Saturday, October 26, 2013

Obama should have checked his facts before commenting

Suaram wrote a letter to the US president yesterday, rebutting a statement made by President Barack Obama on Oct 11 that Malaysia is a global model for "diversity, tolerance and progress".

President Obama's statement on Malaysia's "model" totally ignored the history of racism, religious extremism, corruption, electoral fraud and various other criminal activities the nation has endured while one government has ruled uninterrupted for 56 years.

Among other issues, spiralling violence, electoral fraud, corruption and serious human rights abuses that have taken place, and continue to be committed, under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Since the election outcome, PM Najib's office has overseen the demonisation of Malaysia's non-Malays, whose 'crime' was voting for the opposition. The Malaysian government has also selectively deployed repressive legislation such as the Sedition Act 1948, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the Penal Code to suppress protests against the election result by human rights defenders, opposition leaders and all the concern and peaceful Malaysians from various religions and ethnicity.

While President Obama's statement marked PM Najib's government with the word "progress", the Parliament - that the Malaysian leader dominates by gerrymandering - three weeks ago passed a Bill to amend the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA) to allow detention without trial.

Suaram reminds the US president that Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson stated that "Malaysia is taking a huge step backwards on rights by returning to administrative detention practices much like the draconian Internal Security Act" (ISA).

There is no doubt Malaysia's PM has publicly backtracked on a commitment made in 2011 to do away with detention without trial and that such a policy reversal represents anything but "progress".

Further, Malaysia's home minister recently announced that police have the right to "shoot to kill" without question any person suspected of being a criminal. Political and community leaders who have defended the minister's strategy have accused one race in particular of committing crimes against another, deliberately fanning racial tension and encouraging racial violence.

On the religious front, we have a judiciary that remains infamously compliant to the BN government. On Oct 14, the politically driven judgment that day by Malaysia's Court of Appeal banned non-Muslims from using the word 'Allah' in Malay-language publications. This appeal against an earlier High Court verdict was lodged by the Malaysian government.

Suaram urges President Obama to revisit an ill-considered and dangerous complicity with PM Najib's regime.

In light of the gravity of the issues raised in the letter, Suaram fully expects the office of the president of the United States of America to formally reply to our letter, which was written on behalf of millions of long-suffering Malaysians.

Executive Director

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What the late Tun Mohamed Suffian Hashim said ....

In the Braddell Memorial Lecture that was delivered at the National University of Singapore in 1982, former Lord President and one of our greatest judges, Mohamed Suffian Hashim, described his fellow judges as follows:

"In a multi-racial and multi-religious society like yours and mine, while we judges cannot help being Malay or Chinese or Indian; or being Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or whatever, we strive not to be too identified with any particular race or religion - so that nobody reading our judgment with our names deleted could, with confidence, identify our race or religion, and so that the various communities, especially minority communities, are assured that we will not allow their rights to be trampled underfoot."

Our three CoA judges have failed us miserably.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A test case on UMNO Baru's new directives on the 'Allah' issue

Now, let's see what cock and bull story UMNO Baru is going to come with in not returning Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill's CDs.

Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill’s lawyer urged Putrajaya today to return his client’s CDs bearing the word “Allah”, after ministers said last week’s court ruling was restricted to the Catholic Church’s newsletter the Herald.

Annou Xavier said “simple logic” dictated that CDs and other publications, which refer to God as “Allah” in non-Muslim creeds, should then be allowed for importation and distribution in Malaysia.

“If you say it’s the Herald, then all other publications and CDs and materials can be used,” Xavier told The Malay Mail Online today, referring to the Catholic Church’s weekly, the Herald.
“If it’s only confined to the Herald, then return the CDs. The CDs are not Herald. Simple logic,” added the lawyer.

On May 11, 2008, the Home Ministry confiscated eight Christian CDs from Jill Ireland at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) airport in Sepang, prompting the Melanau Christian to challenge its decisions in court.

The CDs, which Jill Ireland had bought on a trip to Indonesia for personal use, bore names such as “Cara Hidup Dalam Kerajaan Allah”, “Hidup Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah” and “Ibadah Yang Benar Dalam Kerajaan Allah”.

Ministers Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that last week’s Court of Appeal decision — which found that the home minister had acted well within his powers to prohibit the Herald from using the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section — was limited to the church newspaper.

Last Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also reassured Christians in Sabah and Sarawak that they could continue describing God as “Allah” in their religious practices, pointing to the 10-point solution, which his government issued in 2011, that allows Christians to publish, import and distribute Malay-language bibles containing the Arabic word.

The Court of Appeal ruling, however, has cast doubt over how the judiciary will rule on Jill Ireland’s case, and on another similar suit brought by Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo (Borneo Evangelical Church) against the Home Ministry for confiscating its Malay-language Christian education publications, which contain the word “Allah”, in 2007.

Xavier said recently that Jill Ireland’s case differed from that of the Herald, as his client’s case revolved around her right to worship and education, while the latter was about a publication permit.

In August 2008, Jill Ireland filed for a judicial review of the Home Ministry’s actions and a return of the CDs, besides a declaratory relief saying that she has a legitimate expectation to exercise the right to use “Allah”, and to continue to own and import such materials.

In August 2010, Jill Ireland’s lawyers had also filed an application to cross-examine the then Home Minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, but the application was dismissed by the High Court on July 12, 2011.

The Bumiputera Christian then appealed to the Court of Appeal in April 3, 2012, but the appellate court dismissed the appeal on getting Syed Hamid to appear for cross-examination on May 10 the same year.

According to Xavier, Jill Ireland’s case will come up in the High Court for mention soon.

Although the High Court granted Jill Ireland leave for judicial review in May 4, 2009, the hearing for the legal challenge has yet to start.

The Court of Appeal ruling on the Herald has earned censure from religious scholars and international publications, while lawyers have said that the court decision has created a precedent for a future ban on non-Muslims from using the word “Allah”.

[Source: MM Online]

Monday, October 21, 2013

An inspiring moment at the Ellen DeGeneres Show

Press Statement from Daniel John Jambun, President of the Borneo's Plight in Malaysia Foundation [BOPIM]

KOTA KINABALU: In response to the court decision to disallow the use of the name "Allah" the Borneo's Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM) had repeated its call for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.
In a stern statement here, BOPIM's President, Daniel John Jambun, said that there are countless reasons why such a step is now justified and the Christians of the Borneo states are now regretting joining Malaysia because they are now having their rights to religious freedom trampled on by the Malays who they now see as the colonialists.
"The call by Malay supremacist, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman for Christians to leave Malaysia if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam in the country is a clear challenge to use to secede," Jambun said. "All this while we had been complaining abut the economic injustices of the federal government, robbing Sabah of its wealth but Abdullah Zaik may have just accelerated the great social disintegration in Malaysia. 
"This arrogance is revolting to say the least and marks the true attitude of the Malay supremacists who believe a large chunk of the Malaysian population simply cannot ask for their human rights. Abdullah Zaik must be totally ignorant about what human rights are, why the Suhakam was formed, what the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights is and what Malaysia is all about," Jambun added. "And because of this ignorance and his abominable supremacist attitude, he is also blind to the provisions in the Federal Constitution guaranteeing us our humans rights as Malaysians. For instance, Article 12 provides that 'there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth'."
Jambun said that Adbullah Zaik must now wake up to the reality that the strident call for secession from the federation is everywhere in the Borneo states, and those making the call are not interested to migrate but to pack up and leave the federation for good.
He pointed out that the federal leaders must also now be aware of the hilarious irony of the 20 Points, in which Point 1 says "While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo" while Point 7 says "There should be no right to secede from the Federation."
"Do they realize that if they say Point 1 cannot be applied because the 20 Point is no longer valid, they are also saying Point 7 is also no longer valid, hence we now have the right to secede?" Jambun stressed. "So now the federal leaders from the Peninsular has to decide whether the 20 Point is valid or not, in which case we either can reject an official religion in Sabah, or we can leave the federation. They just can't have it both ways and use either of the two points anytime according to the convenience of the moment. I challenge the Prime Minister to state the BN government's firm and clear stance on this thorny issue.
"It is also extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister is again playing dumb on another very critical issue which is threatening to tear the nation apart. He cannot just continue being ambivalent or speak his pro-Islamist bents just because of the forthcoming Umno general assembly. He needs to show that he is the Prime Minister of all Malaysians and not just of the Malaysia at this critical time," he said.
Jambun said that all this while the non-Malays had accepted the Malay's position in the governance of Malaysia, but that doesn't mean they can trample on our rights and dignity of Christians as and when they like as if Christians have no contributions to Malaysia.
"Keep in mind that without Sabah and Sarawak there would have been no Malaysia and the Peninsular wouldn't have enjoyed great infrastructural developments without our taxes and natural resources," he said. "This is why the call by Nasharuddin Mat Isa for an end to the 'special' privileges granted to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak a totally laughable presumptuousness which betrays his utter ignorance of our incalculable contributions to the wealth and development of the Malays.
"Anyway, I wonder what special privileges have we been having other than the right to practice our religion as guaranteed by the federal constitution. Is he saying that we should be forbidden from worshipping from now on?" Jambun asked.
He said the Malay supremacists must stop raising controversies using the issue to prop up their names in politics and instead take heed the warning by Bolly Lapok, the Anglican archbishop for Southeast Asia, that, "Proscribing the use of the word ‘Allah' would instantly turn these native Bumiputeras into law breakers in the very land of which they are sons of the soil. This is not only abhorrent but wholly unacceptable."
He said that also important to consider is the warning by James Masing, a BN leader,   that the Appeals Court's decision will have a negative impact on non-Muslims beyond Sabah and Sarawak. Opposition politician Baru Bian, the head of PKR Sarawak, had expressed shock at the ruling, saying, “I am stunned by the decision. We have produced very clear facts that we were promised a guarantee by our forefathers when Sabah and Sarawak helped form Malaysia. The ruling appears to go against the fundamental rights that were promised," he had said, calling it repugnant and oppressive.
Jambun said the challenge for the federal government now is how it is going to implement the prohibition of the use of "Allah" which had been going on for over a century because the Christians in the Borneo states have decided to defy it and will continue to use the term regardless of the ruling.
"Are they going to send observers and spies into each and every Christian worship service from now on? Are they going to confiscate all Alkitabs containing the term and other Malay Christian publications?  And is the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka an institution to promote the Malay language only for Malays or all Malaysians? Why are Christians prohibited from using 32 words of the language? Is the Malay language now an instrument of the Malaysian government to oppress its own people? Note also that this court decision had instantly raise the ire, and ignited hatred of non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak against the federal government. So there goes 1Malaysia!"
Jambun also said that even Muslims are clearly against it, including PAS whose central committee member Khalid Samad who had said "The government should educate Muslims regarding all the verses of the Quran which mentions non-Muslims discussing about Allah with the Prophet Muhammad, and using the word freely without any hindrance whatsoever.” The Shah Alam MP said the government seems to be very proud that "we are the only Muslim nation that practices this ban – that we are going beyond even what the Prophet Muhammad had done. Islam allows non-Muslims to use the word in the first place," Khalid said.
"As far as BOPIM is concerned, the real issue now is not 'Allah' but secession. In fact we don't even have to call for such a move because it is already in the minds of a lot of Sabahans. If the government doesn't believe this I challenge it to undertake a referendum in Sabah and Sarawak immediately."