Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hasan Ali and JAIS, are you sure you know what you are doing?

So it is a crime, and may be a sin too, for Muslims to be seen in a Christian church, attending a multi-racial dinner held in aid of AIDS victims under the auspices of Harapan Komuniti. It was understood that no religious activity took place during the dinner event other than using the church as a venue for the gathering.

If Hasan Ali wants to talk about Christians proselytising their faith to the Muslims in attendance, then what about the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Raja Permaisuri Agong attending the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 2011 at Westminster Abbey? During the ceremony in the church, there were sermons, hymn singing, prayers, Bible reading and the act of communion. By Hasan Ali's standards, I believe this could be considered "proselytising"? Will he send his JAIS officers to arrest our royal couple? How does he view the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's accepting the invitation to attend a Christian wedding, and in a church too?

The other issue worth mentioning is Najib's meeting with the Pope who is the head of 1.3 billion Catholics, in Vatican City. How is this deemed okay but attending a charity dinner is not. Isn't Najib taking a risk that the Pope might be proselytising to him, albeit in a subtle manner?

Of course, Hasan Ali and JAIS have every right to protect the interests of Muslims in this country from being converted out of their religion, but could it not be done using a more professional approach. They want to make a search, the least they could do was to the obtain a search warrant to do the job rather than bursting into someone's private function and causing anxiety for every one. This is the 21st century and not the 1940s Germany where the country was ruled by the Gestapos. Where is the rule of law, anyway or is JAIS the law upon itself? Perhaps our learned counsels can advise whether the church can sue JAIS in return for trespassing and harassment.

As for MCA, they are up to their cherry picking antics again accusing the DAP for maintaining silent on the church intrusion. I guess everybody must have been taken in by their sudden concern but may I ask them, where were they when UMNO banned the use of the word "Allah" and why have they not spoken up on the matter until today? Where were they when two Al Islam reporter carried out a covert operations in a Catholic church and committed sacrilege by participating in the Holy Communion? Where were they when the Holy Bibles were confiscated? Where were they when the Holy Bibles were stamped and serial numbered? Where were they when the churches were set ablazed? They cannot say that they are unable to voice out because they are not Christians. I am sure there are many Christians who are members of MCA. In any case, I believe DAP was unable to speak out at that particular moment as the MB, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, has issued a gagged order till the matter is resolved. There are two things which he has to look into. First, awaiting the report from JAIS and second, meeting up with the Sultan for advice. Knowing that this is a sensitive issue, the sensible thing to do is to wait for the outcome of the report and the meeting with the Sultan before taking the next step.

My opinion is that Hasan Ali has to go. His behaviour is too 'UMNO'ish for anybody's liking, and this could be a fact because he was one of the proponents of the UMNO/PAS merger just after the 2008GE, and many suspect he could even be a Trojan horse of UMNO. Much goodwill has been built by PAS with the non-Malays in the last four years and it is a pity that it takes one man like Hasan Ali to destroy it all. From his behaviour and attitude, I don't believe he gives a damn for the goodwill policies of Pakatan Rakyat.

After the 'hate Christian' campaign in Penang, now it is Selangor's turn. However, the question that begs an answer is, why rock the boat now when the GE13 is so near. Is it Hasan Ali's motives to scuttle PR chance of retaining the state, and help UMNO in the process? Is that the reason for Selangor UMNO Information Chief, Shukor Idrus, to sound so confident that UMNO will recapture the state?

The Selangor Times - August 5-7 2011 Edition

Selangor Times Aug 5-7, 2011 / Issue 36

The Tung Shin Hospital "Attack" Report



BERSIH 2.0, 9th july 2011

Summary of Eyewitness Reports on the “Attack”

on Tung Shin Hospital & Chinese Maternity Hospital by Enforcement Officers

An open call to the public was made via the Internet for members of the public who were at Tung Shin Hospital and Chinese Maternity Hospital on the 9th of July 2011, between 2.00 p,m. to 4.00 p.m. to give their statements on the Bersih 2.0 Rally. Eighteen eyewitnesses gave their statements, via email or through direct interviews (in person and over the phone). Below is a summary of the statements.

1. Evidence: 18 Eyewitness Statements

    - 15 Eyewitnesses present at Tung Shin Hospital during the Bersih 2.0 rally

    - 9 Eyewitnesses also present at Chinese Maternity Hospital during the Bersih 2.0 rally

    2. Evidence: Photographic evidence of tear gas & water cannons fired into hospital compounds during the Bersih 2.0 Rally

      - Photographs obtained from members of the public

      - Videos obtained from members of the public

      Summary of the Evidence:

      There was no provocation of the police forces by the crowd (no heckling, no chanting of offensive slogans, and no physical provocation) despite the fact that we had been corralled on either end of the road by police and were NOT allowed to disperse or to move on with the march.”

      Consistent throughout the statements from the eyewitnesses near and in Tung Shin Hospital and Chinese Maternity Hospital was the expression of peacefulness and civility displayed by the participants at the Bersih 2.0 rally. This is contrary to statements published in the press of supposed unruly and provocative behavior displayed by the Bersih 2.0 participants. Additionally, none of the eyewitnesses stated that there was any destruction of property during the rally, with one stating that “no one (even) litter(ed)”.

      The eyewitnesses who were asked for their reasons to participate were also clear that it was within their constitutionally guaranteed rights to assemble peacefully and to freely express their opinions, in this case to call for fair and clean elections. There were also clear statements of ‘unity’ witnessed among the participants of the rally, with one person describing it as a ‘carnival of solidarity’, as people sang the national anthem together, and chanted slogans such as “Hidup Rakyat” (“long live the people”).

      "As we were somewhat close to the front, we sat down almost immediately. Suddenly, without warning (and without provocation from anyone), multiple shots of tear gas were fired at us. It was extremely strong. People started running for cover. As the hospital compound was the nearest and safest place for us to seek shelter in, we ran to it”

      Out of the 18 statements, 15 individuals were in the compound of Tung Shin Hospital between 2.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. on the 9th of July 2011, while 9 participants were also in the compound of Chinese Maternity Hospital. One participant was on the road between both these hospitals, and gave testimony from her vantage point.

      Several witnesses stated that before they were in the hospital compounds, they were on Jalan Pudu with thousands of other participants. The riot police and FRU trucks had ‘sealed’ off the area from both ends (on one end near Terminal Bas Puduraya, and on the other end near the Swiss Garden Hotel). As such, the participants were ‘trapped’ in a situation without anywhere to disperse to. When the FRU trucks and riot police moved closer to the crowds, some of the witnesses stated that they saw YB Sivarasa Rasiah move to the front of the crowd where he appeared to be negotiating with the enforcement officers. Some of the participants sat down at that point.

      The firing of tear gas at the participants then happened “suddenly” and without warning. There was no mention, however, of provocation of the police by the participants, or any behavior that would reasonably justify an attack.

      Running for shelter, the witnesses ended up in the compounds of either Tung Shin Hospital or Chinese Maternity Hospital, which both happened to be the nearest and safest places to seek refuge. It would not have been possible for participants to run further down the road on either direction as the area was cordoned off by FRU trucks and riot police.

      The witnesses stated that they were in the compound of the hospitals to avoid tear gas and water cannons, recuperate from the effects of being hit previously with tear gas, and to wait until it was safe for them to either disperse peacefully or continue on with the march.

      One witness stated that participants from the rally were initially not allowed to enter into the main building of Tung Shin hospital. A nurse, however, later opened the door to allow participants to enter. There were no statements of disturbances caused by the participants within the building, with one witness stating that the participants remained quiet in the waiting area of the hospital.

      As the participants waited in the compound of Tung Shin Hospital, the police and FRU trucks moved into a line in front of the main entrance and exit to the hospital. This effectively prevented any participants from leaving the hospital, even if they wanted to.

      We thought we were safe. We were resting in an area. Then we got teargase(d). I am 52. I had a major infection and asthma attack. A few days later, I actually went back to Tung Shin Hospital for medical aid”.

      While the participants were in the compound of Tung Shin Hospital, the police began to fire tear gas and water cannons into the hospital compound. One witness stated that she was standing near the Emergency entrance where the ambulances are parked when a tear gas canister dropped one foot away from her. Another witness stated that he saw smoke from tear gas canisters in the area of the open-air carpark of Tung Shin Hospital. Out of the 18 statements obtained, 16 witnesses explicitly stated seeing tear gas fired into hospital compounds, while 4 stated seeing water cannons fired into hospital compounds.

      When the police and FRU trucks ‘retreated’ from the main entrance of the hospitals, the witnesses who were within Tung Shin Hospital began to leave the hospital and move back to the main road. The riot police, however, once more began to move towards the crowd, and more tear gas was fired at the participants. Some of the witnesses then ran into Chinese Maternity Hospital to seek refuge from the riot police.

      “I witnessed about 10 participants being arrested at the Chinese Maternity Hospital. The police ran after the participants by grabbing their shirts and pants. Some were pushed down, beaten and handcuffed. When some of the participants started resisting the arrest, they were beaten up with baton. At Chinese Maternity Hospital, the police attack the participants as they were saying “Doa”.

      One witness stated that there were approximately 100 participants who sought refuge in the compound of Chinese Maternity Hospital. The statements by some of the witnesses described how the police (approximately 20 personnel) charged into the hospital grounds with truncheons and plastic cable ties.

      The statements reflect the police action of using excessive and wholly unjustified force to arrest some of the participants within the compound. There were descriptions by the witnesses of police beating other participants on the head, chest, back and torso. Some participants also witnessed persons being shoved, dragged and kicked by the police.

      None of the 18 witnesses, however, were among those who had physical force inflicted directly on them by the police, nor were they arrested in the hospital compounds.

      “I just felt really angry towards this unnecessary use of force and the lack of disrespect even at hospital grounds. Everyone who was there was really upset because we all thought hospital grounds to be neutral and safe. But to see for ourselves the extent of police abuse of power really angered us. We had the realization that if hospitals were not safe, nowhere is.”

      All of the witnesses either in or near Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity hospitals opined that

      the police action of firing teargas and chemical-laced water cannons onto the participants of the Bersih 2.0 rally was completely unjustified as the crowd was peaceful and orderly.

      The excessive and unnecessary force by the police while arresting participants of the rally was also strongly condemned by the witnesses. This was further emphasized as no participants were seen violently resisting arrest, or behaving in any manner that would warrant a heavy-handed approach by the police.

      The ‘attack’ on Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals with tear gas and water cannons was also unequivocally condemned by the witnesses. Hospitals are seen as ‘places of sanctuary’ that ought to be protected. Furthermore, witnesses expressed ‘disgust’ and ‘outrage’ that the health and well-being of patients within the hospital were endangered by the enforcement officers who shot harmful chemicals into the hospital. While one witness stated that she saw a man become ‘agitated’ within the compound of Tung Shin Hospital, she further stated that a group of participants immediately calmed him down successfully. Other than shouts of anger, frustration and shock by the participants at the firing of teargas and water cannons into the hospitals, all witnesses within Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals firmly stated that there were no incidences of violence or untoward behavior by the participants within the compounds of the hospitals.

      “Extreme discomfort; a burning sensation in eyes, mouth and skin; shortness of breath; nausea; breathing difficulties. Yes, the other protestors seeking refuge in the hospital compound complained of similar reactions.”

      Witnesses who experienced the effects of tear gas and water cannons stated the adverse reactions to their immediate, and in one instance at least, extended, well being. Severe burning and tearing of the eyes, coughing, gagging, choking, nausea, vomiting, burning of the mouth and throat and itchiness of the skin were the effects of tear gas and water cannons described by the witnesses. One witness stated that she experienced a lung infection and an asthma attack which she had to seek treatment for. Another witness stated that the skin from her face had peeled off the morning after the rally, which she attributed to effects of the tear gas. Some witnesses expressed gratitude for the sharing of salt (which assisted in reducing the effects of teargas), kindness and support received by fellow participants.

      “I believe my constitutional rights were violated. In particular, the right to express freely was violated. I believe I have a right to ask for a fair election”

      The witnesses believed that their constitutionally guaranteed liberties, in particular their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression were violated by the enforcement officers at the Bersih 2.0 rally. Furthermore, their right to be free from harm, a fundamental right as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was also denied by the enforcement officers. By condoning and even defending these acts, the State is therefore also seen to be responsible for this violation of rights.


      The testimonies of the 18 witnesses and the photographic evidence obtained demonstrate clearly that Tung Shin Hospital and Chinese Maternity Hospital were attacked by the enforcement officers with tear gas and chemical-laced water cannons, and that the police exercised brutal and excessive force against participants seeking refuge within the hospital compound. This violation of the principle of ‘hospitals as places of sanctuary’ and the police brutality witnessed must be taken by Human Rights Commission with utmost urgency.

      As one witness said, ‘democratic voices must be heard, but (this) isn’t the case in Malaysia’. The State must be held accountable for the repression of the democratic rights of its citizens. The enforcement officers that abused their power and attacked the participants of the Bersih 2.0 rally must also be held accountable for their actions. ENDS - Report by Tenaganita

      Don't do this when leaving the bus

      The girl did not have time to leave the bus, She was busy talking on phone when her head was caught between the bus doors. The driver only noticed the passenger after the bus has moved several meters when he heard people screaming from the salon.


      Friday, August 5, 2011

      The JAIS raid

      The recent Selangor Religious Department (Jais) raid of the Harapan Komuniti event held at the Damanasara Utama Methodist Centre should be condemned by all Malaysians.

      This dinner, which was organised to commemorate and honour the work of this non-profit organisation as well as its supporters and beneficiaries, is demonstrative of how we are united in a common concern and care for those living on the margins of society and who are less fortunate than us, regardless of their ethnicity and religion.

      The high handed and overzealous manner in which the raid was conducted by the Jais officers over an unspecified complaint, and the disrespect shown towards the sanctity of a house of worship speaks volumes of the tendency towards the lack of respect for other religions, unaccountability and a culture of impunity.

      Let us be clear: The embarrassing actions of the Jais officers appear to be the acts of a bully. It was bad enough that the so-called complaint was not substantiated, but the officers were not even able to produce a copy of the actual complaint.

      Refusing or being unable to produce a warrant, especially when entering private property and religious places, is unacceptable. Just as we ask that non-Muslims should respect the sanctity of our places of worship and the practices of our religion, we as Muslims must always do the same.

      It is disappointing that Selangor executive councillor Datuk Dr Hasan Ali has defended the raid by saying that 12 Muslims had participated in the dinner event on the church premises, and that this was proof of proselytising.

      So what if there were Muslims at the dinner? This is proof of nothing other than they were there to show their appreciation to Harapan Komuniti, an NGO that is involved in charitable community work.

      I too have attended weddings, discussions sessions and dinners several times in churches, temples and mosques. The prime minister himself met the Pope in the Vatican. Is that proselytising?

      We are reminded again of the 2006 incident where the spread of unsubstantiated wild rumours through SMS concerning the supposed conversion of Muslims in Perak, resulted in 1,000 angry protestors gathering outside a church in Ipoh. It was later revealed that the church was not converting Muslims but was instead holding its Holy Communion service for 98 Catholic children.

      That incident, which implicated the state Mufti, as well as the behaviour of journalists from the Al-Islam magazine who desecrated a communion wafer in 2010, were due to the same paranoia and phobia that have been used to justify this raid: The conversion of Muslims.

      These incidences are eggs on the faces of moderate Malaysians regardless of whether they are Muslim or not, especially when the self righteous actions are later proven to be based on wild and unsubstantiated allegations, paranoid delusions or simply irrational fear due to ignorance. We end up looking foolish and being terrified of bogeymen.

      Incidences such as these could be read as harassment, bullying, intimidation or, worse, evidence of religious tyranny or the denial of the right to religion.

      There is an urgent need to increase the quality of oversight and accountability of the state religious departments.

      Who are the religious authorities accountable to? Where is their check and balance? We must begin to dispel the perception that the religious authorities are a law unto themselves.

      I am glad that Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has immediately expressed his regret over the incident. Indeed, the Selangor government must acknowledge that it is also responsible and take the relevant persons to task as religion is a state affair under the Federal Constitution.

      There are many fears, false beliefs and misunderstandings that are born from the shallow and ignorant understanding of other religions.

      The best way to begin to remedy this is to address the ignorance and make a serious effort to learn and educate each other. I suggest we start with ourselves and the Jais officers.

      [Writer: Azrul Mohd Khalib]

      Class F contractors out for MCA blood

      Another Malay contractors association has joined in the condemnation of the MCA for its "racist" remarks over the award of state government projects in Penang.

      The Penang Association of F-Class Contractors president Tahir Jalaludin Hassan described the Chinese-based party's recent comments that the state mostly awards contracts to Malays as "malicious".

      NONEAs they are awarded based on an open tender system, he said, state MCA wanita chief Tan Cheng Liang's comment sounded "racist and baseless".

      "When MCA accused Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as being anti-Chinese for awarding contracts to Malays, the party displays its own racist attitude.

      "This sounds like an insult to the Malays, that we are unable to compete and are unable to win contracts through an open tender system," Tahir (right) said during a press conference in Penang yesterday.

      "We urge MCA to retract their extreme statement which labelled Lim anti-Chinese, and to apologise, not only to him but to all Malay contractors in Penang," he added.

      Cheap publicity or desperation

      Tahir questioned Tan's motive - whether she was seeking "cheap publicity" or so desperate that she had to resort to racial politics in making the controversial comment.

      He urged Malay NGOs and Umno to condemn her statement as it was a reflection of the racism inside MCA.

      The response comes after the Penang branch of the Malay Contractors Association (PKMM) lambasted MCA for stoking racial sentiments by questioning the open tender system which has seen bumiputera winning contracts from the state government.

      Tan found herself in the soup when she criticised Lim for awarding only two (or 0.2 percent) out of 968 projects worth RM125 million to non-bumiputera under the open tender system.

      Her accusations were contradictory to Umno's - a component party with MCA in the BN - which frequently condemned Lim for allegedly marginalising the Malays, with several of its sponsored NGOs havingprotested against his "anti-Malay" attitude.

      Meanwhile, Tahir further clarified that the contracts issued by the state government to class 'F' contractors was carried out for the first time under the Pakatan Rakyat government without any element of cronyism or nepotism.

      He added that the contractors are no longer required to refer to the chief of any party as in the past.

      Truth from past bares fang

      The open tender system, they added, had opened the opportunity for all class F contractors, deprived of the chance earlier to bid for projects as they were without 'political cables".

      "Remember that class F licenses are issued by the federal government led by the BN and not by the state government," he said.

      "We feel strange and question why MCA is making a fuss over this in Penang when at the federal level, it is the BN, including MCA (as a component party), which had started this," he added.

      penang port commission chairman tan cheng liang 02Tahir said Tan (left), as former Jawi assemblyperson, should have voiced out her dissatisfaction instead of keeping silent when she was in the government.

      That was the time, he added, that many class F projects were initiated by the state and federal governments when there was no such thing as the open tender system.

      Tahir said when Malay contractors are awarded projects, other ethnic groups also tend to benefit as they own hardware shops.

      "The Chinese are involved in skilled jobs related to iron and wood, construction work also involves many workers who are non-Malay," Tahir added.

      He said Tan should look at the bigger picture where mega-projects are given to companies by the federal government.

      He urged Tan not to victimise for "personal gains" the 1,277 class F contractors who are only able to win projects below RM200,000.

      [Source: Mkini]

      God bless us all should Penang fall back to the BN.