Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sikh group: Fatwa on Allah ban 'illegal and void'

The National Fatwa Council’s ban of the non-Muslims’ use of the word ‘Allah’ is unconstitutional, said the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) representing the Sikh community.

The ban that Penang mufti Hassan Ahmad was reported repeating on Wednesday is wrong on two counts, said MGC president Jagir Singh in a statement yesterday.

NONEFirstly, he said, a fatwa does not apply to non-Muslims, and secondly, Article 11(4) of the federal constitution does not support any such prohibition on non-Muslims.

Jagir cited the 2009 High Court decision on the Catholic publication Herald’s use of the word ‘Allah’, which deemed that laws restricting its use by non-Muslims would also be construed “unconstitutional”.

Therefore, he said, Hassan’s statement is “irreconcilable with the constitution”.

“Fatwas are advisory in nature and do not apply to non-Muslims. Moreover, any fatwa issued that contradicts the supreme law of the land (the federal constitution) would be illegal and void.”

He also argued that state legislations’ attempts to ban usage of certain words based on Article 11(4) - that prohibits the propagation of other faiths to Muslims - did not apply to non-Muslims.

“Even a first-year law student will know that Article 11(4) does not prohibit the use of such words by non-Muslims,” he said, adding that the judgement on the Herald case pressed the point home.

‘State enactments subject to constitution’

On Wednesday, Sinar Harian reported Hassan reminding Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng that, “The Penang mufti’s department has decided that words such as ‘Allah’, ‘takwa’, ‘haji’ and ‘masjid’ can only be used by Muslims.

“The rule was enforced during Pakatan Rakyat’s regime and agreed by Lim as the chief minister, in which he has been notified and regulations have been enacted,” Hassan was reported saying.

dapsy agm 091212 lim guan engThe mufti was responding to Lim’s (left) Christmas Day message that took a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Razak for the government appealing the Herald ruling and thus keeping the controversy alive.

Jagir said that while Hassan has pointed out enactments on 40 words that non-Muslims cannot use, including ‘Allah’, the non-Muslim community had not supported such enactments.

He recounted how the then Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (the Taoists at the time were not yet members) in 1988 objected to the Perak’s ‘Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religious Bill 1988'.

The council had at the time told the state that some of the prohibited words were “pre-Islamic and have been used by non-Muslims for centuries... Muslims and Christians in 33 countries are using the same word ‘Allah’”.

NONEThe state was also informed that, “In the case of the Sikhs, most of the prohibited words (in the proposed Bill) are in use in their holy scripture and in their exegetical texts... we must in all conscience reject this Perak Bill,” said Jagir.
“The Middle East countries and our neighbour Indonesia allow for the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims,” he said, adding that the matter had only been politicised and made an issue in Malaysia since the late 1980s.

He advised Hassan to “study the constitution” and the 2009 Herald court decision.

“The mere passing of the enactments cannot override the constitution and may be unconstitutional,” he said, adding that it is the Federal Court’s duty to decide on the constitutionality of enacted laws of the states,” he said.


DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh has risen to the defence of the party's secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's Christmas day call for Christians to be allowed to use the term 'Allah', stating that it was not intended to hurt Muslim sensitivities.

He explained that Lim's call was meant for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak where the word has been in use for generations.

It is surprising, therefore, that Penang Umno secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim has publicly come out with a scathing attack on the Penang chief minister that what he had said in his Christmas message should not hurt the feelings of Muslims, he said in a statement yesterday.

NONEKarpal (right) added that in any event, the use of the word 'Allah' should not affect the sensitivities of Muslims in the country.

The word ‘Allah' appears 37 times in the Sikh bible. No objection has ever been taken by Muslims for the use of that word by Sikh when reciting their bible.

The word Allah also appears in the Bengali language. In Malaysia, the orang asli use the word and so do the Babas in Malacca, he said.

As such, Karpal said that there was no ill intention on Lim's part when making the call.

Nothing sinister should be read into what the chief minister said as he had no intention of hurting anyone's feelings.

Therefore, he added, calls for Lim to issue a public apology are not justified.

NONELim (left) had in his Christmas message called on Putrajaya to allow Christians to use the term 'Allah' in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible.

DAP later clarified that the call was only for the term to be allowed for use in Sabah and Sarawak.

In response, PAS secretary general Mustafa Ali and Information Chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said that the term 'Allah' should not be used in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible as the correct translation for God should be 'Tuhan'.

PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim later said a Pakatan Rakyat meeting will be called to hammer out the issue.

[Source: Mkini]

Friday, December 28, 2012

Allah, Tuhan and Negara-ku revisited

This issue was highlighted back in early 2009 when the 'Allah' issue was on the boil.  Today, this issue is once again reignited.  UMNO and its religious bigots have stuck to their demand that Christians should use the word 'Tuhan' instead of 'Allah'.  Now look at our national anthem -

Tanah tumpahnya darahku,
Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju,
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan,
Raja kita, Selamat bertakhta!
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan,
Raja kita, Selamat bertakhta!

With such a thinking from UMNO, how is it possible for the Muslims now to sing the national anthem as they would then be honouring the Christian god?  On the other hand, if they were so idiotic enough to change the word 'Tuhan' to 'Allah' to cater for the Muslims, then you will not be getting the non-Muslims to sing as they are prohibited from uttering the word 'Allah'.  This 'Allah/Tuhan' debate does not only affect our national anthem but several state anthems as well.

Will someone please come to his senses and do the right thing.

Well, so much for 1Malaysia!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Hillsborough Charity Single

This is the number one track in UK this Christmas.  Watch the stars sing the official Hillsborough charity song with Kenny Dalglish [former Celtic and Liverpool], Alan Hansen [former Liverpool]  and Peter Reid [manager English team] at the recording of the single, which will raise money for the families of the 96 fans that died in the 1989 disaster, The teans competing at that time was Liverpool and Nothingham Forest.  All proceeds wil go to their legal fight for justice. The likes of Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney,  Rebecca Ferguson, Richard Hawley and The Clash's Mick Jones are also singing on the track, which they hope will beat the X Factor to Christmas number one.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A new figure named in scandal

Deepak Jaikishan names well connected lawyer in murder cover-up

Perhaps the most crucial – and quoted – document seeking to tie Najib Tun Razak, the current prime minister of Malaysia, to a murdered Mongolian beauty named Altantuya Shaariibuu was a sworn declaration filed on July 1, 2008 by a Kuala Lumpur-based private detective named Perumal Balasubramaniam.

That document, which detailed allegations of an affair between Najib, the then-defense minister and the 28-year-old woman, lasted just three days before it was dramatically reversed. Police allegedly picked up Balasubramaniam and took him to a Kuala Lumpur police station where he was told his family was in serious danger if he didn't reverse his statement.

The private detective was then taken to a room at the Hilton Hotel in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, where accordingly, on July 4, he signed a new six-page sworn statement in which he said, among other things, that "I wish to retract the entire contents of my Statutory Declaration dated 1July 2008. I was compelled to affirm the said Statutory Declaration dated 1July 2008 under duress."
Balasubramaniam now says he didn't write that statement. He never saw it, he said, until it was presented to him in the Hilton.

dato-cecil-abrahamFour and a half years later, the name of the person who wrote the reversal is believed to be that of Cecil Abraham (left), a senior partner with the law firm of Zul Rafique & Partners of Kuala Lumpur, one of the country's most prominent law firms and one that is a major beneficiary of government-related legal business. It is also a firm with considerable experience in defamation cases.
Abraham's name surfaced last week with another explosive revelation by Kuala Lumpur-based businessman Deepak Jaikishan, who told the Parti Islam se-Malaysia party newspaper Harakah that the attorney had written the document along with his son, and that the son had brought it to Balasubramaniam and the people who were holding him at the Hilton. According to Balasubramiam's lawyer, Americk Sidhu, Deepak was present in the hotel room when his brother, Dinesh, brought the declaration for Bala to sign. Bala wasn't allowed access to his own lawyer.

Since late November, Deepak has met with a string of opposition and independent websites to give progressively more damaging details about Najib's involvement in suppressing Balasbramaniam's original declaration, bringing Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor and his brother into the matter. With naming Abraham as the man who wrote the reversal of the declaration, he now takes it further into the United Malays National Organization power structure.

Abraham is both a datuk and a tan sri, honorific titles conferred on politically or socially prominent individuals by Malaysia's sultan. As an indication of his influence, no opposition publication was willing to print his name for days, including Harakah, only referring to him in various ways as an important figure. Abraham is considered one of the quietly most politically powerful figures in the country, a friend of the top members of UMNO including Hishamuddin Hussein, the Home Affairs minister, as well as Najib. He sits on a wide range of boards and committees including one that determines which cases are refused or initiated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Committee.

If indeed Abraham did write Bala's repudiation document, the besieged private detective never saw him – or the document – until it was given to him to sign. However, the Commissioner for Oaths who visited Bala in the room in which he was being held in at the Hilton to attest that it was his signature on the document was Zainal Abidin Muryat, a commissioner of oaths from Abraham's law firm, Zul Rafique & Partners.

"Let me make it very clear that my client does not know the identity of the lawyer(s) who drafted this 2nd statutory declaration," said Americk Sidhu. "He had not instructed any lawyer to do so. This is because the contents of his first statutory declaration were true to the best of his knowledge and belief. Therefore there was never any necessity to alter the contents of his first one. However, Bala was forced to sign a second one because of a threat to the safety of his wife and children."

After Balasubramaniam fled for Chennai, reportedly accompanied by his family a promise from Nazim Razak, the prime minister's brother, of RM5 million to keep his mouth shut, he held multiple press conferences to say he had been intimidated into reversing himself, and called repeatedly for an investigation of his charges by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Abraham also sits on the Operation Review Panel of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which had the responsibility to examine Balasubramaniam's charges. The MACC has repeatedly turned him down. An MACC spokesman denied that Abraham had any say in declining an investigation.

Particularly since Deepak Jaikishan start issuing his spectacular charges in late November, the question of Balasubramaniam's first statutory declaration has assumed increasing relevance to the case. Altantuya was murdered on Oct. 19, 2006 by two of Najib's bodyguards. One of Najib's best friends, Abdul Razak Baginda, was initially charged with the crime. He had been Altantuya's lover, but jilted her.

In his first declaration, Bala said that he had been hired to keep Altantuya away from Razak Baginda. In conversations with the former highly-placed think tank analyst, Abdul Razak Baginda as Altantuya continued to harass him, Razak Baginda told him that:

"1) He had been introduced to Aminah {eds: his nickname for Altantuya} by Najib Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.
"2) Najib Razak informed Abdul Razak Baginda that he had a sexual relationship with Aminah and that she was susceptible to anal intercourse.
"3) Najib Razak wanted Abdul Razak Baginda to look after Aminah as he did not want her to harass him since he was now the deputy prime minister.
"4) Najib Razak, Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had all been together at a dinner in Paris.
"5) Aminah wanted money from him as she felt she was entitled to a US$500,000 commission on a submarine deal she assisted with in Paris."

That submarine deal has since blown up into one of the longest-running scandals in recent Malaysian history, involving allegations that the French armaments giant DCN and its subsidiaries had paid €114 million in bribes that was channeled through a firm wholly owned by Razak Baginda to the United Malays National Organization with the full knowledge of then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad an French Minister Alain Juppe, and that it was facilitated by Najib Tun Razak when he was defence minister.

That case is currently under investigation in Paris by authorities on allegations the "commission" paid to Razak Baginda's company was a violation of the OECD statute on bribery, which France signed onto in 2002.

[Source : Asian Sentinel]