Saturday, October 27, 2012

Remembering Bryan Aloysius Jeremiah

I was taken back to learn that Bryan Jeremiah passed away on the 11th of this month at the age of 63 in Penang.  For those who are not in the know, Bryan Jeremiah was the guy who sang "Love Knot In My Lariat" during the 1971 Bakat TV show [our own version of American Idol then].  He came out nineth but nonetheless Malaysians, for the first time, had the chance to see how a local 22-year old boy could really yodel into the hearts of the audience and those watching at home.

Born in 1949, Bryan Aloysius Jeremiah won Radio Malaysia's Talentime in 1967 at aged 18 as he astounded Malaysian audiences with his country and western Slim Whitman inspired yodelling. Since then he had participated in numerous talent shows singing and accompanying himself on the guitar. In 1971 he became one of the finalists in Bakat TV, Malaysia and sang, Love Knot In My Lariat a popular Whitman hit. This talent contest attracted the best from the local pop music scene which included the late guitarist Paul Ponnudorai, singer Sudirman Arshad, the Silhouettes, Strange Brew, and Shagul Hamid amongst many others.

Jeremiah had studied at St Xavier’s Institution in Penang, Malaysia and was known not only as a singer on stage but also as a sports enthusiast on the field. As he progressed in the entertainment industry his love for the media led him to be a broadcaster for Radio Malaysia as he honed his singing and yodelling talent.

 According to his daughter *Dawn Jeremiah, "My dad is one of the hardest working people I know, acquiring his life lessons by overcoming various challenges growing up in Penang in the 1960s. He is a talented individual with closets of trophies from everything ranging from football to badminton to ping-pong to bowling to hockey."

The very popular Bakat TV Series in Malaysia.

In an article about Father's Day in 2010 she added that, "The one award that wasn’t derived from sports was for Radio Talentime 1971, in which he secured top placing. He then proceeded to compete as a finalist in the RTM’s Bakat TV 1971 with the song Love Knot in My Lariat." Jeremiah came in ninth.

Apparently his talent was a gift because he stood up from his baby cot when he was two years old to hum and mumble the words to Buttons and Bows, a 1947 Bob Hope song which was playing on the radio. Bryan Jeremiah went on to be recognised as one of the most popular artistes and shared the limelight with a host of other Malaysian entertainers. As a hard-working professional he was a dedicated logistics specialist but he had since passed away in October, 2012 at 63 years young.

Bryan Jeremiah in later years.

RIP Bryan and may God bless your soul.

Petronas calls it a day in Indonesia

Petronas has been forced to close down the majority of its petrol stations in Indonesia amidst poor sales. The revenue from its stations in Indonesia is so low that the Malaysian oil and gas giant can no longer sustain its operations, claims the Indonesian government.

The problem, experts believe, stems from anti-Malaysian sentiments by the Indonesian public, who refuse to purchase Malaysian products. In a Jakarta Post report, the Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry confirmed that Petronas has closed down 15 out of its 19 petrol stations in the country.

“They have been experiencing such low sales that they can no longer fund their operations,” the ministry’s downstream director Umi Asngadah was quoted as saying.

Umi said PT Petronas Niaga, Petronas’ Indonesian subsidiary, would most likely sell off the suspended stations to others firms and instead focus on its other products, such as lubricants. Following the liberalization of the Indonesian market in 2006, Petronas had entered the fray with the intent of providing competition to state-owned PT Pertamina in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products.

However, it is the other foreign competitors who appear to be faring better than Petronas. Global oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell, under PT Shell Indonesia, currently operates 57 petrol stations in Indonesia, of which 50 are located in Jakarta and the rest in East Java. The company plans to open eight new fuel stations this year.

It is understood that France-based Total Oil Indonesia, is also planning expansion, particularly in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, adding to the 13 fuel stations it currently manages. Pertamina, whose stations are managed both directly by the company and as a franchise, operates around 5,000 stations. Pertamina is the only company allowed to distribute subsidized fuels.

Experts believe that anti-Malaysian sentiments by Indonesians may have played a role in Petronas’ unpopularity in the republic. Indonesia and Malaysia, as neighbouring countries, have experienced numerous disagreements and controversies. Despite being separated only by 64km of open water, disagreements have stemmed from matters such as territorial disputes to issues of national heritage, such as Malaysia’s claim of ownership to the Tor-Tor folk dance and Gordang Sambilan drum performances. The latter had earlier this year led to violent protests by Indonesians outside Malaysia’s embassy in Jakarta. News of the closure of Petronas stations has also resulted in a chorus of jeers from Indonesian Twitter users.

One of them, Ratna Octaviana through her account @nha_octa, said “Good! No more Malaysia in this country.”

Meanwhile, BHP Migas fuel distribution director Djoko Siswanto was quoted as saying that “there is a tendency from the public to refuse Malaysian products”.

“Our people did not like Malaysian products such as Petronas amid several problems both countries had between each other,” he said.

Djoko said Petronas had also pulled out of vying for a contract to distribute subsidized fuel, which is expected to be awarded by BPH Migas this year.

He said following Petronas’ pull out, Shell Indonesia is expected to replace the Malaysian firm.

Communications expert Effendi Gazali, meanwhile, was quoted as saying that the decision by Petronas was down to two factors. He said firstly, Petronas was unable to provide the same treatment to its customers as accorded by its competitors.

“On the other hand, the public already has this negativity toward them amid disputes and the treatment our people have received in Malaysia. These two aspects triggered the poor sales of Petronas, hence the decision to shut down their fuel stations,” he said.

Marketing expert Handi Irawan D., who is chairman of Frontier Marketing @ Research Consultant, said Petronas, along with other foreign firms such as Shell Indonesia and Total, had entered the Indonesian market in 1998 hoping that the government would gradually ease up on its fuel subsidy.

“They [Petronas] have been waiting for years for Indonesia to cut its subsidy but it never happened. On the other hand, people here prefer to buy Pertamina products because the company has been rehabilitating their services,” he said.

Handi said Petronas, in closing their fuel stations on the downstream sector, was only being more “realistic” than its foreign competitors in Indonesians. The other foreign firms, Handi believed, are still willing “to give it another try.”
[Source: MD]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The fact that we are a secular nation

Tunku Abdul Rahman expressly state that Malaysia was not an Islamic state and should not be turned into one.
Historical accounts show that Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Hussein Onn had both said Malaysia is a secular state, contradicting de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s remarks in Parliament today that the country had no secularist roots.

Nazri told Parliament today that Malaysia has never been declared or endorsed as a secular state, arguing that the country was formed of the Malay Sultanate, an Islamic government and, unlike countries like the United States, India or Turkey, was never declared as secular.

His remarks today come amid debate over the status of the Federal Constitution. It was also made despite a previous Supreme Court ruling that said Malaysia is a secular state, as well as previous statements made by earlier leaders such as the Tunku, the country’s first prime minister.

Tunku Abdul Rahman had referred to Malaysia as a secular state, and not an Islamic one, on a number of separate occasions.

He was first recorded telling Parliament on May 1, 1958: “I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood; we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the State.”

The Star had also reported Tunku speaking on February 8, 1983 at a gathering to celebrate his 80th birthday, with the headline “Don’t make Malaysia an Islamic state ― Tunku”, where he said “the country has a multi-racial population with various beliefs. Malaysia must continue as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.”

In the same newspaper, Malaysia’s third PM, Tun Hussein Onn, was reported as supporting his predecessor in rejecting Malaysia being made an Islamic state.

“The nation can still be functional as a secular state with Islam as the official religion,” Hussein said.
National University of Singapore’s Hussin Mutalib had interviewed Tunku for his book, Islam in Malaysia: From Revivalism to Islamic State.

In the interview, Tunku said: “...There is no way we should have an Islamic state here ... The nature of our political parties, our coalition government, our democracy, and our multiracial life are sufficient foundations which can be used to build a prosperous and peaceful Malaysia. Why must we look to Iran and other Islamic states?”

An Islamic state is defined as a country where the primary basis for government is Islamic religious rule, the Syariah law. Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and it is used to support the claim that Malaysia is an Islamic state rather than secular.

However, in drafting the Constitution of Malaysia, the Reid Commission had this to say about Islam as an official religion, in its report in February 1957: “The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practising their own religion and shall not imply that the state is not a secular state.”

According to the same report, the Council of Rulers (Majlis Raja-Raja) were against the inclusion of such provision: “It is Their Highnesses’ considered view that it would not be desirable to insert some declaration such as has been suggested that the Muslim Faith or Islamic Faith be the established religion of the Federation.”

Justice Abdul Hamid, a member of the Reid Commission from Pakistan, was the main proponent for inserting the provision. “A provision like one suggested above is innocuous. Not less than fifteen countries of the world have a provision of this type entrenched in their Constitutions,” Hamid said in the report.

“(This) declaration has not been found to have caused hardships to anybody, no harm will ensue if such a declaration is included in the Constitution of Malaya.”

The 1988 Che Omar bin Che Soh v. P.P. case in Supreme Court (now Federal Court) is commonly quoted in support of secular Malaysia.

In his judgment, then Lord President Salleh Abbas summarised: “...We have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law.”

The position of Malaysia as a secular state went unchallenged until it was declared otherwise by the nation’s fourth PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in September 29, 2001, while launching Gerakan’s National Delegates Conference.

“Umno wishes to state clearly that Malaysia is an Islamic nation,” the former premier announced, after PAS challenged Umno to declare Malaysia an Islamic state. “This is based on the opinions of many clerics (ulama) who have explained the concept of Islamic state in the past. For the public’s information, a cleric has even written a book titled Malaysia Is an Islamic state.”

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration first declared the country as an Islamic country in July 17, 2007. Then-Deputy PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters after officiating the International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World: “Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic nation. But as an Islamic nation, it does not mean that we don’t respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country).”

This statement was echoed by Abdullah in a parliamentary written reply. “Malaysia is an Islamic country which is administered based on the principles of Islam and at the same time adheres to the principles of parliamentary democracy guided by the highest law of the land - the Federal Constitution.”

[Source: The MI]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

By Mahathir's own admission, do we still want to vote in that hypocritcal MCA?

MCA never objected when Malaysia was declared an "Islamic country", former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters today.

His remarks today come amid debate over the status of the Federal Constitution. De facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told Parliament yesterday that Malaysia had no secularist roots.
On September 29, 2001 the nation’s fourth PM unilaterally declared Malaysia as an Islamic country in a political speech at the Gerakan party’s national delegates conference.

Dr Mahathir had appeared to contradict the secular pronouncements made by his predecessors, including Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra and Tun Hussein Onn, by saying: “Umno wishes to state loudly that Malaysia is an Islamic country. This is based on the opinion of ulamas who had clarified what constituted as Islamic country .... If Malaysia is not an Islamic country because it does not implement the hudud, then there are no Islamic countries in the world.”

Dr Mahathir also claimed today that Malaysia is “by definition” a Muslim country since it is acknowledged as such by the Muslim world.

“We don’t care about what these people say in order to make it a political issue,” he added, referring to the ongoing debate.

The former PM also expressed his disappointment that the hudud issue was being politicised by those who are pushing for its implementation.

“(This kind of) hudud, which is used for politics, is not exactly hudud,” he stressed. “It is hudud used to give victory over one side.

“Pity the Muslim. If he steals, his hand will be chopped off. But his (non-Muslim) friend who steals together with him will only get two months in jail. Is that fair? That is not Islam.”
He was also not pleased that those who support hudud are seen as more Islamic than those who do not support it.

“These issues are meant to scare the Chinese community to not support DAP,” Dr Mahathir said, referring to MCA’s recent attacks on hudud.

MCA had previously warned that Muslim MPs would unite to amend the Federal Constitution in favour of hudud and the Islamic state if PR takes over, but DAP’s Lim Kit Siang had dismissed it as a “lie” to deter the Chinese community from voting for the opposition.

MCA also had repeatedly used the issue in its bid to drive a wedge between PAS and DAP, two parties in the PR federal opposition pact.

PAS has expressed its support for the implementation of hudud law, but DAP has said that it can only be done in an “Islamic state”, pointing out that the Federal Constitution states that Malaysia is a secular country.

BN has often pointed to the differing views of PAS and DAP on hudud as proof that PR is not united.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

MCA, please SHUT UP on Hudud!

Following is a posting by blogger Warisan Tanah Melayu Kita.

Like in the rest of the Muslim world, Muslims in Malaysia are UNITED in condemning the producer of ‘Innocence of the Muslims’ film. And yesterday, they were UNITED in condemning statement made by the Perak DAP Chairman, Ngeh Koo Ham, who had ridiculed the Muslims for ‘wasting’ their time protesting against the film.

So much so, many may have overlooked a statement made by the MCA President, Chua Soi Lek, as published in THE STAR yesterday, warning the Chinese that Hudud will become a REALITY if Pakatan is voted to power in the coming PRU 13. According to Chua, upon being voted to power, PAS MPs would table a motion to implement Hudud, which would be supported by all Malay/Muslim MPs, including from UMNO. He cited the support by UMNO state assemblymen in Kelantan and Trengganu for the Hudud laws.

All this while, we thought it was DAP and their National Chairman Karpal Singh, who have been STAUNCHLY ANTI-HUDUD. Apparently, MCA and their President, Chua Soi Lek, are equally STAUNCHLY ANTI-HUDUD. Worse still, MCA is using Hudud as their main weapon to deter the Chinese from voting DAP/Pakatan, by using the logic that any vote for Pakatan would be a vote for PAS/Hudud. Even DAP are not using such line of argument.

It baffled me, WHY MCA is so opposed to Hudud. After all, any application of Hudud laws would involve the Muslims only. Even today, there are so many laws and regulations which are applied on Muslims only, and NOT on the non-Muslims. For example, if a Muslim couple are caught in ISOLATED PLACES, like in hotel rooms, and they are not husband and wife, they are charged under KHALWAT LAWS. Muslims are not allowed to enter casinos. Muslims are not allowed to drink alcoholic drink. Muslims are not allowed to frequent massage parlours, pubs, night-clubs and such places. All those regulations are NOT applied to the non-Muslims.

MCA is fully aware that the Muslims in Malaysia, including UMNO leaders, members and supporters ARE NOT OPPOSED TO Hudud. Hudud may have not featured in UMNO political agenda immediately after the country’s independence, or even decades after independence. But that does not mean that UMNO and their members are opposed to Hudud. To them, Hudud is part of Islamic syariah laws which need to be respected, adhered to and even implemented ON THE MUSLIMS when the situation in the country allows. In short, UMNO and their members are not opposed to ISLAMIC HUDUD LAWS, although they are not agreeable to PAS-VERSION HUDUD.
Its very possible that the non-Muslims in the country, including MCA leaders and the Chinese at large, are skeptical of Hudud laws much by the way PAS had politicised the issue over the decades, besides their MISGUIDED INTERPRETATION of Hudud laws, which could have given negative perception about the Islamic criminal laws.

Nevertheless, MCA should still be more careful in addressing the Hudud issue, so as not to hurt the feelings of the Muslims, in the same way the Muslims were offended by the ‘Innocence of the Muslims’ film. As a political party, MCA’s political relevancy and survival depends on how much the party and their candidates garner support from both the Chinese and Malay/Muslim voters.
Surely, MCA would not be wise to risk losing Malay/Muslim support in their efforts to win over the Chinese support from DAP….by keeping on making OFFENDING STATEMENTS on Hudud. There are so many other issues for MCA to live with….please leave Hudud alone….please SHUT UP on Hudud!!

Our Sunday Girl - Barbara Ann

Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann
Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann

Oh Barbara Ann, take my hand
Barbara Ann
You got me rockin' and a-rollin'
Rockin' and a-reelin'
Barbara Ann [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]

Went to a dance, lookin for romance
Saw Barbara Ann, so I thought I'd take a chance
With Barbara Ann [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]
Take my hand [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]
You got me rockin' and a-rollin'
Rockin' and a-reelin'
Barbara Ann [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]

Ba ba ba ba barbara ann
Ba ba ba ba barbara ann

Barbara Ann, take my hand
Barbara Ann
You got me rockin' and a-rollin'
Rockin' and a-reelin'
Barbara ann

Tried Peggy Sue
Tried Betty Lou
Tried Mary Lou
But I knew she wouldn't do
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
You got me rockin' and a-rollin'
Rockin' and a-reelin'
Barbara ann [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]

[Music Interlude]

Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
Barbara Ann, Barbara Ann
You got me rockin' and a-rollin'
Rockin' and a-reelin'
Barbara ann [Ba Ba Ba Ba Barbara Ann]