temples were razed or threatened with such action in 2006.

Many Hindu temples were built by plantation laborers, without official approval, before the country's independence from Britain in 1957.

The Hindu coalition has urged the government to declare temple locations as religious land reserves, which would protect them. It filed a court application in December seeking an injunction to halt any further demolitions.

Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia's most placid countries, and there is no immediate alarm that the issue will trigger serious unrest. Nevertheless, some demolitions sparked violent confrontations that could be a sign of simmering tensions.

In November, police fired warning shots to quell a fracas between dozens of protesters and demolition workers who flattened part of a Chinese temple deemed to have been built illegally in northern Penang state.

The main problem for Christians, meanwhile, is getting approval to build new churches; a Roman Catholic church, for instance, was held up 18 years. Many Protestant churches are forced to occupy commercial shop and office premises because they cannot obtain government consent.

The government rejects claims of discrimination, pointing out that the demolished temples were built illegally and that its policies allow for sufficient non-Muslim places of worship.

"Planning rules will definitely take care of all religious needs," Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Ting, a Chinese, told The Associated Press.

"Under the planning guidelines, all the new development must provide for non-Muslim places of worship. All (authorities) should abide by this and implement this accordingly."

Such assurances, however, sometimes seem slow to be translated to action. Catholic Malaysians have been working since 2005 to set up a church in Putrajaya, but church officials say they are still awaiting the government's blessings for the church design.

The Rev. Julian Leow, a priest involved in the project, estimates hundreds of Catholics in Putrajaya, a city of 50,000, currently have to travel to neighboring districts for Mass.

"It would be very significant to have a church in the administrative capital," Leow said. "It would be a showcase (for religious diversity) that Malaysia can present, not only to Catholics but to the whole world."

First Look: Sony Vaio UX-27GN UMPC

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a Sony Gallery or Sony dealer who actually has a Vaio UX-27GN UMPC (Ultra Mobile Portable Computer) on display. But I did manage to get my hands on one yesterday. What I didn't realise was that Sony doesn't allow customers to take photographs in their stores. So, since the staff chased me out quick smart... this will be a very brief first look.


For a list of specifications, go to Sony's dedicated Vaio website. Lot's of information there, so I won't go into much detail about the specs. I will tell you though that it's rather thick... as thick as a normal 10 or 12 inch notebook. So, while it's not quite a 'pocketable' piece of kit, it feels quite solid and robust.

The 4.5" widescreen LCD was very good at it's native 1024x600 resolution. Clear, bright (hence the Sony moniker of 'Clearbright' LCD) and very sharp. In the photo above, the normal Windows Vista desktop is UN-magnified. I had no trouble seeing what each icon was (including the tiny ones in the systray at the lower right corner), but I did have to squint to read the pop-up balloons when you hover your cursur above the systray icons.

All in all, I think there should be no problem surfing regular internet webpages without any magnification.


In the limited time I had before I was summarily reprimanded by Sony staff, Vista seemed to be acceptably fast. That's not surprising since the UX-27 is specced pretty much the same as a current average notebook computer. Intel Core Solo CPU, 1GB of DDR2 SD-RAM, 40GB Ultra-ATA 5,400rpm HDD (recovery partition takes away 5GB), Intel GMS 945 chipset, blah blah blah. What is amazing though, is it all fits into a 520gm package.

In terms of software, it is spartan. It comes installed with a meagre selection of programs... Norton AV, IE browser and a multi-media suite. There is no productivity software at all. I would have liked a light version of MS Office. Makes me wonder what kind of logic Sony employed to leave that out... since the only people who can afford to buy the UX are people who have to work all the time.

There seems to be 3 ways to navigate.

One, using the fully featured keypad which slides out like a slider phone. I found the keys rather stiff though, so no touch-typing here.

Two, using the trackpoint. The big grey, square button on the upper right side of the UX-27 is the trackpoint. Put your right thumb there and use pressure to move the cursur around. Use it exactly as you would an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad trackpoint. The 2 buttons (for the left thumb) on the upper left side are the left & right mouse buttons. It took me a few minutes to get used to coordinating both thumbs to make single point and click actions.

The bigger implication of putting the mouse controller on one side and the mouse buttons on the other side however, is that you can't use the UX with one hand. Think about it, the ramifications could be larger than you'd think. For eg, you can't use this standing in a bus or train, and hold on to the support pole / hand straps at the same time. And you're pretty much screwed if you happen to have only one thumb... or none at all.

Three, using the nifty touch screen. Here's me dragging out a highlight box with my finger. Apparently there's a stylus pen supplied, but I couldn't find it.


But when I tried double clicking on icons by tapping the screen, nothing happened. I guess I was ejected before I could read the instruction manual.

A final verdict would be that this is a great gadget. Fully featured (if they include some productivity software), little compromise on computing power and memory (compared to a regular notebook), and provides a full range of connectivity options. Besides, it's an unrivalled head turner and conversation piece. You'll be a geekybabe-magnet if you turn up at your neighbourhood Starbucks and wifi using one of these.

On the downside, it still doesn't fit in your pocket, has no memory upgrade options and the price. It's a testicle shrinking S$3,499 (USD 2,300 or RM8,000).

Nokia N95's price is an exorbitant S$1288 in Singapore

According to the Today newspaper, the Nokia N95 finally has a price in Singapore... S$1,288 (USD 850 or RM3,000).

Way, waaayyy too expensive if you ask me. That's Mickey Mouse pricing... for now. With the Apple iPhone coming next year, I would expect no less than for the N95's price to drop considerably during the latter part of this year.

I definitely won't be an early adopter like I was for the SonyEricsson K800i.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Malays will become slaves if quotas scrapped

Tun M

Aren't many Malays already slaves to the quotas and NEP?

And as long as they are not made to stand on their own 2 feet, won't they remain slaves... led by rings through their noses by the powerful elite, propped by crutches, unable to stand up straight and look people in the eye?

You said so yourself... not so long ago, in a flood of tears, snot and spit. Why the sudden change of tune? You should really try not to contradict yourself so.

Airport terminal security detain woman and 13 year old child for sarcasm

Security officers at Singapore's Budget Terminal detained a woman and her 13 year old daughter just because the lady sarcarstically uttered the word "bomb" after having her boots removed for inspection.

For god's sake... I honestly don't think it's even humanly possible to be more ridiculous, over-zealous, paranoid, constipated and customer-unfriendly than that.

Believe it or not, Singapore has a govt-sponsored, highly publicised Customer Service Training Programme and GEMS (Go the Extra Mile for Service) campaign... and you know what, it's NOT WORKING!

VW scraps tie-up with Proton

Updates posted to the comments section of this blogpost.

This appeared in today's Straits Times in Singapore.

Also have a read of NST Online's coverage of this story.

You'll notice that NST made their report sound as bland - as sex in the missionary position with an Englishman with sore knees... - by leaving out all the "spicier" remarks from the original report, like the ones below:


"...this is a major setback and could hurt investor sentiment"

"...the govt will need to come up with a solution quickly"

"...clearly they don't want to pour any resources into turning Proton around"

"...getting the locals to lead Proton's turnaround is not what the govt wants. But it looks like it doesn't have a choice"
Related blogposts: The Problem with Proton

Nismo 350Z keychain / phone dangler

My cousin stopped over in Singapore on the way back from Tokyo. And knowing what a car nut I am (as is my cousin), he brought me what is in my mind, a damn near perfect holiday souvenir (for both the giver and recipient).

1. It is thoughtful as it's something the receiver wants to receive (car stuff);
2. It is convenient for the giver as it's where he wants to go in the first place (car places);
3. It is unique or particular to the country / place visited (Japan / Nismo);
4. It is affordable (JPY1,400 or USD12) and easy to carry (small & light).



It's an authentic Nismo 350Z keychain / phone dangler he bought from the Nismo shop at Nissan's main showroom in Tokyo.



Yup, those are LED headlamps. Besides the accurate colour scheme and sponsor stickers, there are even tiny brake calipers, a front splitter, rear diffuser etc. The tyres are actual rubber and detachable from the rims.

This is truly unbeatable attention to detail. If only Proton invested the same kind of business ethic, product quality and professional pride in their full size cars, as
Nissan/Nismo obviously do (in even their teeny-tiny ones)... Proton would be a much better car company.

Great stuff. Thanks cuz.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Singapore F1 GP - Malaysia unsure if it's an egg or an omelette

The Singapore-phobic Malaysians will have a field day with this. The Malaysian Sports Minister just voiced the long-standing thinking of Malaysian politicians and not a few citizens with regards to it's relationship with Singapore. That the two countries should not compete with each other.


It also demonstrates Malaysia's greatest fear: The fear of competition. Malaysia is paralysed by it. It is the main reason why Malaysia's relationship with competitiveness-obsessed (kiasu) Singapore is so antagonistic.

Malaysia believes in patronage, quotas and monopolies where money is made with minimum or no effort. It's believes in carving up the economic loot and dividing it amongst the stakeholders according to political & ethnic lines. That's why Malaysia's economy has official % ratios determining how much of it, each ethnic group should own. We call it the social contract and a guarantee of peace and prosperity for all. Others call it racial discrimination, cronyism and institutional corruption.

On the other hand, Singapore believes that economics is a warzone, where friendly fire is healthy and some acceptable losses are inevitable. It believes that it's one's own fault if one should starve because of the lack of work hard. It is a country where top professionals and civil servants legitimately earn over a million dollars a year, but there is no social welfare, minimum wage or union labour agreements. Nothing describes Singapore better than the phrase... "to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs."

So, Malaysia... are you an egg or an omelette?


Related posts below:
Singapore F1 GP - only a matter of time.
.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Islamic experts tell non-Muslims not to be prejudiced against syariah courts

Referring to the Court of Appeal decision last week to dismiss the appeal by R. Subashini, a Hindu, to stop her Muslim-convert husband, Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, from going to the syariah court to dissolve their marriage and convert their children - Islamic experts said non-Muslims should not be "prejudiced" against syariah courts, as Islam is a religion which assures justice for all.

They said non-Muslims should not be worried about subjecting themselves to the syariah court to resolve matters concerning Muslims or Islam, as it is not given that the court will side with the Muslim party.

Terengganu mufti Datuk Ismail Yahya said: “We know non-Muslims are worried that the syariah court will always side with the Muslims but do not fear, there is still hope that non-Muslims could win the case.”

He said just like the procedures in the civil court, the syariah court’s judgment would be made based on the facts presented.
Perlis mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin noted that during the time of Saidina Ali, one of the early Muslim caliphs, a Jew had won a case against Ali in an Islamic court.

He said the prejudice against the syariah court stemmed from two reasons – non-Muslims do not understand that Islam promises justice for all, and the syariah courts themselves sometimes fail to reflect the level of professio­nalism required by Islam.
Yes, perhaps. But the Syariah's divine capacity for fairness is not the issue here. Like Perlis Mufti Asri said... the fear is that the mere mortals who preside over the Syariah courts today might not possess the necessary divine virtue and caliphic wisdom. What the prophet intentioned over a thousand years ago is one thing. What his followers actually do today - is quite another.

And as MP for Kota Melaka, Wong Nai Chee aptly stressed in a speech to Parliament, he did not question which laws were fairer but simply emphasising the jurisdiction of the [civil] laws, underwhich the marriage was legalised in the first place.
“I don’t question whether syariah court is just or not. What I said was the options they have. If they have already chosen a particular system, they should not be asked to go to another system as it involved two totally different laws.”

“Couples have been given the choice to register their marriages under civil laws or syariah laws. If you have chosen to register under civil laws, then they should [remain] answerable under the civil laws when one party converts.”

“Although (if one) has converted as a Muslim, you should carry out your obligation to your wife and children under civil laws,” he said.
And I agree. This respects the timeline and sequence of events giving rise to the marriage in the first place.

Touching on the disputed religious status of children resulting from botched up conversions like these, Wong suggested amending Article 12(4) which stipulates that “a person under the age of 18, the religion or faith should be decided by his guardian or parent”.
“Although Schedule 11 says that “parent” refers to singular and plural, but the courts have not been using it anymore. So let’s just amend the word ‘parent’ to parents’,” said Wong, a lawyer.
I have to agree as well. There is no justice nor fairness to allow one parent to change the religion of a child without the consent or against the wishes of the other parent.

If it is eventually ruled that the conversion of Subashini and Saravanan's children is valid, then can Subashini invoke the same unilateral parental rights and convert those children right back to Hindu?

Will Islamic laws apply to prevent this re-conversion? If they do, then shouldn't Subashini be allowed to invoke Hindu religious rights to invalidate the children's initial conversion to Islam in the first place?

The religious experts also commented on the argument that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any law passed after indepen­dence, which is inconsistent with the constitution, shall be void.
Syariah Lawyers Association adviser Muhammad Burok said:

“Syariah law is not a written law as it is based on Allah’s revelation. Obviously, it did not come after indepen­dence. That is how I see it. But, in Malaysia, it becomes a problem because the syariah law is written.”
Mohd Asri said the argument of whether it was unconstitutional or not was a matter of interpretation.

He said to him, being a Muslim, the syariah law was the supreme law as it was based on the Quran.
Essentially, they are saying that Islamic law takes precedent over the Constitution because it is god's law. What they keep conveniently forgetting is that 40% of Malaysians do not believe in that version of god, and do not accept that version of laws over them. How is forcing non-Muslims to subject themselves to Islamic law any different from forcing them to convert altogether, as expressly prohibited by the Constitution and basic human rights?
Muhammad Burok invited non-Muslims to learn to accept the syariah law, saying if Muslims can go to the civil court, there was no reason why non-Muslims cannot go to the syariah court.
Well... according to dumb logic like that, shouldn't Muslims be equally compelled to subject themselves to laws of the other religions as well?
When it was pointed out that this may not be acceptable to non-Muslims, Muhammad said: “They have to learn to accept it.”
HAVE TO? You just illustrated beautifully why rational discourse is impossible with religious fundamentalists. They have only one opinion - that they are right - and their argument for everything is that God said so, and no one is bigger than god. End of argument.

Problem is, buddy, is that nobody has heard god say anything for over a thousand years. All we can hear are people like you... mere mortals (no different from 6 billion others) talking incessantly... claiming to speak on god's behalf. Claiming that your earthly pronouncements represent the heavenly will of god. Isn't that heresy?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

SUHAKAM confirm police used excessive force against KLCC protestors

The public inquiry held by Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has found that the police indeed used excessive force against protesters at the KLCC last year, resulting in a number abusive, confrontational protestors being injured. From the pictures in the linked posts, you will no doubt see they were heavily armed too... with sandwiches, thermos flasks, manila cards and small children.

The findings of the inquiry included:

- Excessive force by some members of the police force;

- The crowd had started to disperse when the water cannon was activated and the police charged after them and Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel and police officers used force on the crowd;

- The assembly was a peaceful one and the actions and speeches did not incite or cause a breach of peace or violence; and

- The provisions of section 27 of the Police Act 1967 that requires a licence for assemblies and the phrase "prejudicial to the interest of the security of Malaysia" went against the right to freedom of assembly enshrined in Article 10 of the Constitution.

"The interference by the police in dispersing the assembly and the arrests were disproportionate to the aim of preventing disorder," said the report. It recommended the police conduct investigations to ascertain who usedforce against the victims with a view to taking disciplinary action
At much the same time, the current IGP (Inspector General of Police) unveils a new vision and mission for the Malaysian police force. With irony... or [dare I hope] greater intent, the IGP included this assurance.
"every policeman must be friendly and approachable and respect human rights."
Malaysians can only hope it will come to pass.

BN MP Wong Nai Chee for press freedom

It was a breath of fresh air when BN MP, Wong Nai Chee (BN-Kota Melaka), spoke in support of press freedom reforms during a recent session of parliament. He cited the Printing and Presses Act, Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act and the Internal Security Act as having "overlapping provisions and restricting the media."

“These laws create a situation of media self-censorship. Too many of these laws also cause a situation where the newsroom can receive calls from people, including politicians, advising them to do something or face having their permits revoked.”
Maybe he was referring to the incidents below:
Don't Quote Us Bloggers
Our Media: Purveyor of Truth, Spineless Yes-man or Bubbly Cheerleader?

In any case, kudos to YB Wong. Hope this is not just NATO (No Action, Talk Only) on his part.

But what irked me particularly, was a comment made by ol' Close One Eye, Mohd Said Yusof (BN-Jasin). Yup, he's still there... in parliament. Apparent, he stood up during Wong's speech and said that "a major English newspaper was the only paper that did not report the opening of the Parliament meeting by the King on Monday but instead highlighted a lock-up report."
“I am perplexed because this paper did not respect the event in the august House that was officiated by the King.”
First things first, I reckon Close One eye did not make that statement in English. It must've been a translation of his comment in Bahasa Malaysia. Why? I simply don't believe he knows the meaning of the words 'perplexed' and 'august' (as it's been used in the context of this quote).

Secondly, he's perplexed why the newspaper didn't respect the event enough to report it. I'm perplexed why these superficial, exhibitionist gestures are so important to BN politicians. Especially when the ordinary citizens think that parliamentarians should be spending more time and energy actually serving the country, rather than incessantly putting form above function.

I'm even more perplexed why he's still a free man and still being allowed into Parliament. To answer his question... in my opinion, the Parliament ceased to be an 'august house' the day it opposed the motion to refer allegations of his misdeeds to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee.
august (oxford): /awgust/ • adjective inspiring respect and admiration

Singapore F1 GP - only a matter of time.

Another Singapore Minister (for Comm Development, Youth & Sports) sounding positive on the Singapore F1 race.

Bernie Ecclestone met the Minister of Trade & Industry last week. This minister was also at the season opening Australian GP in Melbourne.

Previous Post below:

Bernie in Singapore to meet Minister over Singapore's F1 bid

Swapping shares for cash - Iskandar Development Region

According to press reports...

Foreign investors in selected zones and sectors within Johor’s Iskandar Development Region will be exempted from the Foreign Investment Committee rules, including the 30% bumiputra equity participation requirement.

However, the authority that oversees the IDR later issued a statement saying that in lieu of exemption from the FIC rules, qualified companies would have to contribute to the "Social Projects Fund" for, among others, bumiputra "development".
Call me a suspicious bastard, but all I can tell from this - is that the 30% bumi equity participation requirement has been swapped with a cash payout to a "fund". A fund which will presumably "distribute" the cash to "selected" bumis.

Wait a minute, so instead of giving them free shares, you're giving cash?!

Farking genius. Who wouldn't prefer cash to shares? Easier to launder, stash away in Swiss or Cayman Island bank accounts and much more convenient to pay for luxury goods during taxpayer funded "lawatan sambil belajar" holidays facilitated by the spanking new 200 million ringgit jetliner.

Different shit, same bad smell.

EVIAN <-> NAIVE

How many of you realise EVIAN spelt backwards is NAIVE? ie. an anagram.

At 2 bucks for 500ml... weight for weight, it costs more than petrol, jet fuel, milk or one night with a 200 dollar prostitute.

Think about that the next time you're naive enough to buy 'premium' bottled water. The only premium it holds is the buyer's gullibility.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Don't Quote Us Bloggers

Seems like the BN govt are going all out to dismiss bloggers as INCREDIBLE. And they are right.

incredible (oxford) • adjective 1 impossible or hard to believe. 2 informal extraordinarily good.
The govt reckons we are unbelieveable (1) and we reckon we are extraordinarily good (2).

The Malaysian public have to make up their own minds who to believe. The politicians OR the bloggers.

Before you make your decision, just let me remind you that NO blogger has yet been accused (much less convicted) of corruption, abuse of power, perverting justice, building castles in Klang, importing illegal timber, buying private jets with public money, guaranteeing ridiculous profits to crony companies, releasing detainees for money, sexual misconduct, blowing up foreign women with military explosives, threatening to bathe unwieldy knives in the blood of Chinese nor repeatedly refer to 60% of Malaysia's population as a bunch of insane bloodthirsty retards liable to run amok at a drop of hat.

More press articles about this political campaign to discredit bloggers below.
Don't Quote Blog Websites, Newspapers Told
March 20, 2007 21:06 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Bernama) -- Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin today asked newspapers not to quote from blog websites when writing news stories as the source of the information cannot be considered authoritative.

He hoped newspapers would be more responsible by quoting only authoritative sources as many bloggers were relying on newspapers for credibility.

The minister said he was disappointed as there were blog websites that have not been updated and carried inaccurate information, causing uneasiness and confusion to people surfing the websites.

"The information are posted on the blogs by people with no authority. Why you as journalists have to quote a blog website as the source of your story and then publish the news in the newspaper that has authority?" he asked.

"The information posted on the blog website may be something provocative, politically motivated, inaccurate and are mostly rumours floated for the interests of certain parties," he said.

"You (journalists) should not allow your readers to believe blog websites as a reliable source," he said when commenting on the trend among newspapers to attribute blog websites as the source, hence indirectly promoting them.

Zainuddin advised readers suspicious of the information posted on blog websites to refer to the mainstream media to get the true picture.

He said journalists who quoted websites are actually not being fair to themselves, to their readers and newspapers for picking up a doubtful source and providing space in newspapers for a person whose identity was unknown.

He said the move would create problems to journalists and their newspapers if what was reported was not true, exposing them to the risk of being sued.

Zainuddin hoped newspapers would not give credit to blog websites as they could become influential and become widespread.

Saying that there was no need to ban blog websites, he urged bloggers to be more responsible.

Zainuddin said the Government could control the bloggers by way of legislation although his ministry did not have the power to do so.

Balanced Reporting Can Counter Internet Influence, Says Fu
March 17, 2007 13:08 PM

KUANTAN, March 17 (Bernama) -- Keen competition in news gathering must abide by the journalism tenets to avoid sensitive issues from being highlighted, Internal Security Deputy Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said.

Despite the challenges posed by the Internet, an information superhighway, the mainstream media must not waiver from giving the correct and accurate picture of an event or an incident to the people, he said.

He said journalists must adhere to provisions in the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and be responsible in discharging their duties.

"As the deputy minister responsible in enforcing the Act, sometimes I've to call up to remind the media concerned when sensitive issues are published.

"While some accepted the reprimand, others feel I am a super media editor," he said when speaking at a "dinner-with-the-media" here last night.

Fu said the media must practise balanced reporting unlike the Internet which had no specific guidelines.

"I hope the prevailing close government-media relations will be maintained for the good of both parties. I am willing to accept criticisms and comments from the media and the people, especially transparent and constructive ideas," he said.

The print and electronic media coverage could convey the message to the authorities in rectifying weaknesses in the civil service in line with the government's serious drive to improve the public delivery system, he added.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Car vs Bike... The car doesn't always win.

These are pictures of an accident between a car and a motorcycle.

CAN YOU SEE THE MOTORCYCLE?



Apparently, here's what happened...

The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the slow moving car side-on at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the vehicle came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes.

The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 10 feet from where the collision took place.

All three involved (two in car and rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police and Road Safety Department. The sign above the display also noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license.

At 250 KM (155 mph) the operator is traveling at 227 feet per second. With normal reaction time to SEE-DECIDE-REACT of 1.6 seconds the above operator would have traveled over 363 feet while making a decision on what actions to take.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Spirit of Ecstasy

Here's an excellent article on Rolls Royce in the March issue of CFO magazine.

CFO might be a finance & accounting publication, but the insight & analysis of the recent fortunes of this most prestigious of carmakers - soundly bitch-slaps the superficial rubbish routinely excreted by the mainstream car journalists in our Sunday newspapers.

Definitely a good read.

Condom to be new symbol of government

How true!

Represents them better than the tiger, keris, hisbiscus flower etc...

And it goes rather well with our govt's motto of "Mesra, Cepat dan Betul", doesn't it?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Non-Muslim wife's appeal dismissed in favour of Muslim husband

There's no doubt in my mind, that 2 out of 3 members of the Court of Appeals are wrong, wrong, wrong. Did I mention I think they are wrong?

Some background (do read the blog links below)... the Hindu wife applied to the high court to restrain her recently converted husband from dissolving their marriage in the syariah, rather than civil court. Caught up in this are their 2 minor children whom the husband also converted to Islam without her knowledge.

Here's what Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar had to say:

He said the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 said that in the event one of the parties converted to Islam, it must be administratively dissolved by a syariah court.

"With both wanting the same type of order, that is the dissolution of the marriage, Subashini's objection merely on the ground that the Syariah Court was constitutionally set up only for Muslims, made no sense," adding that to grant her the injunction would certainly be an abuse of court process.

"Whether the Syariah Court has jurisdiction to declare the marriage of Subshini and Saravanan as dissolved, when Subashini is not a Muslim, is a legal matter reserved for another day."
I beg your pardon. Another day? That day is today, and it is the crux of the issue. Just because a Muslim is involved, doesn't automatically make it a Syariah Court decision. The court cannot conveniently ignore the fact that this case also involves a non-Muslim.

And isn't the court forgetting the basic element of timeline? The marriage was a civil marriage between 2 non-Muslims some years before the husband's conversion to Islam. How can civil law, and therefore the civil courts be deemed to have retrospectively relinquished jurisdiction simply because one party chose subsequently to become Muslim?

If Malaysian Islamic Law states that Muslims cannot be married to non-Muslims, then I put it to the learned judge that this law would also logically imply that individuals who REMAIN married to non-Muslims are disqualified from becoming Muslim until such time when they legally terminate the said marriage. Is a sword not double edged?

How can a civil marriage between 2 people be terminated unilaterally by one party [in this case, by way of conversion]? And even if the conversion were deemed to end the marriage, why should it's legal dissolution be on the terms of the new convert's religion? If this marriage were a contract between 2 people, the contract was founded and struck on civil laws. And it must end based on civil laws. How can one party of the contract simply change the terms to religious law without the agreement of the other party?
Suriyadi said Shafi was exercising his constitutional right of choosing the syariah court over the civil court to annul his marriage while Subashini went to the High Court to restrain him.
I hope he's not saying that only the Muslim [husband, Syafi], has a constitutional right of choosing which court to annul the marriage. On the same token, doesn't the Hindu [wife, Subshini] have an equal right to make the same choice?

And Justice Hasan Lah said this in his judgement:
Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution provides that the civil court has no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.

"The Federal Constitution therefore recognizes the coexistence of the two systems of Courts in the administration of justice in this country and each court has its own role to play. As such the two Courts must be regarded as having the same standing in this country."

Hasan said the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 gave Subshini the right to apply to the High Court but the civil court could not issue a stay order (under the Specific Relief Act 1950) on matters involving the syariah court.
He first mentions that the Constitution... nay, the AMENDED Constitution states that the Civil Court and Syariah Court are equal. But subsequently, his judgement clearly subordinates the Civil Court in favour of the Syariah Court. A proper stand, in my opinion, would be that the Civil Court could not stay the proceedings of a Syariah Court, ONLY if the matter is clearly within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.

But as his learned colleague, Suriyadi ealier said... jurisdiction is a "legal matter reserved for another day". Therefore if the court has not yet decided on jurisdiction, how can it so meekly give it up without even deliberating on it?
"The wife is therefore in a Catch 22 situation but she has a recourse." The remedy can be found in Section 53 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

The wordings in that section is wide enough to enable the wife to apply to the Syariah Appeal Court to exercise its supervisory and revisionary powers to make a ruling on the legality of the husband's application and the interim order obtained by the husband on the ground that the Syariah Court had no jurisdiction over the matter, as she is not a person professing the religion Islam.

"The wife could have done that rather than asking the civil court to review the Syariah Court's decision."
As your other colleague and final member of the Court of Appeal, Justice Gopal Sri Ram would go on to say in his dissenting judgement - this conclusion to send a non-Muslim to a Syariah court seeking reprieve [from that very court] is innately flawed. It's like sending a sheep into a tiger's lair, so that it can beg not to be eaten.

And doesn't one of the basic tenets of the Constitution... the ORIGINAL Constitution drafted by the founders of this country, say that every Malaysian has the freedom of religion?

Even though the Syariah court was raised to equal the Civil court by AMENDMENTS to the Constitution, it remains merely a theocratic manifestation of religious beliefs, with jurisdiction LIMITED ONLY to individuals who expressly profess the said religion and willingly submit themselves to it. Furthermore, as I've alluded to with the goat & tiger analogy - we cannot discount the possibility that a court and a set of laws based on one religion will innately possess inherent bias and prejudice against persons of other religions. Therefore, for a religious court to claim legal jurisdiction over a person who does not profess that religion and who has expressly refused to submit to it... wouldn't that constitute a glaring infringement of that person's constitutional right to religious freedom?

And finally, the Justice Gopal Sri Ram:
The High Court has jurisdiction to hear Subashini's petition despite the husband's conversion to Islam.

If a State enactment or, in an Act of Parliament, in the case of Federal Territories, passes a law that confers jurisdiction on a Syariah court over non-Muslims or in respect of a subject not within Item 1 of List II of the Federal Constitution, such a law would be ultra vires the Constitution and to that extent would be void.

"And that is why, in order to be intra vires, the Federal Constitution, Section 46 of the 1993 Act [Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories)] confers jurisdiction on a Syariah High Court in civil matters only where all parties are Muslims."

On a true interpretation of the Constitution, a Syariah Court, whether in a State or in a Federal Territory only has such jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by State or Federal Law.

Hence, the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court, on the facts of the present case, is governed exclusively by Section 46)2)(b)(i) of the 1993 Act and not by the Second List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

"Any other interpretation would, in my respectful view, produce a manifest absurdity and visit an injustice upon non-Muslim spouses, in particular upon the wife in the present instance."

Sri Ram said the injunction sought by Subashini was only against the husband and not the syariah court.

As such, he added that the High Court had erred in law in not giving Subshini the relief she had sought.
Hear hear, Justice Sri Ram.

And the devil's advocate within me clouds my mind with unnerving concerns about the coincidence that both the Court of Appeal Justices who ruled against the appeal are Muslims, while the one dissenting Justice... is not. But having said that, I have absolute trust that such senior members of the judiciary will never allow personal religious beliefs to encroach upon their sworn duties to uphold the [civil] law, the constitution and justice for all Malaysians.

... And we haven't even begun to talk about the kids yet. The question being "can the Muslim convert father unilaterally convert the religion of the minor Hindu children without the knowledge, and therefore agreement of the Hindu mother?"

Below are my related blogposts and complete texts of several press articles about this judgement.

Chief Syariah Judge concedes that Syariah Court has no power over Non-Muslims

Religious Learnings for make better Glorious Nation of Malaysia

The Scope of Syariah on Non-Muslims?

JAIS, Body Snatching, Conversion, Apostates and the Courts

I told you Malaysia has to tighten up religious conversion!

A Solution to the Article 11 Impasse

Conversion case: Non-Muslim spouse's appeal dismissed
R.Surenthira Kumar
http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=17273

PUTRAJAYA (March 13, 2007): A Court of Appeal today dismissed a non-Muslim spouse's appeal to prevent her husband from dissolving their marriage and from converting their children to Islam without her permission, saying her recourse was through the Syariah Appeal Court.

In a majority decision, Justices Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Hasan Lah dismissed R.Subshini's appeal and allowed her husband, T. Saravanan's appeal. Third panel member Justice Datuk Gopal Sri Ram dissented.

Subshini had sought to prevent her husband from converting their second child after he had converted the elder of the two sons to Islam in May last year.

Today's judgment paved the way for Saravanan to proceed with his plan to convert his second son and to obtain an order from the Syariah Court to dissolve his marriage to a non-Muslim.

Excerpts of the grounds of judgement from the three judges:

Suriyadi:

Saravanan wanted to prevent Subshini from administratively ending the marriage between them, despite it having ended with the latter's conversion. Subshini too wanted to dissolve the marriage at the High Court.

"With both wanting the same type of order, that is the dissolution of the marriage, Subshini's objection merely on the ground that the Syariah Court was constitutionally set up only for Muslims, made no sense."

"Whether the Syariah Court has jurisdiction to declare the marriage of Subshini and Saravanan as dissolved, when Subshini is not a Muslim, is a legal matter reserved for another day."

It was clear Subshini faced an uphill battle in trying to stop Saravanan from exercising his constitutional right to choose the Syariah Court over the civil court pertaining to matters connected to their marriage.

To overcome her predicament, Subshini had submitted that she was not injuncting the Syariah Court but only Saravanan. But the eventual effect was to shackle the Syariah Court.

Subshini's dissatisfaction will not quietly "just go away".

"Parliament has to cap any obvious lacuna promptly and as equitably as possible to harmonise the two systems. Justice is never irreconcilable."

Hasan (not present, judgement read by Sri Ram):

Civil court has to accept Saravanan's conversion was on May 15, 2006 and it was not for the civil court to question this.

Under the Law & Marriage Reform Act 1976, the wife has the right to file a petition for divorce in the civil court and the civil court has power to make provision for the wife, support, care and custody of the children.

However, it is clear that under Section 54(1) of the Specific Relief Act 1950, the civil court cannot issue a request to stay proceedings in the Syariah Court.

"The wife is therefore in a Catch 22 situation but she has a recourse."

The remedy can be found in Section 53 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

The wordings in that section is wide enough to enable the wife to apply to the Syariah Appeal Court to exercise its supervisory and revisionary powers to make a ruling on the legality of the husband's application and the interim order obtained by the husband on the ground that the Syariah Court had no jurisdiction over the matter, as she is not a person professing the religion Islam.

"The wife could have done that rather than asking the civil court to review the Syariah Court's decision."

Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution provides that the civil court has no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.

"The Federal Constitution therefore recognizes the coexistence of the two systems of Courts in the administration of justice in this country and each court has its own role to play. As such the two Courts must be regarded as having the same standing in this country."

Sri Ram:

The High Court has jurisdiction to hear Subshini's petition despite the husband's conversion to Islam.

If a State enactment or, in an Act of Parliament, in the case of Federal Territories, passes a law that confers jurisdiction on a Syariah court over non-Muslims or in respect of a subject not within Item 1 of List II of the Federal Constitution, such a law would be ultra vires the Constitution and to that extent would be void.

"And that is why, in order to be intra vires, the Federal Constitution, Section 46 of the 1993 Act [Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories)] confers jurisdiction on a Syariah High Court in civil matters only where all parties are Muslims."

On a true interpretation of the Constitution, a Syariah Court, whether in a State or in a Federal Territory only has such jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by State or Federal Law.

Hence, the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court, on the facts of the present case, is governed exclusively by Section 46)2)(b)(i) of the 1993 Act and not by the Second List in the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

"Any other interpretation would, in my respectful view, produce a manifest absurdity and visit an injustice upon non-Muslim spouses, in particular upon the wife in the present instance."

The Judicial Commissioner's decision that she did have jurisdiction to entertain the wife's petition, was, with respect, in error when she declined jurisdiction over the interlocutory summons for an injunction.

On Saravanan's contention that the petition filed by Subshini was premature as Saravanan had claimed he converted to Islam less than three months before his wife presented her petition, is one on which the evidence is in serious conflict.

"Accordingly, there is no merit in the husband's argument on this point."

The matter must be tried by the High Court like any other question of fact.

"For the reasons already given, I would allow the wife's appeal and set aside the orders made by the High Court. The husband's appeal must, for the same reasons already advanced, fail. I would dismiss it with costs," said Sri Ram.

Subshini's lawyers, Malek Imtiaz Sarwar, Haris Mohd Ibrahim and K.Shanmuga said their client had instructed them to file for a stay of execution pending an appeal to the Federal Court.

Saravanan was represented by Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Wan Khairuddin Wan Montil.

Meera Samanther held a watching brief for Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Sisters In Islam, Women's Development Collective and Women Centre for Change.

WAO spokesperson Ivy Josiah said it appeared the authorities have "utter disregard" for civil marriages.

She said there are many women who are not aware of their husband's conversion and this left many unanswered questions, in terms of looking after the rights of the women and children.

"We have submitted a memorandum to the Attorney-General to highlight such issues and we hope to have a dialogue on it."

She added the issue is more complicated than it looks as many States have different Syariah enactments.

Josiah was speaking to reporters outside the courtroom after the judgment was delivered.

Case background:

Subshini and Saravanan, both Hindus at the time, were married pursuant to a civil ceremony on July 26, 2001. They had two children, Dharvin Joshua, three and Sharvind, one.

The marriage was on the rocks in the later part of 2005 after which Subshini filed a divorce petition on Aug 4, 2006.

She claimed that Saravanan had or on about Oct 2005 started to leave the marital home and moved out since Feb 2006.

On May 11, 2006, Saravanan informed Subshini he had converted to Islam.

On July 14, 2006, he commenced proceedings for custody of the two children at the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court.

Subshini subsequently learnt Saravanan had converted Dharvin to Islam because her son's name was stated as Muhammad Shazrul Dharvin bin Muhammad Shafi in the suit.

Subshinin then applied to the High Court for injunctions restraining Saravanan from converting either child to Islam and also Saravanan's move to dissolve the marriage and also take custody of the children.

The High Court granted an ex parte injunction on Aug 11, 2006 but later on Sept 25, 2006, dissolved it after an inter-parte hearing.

However the High Court granted an interim injunction (Erinford injunction) in terms of Subshini's summons pending the hearing of an appeal to the Court of Appeal.


Non-Muslim spouse must seek remedy in syariah court
V. Anbalagan 14 Mar 2007
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Wednesday/National/20070314083944/Article/index_html

PUTRAJAYA: A non-Muslim married to a person who has converted to Islam has to seek remedy in the syariah court over family matters.

In a landmark ruling, the Court of Appeal also held that a Muslim could make an application to the syariah court to convert his or her underage children without the permission of the non-Muslim spouse.

However, the three Court of Appeal judges were divided in their opinions.

Judges Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Hasan Lah dismissed with costs the appeal of R. Subshini, 28, a company secretary, who wanted an injunction to restrain her husband, Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah, 30, a businessman, from:

• converting their two children, Dharvin Joshua, 3, and one-year-old Sharvind to Islam; and,

• commencing any proceeding in any syariah court with regard to their civil marriage.

Datuk Gopal Sri Ram, who was the dissenting judge, said the court would hear a formal application from Subshini to stay the order sought by her husband in a day or two.

The application was filed yesterday.

Lawyer K. Shanmuga, counsel for Subshini, told reporters that application for leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s decision would be made to the Federal Court.

Subshini and Shafi were not present in court.

Suriyadi in his judgment said Subshini had told the High Court that she was only contesting the conversion of Sharvind.

Dharvin Joshua was converted on May 18 last year but Subshini was not challenging it.

The judge said he refused to accept the argument that Sharvind had automatically become a Muslim upon the conversion of his father as required under a provision in the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

"This provision merely provides the capacity and the conditions for a person, who is not a Muslim, to adhere to," he said.

"For a person, who has not attained the age of 18 years, his parent or guardian has to consent to his conversion which entails certain conditions."

He said Shafi could not be prevented from commencing any proceeding in the syariah court.

Suriyadi said from the Islamic point of view, the marriage between Shafi and Subshini had ended upon his conversion and the next step was a formal dissolution of the marriage.

He said the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 said that in the event one of the parties converted to Islam, it must be administratively dissolved by a syariah court.

"Both want to dissolve their marriage but the appellant’s (Subshini’s) objection merely on the ground that the syariah court was constitutionally set up only for Muslims made no sense," he said, adding that to grant her the injunction would certainly be an abuse of court process.

He said whether the syariah court had jurisdiction to declare the marriage between Shafi and Subshini as dissolved when she was a non-Muslim was a legal matter reserved for another day.

Suriyadi said Shafi was exercising his constitutional right of choosing the syariah court over the civil court to annul his marriage while Subshini went to the High Court to restrain him.

"In short, the appellant (Subshini) wanted the civil court to arrogate the function and duties of the syariah court," he said.

Meanwhile, Hasan said the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 gave Subshini the right to apply to the High Court but the civil court could not issue a stay order (under the Specific Relief Act 1950) on matters involving the syariah court.

"The wife is therefore in a catch-22 situation. But she has a recourse under a provision in the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act," he said, adding that Subshini could apply to the Syariah Appeal Court to exercise its supervisory and revisionary powers to make a ruling on the legality of the husband’s application on grounds that the syariah court lacked jurisdiction and that she was a non-Muslim.


Sri Ram takes dissenting view
14 Mar 2007
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Wednesday/National/20070314083627/Article/index_html


PUTRAJAYA: The syariah courts only have jurisdiction over persons professing the Islamic faith, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Gopal Sri Ram said.

In his dissenting judgment, he said such courts had authority only over matters stated in the state list of the Federal Constitution.

"Therefore, if a state enactment or an Act of Parliament, as in the cases of Federal Territories, passes law that confers jurisdiction to syariah courts over non-Muslims, it will be ultra vires the Constitution," he said in allowing the appeal of R. Subshini.

Muhammad Shafi Saravanan Abdullah had filed his application to dissolve his marriage with Subshini at the Syariah Court of Kuala Lumpur, a Federal Territory.

Sri Ram, who led the three-man panel hearing the appeal, said that was why a provision in the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 conferred jurisdiction on a Syariah High Court in civil matters only where all the parties were Muslims.

He said on a true interpretation of the Constitution, a syariah court, whether in a state or federal territory, only had such jurisdiction as conferred upon it by state or federal law.

"Any other interpretation would, in my respectful view, produce a manifest absurdity and visit an injustice upon non-Muslim spouses."

Sri Ram said the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 conferred jurisdiction on the syariah court over matrimonial matters only where all parties to the proceedings were Muslims.

"It would therefore appear that in the present case the syariah court has no jurisdiction as the husband (Shafi) is a Muslim while the wife, a Hindu."

He said the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 gave the High Court the jurisdiction to hear a wife’s petition despite the husband converting to Islam.

Sri Ram said the injunction sought by Subshini was only against the husband and not the syariah court.

As such, he added that the High Court had erred in law in not giving Subshini the relief she had sought.


New religious row erupts in Malaysia
http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/newsncom.php?itemid=3178

(REUTERS) - A new religious dispute has broken out in Malaysia after a civil court told non-Muslims to approach Islamic religious courts to resolve quarrels with Muslim spouses over family matters.

The move highlights the tension between civil and religious laws, which appear to give Muslims a privileged status over other Malaysians, stoking the latter's fears about what they see as an erosion of their religious freedoms.

The appeal court in Malaysia, which boasts of religious diversity even though just over half of the country's population is Muslim, also said a Muslim could seek to convert underage children without the consent of the non-Muslim spouse.

The decision, in a case in which an ethnic Indian woman is fighting her businessman husband for custody of their toddler sons after he converted to Islam last year, has stirred the concern of religious and rights groups.

"It is a gross injustice to ask Hindus to submit to the jurisdiction of the sharia court," said A. Vaithilingam, chief of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, which speaks for Hindus, who are mostly ethnic Indians and form about 8 per cent of the population. "The Shariah court administers Islamic canonical law, to which Hindus do not subscribe," Vaithilingam said in a statement.

Malaysia's inter-faith council, which groups Buddhists, Christians, Sikhs and Taoists among others, is meeting within a week to hammer out plans to oppose the move, he said.

Many non-Muslims fear legal ambiguities could subject them to the jurisdiction of Islamic courts, but many Muslims see efforts to settle those uncertainties as an attack on religious courts.

Wider coverage in the mainstream media of sensitive topics such as conversion, apostasy and Malay rights has stirred tension in the Muslim community by provoking fears that it represents an attempt to erode the distinctive place of Islam in Malaysia. Non-Muslims became unsure of their rights in 2005, when state Islamic authorities gave a former soldier a Muslim burial against the wishes of his Hindu widow, and the High Court said it had no jurisdiction over such religious matters.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Top Gear's The Stig !!speaks!! to hot Dutch chick

If you're a fan of BBC's Top Gear, you would know that star of the show isn't Jeremy Clarkson (Jezza), Richard Hammond (Hamster) nor James May (Capt Slow). It's the tamed racing driver, The Stig. Some say his left nipple is shaped like the Nurburgring.

And here's a video of The Stig SPEAKING! Bet you never knew he spoke, huh?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Malaysia perceived to be more corrupt than last year

This quote from the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) says it all... doesn't it?

Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has not been able or willing to follow through effectively with his campaign promise to reduce corruption.

- PERC, on perception of corruption in Malaysia
Related posts:
ACA is "independent"... but "under" the PM lah

The Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 - Bane of Transparency?

Pak Lah, can you spell CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Klang Municipality officers "ARRESTING!" a parking offender

Since when have municipal officers been given powers of arrest?

As far as I know they have not... but obviously nobody told the Majlis Perbandaran Klang (MPK or Klang Municipal Council). This is a new one for the little Napoleons... the ABUSE of powers that they DON'T possess.

The video of the "arrest" (Khir Toyo's looking at it in the picture) below:


And here's Sun2Surf's coverage of the said incident:

'Many complaints against unit'
Terence Fernandez

SHAH ALAM (March 13, 2007): The nine-man unit of the Klang Municipal Council (MPK)'s enforcement division which is being investigated for abduction and assault has a sullied reputation.

According to sources familiar with the division's activities, this particular unit has been the subject of several complaints from the public on the manner in which it carries out its duties.

"Apparently they are high-handed and rough when enforcing the law," said one source.

Councillor Datuk Teh Kim Poo said he has also received complaints about the unit and the enforcement division in general.

"They are reportedly rude and high-handed, especially when enforcing parking regulations.

"They even summoned me although my car carries a councillor's emblem," said the Pandamaran assemblyman. (Free parking is among privileges enjoyed by councillors).

"They need to go for training."

Three enforcement officers have been "pooled" - given desk duties - since the March 7 incident where Pua Chia Teng was dragged out of his shop, bundled into a car and taken to the Klang Police Headquarters.

This followed an alleged altercation between Pua's brother Khiau Seong and an MPK parking attendant when the latter issued a parking fine to Khiau Seong.

Chia Teng was later released and filed a counter report.

Police, meanwhile, will be concluding its investigations next week.

Klang deputy OCPD Supt Mohan Singh told theSun that neither party has been called to give their statements.

"We still need some time to investigate but we hope to wrap things up by next Tuesday," he said.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the focus of MPK's internal inquiry is on the unit leader.

"They wouldn't have acted that way if not for the go-ahead from the unit head," said an MPK official.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo wants stern action to be taken against the officers.
Mohd Khir who was shown a video clip of the incident (taken with a camera phone by a member of the public) Tuesday made available to theSun, said he was "disturbed" by what he saw.

While leaving investigations and subsequent action to MPK and the police, the mentri besar said it was easy to identify the culprits and wants those found guilty to face the music.

Updated: 08:36PM Tue, 13 Mar 2007

Bernie in Singapore to meet Minister over Singapore's F1 bid

Bernie's in Singapore right now and will meet Trade & Industry Minister, S Iswaran, before he flies off to Melbourne tomorrow. He's met one of the 2 local bidders as well. Nobody's making any press statements yet as there's still the small matter of the non-disclosure" agreement.

But I reckon he's here to finalise the deal and shake on it. Why else would Bernie even bother coming to the little red dot unless the deal was pretty much in the bag?

Hopefully a confirmation will be forthcoming in a day or two.

Previous posts:

Singapore Govt throws it's weight behind F1 Bid.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This!... is what I call a car horn.

After reading a couple of "what's the loudest horn for my car" discussion threads lately, I was inspired to do a quick blog of a friend's ancient Toyota Crown. I believe this car is equipped with the LOUDEST & BIGGEST damn car horn in Malaysia, and some say Singapore.

Firstly, let me introduce you to the junk... errr... car in question. It's a rusty, old JDM (Japan Domestic Market) Toyota Crown which sports wheels (Volks Racing multispokes 15" - 6.5JJ front, 7JJ rear) are probably worth twice as much as the rest of the car.

It's mostly stock except for an extra piece of kit to the right of the engine.

Here's a closeup of what I mean. It's a Kitahara Texas airhorn, probably salvaged from the cab of an old Japanese multi-axle, articulated trailer lorry.

The front part of the air horn goes into the firewall because it's too long to fit entirely in the engine bay!

The rest of the horn is actually inside the passenger cabin, underneath the dashboard. The whole hog is roughly more than 3 feet in all.

The airhorn is plumbed to a pressurised air tank located in the front passenger footwell and powered by an air compressor under the front passenger seat. I have no idea where the air compressor was salvaged from...

... but it's enough to pressurise the system to 6 bar (~85 psi as shown on an industrial pressure gauge). With better hoses and hose clips, the pressure should be about 7 bar (~100psi), as that's the air compressor's rating.

And lastly, here's how it sounds on youtube video. One clip was recorded using a SonyEricsson K800i and the other clip using a Samsung D500C.


The Parallels of Free Textbooks and the NEP

The NST reported today that Education Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein has responded to suggestions that a free textbooks scheme be implemented for all students.

From what I read, he basically said no and elaborated on the pitfalls of such a scheme. (1) It was not means-tested (ie. it doesn't ensure that only the poor and disadvantaged benefit from it) and (2) the beneficiaries have no follow-up accountabilities.

The former is simply unfair and the latter encourages a rent-seeking attitude of "entitlement", rather than "assistance". And I have to say I agree with the minister.

But hang on... what actually struck me was how the minister's statements [about free textbooks] are just 100% as applicable to the NEP (National Economic Policy or better known on blogosphere as NEarly aPartheid policy). Here are some choice quotes from the minister himself.

On TEXTBOOKS:
"Don't tell me that about 97% of the students are destitute. It's not possible."
Applied to the NEP:
Don't tell me that 100% of the bumiputras are destitute. It's not possible"
On TEXTBOOKS:
"... but it would be difficult to withdraw a subsidy once it had been given.

The fund is not going to get smaller.

There will be more students and more need to borrow textbooks"

Applied to the NEP:
It is difficult to withdraw handouts since they had been given.

The handouts are not going to get smaller.

There will be more bumiputras and more demands for handouts.

On TEXTBOOKS:
"The ministry would only provide free textbooks to all students if those who benefit from the scheme would help in ensuring that funds were always sufficient for such a move," the minister said.
Applied to the NEP:
The govt should only provide handouts to bumiputras if those who benefit from the NEP would help in ensuring that funds were always sufficient for such a move.
On TEXTBOOKS:
Hishammuddin said it was "dangerous" that even the rich benefit from the scheme.
Applied to the NEP:
It is "dangerous" that even the rich benefit from the NEP.

It's just sad that the minister could be so lucid and reasonable on something like free textbooks, but absolutely incapable of applying the same logic & standards to the NEP - which economic burden is comparatively astronomical and and comes with a behavioural downside the size of a galactic black hole.
.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Singapore Govt throws it's weight behind F1 Bid.

Almost there but not quite. But with the govt having given (1) it's approval, (2) made a statement in parliament that the prospects are "good" and (3) agreeing to bankroll the bid as well,... I think we can start counting some chickens. Though they may not quite have hatched, you've gotta agree that we can see little beaks poking their way out of eggshells.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said this in Parliament on Monday when responding to questions from MPs Teo Ser Luck and Liang Eng Hwa.

As such, he said the government is willing to support such a venture up to a level commensurate with the broader benefits to the economy.

Mr Iswaran added, "In response to Mr Teo and Mr Liang, I would say that the prospects are good, but there are still issues, such as the commercial terms to be struck between a potential race promoter and the F1 Group, the level of support required from the government, and the extent to which other stakeholders come forward with their support."

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/262158/1/.html
Click the links below for related posts on Singapore F1 GP:
.. Singapore F1 GP - getting close... real close
.. Singapore... Monaco of the East?
.. The Proposed F1 Singapore GP Street Circuit
.. Singapore F1 - possibly Sept 2008 & a NIGHT race!
.. Singapore to have F1 Street Circuit? Sepang leh, how?