Friday, June 29, 2007

Landed property... A privilege for all S'poreans or just the farkin rich ones?

Since 1973, the Residential Property Act has restricted foreigners and permanent residents from owning private residential property without prior official approval.

“The restrictions on foreign ownership of landed property is unlikely to be eased because it is an emotional issue. It involves (putting) a tangible, physical part of Singapore in foreign hands.”

“Prior to the Residential Property Act, rich Indonesians snapped up properties, pricing Singaporeans out of the market."

“Landed properties should not be priced out of Singaporean’s reach (or) it could lead to disgruntled Singaporeans.”

Keeping certain privileges of home ownership for citizens only “encourages foreigners to commit to Singapore, to sink their roots here”.

“Some things have to be preserved for Singaporeans. Landed property ownership is one of them. It is the privilege of being Singaporean.”

Bollocks! Why do I say that?

Look at the average price of a landed bungalow. It's S$17 fucking million Sing dollars. That's 11 million US$. And do you know how many people in Singapore have US$11 million of assets?

Well... I don't know either, but it's definitely fewer than 67,000. That's because only 2% or 67,000 of Singapore's entire resident population (ref here) have US$1 million or more in assets (11 times less than the US$11 million / S$17 million needed for an average bungalow). But for simplicity's sake, let's assume that you need at least US$1 million to buy a landed property (say... a small terrace house).

Since the 67,000 also includes PRs, that means that a portion of that 67,000 millionaires are not citizens, and therefore not entitled to own landed property. This means that Singaporean citizens who can afford and qualify to buy landed property number significantly fewer than 67,000.

So, how many 'disgruntled' Singaporeans are we talking about? Just how many Singaporean citizens qualify into that exclusive group of 67,000 millionaires PLUS who are also citizens - and therefore whose landed property ownership privileges need to be protected?

Doesn't this mean that a very small and very rich percentage of Singapore's citizens are accruing landed property ownership privileges to themselves, but by invoking privileges in the name of ALL Singaporean citizens... 98% of whom cannot possibly afford to enjoy it? (ie. it's 98% if we assume the split of millionaires & non-millionaires are the same for citizens and PRs).

Hmmm... this feels to me to be very, very similar to the Malaysian bumiputra special privileges NEP argument, where a very small fraction of rich, politically-connected Malay UMNOputras enjoy the lion's share of the NEP's freebies, on behalf of their poor kampung cousins - in whose name, were those freebies wrested from non-bumi Malaysians in the first place.

The only difference is, poorer Singaporeans are not eternally precluded by the accident of birth, from becoming rich. There's still good ol' blood, sweat and tears. But the essence is the same. Like I said in a previous blog, is this what's called the rich getting richer, and the poor get kicked while they're down?

And if you ask me how Singapore can open up the property market to non-citizens and still keep it affordable to all? Simple, limit each person to only one piece of residential property (landed or non-landed). That will kill speculation, hoarding, profiteering and guarantee value for money, all in one fell swoop.

Where's my farkin piece of the Singapore pie?

Now you know why everything in Singapore is so damned expensive.

SINGAPORE : Singapore is home to the world's fastest-growing population of millionaires [US$1,000,000], according to the annual world wealth report compiled by Merrill Lynch and the CapGemini Group.

The number of high net worth individuals in Singapore grew by 21.2% last year to reach almost 67,000 millionaires.

Singapore's millionaire boom is part of a global trend that saw the number of high net worth individuals rise 8.3% to reach 9.5 million last year. - Channelnewsasia
Let's take a minute to absorb this piece of information. 67,000 millionaires out of a population of 4,000,000... that's 1.68%. Out of every 100 Singaporeans, there are 2 millionaires.

And mind you, these are US$ millionaires. If we take a local context and define a millionaire in terms of S$1,000,000 (US$1 is S$1.50), there would conceivably be approximately 50% more millionaires (assuming a simplistic linear distribution of wealth at this top end of the curve) or 3%.

That means 3 out of every 100 Singaporeans have S$1,000,000 or more... more or less.

Since Singapore's buses carry 40 passengers per bus, there's at least 1 to 2 millionaires in each full bus. In trains of 100 people per carriage, that's 3 each. Remember that the next time you clumsily step on someone's toes while shuffling your fat ass to the door.

And while the Million $ club grew by 21.2% - my salary grew by 3%, which was below inflation. Top civil servants got salary increases of 14-33% (where the lowest ranked superscale SR9 now earns S$370,000 per annum!) The rental for my flat grew by 20%. My bank account has hardly grown at all. GST's up 2% in a couple of days and income tax still eats away a month of my salary on top of that.

So, where's my farkin piece of the Singapore pie? Where's my share of the 8.2% GDP growth?

Ask any salary earner off Orchard Road strip and away from Shenton Way CBD... this story gets repeated over and over. Is this what's called the rich getting richer, and the poor get kicked while they're down?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Toleransi?... buntut aku lah! (Tolerance my ass!)

Here's something I picked up off Lim Kit Siang's blog. A very ticked-off retaurant-goer sent an irate email to our YB Ipoh Timur relating an incident where some JAWI (Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan) allegedly handed out citations to a few restaurants for having - "little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop"... "because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops".

Really? Since when?

Just because there are altars and pictures, does that make the place a temple? Even if it were a temple (or a church), what wrong with a Muslim entering it if he was not offering prayer? Did it not come to pass that a Caliph of old entered a church with respect and without prayer, and walked away a more accomplished Muslim for that display of tolerance?

I think the question Muslims must ask is: Does the tolerance of and respect for other religions lessen the faith of a good Muslim? If any answer in the affirmative - I think that on the day of reckoning, you might discover that you weren't such a good Muslim after all.

Besides, many Muslim owned establishments display symbols of their faith eg. words from the scripture etc. In fact, most if not all govt departments openly display such symbols. Can we give them citations for it, because otherwise, non-Muslims cannot come in?

And has anyone even checked whether JAWI, as a dept confined only to the affairs of Muslims, has the authority and power to enforce any actions over non-Muslims, and their businesses? Hmmm... did JAWI just abuse their power and contravene the constitutional rights of non-Muslims?

Come on, JAWI... don't be a bloody fool.

Related posts: What's Wrong with Deeparaya?" Musings of an Infidel.

The text of the aforementioned email below:

Tolerance my ass!

Couldnt help feeling this angry today. I know at my age, I am supposed to be mellowing out, looking forward to a nice chilled day and now what? I find myself with the same amount of righteous anger as I had when I was 16 - going through puberty and finding the world most unfair that my mum wouldnt allow me to have my first pair of cargo pants!

I was sitting in the banana leaf shop this morning having a roti and a coffee when a group of JAWI officers entered the premises. 10 officers to be exact, into this little shop. They spent a good 20 minutes going through the place (and it is a small place!) and finally one officer writes out a writ and gives it to the cashier. They then left. Curious, I asked the cashier what that was all about and he replied that they were not allowed to have their little altars and pictures of their deities in their shop “because otherwise, Muslims cannot come into their shops” . What utter nonsense! Are we still living in the Malaysia that is so “famed” for its “religious tolerance”?? The shop is not a mamak shop. It is an Indian Banana leaf shop. Why would it be surprising that they should have signs of their religious beliefs in their own space? I didnt think that sort of thing was illegal (please correct me if I am wrong). What is wrong with this picture? Will it come down to the point when my Muslim friends should not visit my home just because I have a cross or a chinese altar there? PLEASE!

Better yet, I discovered as I was leaving , that the JAWI personnel had targetted the other 3 banana leaf shops along that row of old shops (near the vets office - off Jalan Maarof). There were at least 4 nos of vans for the officers , ALL double parked on the main road and causing an inconvenience to the other road users. Is there a separate set of laws that govern these people? Notwithstanding the fact that they are trampling all over the definition of religious tolerance in this country , they also flaunt the general laws of the land. This makes me really angry and sad about the state of our country.

I now find it difficult to speak up for Malaysia when there are arguments comparing Malaysia to other countries. It is sad that we can have the once world tallest building and still think like we came out of the jungle yesterday.

My Personal Big Sad Day today

MS

Not having a penis doesn't mean you're a lady

Dang... can it cut any deeper than that?

Dat's a cold one for da ho, nigga.

Malaysian newspapers: Spun as differently as the sun and the stars

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'd find that - of the mainstream newspapers, I like The Sun the best. And that I reckon NST and The Star are not worth the recycled toilet paper they are printed on.

The Sun tends to tell things as it is, not spun like goddamn candy floss. And unlike malaysiakini, which is another good source of alternative news, The Sun is free.

So, where is this little tirade coming from? Have a read of two versions of the same story - of a young couple who wanted to get their marriage registered at the NRD but were delayed due to some procedural discrepancies. One version is from The Star, the other from The Sun. I couldn't find the story in NST.

Read how The Star paints the NRD as soooo.. customer service oriented, with a can-do attitude.

The Sun's version however, reveals the NRD to be like cattle. A cow that only takes a single step each time you prod it with a stick. In this case, the stick was the increasing number of reporters showing up at the NRD.

SPUN - THE STAR

Wedding glitch ‘addressed’ quickly

While the anxious couple and fretful family members waited outside the office, the matter was conveyed to NRD Director-General Datuk Mohd Abdul Halim Muhammad.

To their relief, he directed Suhaili to register the marriage.

Mohd Abdul Halim said: “As government officials, our job is to serve the public. I told my officers to be sympathetic and offer all the help they can and to be pragmatic.”

UNSPUN - THE SUN
NRD almost spoils the day for would-be couple

Upset that they were not told earlier of this procedural matter, family members and friends called the press to "witness" their marriage.

When a reporter showed up at the NRD, the officer promised to solve the problem within a week.

When more newsmen turned up, the waiting period was reduced to five days.

In the end, the NRD decided give the couple their day to remember by going ahead with the registration.

If it's good for the Ummah, it's good for the Infidels.

I propose the following laws to even things up a bit:

- outlaw the conversion of non-Muslims to Muslim; and
- outlaw the proselytising of non-Muslims.
- anyone found guilty of the 2 crimes above will face a penalty of six lashes of the cane, five years in prison and a fine of RM10,000.

And here's where I got my inspiration from (read below). If non-Muslims are to be punished for preaching to Muslims, we should have the same punishment for Muslims who preach to non-Muslims. It's only fair, don't you agree?

What's good enough for PAS and our Muslim countrymen - is good enough for the rest of us, I reckon.

Tougher law for Malaysia converts
Al-Jazeera

The only opposition-ruled state in Malaysia has approved stiffer penalties to deter people from trying to convert Muslims to other faiths.

Under the revised law passed by Kelantan state, anyone found guilty faces a maximum penalty of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of almost $3,000.

Kelantan is the only Malaysian state led by the opposition Islamist party, PAS.

Hassan Mohamood, who heads Kelantan's Islamic affairs committee, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the stiffer laws are useful "as a form of deterrence".

The previous maximum penalty was two years in prison and a fine of RM5,000 ($1,400).

Proselytising of Muslims is forbidden under federal laws, but the recent case of Line Joy, a Malay-Muslim woman who sought legal recognition of her right to pick her religion of choice, raised fears among some in Malaysia over mass conversion.

Attempts to convert Muslims to other faiths are rare, and people found guilty face prison terms in most states in the country where just over half the 27 million population are Muslims with a sizeable number of Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.

According to the latest US state department data on Malaysia, ethnic Malays – who are Muslims by law - make up about half the population but are officially grouped together as Bumiputera, or sons of the soil, with indigenous groups who make up 11 per cent of the population, not all of whom are Muslims.

Religious conflicts

The amended penalties in Kelantan, where PAS has been in control since 1990, are believed to be the heaviest nationwide.

In Malaysia, Islam comes under state-level jurisdiction and religious authorities often send Malay Muslims who try to leave the faith for counselling and rehabilitation.

Some have also been imprisoned for apostasy.

In the Lina Joy case, the woman who was born to Muslim parents failed to get the country's highest civil court to recognise her right to choose her own faith.

The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of worship for all citizens but the country's parallel Islamic legal system often gives rise to religious conflicts.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Industrial oils, wax, chemicals. Poisons on China's menu

Unlike the cheapskates at Malaysiakini, this is a free public service blog. And here's a piece of free advice: Don't buy no food from China! Not the greens, not the fruit, not the canned food, nothing. Especially not the greens and fruit.

Trust me, I'm in the pesticides business. All that impossibly green broccoli, celery, kailan... perfectly formed and completely untouched by insects... it would still be impossible if not for China's virtually 'unrestrained' (to put it mildly) pesticide usage. There are 2 things which must be done for the safe application of pesticides. Correct dosage, and sufficient time / rainfall between the last application and harvest. All the instructions necessary for safe usage are on the labels. But believe me when I say Chinese farmers don't read labels. Hell, the majority of their pesticides are generic knock offs and don't have no damn labels. And they apply pesticides until the very day of harvest, thereby ensuring maximum prices for good looking produce.

Anyway, below's an excerpt of a news story on the findings of China's internal food quality watchdog. And this is China. For every incident made public, god knows how many thousands more incidents were swept under the carpet. Remember how they hid entire pandemics of SARs and bird flu?

This is a country which until a couple of days ago, had mines and sweatshops full of fucking slaves!... Slaves which nobody knew about, for god's sake. And you trust the food they produce? Damn... you've got be kidding.

China uncovers thousands of dangerous foods
Posted: 27 June 2007 1202 hrs on Channelnewsasia.

BEIJING: Industrial oils, wax, chemicals that can cause cancer and many other dangerous ingredients have been found in thousands of widely consumed foods in China, state press reported on Wednesday.

A nationwide investigation by China's food quality watchdog found products such as baby milk powder, rice, flour, meat, biscuits, seafood, soy sauce and sweets had been contaminated.

More than 23,000 tainted or sub-standard foods were found and 180 food manufacturers closed in the crackdown from December last year to May, in what is believed to represent only a fraction of the problem.

"These are not isolated cases," the China Daily newspaper quoted Han Yi, a director with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, as saying as he unveiled the findings on Tuesday.

The watchdog's probe focused mainly on China's countryside and Han said investigators now intended to turn their attention onto the cities.

The announcement of the investigation's findings come as China faces unprecedented international scrutiny over the quality of its food imports and other goods that have caused harm to buyers overseas.

Reports in the United States of tainted pet foods, dangerous toys, drugs, fish, cosmetics and other products from China have led to a spate of recalls and bans there.

In Panama, at least 80 people are believed to have died from taking a cough syrup contaminated with a toxic substance imported from China.

In the investigation by China's quality watchdog, one of the industrial products found in foods was formaldehyde, a chemical more famously used to embalm people, according to the China Daily.

Other industrial materials included paraffin wax and various dyes including malachite green, which can be carcinogenic, were also found.

Han said most of the sources of the contaminated foods were small, unlicensed food processing plants that employed fewer than 10 people.

However, about 75 percent of China's one million food-processing plants are small operations, according to the quality watchdog.- AFP/so

Annual Report on International Religious Freedom 2005 - excerpt on Malaysia

This an interesting (albeit a bit outdated) summary of Malaysia's religious freedom by the US Dept of State. Too bad the latest available report is only for 2005 (submitted to US House of Representatives and the Senate in April 2006).

With all the recent religious body snatching, raiding of Langkawi hotel rooms occupied by American couples, Lina Joy, Subashini, breaking up families, kidnapping wives and kids for 'rehabilitation' etc and the continuing sidelining of non-Muslim places of worship - I can't wait to read what the 2006/2007 report will say.

Excerpt of page 199 of the 2005 report on International Religious Freedom on Malaysia below:


MALAYSIA

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion; however, the Government placed some restrictions on this right. Islam is recognized in the Constitution as "the religion of the Federation," but the practice of non-Sunni Islamic beliefs was significantly restricted. Non-Muslims were free to practice their religious beliefs with few restrictions.

There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom during the period covered by this report.

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom.

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

SECTION I. RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHY

The country has an area of approximately 127,000 square miles, and its population is approximately 25 million. According to 2000 census figures, approximately 60 percent of the population practiced Islam; 19 percent Buddhism; 9 percent Christianity; 6 percent Hinduism; and 3 percent Confucianism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions. The remainder was accounted for by other faiths, including animism, Sikhism, and Baha’i.

SECTION II. STATUS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

Legal/Policy Framework

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, but it also recognizes Islam as the country’s religion. In practice, the Government significantly restricts the observance of Islamic beliefs other than Sunni Islam. The Government provides financial support to an Islamic religious establishment composed of a variety of governmental, quasi-governmental, and other institutions, and it indirectly provides more limited funds to non-Islamic communities.

State governments impose Islamic religious law on Muslims in some cultural and social matters but generally do not interfere with the religious practices of the non-Muslim community. Prime Minister Abdullah is a proponent of moderate, progressive "Hadhari" Islam. Some observers believe support for this policy contributed to his 2004 election victory over the opposition Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), which advocates a stricter Islamic agenda.

Several religious holy days are recognized as official holidays, including Hari Raya Puasa (Muslim), Hari Raya Qurban (Muslim), the Prophet Muhammed’s birthday (Muslim), Wesak Day (Buddhist), Deepavali (Hindu), Christmas (Christian), and, in East Malaysia, Good Friday (Christian).

Religious organizations must register with the Registrar of Societies or with one of the constituent bodies of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) to qualify for government grants and other benefits.

Public schools generally offered Islamic religious instruction, which is compulsory for Muslim children. Non-Muslim students are required to take nonreligious morals/ ethics education. Private schools are free to offer a non-Islamic religious curriculum as an option for non-Muslims. There are no restrictions on home instruction. The Government offered grants only to privately run Muslim religious schools that agreed to allow government supervision and adopted a government-approved curriculum.

In February 2005, the Malaysian Bar Council organized a forum to discuss the creation of an interfaith commission aimed to promote better understanding and respect among the country’s religious groups. Several mainstream Islamic groups refused to participate in the forum on the grounds that an interfaith commission would "weaken Islam." The Government subsequently announced that an interfaith commission was not necessary but stated that interfaith dialogue should be encouraged.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

In practice, Muslims were not permitted to convert to another religion. In several recent rulings, secular courts ceded jurisdiction to the Islamic courts in matters involving conversion to or from Islam. In July 2004, the Federal Court upheld a 2002 lower court ruling that only the Islamic court is qualified to determine whether a Muslim has become an apostate; in 2000, the Islamic court sentenced four persons to 3-year prison terms for apostasy.

In April 2004, the Kuala Lumpur High Court held that only the Islamic court had jurisdiction over a suit by a non-Muslim mother to nullify the conversion of her two children to Islam without her agreement. The father converted to Islam after he became estranged from his wife and allegedly converted his two infant children to gain custody over them. The MCCBCHS stated the ruling "tramples over the rights of non-Muslim parents." The mother filed an appeal and subsequently fled the country with her children.

Control of mosques is exercised at the state level rather than by the federal government; state religious authorities appoint imams to mosques and provide guidance on the content of sermons. While practices vary from state to state, both the Government and the opposition PAS have attempted to use mosques in the states they control to deliver politically oriented messages. In recent years, several states controlled by the ruling coalition government announced measures including banning opposition-affiliated imams from speaking at mosques, more vigorously enforcing existing restrictions on the content of sermons, replacing mosque leaders and governing committees thought to be sympathetic to the opposition, and threatening to close down unauthorized mosques with ties to the opposition.

Similarly, in states controlled by PAS, some government-affiliated imams have been banned from speaking. In the State of Kelantan, controlled by PAS, the state government reportedly restricts imams affiliated with the Barisan Nasional (the ruling coalition) from speaking in mosques.

The Government opposed what it considered "deviant" interpretations of Islam,
maintaining that the deviant groups’ extreme views endanger national security. According to the Islamic Development Department’s website, 56 deviant teachings have been identified and prohibited to Muslims. They include Shi’a, transcendental meditation, and Baha’i teachings, among others. The Government can detain members of groups that do not follow the official Sunni teachings without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA). The Government continued to monitor the activities of the Shi’a minority.

Proselytizing of Muslims by members of other religions is strictly prohibited, although proselytizing of non-Muslims faces no similar obstacles. The Government restricts the distribution in peninsular Malaysia of Malay-language translations of the Bible, Christian tapes, and other printed materials. In April 2005, the Prime Minister declared that copies of the Malay-language Bible must have the words "Not
for Muslims" printed on the front and could be distributed only in churches and Christian bookshops. The distribution of Malay-language Christian materials faces few restrictions in East Malaysia.

On April 25, 2005, two foreign Christian missionaries were arrested after distributing religious materials in front of a mosque in Putrajaya and were charged with "disturbing the peace in a religious manner." After 10 days, the Government dismissed the charges against the two men and released them.

According to the MCCBCHS, the Government restricted visas for foreign clergy under the age of 40 to inhibit "militant clergy" from entering the country. While representatives of non-Muslim groups did not sit on the immigration committee that approved visa requests, the MCCBCHS was asked for its recommendation. In 2003, the Government decided to allow automatic renewal of professional visit passes to foreign clergy.

The Government prohibits publications that it alleges might incite racial or religious disharmony. In 2004, the Government prohibited Muslims from viewing the movie ‘‘The Passion of the Christ’’ but allowed non-Muslims to view the film at private screenings.

The Government continued to require all Muslim civil servants to attend government-approved religious classes.

State governments have authority over the building of non-Muslim places of worship and the allocation of land for non-Muslim cemeteries. Approvals for building permits sometimes are granted very slowly. After years of complaints by non-Islamic religious organizations about the requirement that the Islamic Council in each state approve construction of non-Islamic religious institutions, the Minister of Housing and Local Government announced in 2003 that such approval no longer would be required.


Despite this ruling, some religious groups have complained that state policies and local decisions have continued to restrict the construction of non-Muslim places of worship. Muslim residents of a neighborhood in Kajang objected to the building of a church in a residential area that was predominantly Muslim. In May 2005, the local municipal council determined that the proposed site was designated for residential building and rejected of the church’s application. The construction of a Roman Catholic church was delayed for more than 14 years by the state government of Selangor before construction was completed in 2004. Unregistered houses of worship may be demolished by the state.

In family and religious matters, all Muslims are subject to Shari’a law. According to some women’s rights activists, women were subject to discriminatory interpretations of Shari’a law and inconsistent application of the law from state to state. In January 2005, enforcement officers from the Federal Territories religious department raided a nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and arrested approximately 100 Muslim patrons for ‘‘indecent behavior’’ and for frequenting an establishment that served alcohol. The enforcement officers did not interfere with the non-Muslim patrons, and the charges against the Muslim patrons were subsequently dropped.

In January 2005, the Kelantan state government, controlled by PAS, proposed a dress code for non-Muslim women in supermarkets. Women’s groups opposed the measure, claiming the imposition of a dress code was an infringement of gender rights. Also in Kelantan in January, 307 couples were fined for "indecent" acts including holding hands, kissing, and hugging in public.

In the 2004 general elections, PAS was defeated in Terengganu and lost control of the state government. In Kelantan, PAS also lost ground but remained in control of the state legislature by a narrow margin. Many observers interpreted the result as a rejection by voters of the call by PAS for the establishment of an Islamic state and of the strict form of Islam promoted by PAS.

Abuses of Religious Freedom

According to the Government, no individuals were detained under the ISA for religious reasons during the period covered by this report. The Government is concerned that "deviationist" teachings could cause divisions among Muslims. Members of such groups can be arrested and detained, with the consent of the Islamic court, to be "rehabilitated" and returned to the "true path of Islam." For example, the Selangor State Religious Department detained 66 members of a "deviationist" group in 2003 and arrested 96 followers of another "deviationist" sect in April 2004. In 2002, the Government revealed that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department "rehabilitated" hundreds of followers from "deviationist" groups after they underwent "counseling" at a faith rehabilitation center in the State of Negeri Sembilan.

Forced Religious Conversion

There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of minor United States citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be returned to the United States.

Abuses by Terrorist Organizations

There were no reported abuses targeted at specific religions by terrorist organizations during the period covered by this report.

SECTION III. SOCIETAL ATTITUDES

The generally amicable relationship among religions in society contributed to religious freedom.

Non-Muslim ecumenical and interfaith organizations in the country include the MCCBCHS, the Malaysian Council of Churches, and the Christian Federation of Malaysia. Muslim organizations generally do not participate in ecumenical bodies. In 2003, Muslim nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) boycotted a workshop entitled "Toward the Creation of an Inter-religious Council" on grounds that it might lead to an endorsement of apostasy, paving the way for other religions to spread their teachings among Muslims. In 2004, several mainstream Muslim NGOs boycotted and condemned the proposed formation of an interfaith council on grounds that "matters concerning Islam could only be discussed by Muslims."

In October 2003, then Prime Minister Mahathir used anti-Semitic language during his address to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in Kuala Lumpur. Mahathir’s remarks about Jewish persons at the OIC meeting drew international condemnation. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who succeeded Mahathir 2 weeks after the OIC speech, subsequently emphasized religious tolerance towards all faiths.

SECTION IV. U.S. GOVERNMENT POLICY

The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. In 2003, the U.S. Embassy protested anti-Semitic language used by then Prime Minister Mahathir during his address to the OIC in Kuala Lumpur. Embassy representatives met and maintained an active dialogue with leaders and representatives of various religious groups. The Embassy also sponsored several major events to discuss these issues. In August 2004, the Embassy co-sponsored with the International Islamic University of Malaysia a major conference on "Islam in the 21st Century" in Kuala Lumpur. Three prominent U.S. speakers participated; one encouraged religious tolerance and openness among Muslims, a theme also raised by the Prime Minister in his speech to open the conference. More than 250 Muslim scholars from dozens of countries attended the conference. The U.S. speakers and the Prime Minister also advocated the empowerment of Muslim women.

The Embassy also sponsored civil society grants and exchange grants for representatives of NGOs working to promote greater religious tolerance, respect for diversity, and human rights and openness in the country.

New Proton BLM... even more of the same

Just had a look at the spyshots (below from Paultan.org) of what is supposed to be the Saga/Iswara replacement model from Proton. It's cryptically called the BLM (say that at Subway and they'll hand you a bacon, lettuce & mayo sandwich).

If you've read my previous post about Proton's 'new' Gen2 sedan, you'd find that my opinion is that Proton is basically digging a deeper and deeper hole for itself - by producing model after model of compact sedans and hatches - which cannibalise sales from each other because they are all essentially the same product... in the same market segment... being sold all at the same time.

Now, with this BLM... am I right, or am I RIGHT?

The question remains...

WHAT THE HELL DOES PROTON WANT TO DO WITH YET ANOTHER COMPACT SEDAN?

Whoever does the goddamn strategic planning for Proton... should be shot. Shot dead, and then shot again.

AP, NEP, mixing business & politics. Old M'sian habits die hard.

At a time when the PM is trying to encourage foreign investors to invest in Malaysia (esp. Singaporeans in Johor's IDR), competing interests in the Malaysian bureaucratic and political system try their best to derail the train.

Solid waste management strategy is just rubbish

Am I too pessimistic if I think that no good can possibly come from the new Solid Waste Management privatisation initiative?

A few reasons...

Additional fees. We all know that the concessionaires will charge new fees. The thing is that we already pay for solid waste management as part of the housing assessment and quit rent paid to the local councils. From past experience where local council services have been privatised, we find that the public has to pay new fees to the concessionaires - but their local council fees are not reduced to reflect the reduction of local council services. For instance, Indah Water charges RM2 to RM8 per month for sewerage services, but the assessment and quit rent rates have not been reduced by the corresponding quantum. In fact, the local council rates have increased! for many urban municipalities.

Why is this? How do local councils justify higher rates after privatisation when privatisation means that they just cut their services to the public? Maybe they use the excess revenue to pay for more fashionable lounge suits, longer 'lawatan-sambil-belajar' to resort cities and those nifty thousand ringgit 'bunga mangga' lights that sit atop most of our street lamps.

As if additional fees imposed on the public isn't bad enough, there are also the matter of profit guarantees given to the concessionaires by the taxpayers. You gotta love this one. The concession agreements to date are so grotesquely one-sided in favour of the concessionaires, that Samy Vellu is still struggling to explain why expressway concessionaires enjoy virtual profit guarantees (as well as the right to escalate profit periodically without providing any additional services). On top of that they also get favourable financing from taxpayers money.

There is also a lack of transparency and consultation in the promulgation of the laws and in the selection of the concessionaires. I don't recall any public forums, nor solicitation of public opinion. Read this letter to Malaysiakini from FOMCA's president and this editorial from Sun2Surf. They list out the transparency issues much more comprehensively than I can. In addition, will the concessionaire agreements be made 'official secrets', so that the corruption and incompetence can be hidden from the public?

Lastly and quite disturbingly, it seems to me that the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Bill (SWPCM) 2007 is overly preoccupied with making sure the public pays whatever fees that will be demanded by the concessionaires... but it is much less concerned with the enforcement of performance standards on the part of the concessionaires. Read Sun2Surf's preview of the bill here.

Related posts: http://sean-the-man.blogspot.com/search?q=OSA

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

UMNO unable to refute EU envoy's criticisms of NEP

Thierry Rommel is currently UMNO enemy No. 1, for daring to suggest that the NEP is morally unfair, breeds corruption and an excuse for protectionism. Like Lim Teck Ghee (of the 46% Bumi share fame) - he's being viciously attacked for a blatant disregard for the protocols of ketuanan Melayu, rather than the substance of his claims.

And true to form, UMNO politicians have chosen the "don't meddle in our internal affairs" argument, rather than factually countering Rommel's claims.

1. It shows that UMNO leaders are intellectually incapable of rational debate, preferring instead to silence discourse by imposing self serving "rules of the game". Rules that outlaw the questioning of its policies (eg. sensitive issues, sovereignty, social contract and my personal favourite - 'don't force us to amok' etc).

They are harping on the argument that Rommel is a foreign envoy, and as such should be seen but not heard.

2. It shows the world that UMNO leaders and the Malaysian govt are hypocrites.

They had no trouble making all sorts of comments about Myanmar & Aung San Su Kyi; Thailand / Philippines & their Muslim minorities; Britain / France & their dress codes; Iraq & the US, Israel & its battle-won territories; Singapore & its Malays, and in complete irony, South Africa & Apartheid.

But they get into a diplomatic frenzy when an EU envoy merely comments on the NEP in the context of upcoming free trade discussions? How hypocritical is that?

3. At the end of the day, criticism is best countered by factual evidence to the contrary. Lim Teck Ghee (yup, that guy again) writes to Malaysiakini that the govt should instead rebut Rommel's criticism point by point. And I agree. Compared to saliva spitting rhetoric - a calculated response based on hard evidence would go much further to put the point across to Rommel and his EU bosses.

By not responding to the factual substance of Rommel's claims, the govt and UMNO confirms its veracity. But then again... I don't think they have the means to counter those claims even if they wanted to... given that hard evidence justifying the NEP is impossible to come by. Apart from a fraudulent social contract and calculated acts of deadly violence, that evidence simply doesn't exist.

Will Malaysia's religious dept be consistent and 'rehabilitate' 86 year old woman?

Mariam Sahari, with her Korean son (right) Ji Yong Un, 51, his wife, Shin Sook Hyun and their son, Ji, 29. — Picture from Korean Broadcasting System.
Here's an 86 year old lady, born Malay Muslim, who ended up in Korea after WWII (more on her story here).

Based on the fact that she married a couple of Korean men (I'm assuming they weren't Muslim) and also the assumption that her Korean son in the photo is not Muslim, isn't she at great risk of being 'detained' by the Jabatan Agama Islam and getting 'rehabilitated' like Raimah Bibi (also refer Lim Kit Siang's blog here and here for other similar cases).

The religious department has been very good at confiscating young children with a 'Muslim' parent with disputed religious status. I wonder how consistent they are when the 'child' involved is a 51 year old man of Korean nationality? Surely, god's law cannot be bent on such small technicalities, can it?

Philippine President refutes Nazri's comment that Singapore is not a real county

According to Malaysiakini, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri "The Mouth" Abdul Aziz recently said that Malaysia cannot be compared to Singapore in terms of anti-corruption performance. According to the learned Minister with no portfolio:

“Singapore is not a real country, it is a small island. Singapore’s population is just three to four million and there are no opportunities for corruption, unlike in our country."
On the other hand, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo - speaking at a dialogue session today, organised by the Philippines-Singapore Business Council - has envisioned that her country will be a "first world country" like Singapore, 20 years from now (Channel NewsAsia).
"We would like to be like Singapore …a first world country. We would, by that time, be able to drastically reduce poverty, create a robust middle class and have all the hallmarks of a modern society and strong and stable institutions."
Like that ah... is Singapore a real country or not?

So, who's right? The Mouth or The President of the Philippines?

Btw, to simplistically blame corruption on population and landmass... that's just a piss-weak excuse of an impotent govt with its finger hopelessly stuck up to its knuckles in the pie. How do you apply that gutter logic to countries with comparable populations but tens of times larger in size... like Australia, or Canada?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Public service Survey: Who serves you right.

An interesting survey conducted on the govt public services of 22 countries.

Singapore tops the survey with a score of 89% and Malaysia goes past the line at a dismal 14th placing with 44%.

The Lion City roared in among the top five in all four categories:

- How well a government tailors information to citizen’s needs,
- how it interacts with citizens through multiple channels,
- the level of coordination between government agencies,
- and efforts to reach out to citizens about its services.

For the first time since its inception 8 years ago, the study also included the results of a citizen survey as part of the overall ranking.
I've had far too many experiences with the civil service on both sides of the causeway. And I have to say that I generally agree with the survey... ALTHOUGH I would not put Singapore as #1. Without going into too much detail, I'd say their airport security (who'll arrest your ass for being sarcarstic) and immigration staff need some work.

But then again, one of the categories surveyed is coordination between govt agencies - and this is one area Singapore excels at. So much so that they actually export civil service expertise to other govts in the form of consultancies and paid secondments. The Malaysian civil service on the other hand - excels at blaming god, the weather or each other when something goes wrong. The public works minister is even referred to as “playing the fool" for the past 22 years (ref: Malaysiakini).

Although I don't know what the survey respondents said to put Malaysia in 14th position, I have to say I'm not surprised. I've had several good experiences with Malaysian bureaucracy, but it is the rare exception rather than the norm. My guess that it's the same for everyone else.

But one factor really points out the difference between the Singaporean and Malaysian govt customer service.... Police personnel.

In Singapore, the policemen always address me as 'Sir' and are polite to a fault. Once, when I needed their services at a neighbourhood police post, the corporal manning the counter greeted me when I walked in, and told me that I had a 30 minute wait. He then proceeded to explain why and told me what my options were. Now comes the shocking part! He apologises for keeping me waiting.

In Malaysia, the policemen have never addressed me as anything except, "Mana I.C.?"

Malaysia, the safest country in La-La-Land.

An excellent example of comparative wormhole logic. Kinda like comparing the price of petrol in Malaysia and in the UK, without acknowledging the standard of living, average incomes and cost of cars. Very compelling logic if you're a frog dwelling in a well (katak bawah tempurung).

Malaysia Among World's Safest Tourist Destinations -- Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 (Bernama) -- Foreign tourists have no worry coming to Malaysia because the country is among the safest destinations in the world to visit, Tourism Malaysia Director-General Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said.

He said the crime rate in Malaysia was still low compared to those in some developed countries in Europe like in Paris, France, where the rate was so high that people had to queue to lodge police reports.
At least they get to make a report if they queue. In Malaysia, the police simply don't accept your report, or shunt you from one police station to another.
He gave a scenario in Milan, Italy as an example where tourists who lost their luggage were approached by the thieves who demanded payment for the return of the baggage.
As opposed to Malaysia where they open your bags, eat your foreign chocolates and then stuff the wrappers back into your bag?

At least the Milanese get a chance to get their stuff back.
He was reacting to crime reports by the media, whether they would adversely affect promotions for the Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
You mean crime like this and this?

But I actually agree with him. Malaysia is a safe place for tourists. It's just fucking dangerous for locals.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mandarin required. Muslims need not apply.

I got this from a chance stumbling onto the What a Lulu blog. And this is a really good one about discriminatory hiring practices.

A company called Metro Kajang Hldgs Bhd advertised in the papers for several job openings.

For a particular accounts exec job, the ad says:
- Mandarin is an added advantage,
- Muslims need not apply

So, as expected... feathers were ruffled and kerises unsheathed.

But Lulu's blog highlights one particular response posted on a forum:

From: josh hong
Date: Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:52 pm
Subject:
[PROMUDA-Circle] Those in the muslim faith need not apply

It is easy to find out why Metro Kajang prefers a NON-MUSLIM for the post: the office is located in Batang Berjuntai, near a pig slaughter house. And the successful candidate will be dealing with pig farmers as well about housing development there. If in doubt, call this number to verify: 03 - 8737 2323 and speak to the Human Resource Department, which I just did.

Meanwhile, there are many other vacancies for Muslims and non-Muslims at Metro Kajang.

I hope this solves all the unnecessary assumption. However, if one is still unhappy that such ads are around, why don't you complain to the relevant authorities?

cheerio, Josh.
Damn... it's so simple and straightforward that I wonder why Metro Kajang didn't just insert that information into the advert? It'd draw much less flak.

Although this is the first ad I've ever seen that asks specifically for non-Muslim applicants only (and boy, do they have a damn solid reason) - there are many ads which ask for Mandarin only.

Could the reason for Mandarin-only ads be just as simple? For example, the fact that the job will be dealing with Mandarin speaking customers, vendors and co-workers? Maybe such Mandarin-only ads would be a lot more acceptable if the advertisers clearly point out why the job candidates need to speak Mandarin on the job.

VW gets control, Proton's parasites get the last laugh

According to Malaysiakini, the hot & cold Proton + VW deal is now hot again. But if you don't have a Malaysiakini paid account (and you can't see the entire report if you don't... damn those cheap bastards)... here's a report from Singapore's Today newspaper.

Whenever I see any press reports playing up an imminent Proton + foreigner deal, I have to ask:

1. How is UMNO going to deal with the guaranteed fallout from the politically connected bumiputra vendors, dealers and other assorted parasites?

Simple... COMPENSATION.

2. Assuming this newest report is true and VW gets a majority stake in Proton and runs it as a genuine commercial concern..., how then, will the parasites be compensated?

Now... you don't honestly think that Proton, the govt, and by extension our national coffers - are going to get away WITHOUT compensating the UMNO grassroots leaders - [oopssss... pardon me... errrr] the TUV, SIRIM and Proton OK certified quality vendors and dealers - for their "losses", do you? After all, we need to uphold our sovereignty, 'kedaulatan' and defend our 'maruah bangsa dan negara'... [I think I need to puke now].

If you ask me, the demands for compulsory car scrapping, bank loan quotas and the RM16 million cash already dispensed - is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be much more to burden our tax-paying shoulders if VW really gets control. He who laughs last, laughs loudest.

Polis DiRaja Malaysia: To Protect & Serve... who?

It never ceases to amaze me how the police are so much more effective, willing to apply large numbers of personnel and much more uncompromising in discharging their duties - when dealing with peaceful protests against the govt/politicians -versus- dealing with violent criminals like robbers and rapists.

Yesterday,... about 200 other Johoreans [gathered] in front of the menteri besar’s residence in Saujana, along Jalan Rahman Andak, to voice [their] anger and frustration.

Police had set up roadblocks in Jalan Rahman Andak, but those who came for the gathering were undeterred. They parked their vehicles at a school some 500m away and walked to the MB’s residence.

At first, the rally was strangely bereft of placards, banners or rabble rousers, with the crowd standing around quietly as a group of 100 policemen and Federal Reserve Unit members stood watch over them. (nst.com.my)
The police assigned 100 policemen and FRU to control only 200 peaceful protestors! That's 1 policeman for every 2 protestors.

Just to put the significance of the number 100 into perspective:

- there are 2,000 investigating officers (I.O) in the whole country (100 is 5%)
- the entire Johor police force numbers 3,000 (100 is 3.3%)
- it only took 300 Spartans to hold off 1,000,000 Persian soldiers.

And all to protect the MB's house from angry stares, placards and sandwich wrappers.

If you factor in how many of Johor's 3,000 policemen spend their working day sitting behind a desk or pursuing their LLB (Look Like Busy), the magnitude of this 100 officer field deployment becomes clear.

How many Johoreans were 'under'-protected by the police that day, so that the MB's house could be 'over'-protected?

Have you seen 100 cops chase after a rapist or robber before? I haven't. But then again, I haven't seen the MB being gang-raped nor his house being robbed before either.

Makes you think about where the police force's priorities and loyalties lie, doesn't it? Maybe it's because the VVIPs are not affected by the crime wave. Or maybe the force's political priorities outweigh their security priorities. That might explain why they put more resources into protecting politicians from right-minded citizens, instead of protecting citizens from criminals.

Here are links to other instances of superb performance by the police against defenceless citizens (as opposed to real criminals):
search?q=police+protestors
Other related posts:
Johor gang rape victims were all Chinese?
2 legs for RM2,400, 2 gang rapes and a 2-timing IGP

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Best at everything: Vision 2057. But you're leaving out the main ingredient.

Pak Lah has a really inspiring speech writer. In 50 years, we'll be leading the world in... well, everything. The whole of Malaysia will advance and become the best in every field.

A 100 years of Merdeka would see this society, this nation achieve the unimaginable. We will have Nobel laureates, truly global corporations, respected and market- leading brands, internationally acclaimed poets and artists, among the largest number of scientific patents in the world and even the best football team in Asia.

Our students and professors will dominate Ivy League universities and our own universities will be citadels of excellence for international scholars.

We will be pioneers in alternative energy, drawing on our strength in biofuels. Our cities will be the most liveable on the globe, blending cosmopolitan facilities that are rooted in a tolerant and just societal ethos.

This is the Malaysia in my dreams for 2057. One hundred years of independence, one hundred years of advancement.
Well everything and every field... EXCEPT POLITICS! According to Pak Lah, as far as politics is concerned, it's status quo.
The Prime Minister also said that politically, the power-sharing system would continue to be the best of all possible worlds, given the country’s historical legacy.
So, he envisions UMNO and ketuanan Melayu still holding the reins. MCA, MIC & dan lain-lain (and their constituents) as the 80% taxation base, whipping boys and scapegoats. The perpetuation of the divisive communal politics will stagnate (and probably worsen) the country's multi-ethnic and multi-religious relations. The race-based political system is the underlying cause of the country's problems and it is the main thing that needs changing. I'm sure Pak Lah knows that, but I also think he knows that to change it means sacrificing UMNO's grip on power. And that I'm sure, is too high a sacrifice - even to be the best at everything.

100 years of advancement konon, just stop the damn crime and corruption first lah!

The Johor gang rape victims were all Chinese?

I knew that there were lots of gang rapes recently in Johor. According to NST and Lim Kit Siang's blog:

On Monday 11 June, a 19-year-old woman was abducted with her boy-friend, and robbed. The couple was brought to an abandoned hut in Taman Tampoi Indah where she was gang-raped by three of the four robbers while her boyfriend was forced to watch. The case on Monday was the fourth known case since late April.

• Early May - 28 year old pregnant woman robbed and gang-raped in Plentong in the presence of three-year-old son, after robbers had forced their way and drove off the car at a petrol station near Tampoi where the husband had stopped to answer nature’s call.

• On May 22, another robbery-cum-gang rape took place in Pantai Lido, and about two weeks ago along the Pasir Gudang Highway.

• 5th June around 10 pm - A construction contractor and female companion at a petrol station at Pasir Gudang highway overpowered by three armed robbers who drove off with them as hostages. Both robbed and female victim gang-raped at Kempas area.

But what I did not know was that Chinese women were being targeted. I wonder how that fact got left out of the press reports...
State MCA chief Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek urged the public to remain calm. "Do not let racial sentiment go to your head, and turn the crime issue into an emotional topic," he said in Muar yesterday.

The priority should be to let the police investigate and capture the suspects as soon as possible. "The criminals picked their victims randomly and the public should not think that a particular race is being targeted."
MCA is again walking the tightrope... not wanting to further alienate its Chinese support base with the rising perception of timidness & impotence in it's defence of the community..., but at the same time, not wanting to do a Tony Pua ie. where highlighting the ethnic realities is seen by a supremacist group like UMNO Youth, and the Malay press, as assigning blame along racial lines.

But I agree on not harping on the racial details,... for now... 4 incidents do not constitute a situation that risks developing into a Bosnia nor Indonesia in 1998... where mass rape was used a weapon of racial/ethnic violence. But listen well, you buffoons at MCA. The police must NOT be treated with kid gloves (for whatever reason), nor with the hope that mere kind words of encouragement will improve their performance. They have a job to do, and for the love of god... they are not doing it! And if you ask me, it seems like crime has gotten worse since their hefty salary increase.

Malaysia needs to develop a culture of heads rolling for this kind of shit. I want to see Ministers of Internal Security, Police IGPs, OCPDs and CPOs resign in disgrace and without pension (ala Korea and Taiwan) and most of us wouldn't mind if a few of them commit suicide (ala Japan). What I don't want to see is the force transferring a few fat cat buck passing senior police officers to and fro (with promotions and increased allowances) and calling that a punishment - expecting to mollify the public's outrage.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Religious raid party videos naked girl, and keeps her naked while recording

Some of you may remember the Metro Ahad (Sunday copy of Harian Metro) revelation late this March, about the existence of a video of an alleged JAIPP (Jabatan Agama Islam Pulau Pinang) vice/ adultery/ close proximity raid.

What made this video more interesting than most, was that it highlighted the "unprofessional" methods (to say the least) of the JAIPP officers.

The enforcement officers in the video did not allow the naked female detainee to get dressed (leaving her with nothing more than a face towel to cover herself). And at one stage, when she managed to pull a blanket over her nude body, a male officer yanks it away. All through this time, the camera was running... focusing on the poor girl's attempts in vain to cover her breasts while trying not expose her crotch. And what's with the officer's bra and panty fetish... what with the repeated fingering of those items on camera?

After watching this, you've gotta to ask... Is this an action to eradicate maksiat (vice) or a sadistic attempt to degrade a defenceless girl while feeding an appetite for perverted voyeurism? I've seen real-life 'coercion' pornos made by the Russian mafia (and those guys don't play-play) that impart fewer feelings of sexual abuse on the viewer. Makes me wonder whether they do any psychological testing when recruiting enforcement officers to establish their... 'tendencies'?


The original video was pulled off youtube, but apparently it has resurfaced. I know I'll attract some comments that I'm posting this to make "certain people" look bad. Others might even say that the video's a fraud and is a ruse perpetrated by "enemies" of the religious authorities or the religion itself. Some simply consider me a trouble-maker intent of making a repeat of May 13, 1969 a reality.

Well, I've heard all that before in my posting of the video which captured the racial bullying incident at UPM's canteen. I said it then, and I'll say it again... unless you can prove the video's fake... it proves graphically that something is very wrong with Malaysia. And my concern, and indeed the reason for this blog... is that too many people lead their serene, programmed Matrix-like lives unaware that this kind of perverted rubbish repeats itself daily in the unseen, corrupt and twisted underbelly of Malaysian life. And unlike Malaysiakini, my shit's free.

Metro Ahad's original article below:

Mengaibkan!
Oleh ZAINUDDIN ZAIN, RUDY SYAREME SYARIFFUDIN dan ZULIATY ZULKIFFLI

Satu penganiayaan: Hanya ketua unit penguat kuasa dibenarkan memegang kamera video, selain ada prosedur rakaman bukti yang ketat ketika di lokasi operasi


KUALA LUMPUR: Aib dan mengundang pelbagai persoalan. Itulah kenyataan paling sesuai apabila satu rakaman klip video mengenai operasi mencegah maksiat kini tersebar luas melalui internet.

Klip sepanjang 1 minit 16 saat itu dianggap mengaibkan kerana dipercayai tidak mengikut prosedur apabila seorang wanita yang ditahan tidak diberi peluang mengenakan semula pakaiannya, menyebabkan dia terpaksa menutup tubuh hanya dengan sehelai tuala kecil.

Persoalan yang timbul daripada klip itu ialah, adakah begitu caranya operasi mencegah maksiat dilakukan (dengan tertuduh dimalukan), dan bagaimana rakaman itu boleh disalahgunakan hingga tersebar di internet?

Atau adakah penyebaran klip itu bertujuan memburukkan imej Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) kerana ia dipaparkan dengan judul: “Awek Melayu Bogel Ditangkap Oleh Pasukan D7 PDRM: Rakaman Untuk Bukti?@ Wayang Free!”

Bagaimanapun, Metro Ahad percaya operasi dalam klip itu tidak dilakukan polis, sebaliknya oleh agensi penguat kuasa lain berdasarkan tulisan pada belakang vest yang dipakai seorang lelaki yang terbabit dalam operasi.

Turut ada di dalam klip itu ialah seorang lagi lelaki dan wanita bertudung yang berpakaian awam.

Mengulas penyebaran klip itu, Ketua Unit Penguatkuasa Jabatan Agama Islam Pulau Pinang (Jaipp), Faizal Ibrahim, berkata dalam setiap operasi, rakaman bahan bukti yang kukuh cukup penting supaya kes tidak dianggap longgar dan pesalah terlepas daripada pendakwaan.

“Saya tidak melihat klip itu. Ada kemungkinan ia rakaman sebenar operasi mencegah maksiat kerana memang di dalam operasi Jaipp, kita mengambil gambar dan kadangkala rakaman video.

“Namun, hanya saya sebagai ketua unit dibenarkan memegang kamera video dan kami ada prosedur rakaman bukti yang ketat ketika di lokasi operasi dan juga sekembali ke pejabat,” katanya kepada Metro Ahad.

Sehubungan itu, kata Faizal, jika pihaknya mendapati rakaman video itu membabitkan Jaipp, laporan polis perlu dibuat untuk memastikan sama ada ia benar-benar penguat kuasa jabatan itu atau penyamaran.

“Kalau benar operasi Jaipp sekalipun, kita tidak boleh terus menuding jari perbuatan orang dalam, sebaliknya siasatan menyeluruh perlu dijalankan kerana bimbang ia angkara orang luar.

“Ini kerana operasi Jaipp juga diikuti wartawan, termasuk dari stesen televisyen, selain pemberi maklumat yang mungkin merakamnya secara curi.

“Malah, selepas mahkamah menjatuhi hukuman, bahan bukti dilupuskan dan semua aspek ini perlu diambil kira kerana ada kemungkinan (yang membolehkan rakaman) jatuh ke tangan pihak tidak bertanggungjawab,” katanya.

Klip itu menunjukkan seorang wanita berusia awal 20-an dalam keadaan bogel di atas katil dan hanya menutup sebahagian badannya dengan tuala kecil. Berdasarkan keadaan hotel dan tuala digunakan, operasi dipercayai dijalankan di hotel murah.

Wanita itu kemudian diarah berpindah dari sudut kiri katil ke kanan. Ketika itu, seorang lelaki memeriksa katil dan mengambil seluar dalam serta coli untuk diletakkan di sebelah wanita itu bagi rakaman.

Faizal berkata, dalam setiap operasi, hanya seorang pegawai penguat kuasa yang terlatih dalam penggunaan kamera diberi tanggungjawab mengambil gambar untuk dilampirkan sebagai satu bukti kes.

“Setiap gambar diambil perlu disertakan negatif filem atau kad memori pada kamera digital untuk diserahkan kepada mahkamah sebagai bukti gambar itu diambil pada masa dan tempat tertentu. Begitu juga rakaman video.

“Setiap gambar diambil dikategorikan sebagai sulit dan tidak boleh diberikan kepada orang lain tanpa kebenaran,” katanya.

Faizal berkata, jika berlaku penyalahgunaan gambar diambil, satu siasatan dilakukan secara terperinci dan mana-mana pegawai yang bersalah dikenakan tindakan disiplin.

Sementara itu, Ketua Bahagian Siasatan Jenayah Pulau Pinang, Datuk Abdul Samah Mat, ketika mengulas penyebaran klip itu di internet, berkata masyarakat yang ada maklumat mengenai sebarang salah laku anggota atau pegawai penguat kuasa perlu membuat laporan supaya tindakan tegas diambil.

Katanya, mana-mana pihak yang berasa dianiaya atau difitnah pihak tertentu juga perlu membuat laporan polis bagi membolehkan kebenaran ditegakkan.

“Anggota polis yang melakukan tugasan cegah jenayah ada tanggungjawab tersendiri. Mereka tahu tanggungjawab dan kaedah mengumpul bukti.

“Setiap bahan bukti dikumpul adalah penting untuk menentukan sama ada suspek bersalah atau tidak, dan perkara itu cukup serius dan memerlukan penelitian,” katanya.

Abdul Samah berkata, ketika bertugas, anggota polis tidak lari daripada etika tugas dan mereka tahu sebarang penyalahgunaan kuasa akan mengakibatkan kesan serius kepada masa depan dan karier mereka.

“Saya berpuas hati dengan tugasan anggota dan pegawai kami di Pulau Pinang. Mereka tahu tanggungjawab mereka dan saya berharap mereka tidak terbabit dalam kegiatan yang boleh mencemarkan imej pasukan,” katanya.

Penyebaran klip operasi cegah maksiat yang disebarkan di internet itu kali kedua berlaku kerana November tahun lalu satu laman web dikesan menyediakan koleksi 92 klip video ‘Koleksi Tangkap Basah’ yang didakwa sebagai operasi Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais).

Bagaimanapun, Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Hal Ehwal Agama, Belia dan Mesra Rakyat Selangor, Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil, menafikan klip itu diperoleh daripada Jais kerana jabatan itu tidak pernah merakam kejadian tangkap basah sepanjang menjalankan operasi cegah maksiat.

“Itu (klip video) semua bohong, Jais tidak pernah merakam operasi cegah maksiat,” katanya.

Friday, June 15, 2007

High-quality police force OR low-quality PhDs?

DAP's economics pointman, Tony Pua, gets his name figured prominently in the major Malay papers again (pic from Tony Pua's blog) - in retaliation for his earlier blurb about the civil service being a dumping ground for unemployable Malay graduates.

It's apparently a good thing that 5 highly educated individuals willingly became beat cops.

Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian both carried a Bernama report which said that five individuals with Master's and PhD qualifications had enlisted in the police force and were now constables at the Bakri police training college.

College commandant Datuk Zakaria Yusof said they were willing to do so after their recent application to be placed as inspectors had failed.

“All five of them really wanted to join the police force and they were willing to be constables,” he said.

Zakaria added that the five were among the 500 constable recruits who proved that the police profession was gaining recognition among youngsters, including those with high qualifications.

Ref: The Star
The conclusion the Malay media and the police force has drawn from this, is that the police profession and by extension, the civil service, was "gaining recognition among youngsters, including those with high qualifications."

However, I would ask this question instead: Why did PhDs/Masters holders fail to qualify for a simple entry level position of cadet inspector?

And according to PDRM's website, even STPM holders qualify as cadet Inspectors. So, what subjects were their PhDs/Masters for? History? Malay studies? Religious studies? Which universities did the degrees come from?

Was this willingness to downgrade and discount their qualifications due to a true love for the police profession, or does it indicate the concerned individuals' basic inability to secure employment elsewhere? (which ironically goes back to support Tony Pua's dumping ground assertion).

Bald women turn off Little Ayatollahs

Sharifah Amani and Yasmin Ahmad... they already pissed off the Malay and Muslim chauvinists for the films Sepet and Gubra.

The former for potraying an 'unlikely' story where a nice Malay Muslim girl falls for a Chinese vcd peddlar, and the latter for an even 'more unlikely' storyline where nice Malay Muslim women engage in the world's oldest profession ie. prostitution.

Now for Muallaf, the duo's latest cinematic collaboration where yet another Malay girl gets involved with a Chinese boy (in the movie, Amani plays runaway youngster Rohani who is befriended by a schoolteacher named Brian, played by newcomer Brian Yap)... - Sharifah Amani has gone and shaved her head bald.

She actually looks ok... and with that expression on her face, like a slightly stoned Sinead O'Connor.

But the lack of hair has drawn fire from Malaysia's Little Ayatollahs (the state muftis or religious clerics, who are the theocratic counterparts to the Little Napoleons in the nation's bureaucracy), as reported by NST and Malaysiakini.

Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyis Abdul Majid said:

"Unlike Muslim men, going bald for (Muslim) women is forbidden in Islam. It is also sinful for men to act or behave like a woman and vice-versa."

Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Idris said:

"As Muslims, we should not sacrifice our religion for the sake of wanting to be popular. I have been observing that nowadays, our artistes are becoming too open and daring, either in their actions or attire."
To be honest, I had no idea that bald women were haram and forbidden in Islam. I knew women had to cover their hair (tutup aurat) but equating going bald with sacrificing one's religion? Oh please lah, can you be any more melodramatic? As some bloggers have asked... exactly which sentence in the holy book prohibits female baldness? You Little Ayatollahs are making this shit up as you go along, aren't you?

And again, the religious establishment's infatuation with form over substance is deplorable. One woman shaves her head, and two muftis immediately call for press conferences. But when it comes to real issues like crime, corruption, money politics and young unemployed sons-in-law of Prime Ministers owning 3 luxury cars with personalised number plates (KJ10Q) and RM5,100 in unpaid fines (ref Malaysiakini) - there's not even a peep nor whimper from any of you muftis (khaaakk... phtooooi!). So, looking at which issues you guys are allocating your efforts to... are you trying to say that losing one's hair is a bigger sin compared to losing one's morality?

It is also worthwhile to note that the foreign press have started referring to Malaysia as "the conservative Muslim country". No good can come from this.

But muftis in the conservative Muslim country have called on authorities to issue guidelines to prevent Malay Muslim artistes, especially actresses, from extreme behavior or dressing, theNew Straits Times reported (AFP).

Transformers - More than meets the eye

I'm a Transformers fan from way back in the 80s, during my schooldays.

I have a schoolmate who was even crazier about cartoons than I was. He'd spend all his allowance buying comics, and thanks to his generosity - I've read issue #1 to the last issue of Transformers. Maybe you'd know him... Thundercow.

There's been other comics like Spiderman, X-Men etc... but nothing quite captured our imagination like the Autobots and Decepticons.

But enough reminiscing... the movie's out 7.4.7 (that's 4.7.7 for us non-Americans... those dang Yankees, with their gallons, Zees and yards). The latest trailer's below... and it's good. Check out the official website: www.transformersmovie.com

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Samy Vellu Tiru / Plagiarises

This is really funny. I picked it off Lim Kit Siang's blog. If you just returned from the wilderness and have no idea what I'm going on about... a sharp Malaysiakini reader noted that Semi Value had plagiarised the compositions of others (ala Brendan Pereira) when he dedicated a much-publicised poem to Pak Lah and Jeanne Danker's marriage.

Below is one person's extremely funny summary of the sequence of events. Sammy... if you're reading this... sack your political secretary lah. All he knows is cut & paste.

By Martin Jalleh

Samy had proudly sent to Jeanne and Badawi,
A congratulatory statement in perfect poetry,
So spellbound was Bolehland by his originality.

But damn, a sharp reader of Malaysiakini
Spotted Samy’s true and hidden capability
For from two poems, the Minister did copy.

As shame no longer exists in our country
Slowly but surely, silently, subtly and slyly
Samy sends in his handy press secretary.

“Blame not my master,” said he slavishly
“But blame rather on my lapse of memory.
“The authors I have left out inadvertently!”

Our sympathies, dear Jeanne and Badawi
For being treated to Samy’s cheap publicity
and pathetic excuses of his press secretary.

In light of government’s leaking credibility
Samy should stay focused on his Ministry
And save plagarised poems only for MIC.

(12 June 2007)

2 legs for RM2,400, 2 gang rapes and a 2-timing IGP

How about that? It only costs RM2,400 to have someone's legs chopped off. That's a farking good deal. Must be due to the Malaysia Mega Sale.

Trio Who Chopped Off Man's Legs, Get Seven Years Jail
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=267143

Yesterday, the court was told that Rabiah, who lived in the same house with Manivan and has a 12-year-old child with a former husband, paid Jinaraj and Jay Kumar RM2,400 to cut off the man's legs and beat him to "give him a lesson".

Manivan died of multiple slash wounds and severe head injury at 2.45pm on July 15, 2003 at the Selayang Hospital.
And the perpetrators even threw in a free severe head injury.

And rape. We've got lots of rapes. And this is the good stuff... back to back gang rapes! in front of the husband/boyfriend, and both cases in our very own sin-city, JB.
Another woman gang-raped
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/6/14/nation/18022987&sec=nation

JOHOR BARU: A group of men took a couple on a terror ride before raping the woman, the second such case in as many days here.

A 55-year-old contractor and his 35-year-old female friend had stopped at a petrol station along the Pasir Gudang highway at 10.30pm last week. As he was filling up, three men armed with parang overpowered him and forced both victims into the car.

The assailants took the victims on a one-hour terror ride before stopping at a secluded area along the highway. With the injured victim watching helplessly, the men took turns to rape the woman before fleeing in another car driven by an accomplice.

On Monday, a 19-year-old girl was raped by three men as her boyfriend watched helplessly in Taman Tampoi Indah. Their car was rammed into by another car. Three men in the car then abducted the couple. The boyfriend was also slashed in the leg when he tried to escape.
And is our police force doing anything about all this criminal activity?

You bet they are. If you believe Raja Petra of Malaysia-Today.net fame, the IGP himself is busy getting a piece of the action. So much for 'Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah.'
The roaches are scurrying and the rats are hurrying
http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/corridors.php?itemid=5224

The Johor crime bosses identified by Deep Throat were ‘Tengku’, Ah Kooi, Ah Seng and Ah Heng, and the business of the syndicate involves prostitution, drugs and illegal gambling, as mentioned in the previous episode of this same series.

What was more frightening was the revelation by Deep Throat that the Chief of Police was the patron of this new ‘national’ organised crime syndicate.

The Caste system: a Brahmin, MAS, chicken nuggets and RM20K.

Have you read about the Brahmin who was awarded RM20,000 for being served chicken onboard a MAS flight?

While I fully agree that a passenger should get the special meal which he specifically ordered and paid for (here, I'm assuming that the Brahmin pre-ordered a vegetarian meal)... I take offence to the reasoning of the Magistrate, in finding for the Brahmin against MAS.

Magistrate M. Rajalingam said, "being born in a Brahmin family, having been brought up in the Brahmin way of life and being a vegetarian accords him [Arvind] a social status and is addressed with the honorific ‘Pundit’ in India," he said.

"Thus he was entitled to self-respect and dignity. The tort committed upon him in this instance has been fortified by the evidence that he is a strict Brahmin who has never consumed meat in his life."
While the fact that the Brahmin was indeed a Brahmin provides strong evidence of his "preference" for a vegetarian diet, what is the purpose of making a statement that Brahmins enjoy certain 'social status' and 'honorifics'?

What does the fact that Brahmins are the highest caste in mainland Indian traditional society have to do with the dispensation of law in a Malaysian court?

How is the Brahmin's case 'fortified' by the fact that he is a Brahmin? Does this mean that the learned magistrate deems that a lower caste Indian, in similar circumstances, will enjoy less 'fortification' with his complaint? What if the complainant is a pariah or dalit/untouchable, who has similarly sworn off meat his entire life? Will his complaint be less 'fortified'? How about a non-Indian who's similarly vegetarian.

Since when did Malaysian law start discriminating based on social castes? Oops... bad rhetorical question. The answer:- since its inception in 1957!

Text of the full report below:

Brahmin who was served meat gets RM20,000
Saturday, 09 June 2007, New Straits Times

GEORGE TOWN: A staunch Brahmin Hindu, who was served a chicken pakoda on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Bangalore to Kuala Lumpur four years ago, was yesterday awarded RM20,000 in compensation by the magistrate’s court.

Magistrate M. Rajalingam said the award, including interest, was for aggravated damages to Arvind Sharma for injury to his feelings as well as depression, shock and mental anguish and stress coupled with humiliation, loss of pride and self-esteem.

The court, he said, found "on the balance of probabilities that Arvind has proven his case against the defendant, Malaysia Airlines".

Arvind, a cargo agent for delivery of Dell computers in India, had filed for general and special damages against MAS for serving him non-vegetarian food onboard flight MH193 on March 15, 2003.

Rajalingam said there were positive confirmations that the pakoda served was chicken and further evidence was corroborated with a complaint written and acknowledged by both parties.

"Being born in a Brahmin family, having been brought up in the Brahmin way of life and being a vegetarian accords him a social status and is addressed with the honorific ‘Pundit’ in India," he said.

"Thus he was entitled to self-respect and dignity. The tort committed upon him in this instance has been fortified by the evidence that he is a strict Brahmin who has never consumed meat in his life.

"The defendant’s negligence has caused him a blemish in his code of conduct."

Arvind claimed he threw up after eating the pakoda because it contained chicken.

He tasted something odd after swallowing a portion of the pakoda and immediately stopped eating it.

He removed the balance from his mouth.

He then asked his childhood friend, Rohit Bathla, who was seated beside him, to taste the rest of the pakodas and it was confirmed to be chicken.

Arvind subsequently complained to the flight stewardess on board who apologised. A stewardess later filled-out a complaint form acknowledging chicken had been served to Arvind.

MAS, in its statement of defence, had refuted all charges made by Arvind.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The making of: May 13, 1969.

(Pic 1) Here are the covers of the book, May 13; Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969, by Kua Kia Soong - which was nearly banned from our local bookstores.

I got it for RM20 from Popular Bookstore. They are selling it, but not displaying it openly. If you want it, just ask the staff.

(Pic 2) I reckon this report by Bangkok World is the most pertinent and concise summary of the events on May 13, 1969.

(Pic 3) Kua Kia Soong's take on how Malay 'rights and privileges' started out in 1957 as a tool to help the underprivileged; deforming into a scheme to create a small group of politically connected Bumiputera uber-rich after 1969; and currently mutating into a plot to entrench these racist policies as an pseudo-apartheid caste system based on the bigoted premise of 'Ketuanan Melayu'.

If you are a non-Malay born in the 70s like I am, you would have been fed a relentless lifelong guilt-trip of lard-free propaganda about how our forbears [verbally ie. non-violently but nonetheless effectively] "provoked" their own "deserved" slaughter in 1969. Coupled with the 'social contract' (where our ancestors supposedly bartered their basic rights [and that of their children after them], for what amounts to second class citizenship)... non-Malays today are supposed to accept all injustices and manner of discrimination foisted upon us, quietly and with smiles on our faces.

I strongly encourage you to read this book, as well as Ousted! by Patrick Keith, and Lee Kuan Yew's Memoirs to get a counter-balancing version of that most unholy episode in our history.