Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Thoughts on Hulu Selangor By-election, Part 1

As I write this, BN is leading the voting count. Of course once counting is complete I fully expect the losing side to demand a recount (assuming the rules allow it). This by-election had the most effort put in by both sides so far, more than any by-election to date. (Note: I am aware I left out mention of political issues e.g. no corruption, but I have my reasons to focus solely on PKR).

Why PKR needs to win

  • Zaid Ibrahim needs a win to legitimise the important role (post?) he was given when he joined PKR. Remember when he had to cancel a trip to Sabah/Sarawak because some leaders disapproved?
  • Tan Sri Khalid needs a win because his leadership style has made a lot of enemies among party grassroots.
  • Anwar Ibrahim needs a win because the party hoppers that were his close friends hurt his clout among the grassroots. It surprises me when I hear long-time members make disparaging remarks about him. Since late last year there was serious talk that Zaid should replace him in the near future. Such talk only increases the internal squabbles.
  • PKR needs to show that they can run a by-election with the grassroots and leadership that they have. It will affect member morale nationwide.

So if PKR loses, I expect the usual complaints about phantom voters or even so far as declaring the by-election invalid due to the 14,000 voters that had their voting stations moved.

What works in PKR’s favour

  • Use of state govt machinery to get votes. The MB moved his office to Hulu Selangor and for the first time in history, held the weekly State Exco meetings there instead of Shah Alam.

What works against PKR

  • Lack of cooperation between PKR and PAS. Whether this is due to PAS disapproval of Zaid, or just lack of organisational skills of PKR is anyone’s guess. However PAS did state publicly that it was due to difficulty in coordinating with PKR.
  • Lack of strong PKR grassroots. By strong I mean given a task, they will really do it and not just come back later and say they did.

What works in BN’s favour

  • Crazy sums of money to give out. I don’t agree with bribes but I have to say that if their concerts had attendees (PKR had concerts too), and gifts accepted then the blame lies with the electorate. If bribery was the right way to get their vote, sadly that show BN understands them better.
  • Larger grassroots base. Functional or not I wouldn’t know.

I actually hope BN wins, for several reasons:

PKR members (not just elected reps) have gotten too arrogant. They have forgotten that they were handed power in 2008 and need to earn it in the next GE. They should have invested time in defining party culture and developing leadership at every level, not just blindly recruiting and ordering members to volunteer. Our message is good but our grassroots management strategy is weak.

PKR needs to learn that different communities require different tactics to win their vote. For some people all they understand is how to vote based on race or which side gives more money. The only way to change that mentality is by education and 2-3 weeks of ceramah is not enough. This is where strong grassroots come in, if not ceramah then by leafleting. It’s an epic task but it needs to be done.

All 3 ADUNs under the MP seat are BN. Even though they have been crippled by having their state allocations withheld by the Selangor State govt (and given to Exco members Ean Yong and Elizabeth under ADUN Angkat programme), they still matter. The previous PKR MP could not have achieved much because he did not have a strong grassroots or ADUNs to help manage the constituency. The Exco members are too busy to be there for him as regularly as ADUNs. So if Zaid won, by the next GE the BN candidates can say, “You see? You voted for Zaid but he couldn’t help with local problems”.

Win or lose, an MP gets no allocation if he is from Pakatan. Zaid would have to carry the burden of managing a large constituency, raise issues in Parliament and whatever leadership tasks he has in PKR/Pakatan Rakyat. If he loses, he can still help the voters and work on building a strong grassroots for the next GE. It’s only 2 years away. If he wins he has to hope the Exco members are available to disburse funds from the ADUN allocations for him. They are very, very busy people. The pressure to perform as MP will be high, whereas even as a non-MP he could work with the Excos for the constituency, as preparation work for next GE. That is why I see a loss as a good thing.

You could argue that if BN wins, Kamalanathan will use use his allocation to reinforce voter support. But win or lose he can do that anyway. Zaid does not get that option. The fact is that you need money to solve people’s problems.

I learned a lot these past 2 weeks and saw a lot of ugliness on both sides; I’ll try to document it soon.

Advertisements

Written by ak57

April 25, 2010 at 8:55 pm

One Israel =/= 1Malaysia

I wrote this email to a friend a week ago and felt it worth sharing, on this accusation of One Israel and 1Malaysia being the same.

I find this issue to be a bit silly, as though it were brought up to distract the public from whatever Zahrain has mentioned. One Israel was a political alliance formed for an election campaign in the early 80s, no different from Barisan Alternatif in 2004. You could also say that at the time One Israel was trying to present a political alternative that was moderate and not extreme.

1Malaysia looks to me like a feel-good public relations (PR) exercise by the ruling government to win over the hearts and minds of the people, by making it appear as a multi-ethnic and not extreme regime.

They are two different things – a political coalition and a PR campaign. The easiest difference being that any politician whether BN/Pakatan/Independent can publicly say they support 1Malaysia. If I was a Pakatan leader I would say I support 1Malaysia and start a bunch of 1Something initiatives in the Pakatan states. This would confuse the rakyat because they can’t psychologically link 1Malaysia to BN if Pakatan supports it. It is an advantage that PR has – it’s not like the tagline for 1Malaysia is ‘BN Sayangkan Semua’ haha!

I know this won’t happen. Sad to say our PKR party grassroots are not educated enough to understand the logic of supporting the enemy platform to defuse it. Much easier to continue to tar and feather BN and hound them non-stop. Our party foundation is built on hating the enemy.

You know what I found funny? One Israel was a combination of left-centrist Social Democrats, Socialists and a religious party.

Doesn’t that sound a lot like Pakatan Rakyat? Haha!

So One Israel = Political Coalition

If Apco is confirmed to have come up with both campaign titles, the issue that PKR wants to highlight is that an Israeli government linked entity is directing Malaysian government public relations with the people.

Ultimately PKR needs to prove that Apco has Israeli government links. By that I mean the company is currently run by members of the Israeli government. Yusmadi Yusoff alleged as much today (http://malaysiakini.com/news/127181)

Having three members of an advisory council that were formerly working for the Israel government is a weak connection. It demonises Jews and places PKR in the same Jew-hating camp as UMNO. It is like saying any board that Tun Daim Zainuddin sits on is under the control of the Malaysian government by virtue of him being an ex-Finance Minister.

The fact is there are far more Americans sitting on the advisory council than Israelis (or maybe even Jews, but you can’t always tell a Jew by the name alone 😉 ). The member list is at http://www.apcoworldwide.com/content/international_advisory_council/members.aspx

One escape route would be to settle for attacking govt over-expenditure on this foreign company. But Anwar has closed the door on that by saying he will prove the Israel connection, which I’m interested to see.

One Alternatives

One Australia was an immigration and ethnic affairs policy that called for an end to multiculturalism. The fear then was that Australia would lose its identity if more Asians kept coming in. I don’t think the fears have gone away.

I could find no evidence of 1Britain or One Britain online. Perhaps it was an anti-immigration movement under a different name. It might be referring to the British National Party which has a strong anti-immigration platform, so one of their old slogans might have been 1Britain. Or Tian Chua/Harakah could have made it up.

I’m suddenly reminded of a saying that, ‘if you can’t attack a man for his ideas, attack the clothes he wears instead’. Talking about 1Australia, 1Israel or 1Britain (which I consider fiction) without linking it with the 1Malaysia campaign seems superficial. 1Malaysia is not a political coalition or anti-immigration political agenda. Is Pakatan so weak that we resort to attacking phrases? What happened to attacking ideas, principles and actions? One Israel was not even referred to as 1Israel until Pakatan chose to spin it!

In Closing

An MP cannot mislead the House so I have no issue with Anwar being referred to the Special Rights & Privileges Committee if the House votes on it. If Anwar does not produce the evidence then the only valid criticism I can see are:

1)            How much is being spent for Apco’s services? Assuming the figure is high, why is the taxpayer money being wasted?

2)            Why a foreign company instead of a local one?

I’ll admit, these criticisms are not as entertaining or dramatic as what they are alluding to now.

Further reading (http://www.aijac.org.au/review/1999/244/oneisrael.html )

Written by ak57

March 28, 2010 at 7:58 pm

The Fuss Over Jantan and Betina

I was surprised to learn that several Pakatan MPs took offense at Nazri’s usage of the phrases ‘anak jantan’ and ‘anak betina’ in Parliament today. Curious to see what the fuss was about I chose to do some investigating.
Just to clarify, for animal breeders the terms mean:

  • Anak jantan; jantan = male
  • Anak betina; betina = female

Malays also use the terms the following way in reference to men:

  • Anak jantan = brave; strong man; champion
  • Anak betina = coward; weak; American equivalent of ‘pussy’

Betina on its own is also used to refer to promiscuous women (slut), and also I believe to unmarried women who are pregnant. The reasoning for that is that those women behaved like animals by having illegitimate sex, so they should be labelled as such. I don’t recall jantan being used in a derogatory fashion.

Colloquialisms are context-sensitive. I understood the chosen interpretation that Nazri was using and guessed who he was referring to on my first reading.

I read the Hansard and from page 72 – 94 (21 minutes excluding Saifuddin’s speech) this was the sequence of events:

1.    After some discussion/argument with the Deputy Speaker, the Pakatan Rakyat MPs obtained permission to respond to the issue of ‘misleading the House’ brought up by Abdul Rahman Dahlan (Kota Belud), which he had done in response to Anwar’s accusing the government of using alleged Israeli agent APCO to promote 1Malaysia. Saifuddin Nasution (Machang) was nominated to speak.
2.    Saifuddin Nasution stated that the Minister, Nazri Aziz (Rantau Panjang) had referred to the obsolete Ordinance 69 in discussing the limits of Kelantan’s border)
3.    Deputy Speaker asked the Minister to explain
4.    Hatta Ramli (Kuala Krai) and Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena) made some jibes at Nazri, ‘that he need not answer now, he can take a week if he likes’ and ‘has he read the obsolete laws yet?’
5.    Nazri responded that he need not fear, because he was ‘anak jantan’
6.    Hatta Ramli asked him to prove that he was ‘anak jantan’
7.    Nazri continued that what he had stated previously was not intended to mislead the House and he was ready to be investigated because all that was needed is to refer to the Hansard. Because he was anak jantan he had no fear. The anak betina on the other side however, were scared of being investigated.
8.    Lilah Yasin (Jempol) remarked that anak jantan ‘plays in the front, not in the back’
9.    Lo’Lo’ Mohd Ghazali (Titiwangsa) accused Nazri of being sexist and asked him to retract the word betina
10.    Siti Zailah (Rantau Panjang) stated that the word was an insult to women
11.    Arguments erupted between Sivarasa (Subang), Lo’ Lo’, Bung Moktar (Kinabatangan), Haji Ismail (Maran), Nazri and the Deputy Speaker
12.    Nazri explained that jantan and betina were references to the gender of animals. The ones standing in front of him were humans, so how could there be a question that he was referring to the human women as betina. Therefore they had no reason to get angry.
13.    Saifuddin countered that meant Nazri just stated he was the son of an animal
14.    Lo’Lo’ asked him to retract the word regardless of his reasons
15.    Nazri said he meant no insult to the women
16.    Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang) asked him to retract the word
17.    Nazri explained the Malay saying goes that ‘anak jantan’ are brave and ‘anak betina’ are cowards
18.    Deputy Speaker stated that Nazri had no ill intention
19.    The discussion went back on topic, regarding whether Kota Belud had misled the House and whether he had the right to use the Standing Orders to make the speech
20.    Lo’Lo’ quoted Standing Order 36(4) that states a Member of the House may not used words that are improper or rude. She asked the Speaker to make a ruling on the phrase ‘anak betina’ because it is an insult to all women even if it was directed at everyone
21.    Deputy Speaker stated that the Minister had explained the context of the terms used was bravery
22.    Pakatan MPs continued to ask for the word to be retracted. Arguments erupted.
23.    Bung Moktar retorted that it was just a Malay saying (peribahasa)
24.    Mahfuz Omar accused Puteri UMNO of not having brains, because they had not objected to the use of the word
25.    Ibrahim Ali (Pasir Mas) requested to debate the Royal Address
26.    His request was ignored and the argument continued for 10 minutes. Some quotes:
a.    Zuraida argued that any Malay that understood the meaning of the word would not use it in that manner, and questioned whether any Malay uses ‘jantan’ or ‘betina’
b.    Deputy Speaker reiterated multiple times that the words were used in a different context than what the protesting MPs was referring to
c.    Mahfuz Omar questioned whether betina was ever analogous to coward
d.    Lo’Lo’ and Zuraida demanded that the word be retracted and its usage in any context be forbidden in the House. They had no objection to anyone using ‘anak jantan’
e.    Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan) stated that within context ‘anak jantan’ meant brave, but ‘anak betina’ was sexist
f.    Zuraida later stated that any statement that refers to gender whether lelaki, perempuan, jantan or betina was itself sexist. She did not change her position on anak jantan
27.    Deputy Speaker told the MPs not to misinterpret the words as their meaning and context had already been explained. The argument ended with Ibrahim Ali giving his speech while Pakatan MPs asked the ‘cowardly Minister’ to retract.

Imagine that, 21 minutes spent on this issue. Now who was Nazri referring to when he said betina?

It is clear that as Saifuddin’s speech was in response to Kota Belud’s request that Anwar be referred to the Special Rights & Privileges Commitee (the Commitee), then ‘anak betina’ used in this context likely refers to Anwar Ibrahim. Jempol’s immediate follow-up statement that anak jantan plays in the front, follows that interpretation as Anwar has been accused of sodomy (main belakang, playing in the back). I myself thought betina was referring to Anwar.

But Pakatan is critical of the government stand that Anwar be referred to the Committee if he does not prove his allegations on APCO. So Nazri’s statement can be interpreted as being directed at the whole bloc, which includes men and women. So he just referred to women as betina!

If only Nazri had said ‘anak betina dari Permatang Pauh’ then there would be no misinterpretation and less time would have been spent on the issue.

I see it as a colloquialism to be treated with care. Jantan and betina are not curse words and only betina has a negative meaning attached to it. I don’t believe it is commonly used either, searching online I only found it used negatively in the context of coward and not slut.

Given the evidence I feel that Pakatan MPs were trying to stir up trouble. If the word was slut; prostitute; whore; instead of betina, then the slur is clear. Today I didn’t see Nazri as being sexist, just crass. I would say he is ambiguously sexist at most.

Compare that with politicians like Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan) who made the infamous ‘women leak once a month’ remark, or Badruddin Amiruldin (formerly Jerai) who made the ‘boleh nampak terowong tak?’ remark, both in 2007.

Sexism in Parliament is an ongoing problem, and it remains as long as we have boors as elected representatives. I hope that when there is a change in government that a code of ethics is drawn up to prevent sexist and racist remarks from being uttered in Parliament.

Sources
Parliament Hansard 22nd March 2010 (link)
Pakatan to campaign against sexist MPs (link)
Shouting match after motion to refer to Anwar (link)
MP: Anak jantan berani tapi anak betina penakut (link)
Badruddin apologises for ‘terowong’ comment (link)
MPs apologise for sexist remarks in Parliament (link)

Written by ak57

March 24, 2010 at 4:30 am

Anwar’s Trial, Day 2 Briefing

Jonson Chong, Mustaffa Kamil, Razlan, Amiruddin Shaari

I dropped by HQ tonight for the first nightly briefing on the trial proceedings. Attendees were mostly reporters and local PKR grassroots.

Jonson Chong, PKR Director of Communications started the briefing by stating that:

  • Karpal Singh requested the judge to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt of court due to the headline it ran today.
  • The judge ruled that there were no grounds for contempt of court, the defence can make a police report (which they did)
  • What was stated in the article implies that multiple acts of sodomy occurred, but the charges are only for one

Razlan (I believe he’s assisting Anwar’s legal team) then continued:

  • Today’s proceedings were held in camera at Karpal Singh’s request, so lawyers are not allowed to discuss what transpired
  • There was concern that the contents of the testimony would be damaging to the court proceedings if made public
  • There was a site visit to Unit 11-5-1 at the Desa Damansara Condominium by the judge and legal teams
  • There may be another site visit tomorrow to the Sekysen 16 office

Mustaffa Kamil Ayub (PKR Vice President)

  • We will continue to hold ceramah nationwide to educate people on current issues and the conspiracy that is going on in Anwar’s trial

Reporter Questions

Q: Why call Najib and Rosmah to testify?
Razlan: We know that Saiful met Najib prior to the alleged sodomy, so we want them to testify for the record.

Q: Can we have the court proceedings telecast live online?
Razlan: You can request, but normally that is not done.

Q: What about Saiful’s implication that sodomy occurred multiple times, and was the Can I F U remark made the first time or another time?
Razlan: That is outside the scope of the court proceedings, what I can say is the charges are for one incident.

Q: Do you have any comment on the turmoil in the Pakatan states primarily in Penang?
Mustaffa: We are not a party of angels, but it is clear that acts of destabilisation are going on. Small differences of opinion are being magnified and issues blown up out of proportion.

Q: What if Anwar is found guilty?
Mustaffa: I am confident that Pakatan Rakyat will go on.

Q: I’m sorry for this sensitive question, but why does Anwar use a condominium for his meetings when he has a house and office to use? This applies both now and in 1999 when he used Tivoli Villa.
Mustaffa: It is difficult for me to comment, but I can say that Anwar is a humble man and does not mind going to his friend’s house for a meeting. He does not stand on ceremony, you don’t have to go up to see him but rather he will come down to see you.

*Update* Date for Court of Appeal hearing has been fixed for February 12th.

Written by ak57

February 5, 2010 at 7:43 am

Moving Towards a Change in Lifestyle – No Plastic Bags

Several years ago I used to stockpile used plastic bags from supermarkets, with the intention of sending them for recycling. Then a friend pointed out to me that such plastic bags were bio-degradable (actually, photo-degradable) and all my collecting was for naught. She was right. As the years went by plastic bags became thinner and quickly changed composition after exposure to air. They become flimsy constructs – a single touch and they break apart into tiny pieces. Pieces that are tough to clean up as they stick to rags, fingers and the inside of a vacuum cleaner. I still have a drawer full of stored plastic bags that I’m hesitant to open in case a gust of wind breaks them into pieces. This decomposition happens in stages by the way, I wouldn’t recommend you experiment at home.

These plastic bags used to come in handy for throwing rubbish, but due to their deterioration I had no choice now but to buy the black/blue/green plastic bags sold in supermarkets. What was I to do now? I can’t recycle them. I can’t use them. I hate just throwing them out with the garbage because it is so wasteful. I don’t even like that plastic bag usage is so dominant in our society – I’m strongly anti-plastic/Styrofoam/polystyrene. At one of the places where I worked I brought my own bowl to takeaway food from the nearby restaurant.

So the only solution left was to change my lifestyle to reduce the number of useless bags lying around the house. For years I’ve been following the lifestyle of ‘only buying what I can carry’ because I conveniently find myself near a supermarket every few days. Sometimes when I buy many items, or items that can’t mix I do use plastic bags. I often keep a scrunched-up bag in my pocket for such situations. These lifestyle changes have effectively removed the problem I used to have.

No Plastic Bag Day Campaign

In Selangor/KL, IKEA set an example by charging for all plastic bags in June 2009, with the proceeds going to the Malaysian Nature Society. This was part of its commitment to phase out plastic bags at all its outlets worldwide, initiated in March 2007. This was followed by Village Grocer since August 2009 that gave an option of getting a used free plastic bag, or paying for a new plastic bag. Cold Storage made the bizarre move of banning plastic bags on Thursdays, forcing customers to buy a canvas/polymer bag or use their own. For shoppers caught unawares at the cashier this seems like cruel punishment. Why buy a bag that can last for years, just because you forgot to bring your own? I have personally witnessed angry customers demanding they be given the option of a plastic bag rather than buy a bag. I learned my lesson after a few visits – don’t visit Cold Storage on Thursdays.

In July 2009 Penang government started a ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign, implemented as a tax on businesses, with the proceeds going towards welfare. Retailers had to start charging customers 20 sen for plastic bags and starting 2010 the state government made it mandatory for retail outlets to adopt ‘No Plastic Bag Mondays’ or ‘No Plastic Three Days (Mon-Wed)’.

This month the Selangor government started a similar campaign for Saturdays and is considering making it mandatory like in Penang. I guess the Penang campaign started on weekdays to ‘test the waters’ and now that Selangor has seen the good reception there its safe to start with Saturdays where the consumer base is larger.

Unfortunately the campaign implementation in Selangor is left up to the supermarket, so the proceeds from sales of plastic bags are not guaranteed to go towards welfare. No wonder so many stores are eager to sign up, it’s a no-brainer for them because they can earn profit from previously free bags! You can read about how major supermarkets implemented it at this blog.

No Plastic Bags? Are They Crazy?

The name ‘No Plastic Bag’ sends a mixed message. As the unlucky customers of Cold Storage found out, one message is fear. The Penang and Selangor state governments had to clarify that they don’t mean to ban plastic bags completely, just reduce their usage. They want to promote reusable bags as an alternative to plastic bags, hence ‘no plastic bag’.

Couldn’t they come up with a less scary campaign title though? I know ‘No Plastic Bag, Reuse Bags Instead’ and ‘Less Plastic Bag Day’ aren’t catchy alternatives and given time people will understand. My first reaction to the campaign title was shock, because I don’t want to live in a future where I’m told to go home and get my own bag (because the store doesn’t provide any)!

We are right to fear a ban on plastic bags. Some items stain or smell so they need to be kept separate, especially meat, fish and vegetables. You can’t be expected to bring a container for each category of item, especially when its something small like a dozen eggs. There is also the hygiene aspect – reusable bags I see offered by supermarkets today aren’t easy to clean and wouldn’t survive repeated trips in the washing machine. Some form of disposable packaging is needed.

We didn’t always have the luxury of plastic bags. We used baskets, paper bags and cardboard boxes for our shopping. That was before the advent of hypermarkets where food, sundries, clothes, footwear, electronics and more can be obtained in one visit. You know how it is when you go shopping for a few items and end up at the cashier with more than you planned for?

Even if you did bring your own bag(s), the option of a plastic/paper bag should always be there. Start with 10-20 sen now, make it daily instead of one day a week and slowly raise the price over the next 5-10 years to phase out its usage.

Impact for the Future

The reason supermarkets moved into shopping malls is because of the convenience of it. Shopping malls with cinemas, restaurants, supermarkets and retailers meant people could go there for one reason (food) and sidetrack into shopping for clothes and buying groceries.

There will come a time when the cost of a plastic bag becomes prohibitive. Forcing consumers to bring their own bag means they will only go to the supermarket when it is planned. This reduces the amount of casual shoppers like me, who go to a mall for one reason then pop in for a few items because it’s convenient. When that day comes I will have to start making shopping lists and planning my shopping trips well in advance.

In the future I would like to see:

  1. A ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags and food containers.
  2. The government publish standards for biodegradability and reward manufacturers of low-cost, high standard plastic bags.
  3. The Selangor government to adopt the Penang government policy of channeling the plastic bag sales funds towards welfare.
  4. Stores reward consumers for bringing their own bag. People respond better to rewards rather than punishment, even more so in a materialistic urban society like Selangor/Penang. TESCO for example has a rewards system in place that I hope other supermarkets adopt.

I hope this ‘No Plastic Bag’ campaign runs daily like Village Grocer, with the option for used plastic bags. The price being charged is negligible now and what is important is to get the consumer used to the idea of paying for something they took for granted. Then phase out the use of plastic bags slowly.

Update 2/2/2010: I read the notice issued by Elizabeth (Exco for Environment, Consumer Affairs and Tourism) on 29th December 2009 to participating businesses where she states that consumers must pay 20 sen for each plastic bag and the proceeds from those sales are to be channeled towards charities as part of the companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The wording implies it is compulsory because the campaign comes into force starting 4th January 2010. However it is clear that the Selangor govt is taking a soft approach as the participating companies are implementing CSR in their own way, such as absorbing the profits then giving discounts without a clear link between money earned and money returned to the people.

The main focus in Selangor now is on reducing usage of plastic bags and not about welfare as there is no tracking being done. This explains why I found no mention of channeling the money towards welfare in any media. I stand by my hope that we follow Penang’s example one day .

Written by ak57

January 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Hassan’s Moral Police Draft

It bothers me greatly to hear that many people believe that Dato’ Dr. Hassan Ali has created something new: a moral police that watches Muslims and arrests them for drinking.

JAIS officials have been empowered to ‘nab’ Muslims drinking alcohol and committing adultery for many years. Hassan Ali did not create any new laws – the moral police already existed. Just because you don’t hear about raids does not mean they do not happen, or that the threat does not exist. Maybe this ignorance among the people explains why it’s not hard to find Malay-Muslims drinking outside convenience stores in the wee hours. They have no fear of getting caught.

What Hassan Ali has done is draft more people into the moral police. Empowering untrained persons to monitor the morality of others… it’s a recipe for trouble. There’s bound to be a case of some overzealous chap harassing a Malay-looking fellow drinking beer or worse, starting fights.

Personally I don’t see how PAS/JAIS can implement their moral police. It is not right to enforce Islamic practices on non-Muslims. When a raid is done on a hotel/disco, the very act creates fear among the non-Muslim patrons. They should have the freedom to enjoy their life without being suddenly harassed on suspicion of being Muslim.

I am conflicted on the issue of JAIS keeping an eye on Muslims though. I know alcoholism is a problem among the urban Malay youth. JAIS has the responsibility of ensuring Muslims don’t stray from the path. But I disagree with the methods currently used. I think that finding out the reasons Muslims drink in the first place, then addressing those reasons makes more sense than banning alcohol or having moral police.

JAIS should only advise errant Muslims on why Islam has such rules. Fining, jailing, whipping and shaming are such harsh punishments in comparison. If a Muslim is flaunting the rules of the faith, chances are their faith is weak. Such punishment may then only serve to scare them into pretending to be Muslims; and be more careful when breaking the rules in future. They need to be convinced in their heart, and to reach someone’s heart is a slow and arduous process.

I hope one day that religious officials in our nation remember that Islam’s goal is to help spread peace and harmony. They need to focus on co-existing peacefully with other religions, instead of trying to police their brethren at the expense of non-Muslims’ quality of life.

References

Sultan wants explanation over arrest powers for mosque officials – Malaysian Insider (link)
Crackdown: Breweries not targeted … yet – Malaysiakini (link)
Pegawai masjid S’gor boleh tangkap pesalah serta-merta – Malaysiakini (link)
Selangor mosque officials can detain beer-drinking Muslims – Malaysiakini (link)
Selangor mosque officers can now arrest Muslims drinking in public – Star (link)

Written by ak57

August 30, 2009 at 6:34 am

Posted in Local News, Politics, Selangor

Tagged with , ,

A Show of Support

cmc_eliz_story3_web

The outpour of support for Elizabeth since she made her offer to resign has been overwhelming. It even surpassed the public outcry and support given by the public when Teresa Kok was detained under ISA! I myself have scores of emails from her supporters clogging my inbox.

I did some research online and its safe to say that over 90% of bloggers and commenters support her and don’t want her to resign. I figured that with this level of support, the backlash against PKR (i.e. lost votes) would be severe. Wouldn’t she have to come back?

Sources within the party say it is highly unlikely, even with the public reaction as it stands now. At best she may resign the Exco position and remain an ADUN.

I’m sure right now everyone is angry, hurt and confused. We don’t know why she offered to resign. We can speculate, but we know so little. After the unending outpour of support, Elizabeth issued another statement (link) saying that she intends to resign. No more ambiguity.

I choose to respect her wishes. To chase her and plead her to stay or ask her why – this would only be more hurtful.

A Book of Support

Last Wednesday (18/2) a signature campaign was started in Bandar Utama to gather personal messages by voters and friends. Not a petition, just a way to write a few kind words to show our support.

We got 40 signatures the first day, and reached 100 the next day. A trip to the CNY dinner event opposite Amcorp Mall on Friday brought the total to 190.

wednightelizsign3_web

Wednesday night

A couple of pages from the signature book are below, where you can see the messages penned by her PKR ADUN & MP friends:

elizsignbook1_web

Sivarasa, Tian Chua, Gan Pei Nei, William Leong

elizsignbook2_web

Wan Azizah, Azmin Ali, Syed Husein, Hee Loy Sian, Loh Gwo Burne, Ronnie Liu, Irene Fernandez

A banner of support was also put up at the Sony Bridge interchange next to Bandar Utama:

wednightelizsign2_web

The book will be at the service centre in BU3 from Tuesday (24/2) onwards. I hope those of you who are able, drop by and sign the book. It is easy to spend a few minutes to write an email, send an sms or write a comment, but to make the journey there takes real love and dedication that I’m certain she will appreciate during this difficult time.

A Petition to the Menteri Besar

A group of NGO’s and RA’s (Residents Association) started an online petition last Wednesday which at this time has 5000 signatures. They are also running a physical petition in parallel with that. The petition is addressed to the Menteri Besar and is intended to show the level of support by her voters and friends. You can read more about it here (link).

There was a road trip today to various places in Elizabeth’s constituency to get as many signatures as possible to be submitted to the Menteri Besar on Tuesday/Wednesday. I dropped by the first stop at BU3, group photo below:
sundayrallyeliz1_web

Written by ak57

February 23, 2009 at 2:52 am