Saturday, 16 January 2010

Tell Us Sarawakians and Sabahans who exploited the issue and the spirit you are talking about Khairy!

Jan 15, 10 7:24pm

The Youth wings of all component parties in the BN are asked to explain to the people, especially the youths in Sabah and Sarawak, the issue on the use of the word 'Allah' so that it would not be exploited by any group to create tension.

"I have directed the BN Youth to make clarifications to ensure that the people, in Sabah and Sarawak in particular, continue to accept the news in a rational and mature manner in line with the 1Malaysia spirit," BN Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters after receiving a courtesy call by nine members of the Sabah Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Kuala Lumpur today.

He said although the issue received coverage in Sabah and Sarawak, the people there accepted it calmly.

Khairy, who is also Umno Youth chief, said the movement maintained good relations with the other BN component parties as there was mutual understanding between the members.

"We want to ensure that the BN Youth becomes a model for the young generation who, I believe, are becoming fed up with the politicking that seems to have no end in several of the component parties," he added.

Courtesy of Malaysiakini

A Fairy Tale That Doesn't End Well ...

January 14, 2010 18:00 PM

Manohara's Words Meant I Raped, Abused And Tortured Her, Says Kelantan Prince

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- Kelantan Prince Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Sultan Ismail Petra told the High Court Thursday that the slanderous words hurled against him by his wife Manohara Odelia Pinot carried the meaning that he was in the wrong and was responsible for raping, abusing and torturing her.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry said the words also meant he had sexually abused his wife, abducted, confined and prevented her from communicating with her mother Daisy Fajarina, and in fact, the words portrayed him to be a wild beast.

He vehemently denied using violence on his wife who had been a model in Indonesia and described their marital relationship as very good and that he loved her very much.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry said since he married Manohara on Aug 26, 2008, his wife never showed any signs that she was unhappy living at the Mahkota palace in Kubang Kerian, Kota Bharu, till nine months after their marriage when she suddenly returned to Indonesia without his permission.

"All my family members, other members of the Kelantan royal household, and palace workers are witness of our close relationship," he said when testifying in the court proceedings to determine the quantum of damages that should be awarded to him in his RM105 million defamation suit against his wife and mother-in-law.

In the proceedings held in chambers, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry testified by reading out a witness statement that was signed by him, before Senior Assistant Registrar Noordura Mohamed Din.

The statement was marked as material evidence in the case.

After hearing his testimony, Noordura set Feb 24 to hear submissions from lawyer Mohd Haaziq Pillay, who is representing the prince in the suit.

A horde of journalists, press photographers and television camera crews had gathered at the court since early morning for the arrival of Tengku Muhammad Fakhry, 32.

The prince arrived at 10.50am and while expressing thanks to media personnel present, quickly left the court premises once today's proceedings were over.

He had filed the suit on July 20, 2009, claiming Manohara and her mother had falsely and maliciously defamed him at press conferences they held between April and June last year.

On Nov 5, 2009, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry obtained a judgement in default favouring him after the defendants failed to appoint new counsel to fight the case following the law firm of Messrs Fakrul Hisham Abdullah & Associates withdrawing from acting for them.

Earlier, on Oct 29, 2009, Senior Assistant Registrar Shazali Hidayat Shariff had given Manohara and her mother till Nov 5, 2009, to appoint new counsel or risk judgement being issued in default.

In his witness statement, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry had also said that as a result of their actions, his reputation and integrity as a prince and the Tengku Temenggong of Kelantan (third in line to the throne) was tarnished and that he had lost the faith and respect people had for him.

He said he was also accused of causing a diplomatic row between Malaysia and Indonesia, so much so, Indonesians carried out street protests claiming Malaysians were abusing and torturing the country's citizens in Malaysia.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry said the stress he underwent as a result caused him to skip official state functions and was also embarassed because he had become a laughing stock among the public while some of his friends began to shun him besides others ending business relationships with him.

"I might not be able to rebuild my reputation which I had carefully nurtured and whatever damages are awarded, probably cannot undo the damage," he said, adding that he also felt ashamed before his father who had to hear the accusations made against him and at a time when his father was ill.

He further said the actions by Manohara and her mother could also be a conspiracy to cause his downfall and deny his rights at the Kelantan palace and to be dropped from the succession list.


Friday, 15 January 2010

I've Told You There are Two, Not One Malaysia

'Allah’ allowed in East M’sia

by Phyllis Wong and Francis Chan
January 15, 2010, Friday

Nazri says govt recognises two states’ traditional usage of word

KUALA LUMPUR: The word ‘Allah’ is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah because the government accepts that the natives in these two states have traditionally been using it in their prayers and religious services and the Muslims there are accustomed to this practice.

“Christians in Sarawak and Sabah need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard the word ‘Allah’ used there,” he said.

However, ‘Allah’ is not allowed to be used by churches in Semanunjung Malaysia and Christians from the two states have to respect this ruling when they are in Semenanjung, Nazri said.

Asked why there are two sets of rules on the usage of the word ‘Allah’ in the nation, he pointed out that this is not a unique practice as Malaysia also has two sets of laws on other matters, citing the Syariah Court and the Civil Court as an example.

He explained that the situation in Semenanjung Malaysia is different as ‘Allah’ is only introduced into Christian worships and publications a few years ago.

Nazri said: “Muslims here in Semenanjung cannot accept it as ‘Allah’ was never used in Christian preaching until recently and they questioned the motive behind the substitution of ‘Tuhan’ for ‘Allah’.

“It is clearly stated in our constitution that no other religions can be propagated to Malay Muslims and this article has been enacted in all the states in Malaysia where the Sultan is the Head of State … so this excludes Federal Territory, Penang, Malacca, Sarawak and Sabah.

“In these states, for the ban on the use of ‘Allah’ to be implemented the Home Affairs Minister can use the Printing Act to enforce it.”

Nazri added that Christians should recognise that using ‘Allah’ in their worships and publications is sensitive to Muslims and that this is not an issue that can be solved by going to court.

“The government has a duty to stop acts of disrespect and provocation that inflame religious and racial feelings in the nation even if there was no law that stated these acts were wrong.

“Take for example, there is no law in the country that states stepping on a severed cow head is wrong but when a group of Malays did that in their protests against the building of a Hindu temple we hauled them up and charged them because that act was disrespectful to the Hindus,” Nazri said.

He added that on the same score, if the usage of ‘Allah’ by Christians was (it certainly is, he said) sensitive to Muslims the government has to act even if courts deem it legal.

If that is the case, why does the government resort to going to the court to resolve the issue on the usage of ‘Allah’ by Christians?

To which, Nazri replied that it was Archbishop Murphy Pakiam who brought it to the court and the government had no choice but to defend in court and that once the process of law on the case has started it could not be stopped.

He said the government is continuing with the case in court by applying for a stay of execution which the other party has agreed to.

Judge Lau Mee Lan, in ruling against the ban on the usage of ‘Allah’ by Christians, had said that there was no evidence to show that the use of ‘Allah’ could incite violence.

To this, Nazri said such incidents had not happened when the hearing was on and the government could not produce such evidence.

But on the other hand, he said, the attacks on churches after the ruling proved the government right.

“Banning the use of ‘Allah’ by Christians was a pre-emptive move to stop outbreaks of religious violence in the nation,” he argued.

Asked how the controversy could be solved, Nazri said there had to be a solution soon and in the meantime he appealed to the people to be calm and rational.

Source: Borneo Post Online

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Malaysia's Monopoly on Allah - City of Brass

Malaysia's Monopoly on Allah - City of Brass

Oh Oh People Watching Us in Malaysia

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 1/12/2010

The US government watchdog on religious freedom voiced concern Tuesday about a spate of church attacks in Malaysia, saying that leaders' response would be vital in shaping the nation's future.

The US government watchdog on religious freedom voiced concern Tuesday about a spate of church attacks in Malaysia, saying that leaders' response would be vital in shaping the nation's future.

"We are very concerned with events in Malaysia, as the church bombings have shaken Malaysia's delicate political and ethnic balance," said Leonard Leo, chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

"How Malaysian leaders settle these matters will determine that country's political and economic future," he said.

The commission, which makes policy recommendations to the US government, is a bipartisan body with members appointed by the the president and Congress.

Assailants have fire-bombed or vandalized nine churches in a wave of violence since Malaysia's High Court on December 31 lifted a government ban on non-Muslims using "Allah" as a translation for "God."

It was the latest incident to stir religious tensions in Malaysia, where the Muslim Malay majority lives alongside ethnic Chinese and Indian communities.

MSN News

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Conflicting strategies Islamicizing Malaysia | The Japan Times Online

Conflicting strategies Islamicizing Malaysia | The Japan Times Online

Malaysia: The Fallen Angel?

By Agence France-Presse, Updated: 1/12/2010 Malaysia's moderate image bruised by church attacks

Malaysia's image as a moderate Muslim nation has suffered a blow with a spate of church firebombings that has widened ethnic divisions and posed a serious challenge for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysia's image as a moderate Muslim nation has suffered a blow with a spate of church firebombings that has widened ethnic divisions and posed a serious challenge for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Nine churches have been attacked since last Friday, pelted with Molotov cocktails or vandalised amid anger over a court ruling that overturned a government ban on non-Muslims using "Allah" as a translation for "God".

The government has insisted that the use of the word by Christians, who make up nine percent of the Muslim-majority nation's population, could cause confusion and encourage religious conversion, which is illegal for Muslims in Malaysia.

"It is a low point for Malaysia's image as a moderate Muslim country," said Azmi Sharom from the Universiti Malaya, of the latest in a string of religious disputes that have raised fears the country is being "Islamised".

They include the sentencing of a Muslim model to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer, and "body-snatching" cases where Islamic authorities have battled with relatives over the remains of people whose religion is disputed.

The tussles have caused unease among Malaysia's ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, who fear their rights are being eroded as political parties battle for the support of the 62 percent of the population that is Malay.

The "Allah" row "is an ethnic and political thing more than a religious one," said Azmi, arguing that the ban on the use of the word is aimed at shoring up government support among Malays, who represent its base.

"The term 'Allah' has been used commonly elsewhere. The government is just pandering to some people who are calling for the ban, but most people actually feel quite indifferent about this issue," he said.

The ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), has been accused of stoking Malay nationalism in order to protect its support base after 2008 elections where it lost ground to the opposition.

Pollster Ibrahim Suffian said the church attacks are a "double-edged sword" for Najib, who came to power last year pledging to heal divisions among the ethnic groups.

"If the government doesn't appeal (against the court ruling), it will be seen as offending the conservative Muslims in the country, but at the same time he has pledged to reach out to all minorities," he said.

"It just goes to show the limited amount of room he has between balancing his political interest and a wider Malaysian interest," said Ibrahim, head of the independent polling firm Merdeka Centre.

Najib has visited the scene of the most serious of the attacks, a church that was partly gutted last Friday, as have several leaders of the opposition Islamic party, which is challenging UMNO for Malay support.

The fire-bombings come just as Malaysia, Southeast Asia's third-largest economy, is trying to woo foreign investors. They also threaten to harm its tourism industry, one of the key foreign exchange earners.

"This is the communication era, so information travels fast... tourists will choose not to visit a country faced with conflicts, especially religious conflicts," Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen has warned.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multiracial Malaysia, which experienced deadly race riots in 1969.

The latest controversy may be prolonged as there have been no steps towards a compromise over the "Allah" case. The High Court last week suspended the lifting of the ban but has yet to set a date to hear the government's appeal.

Prominent Islamic cleric Harussani Zakaria said he recognised that the disputed word is widely used by Christians in the Middle East, as well as in neighbouring Indonesia, but said it had to be off-limits in Malaysia.

He disputed Christians' claims that they had used the word for centuries without incident, and accused them of having "hidden motives".

"We are still living in a moderate Muslim country but we can't be tolerant on issues of faith. Please just respect our faith, that's all," he told AFP.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Catholic "Herald" newspaper which mounted the legal challenge to the government ban, was also resolute.

"How do we withdraw the case when the case has been decided and it was decided in our favour?" he asked. "We have been using the word for so long, at least 400 years here."

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