Sunday, September 25, 2016

10 things about: Siti Kasim, lawyer and activist

Siti Kasim is one of the few Malay-Muslims who dares to speak out against hudud and what she terms “man-made” laws.
But the 53-year-old litigation lawyer, with her dyed blonde hair that she has had since she was in her 20s, tells me that she’s not a hero, even though a video and news of her flipping the bird to rude hecklers at a recent forum about PAS’ Shariah Bill has gone viral.
She jokes instead about how she would have “dressed to the nines” if she had known about the video.
Siti, who is co-deputy chair of the Bar Council committee on Orang Asli rights, also frequently champions for the indigenous community on land issues. The activist, who describes herself as more of an “on the ground person”, visits the Orang Asli community in Kelantan once a month to find out about their concerns and to get lawyers to represent them.
Not only does she do Orang Asli work, she also helps a group of Rohingya refugees manage their rented accommodation at a shoplot in Selayang as they can’t communicate with their landlord.
Siti, who has a 26-year-old daughter, spent 17 years in the UK from 1987 to 2004, during which she studied law at the Queen Mary University of London.
Vivacious, outspoken and unapologetic, Siti talks about how she deals with criticism, the sacrifices she makes for being opinionated and her dislike for former deputy prime minister and ex-Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM) leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In her own words:  
I’m born a Malay. I’m a Muslim. It will affect me if I don’t speak up and wait for others, until when? So I have to do it, at the expense of my family who are also upset with me. My siblings are very unhappy with me. They get all these WhatsApp messages from other people, not to them specifically, you know we’re all in group group kan. Saying stories about me being a murtad, all the made-up stories, they viral it through WhatsApp. 
They feel it’s an embarrassment, people kutuk-kutuk I dalam WhatsApp, and they’re in that group. So I try to explain to them. Of course, they’re just normal Muslims. They don’t want anything bad, biasalah, orang Melayu kan, maluI understand their concern and all that, I try to explain to them. I love my family. My daughter supports me.
I discovered there is no requirement to wear tudung in the Quran. But now, tudung is the first precursor to be a Muslim. You don’t wear tudung, you don’t have the right to speak. Where does this come from? Muslims here have been taught what kind of Islam? Go back to the Quran. Read it. There’s no such thing as “kepala”, the word “head”, in the Quran, Surah An-Nisa. This kepala is added by the translators... breasts are specifically mentioned in the Quran... God says cover your breasts.
When he [Anwar Ibrahim] got caught, I can tell you I was the happiest person in London. I’m not joking because I think Malaysia was safe at that time. But then unfortunately, of course, the people have already been brainwashed by then. He already set in place this brainwashing in school. I blame it on him, he’s the one who brought in Islamisation to Malaysia. It’s nothing wrong to bring in good things, but he’s bringing in Wahhabism kind of Islam. This is where it’s not right. Why you want to bring Wahhabism interpretation of Islam? Because they mix the Arab culture into Islam.
Preachers are human beings as well. Who are they? They’re not God. Some of them can’t even read Arabic words.
They call me “makcik”, “perempuan tua ni”, calling me all kinds of names lah, “makcik tua ni”“kubur kata mari” or something like that, [criticising] my blonde hair, my not wearing tudung. They took out pictures—I wear sexy clothes with my shisha and all that—they pick up from my Twitter before. Eh hello, I’m not stupid okay. Anything I put up on social media is because I like those pictures. They want to use that as a tool to shame me. If I see that, I say thank you very much for uploading that again because that’s one of my favourite pictures. Lepas tu, mereka tak tahu nak cakap apa.
I have a loud voice, I don’t yell. But during that forum, I had to raise my voice because they were heckling so loud. What gives me the courage? I don’t know, I don’t think it’s because of courage or being brave or what. I wasn’t mad. To be honest, I wasn’t even angry or anything. I just find that they’re stupid, you know. So I want to show their stupidity.
I am a human being. If I say that I don’t get hurt, I’m lying. Of course I get hurt, but luckily I’m the type — so what. My friends support me... all the good comments actually compensate for the bad ones.
They forget I’m speaking up for them also, you know. They don’t understand that. Yang pakai tudung ni kan, you can see a lot of them pakai tudung but actually wearing very tight, tight pants and all that — they don’t realise that if we allow these Islamists to actually control you, it will become like Acheh. The women are the ones who will suffer most. These people forget that I’m trying to uphold their dignity in the future.
I’m not surprised by the prejudices shown by the public now. That’s why I take it in my stride. It’s the way people are being brought up, to be judgmental. That’s how I see it — they can’t help it. Once they get to know you, they realise it’s just you. You’re not trying to grab the limelight or trying to pretend, or trying to speak about something you don’t know about.
[Source: MMOnline]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

'ADIOS' is now a dirty word?

Upon the death of PAS Spiritual Adviser, Haron Din, Jeff Ooi of DAP tweeted the following line, 'Adios Haron Din.  Let there be peace.'  Immediately, there was an uproar accusing Jeff Ooi for being rude to Islam, etc.  He has since been told to 'surrender' himself to the authorities by the IGP and has willingly done so.  After four hours of questioning by the police at the Penang northeast police headquarters, he has been released.

I am at a lost.  Do these people understand the meaning of  'Adios'?  It simply means 'Goodbye' in Spanish.  If they don't know, why didn't they at least google for the meaning instead of jumping the guns?  Or are they anti-Spanish?  This is the result of a mediocre education system.

Now if  'Adios' is deemed to be a bad word denoting disrespect, rude, uncouth and callous, then they might as well consider the following words to be haram too, all which mean 'Goodbye'.
  • Au Revoir [French]
  • Arrivederci [Italian]
  • Auf Wiedersehen [German]
  • Sayonara [Japanese]
  • Zai jian [Mandarin]
  • Joi gin [Cantonese]
  • Annyeong [Korean]; and the English word itself 'Goodbye'.
Perhaps these two musical videos can illustrate the usage of the word.

What Jeff Ooi has tweeted is totally pale in comparison with the antics of some of the UMNO leaders.  Here are just some examples.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Way to go, Siti ....

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has justified showing the middle finger to her hecklers at a forum about PAS’ Shariah Bill, describing them as “Islamist hooligans” and “brainwashed morons”.
She said the audience at the forum on “Pindaan Akta 355: Antara Realiti Dan Persepsi” organised by the Karangkraf Group in Shah Alam Monday was full of “Islamists”, or Malays who thought they were trying to uphold God’s laws but who were unwilling to listen to anything else that went against their ideals.
“I have been to so many forums. I have asked hard hitting questions but never in my wildest dream that someday I will show a finger in a forum to the audience.
“I don’t regret it one bit. To me, those Islamists hooligans deserve the finger and more. Crass? Rude? Since when a woman cannot be crass and rude in the face of hooligans and brainwashed morons?” Siti wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.
She also accused PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who was one of the speakers at the forum about PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), of misleading the audience in terms of the law.
“The speakers from PAS and Umno insisted it is not a HUDUD bill. Of course it is not a HUDUD Bill but it has everything to do with HUDUD. Without this amendment to the limit of punishment in the Shariah Courts, they wouldn’t be able to mete out the punishment already stated in their HUDUD ENACTMENT,” said Siti.
Hudud is an Islamic penal code that imposes punishments such as the amputation of limbs for theft and stoning for adultery.
Siti said the Bill seeks, via the introduction of a new Section 2A in Act 355, to remove the restriction on the range of punishments that shariah courts can impose, which are currently limited to three years’ jail, whipping not exceeding six strokes and fines below RM5,000.
She noted that death sentences cannot be imposed under the new Section 2A, but said the amendment appeared to confer shariah courts with “unlimited power” to impose other hudud punishments.
“Hudud offences include offences like zina (adultery), qazaf (false accusation of committing zina), syrub (alcohol consumption) and irtidad or riddah (apostasy) and according to the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment, punishment for these is whipping, ranging from 40 to 100 lashes.
“The Bill also seeks to substitute the existing Section 2 in Act 355 with a new section that appears to widen the scope of the Shariah Court’s existing criminal jurisdiction, which is currently limited to offences by Muslims against Islam,” Siti said.
PAS has insisted that Hadi’s private member’s Bill only aims to give the shariah courts stronger punitive powers to offences listed under Act 355, while Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom reportedly said last month that there was a need to strengthen the Islamic courts as most of the fines and jail sentences have purportedly failed to deter offenders. 
[Source: MalayMail Online]

Friday, September 2, 2016

Dyana shreds Razlan ...

DAP Youth leader Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud tears up Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Razlan Rafii's list of evidence of DAP disrespecting the Malays.
"I am called to respond to Razlan’s rebuttal statement dated Aug 31, 2016 in which he listed out 'evidence' of DAP disrespecting the Malays," she said in a press statement today.
Citing the 2014 Oktoberfest attended by DAP leaders as mentioned by Razlan, Dyana said government ministers should stop attending diplomatic functions if the latter's theory stood.
"Oktoberfest is now an international event celebrated throughout the world and is not merely about drinking alcohol, as Razlan wants to imply.
"The particular Oktoberfest celebration attended by DAP MPs was not organised by DAP and those who attended did so in response to an invitation," she added.
"Is Razlan suggesting that politicians should not attend events simply because there is alcohol served? In that case, government ministers should stop attending diplomatic functions as well.
"To suggest that Malays are easily offended by what other people eat or drink would be to insult the intelligence of the majority of Malays. Just because Razlan himself may have such narrow-minded views, he should not assume everyone else to be as shallow," she said.
Dyana also reminded Razlan (photo) about Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin referring the party members as lackeys (macai) and BN Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad stating that the 'Malaysian Official 1' mentioned in the US Department of Justice lawsuits was the Agong.
"I wonder if Razlan is aware that it is Umno which believes it is okay to refer to its members who are all Malays as macai. In DAP everyone is treated as equal, while Umno views people as lackeys.
"It is Umno which has consistently insulted the Malays by using fear to disempower the Malays for their own political gain.
"As an Umno Youth grassroots leader, I am not surprised that Razlan has a distorted idea of what constitutes an insult to Malays," she said.
Razlan should understand that Malays crave to be free from a political party that deigns to represent them but in fact cheats them, Dyana added.
"Unfortunately, when any Malay dares to stand up against Umno, they are immediately warned that their entire race would be 'destroyed' if Umno loses power."
'Opposing bill doesn't mean opposing Islam'
On DAP's opposition to Act 355 which could pave the way for the implementation of hudud, Dyana asked why it is not disrespectful when BN allies such as Gerakan, MCA and MIC criticise it.
"Opposing the hudud bill does not mean opposing Islam. How can that be the case when lawmakers are merely exercising their duties to debate every law that is tabled, especially when they have far-reaching consequences?" she said.
Dyana also defended Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming's twitter greetings, which used the phrases "In God we trust" and "Lord, guide our nation to you".
"Just because these prayers are written in English do not automatically make them Christian prayers.
"But even so, that in no way justifies Razlan’s actions in organising a violent demonstration at the DAP headquarters. As far as I know, we have not received any apology for the ruckus caused although police reports have been made," she said.
Razlan’s ignorance about the Malaysian electoral system is very worrying, Dyana noted.
"In case he does not know, Teluk Intan is a parliamentary seat. Hence I fail to understand how contesting in Teluk Intan would enable anyone to become a menteri besar candidate in Perak."
Razlan had alleged that DAP lobbied for the Perak menteri besar post, and was forced to recruit Malays like Dyana when it realised only a Malay can hold the post.
Dyana went into the ethnic composition of Selangor city councils, which are made up of about 60 percent Malay councillors, despite them representing only 53 percent of the state's population.
"Penang city councils proportionately represent the population of Penang by ethnicity," she rebutted.
"Based on Razlan’s statements and actions, it would appear that he thinks Malays are lackeys who are easily insulted and have popiah paper-thin tolerance on ethnic and cultural differences. I won’t be surprised because he probably was trained to be a macai chief, just how his party wants him to be."
Dyana urged Razlan to reconsider his views and apologise to all Malaysians, especially Malays for underestimating their intelligence, and if he fails to do so, then he does not deserve to be called a “youth leader”.
"Finally, I would like to invite Razlan to 'like' and 'follow' the Roketkini page on Facebook so that he can keep himself up-to-date with our party’s initiatives which cross race, gender and class boundaries," she said.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

If only these NGOs knew the good they have done for Namewee by having him arrested ....

Look who is having the last laugh.

The British rock band Queen and controversial Malaysian rapper Namewee have something in common. The lyrics of some of their songs contain Arabic words, which some Malaysians feel should be used only by Muslims.
The invocation “Bismi Allah (In the name of God)” is used in one of Queen’s biggest hits, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and the word “Allah” is used in Namewee’s latest video.
Freddie Mercury, the late singer for Queen, must be turning in his grave, wondering what Malaysians are fussing about.
Namewee was arrested on Aug 21 at KLIA upon his return from overseas. Apparently, the mention of Allah in the video was not the reason for the arrest. He is being investigated under the Penal Code for allegedly “defiling a place of worship with intention to insult the religion.”
The other performers in the video will also be investigated. Interpol has been asked to help in the search for them.
Is this really the best use of Interpol’s time and resources?
Why has Interpol’s help not been sought to locate the main characters in the US Department of Justice’s allegations of abuse of Malaysian taxpayers’ money? Again, Namewee has exposed the hypocrisy of our authorities.
Many Muslims who have watched the video see nothing wrong with it. The people who made the police report against Namewee have managed to distract us from the more important issues which plague this country.
More important, however, is that they have ignored the first lesson of marketing. The have succeeded in boosting Namewee’s popularity. His reputation has soared while Malaysia’s has taken a nosedive. The video has been given free publicity. Namewee now doesn’t need to spend money to promote it.
[Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist]

The return of student activism

The Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) came into force in 1971 and with that the clampdown on student activism came to a grinding halt. Yesterday, after 45 years, it was so refreshing to see 2,000 students challenging the might of the authorities and did something that should have been done years ago, to demand for accountability from the government.
UMNO had better sit up and take notice. The Opposition parties may not have sufficient clout to influence the rural folks, but the students can and will do just that unless UMNO start to do something about their own leaders.
If nothing is done, there is one big chunk of votes that UMNO can kiss goodbye to.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mahathir put in his place by HRH the Sultan of Johore

What a shot from Sultan Ibrahim of Johor directed at Mahathir for his past transgression!!!
“He has quarrelled with many world leaders including with our neighbour Singapore and putting Malaysia in a spot.

“And now he talks about unity with an incredible straight face. Tun Mahathir is the root cause of the present problems in the country. He has no right to interfere in my state. I will not tolerate his antics,”
“He is going around dividing the people including the Malays, while I am uniting Malaysians of all races including the Malays,” Sultan Ibrahim was quoted saying.-Sultan Ibrahim."

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 ― Johor monarch Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has cautioned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to keep his nose out of matters related to his state, including the “Bangsa Johor” concept used to rally its people.
Dr Mahathir’s antagonism towards world leaders had put Malaysia “in a spot” in the past, the sultan was reported by The Star as saying today in a scathing response to the former prime minister’s remarks yesterday that such notions promoting affinity to individual states over the country will divide Malaysians.
“He has quarrelled with many world leaders including with our neighbour Singapore and putting Malaysia in a spot.
“And now he talks about unity with an incredible straight face. Tun Mahathir is the root cause of the present problems in the country. He has no right to interfere in my state. I will not tolerate his antics,” Sultan Ibrahim was quoted saying.
He remarked that the 91-year-old Kedahan is now making trouble as the protem chairman of a new Umno splinter force Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia that is seeking to unseat the Malay nationalist party at the next general elections and advised Dr Mahathir to “keep his mouth shut”.
“He is going around dividing the people including the Malays, while I am uniting Malaysians of all races including the Malays,” Sultan Ibrahim was quoted saying.
He added that the “Bangsa Johor” concept was initiated by his great-grandfather and namesake Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al-Masyhur Abu Bakar in 1920 as a clarion call to unite the diverse races in the state under one flag.
“No race or individual was marginalised,” the Johor ruler was quoted saying, and castigated Dr Mahathir for his ignorance of history.
The “Bangsa Johor” concept could encourage “unhealthy” feelings of superiority by the residents of one state over another, Dr Mahathir said in a question-and-answer session during a forum on the relations between the federal and state governments in Putrajaya yesterday.
The fourth prime minister had introduced and promoted the “Bangsa Malaysia” policy during his 22-year tenure in office that ended in 2003 and pointed out that Johor owed some of its current prosperity and development to its position in the Federation of Malaysia.
He also commented later that Johor’s departure from the federation would be detrimental both to the state and the country as both shared a symbiotic relationship with each other, in response to past suggestions from Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim that his state was entitled to leave Malaysia if it was unhappy with Putrajaya.
Perhaps hoping to drive home his point, Sultan Ibrahim posted a 2-minute video of his interaction with Johoreans in Muar on his official Facebook page earlier this morning, which he titled: “Sultan of Johor : Bersama Bangsa Johor, Muar, 23 Ogos 2016”.
In the few hours since it was uploaded, the post has drawn over 2,000 “likes”.