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Saturday, March 31, 2012

PBS reiterates call for RCI on Sabah illegal immigrants


Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today reiterated its call for the setting up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in the state.

NONEIts deputy president Maximus Ongkili said this was among issues that needed to be solved by the BN government, stressing that the matter had become an issue of great concern among Sabahans.

"As such, it is important to tackle this issue with urgency by forming an RCI as the issue could turn into a crisis and could cause the BN to lose the people’s support,” Ongkili said at a PBS leadership seminar in Labuan today.

“The call for the RCI has been reiterated by PBS leaders over the years and we will continue to pursue this,” he said.

PM Najib Razak has said last month that an RCI to probe the matter was still under consideration.

Ongkili said native customary rights land issue was another issue of concern among the people.

"Land is an important asset for the natives; our role must be to protect the people’s rights. We must be seen to be doing this,” he added.

- Bernama

IPPs: 'Pakatan will do what BN dare not'


The government must have the courage to take on big tycoons in re-negotiating lopsided contracts with the independent power producers.

anwar ibrahim meets young professionalsThis, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim told an audience of more than 100 young professionals, he will do if he becomes prime minister.

"The current government lacks the courage to do this, I will do it," he said in a dialogue in Subang Jaya this evening.

Anwar, who is also Selangor economic advisor, said current high electricity tariffs are being driven by the monopoly of giant companies such as Genting and YTL and tycoon Syed Mokthar Al-Bukhary’s Tanjung Bin Power.

"They buy gas from Petronas at subsidised prices but sell to Tenaga Nasional Berhad at high prices. In the end, it is the consumers who must bear the cost," he lamented.

If Pakatan comes into power, Anwar said, these companies will be summoned and asked to come up with proposals to reduce the price of electricity.

"I will tell them I want you to continue making money, but not so high that the rakyat is burdened," the PKR supremo told the largely middle-class crowd which listened intently.

Or else it will be 'difficult'

Anwar added he would expect these giants to respond fairly despite having signed power purchase agreements with the government.

Or else, he said, it would be "difficult for both sides".

In contrast to Anwar's typical ceramah-style campaigning in the countryside, the dialogue today appeared to target urbanites with opportunities aplenty for the audience to engage him.

"When you are on Facebook or Twitter, just spend 10 minutes of your time each day to spread our message," he urged the young professionals.

Anwar gives glimpse into Pakatan's PTPTN policy



Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today admitted that Pakatan Rakyat has not hammered out the details over its promise to waive the PTPTN students' loan, but offered a glimpse of how Pakatan would handle it.

The PTPTN debt which amounts to RM43.6 billion, he said, could be written off within three years.

anwar ibrahim meets young professionals"If we allocate a few tens of billions from the (country's) RM150 billion annual revenue each year, we should be able to clear it," said Anwar in a dialogue with over 100 young professionals in Putrajaya.

The funds he said, would come from cuts to wasteful spending such as expenditure to boost the country's image, and from huge profit-making GLCs such as Petronas.

"For families who make more than RM10,000 a month, do they need to pay back (the loan)? These details we need to work out.

"Have we? No. But the principle will be that the poor cannot be punished," he said.

The details, adds Anwar, is being worked on by a committee.

When approached later however, the opposition leader declined to reveal details about when the policy draft will be completed.

"But what we can do immediately is to look into the (issue with the) impounding of passports for those who had not (repaid) PTPTN. That is unreasonable," said Anwar.
"We will move forward based on the principle that education from primary to tertiary should be free," he added.

BN skirting free education

Commenting on Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin's assertion that free education will not eliminate the need for the student loan that the minister argued covered living costs, Anwar admitted that some "additional funding" may be required.

ptptn one stop centre kl sentral 260307 entranceHowever, he said that this should not be used as an excuse to skirt any efforts to implement free education.

Asked by eager participants if Pakatan-ruled Selangor would take the lead by implementing such a policy first with its state-owned Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel), Anwar said this was the responsibility of the state government.

"We have proposed it to the Selangor government. Selangor has a slight edge (financially) but we do not want to create a precedent where other states will be burdened.

"The role of the state government is to be the backup to the federal government. If there is not enough (funds), then they can give additional help," he said.

NONEAn example, Anwar said, was state funding for vernacular schools in Selangor even though it is under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

Pakatan’s plan to write off PTPTN loans and to implement free education, not part of its Buku Jingga manifesto, has generated debate on its feasibility.

The BN government has dismissed the opposition’s plans as impractical.

Meanwhile student group Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia is planning arally on Apr 14 to demand for PTPTN’s abolition.

PM Najib to announce windfall for Felda settlers in May



Najib Razak said he will announce what can be described as a 'windfall' in May for Felda settlers in conjunction with the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH).

najib putrajaya 280212The prime minister said he described the announcement as something that would make the settlers dumbfounded.

"How much? I will not announce it today. Just wait, we will make the announcement later," he said when addressing the people at the gathering of the ‘Leader With The Gugusan Bera Settlers’ at Felda Triang 3, near Bera today.

Also present at the event attended by more than 10,000 settlers were Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Ahmad Maslan.

The prime minister said the announcement would be made at a mammoth gathering with the settlers in Pahang in May.
A multiple leap for Felda settlers

On the listing of FGVH in June, Najib said the government decided to list the company's shares on Bursa Malaysia to generate wealth that would eventually give direct benefits to the settlers.

"The government decided that FGVH should be listed because we want the Felda assets to generate multiplying wealth which would then be returned to the settlers," he said.

The prime minister said the listing was a multiple leap for the new millennium for Felda.

"The settlers will also receive a windfall, (but the settlers) will never imagine the quantum of the windfall," he said.

NONEIn a related development, Najib said Felda also provided an allocation of more than RM1 billion for the programme to expand the homes of Felda settlers nationwide.

"As of this year, Felda has approved RM813.8 million in loans to 25,455 Felda settlers without imposing any interest.

“In addition, Felda had increased the loan by another RM200 million to enable more settlers to get the loan to expand their houses," Najib said.

- Bernama

KL HAS SABAH UNDER SIEGE


By : AWANG AHMAD SAH
THE FEDERAL Government, speaking on behalf of all Malaysians, has been harping on the ill treatment by Israel against the people of Palestine for so long. Yes, the Israelists have cordoned off regions in Palestine, such Gaza, making if difficult to bring in food supplies. During the premiership of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, food and medicine had to be smuggled through Egypt.
But Malaysia is notorious for being hypocritical, making statements at the international level and not realizing that what it is complaining about abroad is happening in Malaysia itself. The former PM, Tun Mahathir was wellknown for bashing the Jews, criticizing racial and religious oppressions in other countries, but in his own country the same things were happening.
What we are seeing currently is a case of the Federal Government criticizing Israel for putting Palestine under siege, but parallels of what Israel is accused of doing are taking place in Sabah. We may haven’t realized it but these things are happening right under our noses. The Cabotage Policy is one good example.
With this policy the Federal Government is having Sabah under some sort of siege or oppression by preventing food supplies from getting to Sabah directly from their supplying countries. Ships are required to go to Port Klang first, even if such ships have to pass by Sabah waters to get to Klang.
It is as if there is a wall around Sabah which only Port Klang can open for us to get our imported goods, and this way the goods become a lot more expensive. And who gets the benefits? Umno-connected contract shippers who are making millions from the sufferings of Sabahans.
Because of the Cabotage Policy alone many poor people are made to suffer even worse because of unnecessary inflation in Sabah and Sarawak.
This policy of economic discrimination by the Federal Government, has caused Sabah’s commodity prices to be a lot higher than in the Peninsula, has also caused us to lose the economic benefits of more foreign direct investments (FDIs) that should have come to Sabah.
Because imported goods have to go to Port Klang first, investors are scared of starting manufacturing businesses in Sabah due to the unnecessary higher costs. The local manufacturers have long been complaining about this problem.
This has resulted in scarce job opportunities, causing tens of thousands of our young people to go and find work in the Peninsula and Singapore. At the same time we have lost the benefit of trickle-down effects of otherwise higher employment and higher spending of employees in Sabah.
The difference in commodity prices is strange because in the higher-income society of the Peninsula, the prices of chicken is RM6 compared to RM10 in Sabah. It should be the other way round; chicken meat should be more expensive in the Peninsula because of the higher demand there (due to the higher population), and it should be a lot cheaper in Sabah where the demand is less (due to the much less population). But what’s happening is that we in Sabah have to pay a lot more for chicken meat due to the higher cost of rearing chicken – all due to the inflated prices of imported chicken feed due to the Cabotage Policy.
And the worse thing is people in the Peninsula, while spending less, are earning more than their counterparts in the Borneo states. Hotel boys in KL can earn up to RM1,600 or more (including tips) per month while their counterparts in KK would take less than RM1,000! We clearly have an economic system which is topsy-turvy, unfair and, to be honest, repressive!
And to make the whole situation even worse, we are being robbed off our natural resources which by now should have made extremely rich – our oil and gas, our lands (taken by Felda and Felcra), and our taxes which are in the billions per year.
Personally, even crying tears of blood wouldn’t be enough consolation for what Sabahans are losing and suffering from, and I can’t wait for the day when all these will be reversed, when justice will at last save Sabah from a bleak future.
(NOTE : Awang Ahmad Sah, Deputy President, STAR Sabah) - Sabahkini

Noh Omar - BN will win 36 seats in Selangor...(Is this a JOKE?)


ceramah selamatkan selangor, klang, noh omarSelangor Umno deputy chief Noh Omar is confident that BN will recapture the state in the next general election by winning 36 out of 56 seats, a seat short of a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

In an interview with Chinese dailies reported yesterday in
Nanyang Siang Pau, the agriculture and agro-based industry minister expects Umno to win over 30 seats from the 35 it will contest, MCA to capture five out of 14, MIC and Gerakan to grab one each out of three and four seats to be contested respectively.
 

Selangor BN's target in the 13th general election, said Noh, is to win back Selangor with a simple majority, adding that a two-thirds majority would be a "bonus". 

Noh said response to BN’s activities shortly after the last general election was lukewarm, but claims the situation has changed under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is also Umno and BN state chief.
 

This, he said, was evident from BN having to hire more buses to ferry people to their events - the the past five buses would go out and come back empty, but today five would not be enough.
 

He also boasted that if they prepare 10,000 chairs for their events more than  20,000 people would show up, taking this as a sign that Selangor residents were interested in BN otherwise they would not come.
 

Asked whether such a trend would translate into votes, Noh replied, "Hopefully."

  
Parliamentary seat haul

At the parliamentary level, Noh was also confident that BN can grab 12 out of 22 Selangor parliamentary seats.

He predicts Umno can win seven out of 10 contested, MCA can capture three out of seven while MIC can win at least two out of four.
 

"It seems that MCA can retain Pandan," he added.
 

Meanwhile, he left the question of his own candidacy to Najib's decision.
 

"My promise is to try my best help Umno win, but who will be the menteri besar is not my job (to ask)," he said.


Five states ‘in danger’ for BN in GE, says Khir Toyo




BN yakin menang 36 DUN Selangor...


NONETimbalan Pengerusi BN Selangor Datuk Seri Noh Omar yakin BN akan berjaya merampas kembali negeri itu dalam pilihan rayan umum akan datang.

Katanya, mereka yakin akan menang di 36 daripada 56 kerusi yang dipertandingkan, hanya kurang satu kerusi untuk membentuk majoriti dua pertiga dalam Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), lapor Nanyang Siang Pau.

Dalam wawancara eksklusif itu juga, Noh meramalkan Umno akan menang 30 daripada 35 kerusi yang ditandingi, MCA mampu mendapat lima daripada 14 kerusi sementara GERAKAN dan MIC masih-masing mendapat satu kerusi.

Noh berkata, mereka memang mahu merampas Selangor dengan majoriti mudah tetapi jika berjaya mendapat majoriti dua pertiga, ia dikira "bonus".


Katanya, walaupun mendapat sokongan kurang memberangsangkan selepas kalah dalam pilihan raya umum 2008, situasi kini berubah bawah kepimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Razak secara langsung.


source:malaysiakini

Lima negeri ‘dalam bahaya’ untuk BN ketika PRU, kata Khir Toyo


BN akan hilang Selangor jika Umno terlalu dominan, kata Khir Toyo

comments... 

Anonymous - #28963511 Of course, they're upbeat about it. They've planted and moved so many phantom voters to selangor. so they're smug about it now

Fair Play - At best, Noh Omar is counting the chickens before they are hatched.

Nicholas Philip  - They need to provide bus to bring ppl for their events shows how desperate have BN become. 

rayfire - Good, have the confidence and spend more and more money in Selangor, heck that the whole bag of money and dump it from house to house! You can spend all you want! You will not earn our nambikkai or tembikai for that matter! 

malaysian2020 - dont be so humble Mr noh omar,just say BN can will all the 57 seat it contested...opps sorry all the 56 seats

cheers. 

Who's threatening whom?



Strengthening faith (Perfect idea. No one's going to say "no").
Liberalism and pluralism are dangerous (Emm...This is questionable, at least I think lack of liberalism and pluralism is the real danger).
Christians are threatening the Muslims (Wow! This one is real sedition that could threaten national security and solidarity).
Don't misunderstand me. Those are not slogans of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Neither are they slogans of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
They are the core ideas of a seminar jointly organised by the Johor state education department and the state religious affairs department aptly titled Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalism dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru? (Strengthening Faith, Threats of Liberalism, Pluralism and Christianity Towards Muslims: What is the Role of Teachers?)
National schools in the state have been instructed to send representatives to the event.
It is absolutely not a problem to strengthen the Islamic faith. Religion is a part of the school curriculum in this country. By all means strengthen it!
However, defining liberalism and pluralism as something "dangerous" does not go well with the prevalent trends nor our national aspirations.
Malaysia is a multiracial and multicultural country. Pluralism is the foundation stone of our nationhood and the basis of our steady development over the decades. It has manifested the country's superiority but why is it rendered "dangerous" now?
Liberalism goes along with pluralism. Without liberty there would not be options, and hence pluralism.
The most absurd thing is the subjective judgement that Christianity is posing threats to Muslims.
I was thinking such arguments could only be made by people in the same league as Hasan Ali, trying to exploit religious sensitivity to polarise the nation and instilling fears and confrontational sentiments in a bid to fish political gains.
The real dangerous part is that the state education and religious affairs departments, as components of the state mechanisms, have adopted a like-minded stand.
The consequences could be grave if the poison is allowed to spread through education channels to become part and parcel of the national educational system.
This is more than "protecting the rights of Muslims" claimed by the organisers and the minister in the prime minister's department Senator Jamil Khir b Baharom.
If this concept is eventually endorsed by the government, our schools will be segregated into two rival camps whereby one religion is posing threats to the other religion while one group of students is posing threats to the other.
Confrontation could seep in if one side feels intimidated.
With the students eventually leaving their schools, such a preconceived belief will make its way into the core of our society. This kind of education will only breed conflicts and confrontation, not protection for anyone.
If our leaders still subscribe to the common understanding of our nation-building and national characteristics. they should bar and censure such acts and make sure such fallacies are put to a halt once and for all.
-Sin Chew Daily

The real threats to Islam and religious harmony


The real threats to Islam and religious harmony
Hasan Ali is an epitome of an ambitious and desperate politician who would not mind manufacturing lies and deceits in order to stay in power. Much like others before him, Zulkifli Nordin and Ibrahim Ali, Hasan has been threatening to release a video to prove Christian proselytisation of Muslims.
Again, he said he would release excerpts of the video featuring an apostate Muslim couple, now returned to Islam, who he said would reveal details of methods employed by Christians to foment apostasy among Muslims.
Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing urged Hasan Ali to opt for "full rather than striptease disclosure".
"For a man of his academic rigour, I'm surprised that he thinks piecemeal disclosure is sufficient," he argued.
"He has not only to show the entire video but also produce the couple for questioning by a full court press before others can be convinced of the authenticity of his claims of devious means employed by Christians to proselytise Muslims," elaborated the bishop.
Hasan's action is fishy and suspicious. It smells of a grand design to use the issue of proselytisation and apostasy as means to an end to benefit his or his sponsors' political aim.
In almost a concerted move, the Johor Education Department and Johor Mufti Department are jointly organizing a forum called "Strengthening the Faith, the dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the role of teachers?" which requires the attendance of at least two religious teachers from 55 national schools across Johor.
It is clearly a provocation and an attempt to spread distrust towards Christians in Malaysia. Is this a state sponsored programme with the intention to incite hatred and bad faith between Muslims and Christians?
It is timely for the Umno led government to come clean on their intention. This forum is another egg on the face scenario for the 1Malaysia government. If this is the sole decision of little Napoleans, the Ministry of Education should immediately put a stop to such intimidation and distortion.
If this is a state sponsored event which aims to consolidate Malay Muslim voters under the Umno umbrella, then it is time for the Malay community to wake up and recognize who are the biggest threat to this plural and diverse society and nation.
It is a crime not to celebrate our pluralism and diversity and calling it a threat instead.
We should reject such attempts and cheap stunts. It is sad what political parties are willing to commit for the own political gains.
Is this still the Malaysia we know and grew up in?
-khookaypeng.blogspot.com

Political animals gnaw at apostasy issue


Who is it that banked on Islam as political currency? None other than ex-Umno man Anwar Ibrahim himself.
COMMENT
Like a pot calling the kettle black, Anwar Ibrahim made the audacious claim that Umno, being “in charge of religion”, is fear-mongering the apostasy issue for political mileage.
Anwar was quoted in an FMT report on March 29 as saying that the teachers’ seminar scheduled to be held in Johor on Saturday was “part of an effort to manage control through the use of fear and faith”.
He was referring to the planned weekend training programme titled “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralisme Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?”
Meanwhile Malaysiakini had the same story headlined ‘Christian threat is Umno propaganda’ whereas The Malaysian Insider pointed out that “the opposition leader was quick to link the matter to Umno”.
Anwar had told a press conference in the Parliament: “I want to state that Umno is mighty in Malaysia. Umno is in charge of religion, Umno is in charge of the finances so if the allegations (proselytizating to Muslims) are true that means Umno has failed to strengthen the faith of the Muslims.”
Meanwhile Lim Kit Siang alleged that the seminar organizers had gone against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia concept as such events would only “lead to greater racial polarisation”.

1Malaysia vs Malaysian First

Before I discuss the audacity of Anwar, let me first illustrate why Kit Siang’s call should be aptly described as ‘menepuk air di dulang, terpercik muka sendiri juga’ or in other words, the attack only serving to show up the DAP parliamentary leader’s own woeful lack of understanding.
It is DAP standard operating procedure to take potshots at the Najib national unity slogan by unwarrantedly linking it to every conceivable controversy.
One prominent occasion was when Kit Siang and his fellow DAP politicians including son Guan Eng derided Muhyiddin Yassin as being “Malay first, Malaysian second”.
Their taunting only reveals the party’s ideological shortcomings.
According to the Federal Constitution’s definition of ‘Malay’ in Article 160, the person is a Muslim who habitually speaks Malay and conforms to Malay customs.
The status of Islam is enshrined in Article 3 of the FedCon, and Malay as our national language in Article 152. On these two counts, Muhyiddin as a Malay individual aligns perfectly with the constitution.
On the other hand, Kit Siang, Guan Eng and Hannah ‘Anak Malaysia’ Yeoh do not.
Regarding the third aspect defining a Malay, let’s look at the legal standing of Malay customs.
To the layman, customs are understood as cultural practices. Muhyiddin has been at the forefront of promoting Malay culture – good on him as the deputy president of Umno.
Custom is adat; Malay adat is intertwined with customary law.
Adat bersindi hukum
Hukum bersindi kitabullah
Kuat adat tak gaduh hukum
Kuat hukum tak gaduh adat
(Customary law hinges on religious law, religious law on the word of God. If custom is strong, religion is not upset, if religion is strong, custom is not upset.)
There is a proverb that goes “adat sentosa di dalam negeri” or the customs of the land preserve harmony. Upon the formation of modern Malaya, the essentials of Malay customs were codified in the area of public law, i.e. the federal constitution.
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and one of the roles of the Sultan is as “the protector of Malay customs”. This is the ruler’s  Royal Prerogative viz. the state constitution(s) and vested in his sovereignty (daulat).
RH Hickling – an eminent jurist from the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya (1987) – in his introduction to the concept of law in Malaysia wrote, among other observations: “The tenacity of Malay custom remains”, “adat is woven into the texture of a community” and even “the British in Malaya recognized the validity of adat and adat law”.
Clearly Muhyiddin’s Malay character is in perfect accord with the Federal Constitution.
Do not forget that “In Malaysia only the Constitution is supreme” and “What is supreme in Malaysia is the Constitution itself” – the words of the late Lord President Tun Mohamed Suffian.
And yet we find Kit Siang, Guan Eng and the DAP constantly berating Muhyiddin as being “Malaysian second”. How bizarre. What is it about these DAP leaders that ought to qualify them ahead of the deputy prime minister as Malaysian First?
Hence, considering the DAP’s unforgivable ignorance of our country’s birth certificate, can they now or at any other time be fit to talk about Malaysian First much less to keep throwing eggs at 1Malaysia?

The culprits politicking Islam

About the seminar Anwar said, “What I can confirm is that this is nothing other than a disgusting political manoeuvre to use religion to frighten the people.”
Who is it that has hijacked religion to use for political badging?
Let’s first look at Anwar’s ex-boss Dr Mahathir Mohamed who was Umno president for more than two decades. By virtue of serving as prime minister concurrently, Dr M’s thousands of speeches and public appearances are all properly documented and archived.
Did Dr M tunjuk alim atau warak janggut macam kambing (display outward piety or keep a goatee to project an ustaz-like demeanour)? Nope, Anwar did.
Dr M’s speeches were never peppered with quotes from the Quran or fancy Arabic phrases and sayings. And no, Dr M did not take it upon himself to lead congregational prayers in the mosque on Friday or at other occasions in the Islamic calendar. Instead it is Anwar who carried out all the Islamic-flavoured gimmickry.
Anwar and a number of DAP poseurs like Guan Eng with his Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz posturing, the DAP Chinese MPs and state assemblymen who mispronounce Quranic verses/the Hadith, and of course, our holy ladies of the DAP Selendang Squad.
While he may have been active in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Mahathir nonetheless did not trade on any presumed Islamic veneer to boost his political credentials.
What about other Umno figures past and present – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Daim Zainuddin, Hishammuddin Hussein, Rafidah Aziz. Do these leaders go out of their way to portray an outwardly pious Islamic image?
So why lay the charge that Umno controls Islam?
Who instead is it that banked on Islam as political currency? None other than ex-Umno man Anwar himself.
Aside from the PAS people, today’s political personalities with a reputation for Islamic zealotry are Hasan Ali and Zulkifli Noordin. Neither are Umno.
Who controls religion?
Admittedly Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his premiership tried to promote the Islam Hadhari project but he was the first among our prime ministers. Previous PMs, also the Umno party presidents, never cloaked their administrations in Islamic garb. That is PAS terrain and more recently the DAP’s in Penang.
By law, it is the Sultans and Raja who are the heads of Islam in their states. Not Umno! The Yang di-Pertuan Agung is the head of Islam in his home state as well as in Malacca, Penang and the Federal Territories.
Jurisdiction of Islam remains firmly within the boundaries of each state, meaning Islam is under the legislative and executive authority of the state and not an Umno affair to be directed from the Putra World Trade Centre.
The National Council for Islamic Affairs was established by the Conference of Rulers to co-ordinate the administration of Islamic matters. Every Malay state as well as Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak have their own religious councils.
The National Fatwa Council is a statutory body whereas the syariah courts are civil institutions.
Some Islamic bodies do come under the ambit of the Prime Minister’s Department such as the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim), Pusat Islam (Islamic Centre) and Lembaga Tabung Haji (Pilgrims Fund Board) but nonetheless the PM’s Department is not the personal property of Umno.
This Saturday’s seminar on Christianization is said to be organised by the Johor Mufti Department together with the Johor Education Department. However, the highly disputable accusation by Pakatan leaders implies that the Johor Mufti Department is under the thumb of Umno. Is this really so?
In truth, the institutions of Islam in Johor are not only well-established but independent and arguably the best in Malaysia. The (then) Mufti of Johor was a witness to the ceremony for Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor (or in English, the Johor State Establishment Constitution) on Sept 14, 1895 when Johor became the first peninsular state to adopt constitutional monarchy.
Thus, the venerable and legally constituted office of Johor Mufti predates Umno – formed only in 1946 – by a good 50 years.
Besides that, Johor can rightly take pride in its well-organised religious education boasting an advanced and progressive syllabus. This system comprises the integrated primary and secondary school networks Sekolah Rendah Agama Bersepadu (SRAB) and Sekolah Menengah Agama Kerajaan Johor (SMAKJ) right up to Sekolah Menengah Tinggi Johor (Maahad) that caters for the lower and upper sixth forms.
At tertiary level, Johor has Kolej Pengajian Islam Johor (Marsah) which conducts twinning programmes with Egypt’s celebrated Al-Azhar University.
As such, the Islamic authorities of Johor should rightly be indignant at Anwar’s insinuation that religion and school activities in their state are remote-controlled by Umno.
If anything, it is Malaysia’s religious establishment that might truly be considered as an autonomous Third Force. There’s hardly any necessity for them to bow to Umno but on the contrary, their enforcement officers can well prosecute Umno leaders caught for khalwat or taking second wives without following proper procedures.
When the Pakatan top echelon simply shoots from the hip to stir religious sentiments and smear political rivals, it is little wonder that their fanatical followers so easily resort to insults and slander too.
The writer blogs at http://helenang.wordpress.com