Thursday, August 27, 2015

Join us for #ServeSomethingNice

In conjunction with the #SaySomethingNice campaign, zubedy will be organizing a donation drive from now until 30th August 2015. Funds collected will be channeled to Kechara Soup Kitchens. We aim to help them feed the homeless, the poor and the needy.

 The Soup Kitchen will operate during the 17-day campaign period from Hari Merdeka to Hari Malaysia. As such, your kind donation will help ensure that we are able to feed the needy for 17 days from 31st August to 16th September.

The Soup Kitchen effort will be benefiting the homeless, the less fortunate families and those who are facing tough times. Your kind donation will help them get through another day. Of course, our aim during this campaign period is to bring more attention to this issue and highlight the various organizations that are lending a helping hand. We encourage you to get involved throughout the year whether through donation, volunteering or simply raising awareness on the issue.


Donate or sponsor a day

We welcome individual and group donations of any value. The donations will help in funding the cost as above. For further information on our donation drive and advice on how you can donate, (including information for drop off / banking details) please contact Hafeez at 03 – 77336919 /  019 – 2444069 or email

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Celebrate Diversity, Promote Justice Through Moderation, Says Kurup - BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA, Aug 25 (Bernama) -- Moderation is the only way to celebrate diversity and promote justice in this country, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

"If we dream of a future that is harmonious and peaceful, this can only be achieved through moderate attitudes. We need to have zero tolerance against religious bigotry and extremism," he said.

Launching the #'SaySomethingNice' campaign at INTI International College here today, Kurup said that moderation in its true sense provided the platform for people to be firmly convinced of the tenants of their faith, and live full lives at peace and in harmony with others.

The campaign, organised by Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd, seeks to use the period between Aug 31 (National Day) to Sept 16 (Hari Malaysia) as a time of "peace and positivity".

During the campaign, Malaysians would be emcouraged to creatively showcase the best of Malaysia through a medium of their preference, said Zubedy managing director Anas Zubedy.

article was taken from BERNAMA

Raikan Kepelbagaian, Pupuk Keadilan Melalui Kesederhanaan - BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA, 25 Ogos (Bernama) -- Kesederhanaan adalah satu-stunya cara untuk meraikan kepelbagaian dan memupuk keadilan di negara ini, kata Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

"Jika kita impikan masa depan yang harmoni dan aman, ia hanya boleh dicapai melalui sikap sederhana. Kita perlu mempunyai toleransi sifar terhadap ketaksuban agama dan faham pelampau," katanya.

Ketika melancarkan kempen #'SaySomethingNice' di INTI International College di sini hari ini, Kurup berkata kesederhanaan, dalam erti kata sebenarnya, boleh mewujudkan platform untuk manusia membina keyakinan teguh terhadap rukun agama mereka serta untuk menjalani kehidupan dengan cara yang benar-benar aman dan harmoni bersama orang lain.

Kempen anjuran Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd itu bertujuan memanfaatkan tempoh antara 31 Ogos (Hari Kebangsaan) hingga 16 Sept (Hari Malaysia) sebagai waktu "keamanan dan kepositifan".

Dalam tempoh kempen itu, rakyat Malaysia akan digalak mempamerkan semua yang terbaik tentang Malaysia melalui medium pilihan masing-masing, kata pengarah urusan Zubedy, Anas Zubedy.

#SaySomethingNice to overcome negativity in the country by Lee Choon Fai - The Sun Daily

SUBANG JAYA: Malaysians should not let a moments of heightened bigotry and extremism define the future of racial and religious relations in the country, Minister in the Prime Minister Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said today.
Kurup said during the launch of #SaySomethingNice 2015, however, that if Malaysians could band together to promote acts of unity and integration, the positiveness of the act can overcome the negativity perpetuated by extremists
"It saddens me when racial and religious bigotries take centre stage in our media and of late it has only gotten worse. Do not let the present prevailing situation be the future of our country.
"I am positive that the campaign will instill a sense of togetherness and bonding that is crucial for both our personal and professional life, not to mention its remarkable effect on our communities," he said.
The campaign is to encourage Malaysians from all walks of life to convey positive feelings about Malaysia through the medium of their choice in the 17 days between Merdeka Day on Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
Kurup commended the media's participation in the campaign and noted that several newspapers had provided centrespread advertisement spaces free of charge for the campaign's use.
He added that encouraging unity in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like Malaysia is not only the duty of the government but also the responsibility of all sections of society.
Zubedy Sdn Bhd's, the company that has been organising the annual event since 2010, managing director Anas Zubedy said complete unity is an impossible ideal as it is a constant struggle but believes that it is possible for an abundance of positive voices to drown out the negativity.
He said about 100 non-profit, non-governmental, and business organisations had already pledged to participate in the campaign and help put up approximately 700,000 to 800,000 #SaySomethingNice posters.
Zubedy added that he is currently trying to get Chinese and Tamil newspapers to participate in the campaign.
INTI chief executive Rohit Sharma said the campaign provides an avenue for students at the university to be actively involved in impacting the community.

Say no to bigotry and extremism, Joseph Kurup tells Malaysians by Simon Khoo - The STAR

SUBANG JAYA: Moderation is the only way to celebrate diversity and promote justice, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (pix) said. 
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said only through a moderate attitude, Malaysia could remain a harmonious and peaceful nation. 
"We need to have zero tolerance for religious bigotry and extremism. 
"Despite our differences, we are one. Let's sacrifice a little so that we can all be balanced, more grounded in dealing with our emotions and continue to show respect towards one another," he said in his speech during the launching of the #SaySomethingNice campaign at Inti International College Subang here on Tuesday. 
Themed "Creating Million Moments of Unity", #SaySomethingNice, a project by Zubedy, aims at using the 17-day period between Aug 31 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16, as a time of peace and positivity. 
Kurup said it saddened him when racial and religious bigotry took centrestage and worsened of late. 
He said Malaysians should not let the present prevailing situation to be the future of the country. 
"This campaign celebrates the best of Malaysians. I hope the values taught can be practised and later, be made a culture of our own. 
"Let it be known that Malaysians are people of love, peace and unity," he said, adding that the people should put aside their differences and live by the concept of "unity in diversity." 
Kurup said despite the many challenges, Malaysians coming together could change the faith of the country. 
Managing director Anas Zubedy urged more Malaysians to act and do positive things to unite the people. 
"We must never give up and continue to create a positive spirit and leave behind negativity," he said.
Anas thanked the media for joining hands in concerted efforts to encourage and foster the spirit of unity and patriotism among Malaysians. 
He also called upon the private sector to come forward to support such initiatives, citing the recent launching of the #AnakAnakMalaysia campaign, jointly organised by Eco World Development Group Bhd and Star Media Group Bhd. 
Inti International University & Colleges chief executive officer Rohit Sharma said the college was proud to be part of the meaningful campaign. 
"Besides academic excellence, it is Inti's aspiration to provide an avenue for our students to be actively involved in impacting the community," he said. 
Through #SaySomethingNice, Malaysians can write a kind message to their fellow Malaysians on posters which can be put up anywhere.
The organiser hopes to collect more than a million messages and positively impact the urban poor, marginalised groups and all Malaysians through some 50 projects.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Prime Ministers and the Phenomenon of Power by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Given the situation in the country today, it would be useful for us to reflect on how Malaysian Prime Ministers have related to power. The attitude towards power is at the crux of some of the controversies that confront our nation at this point in time. 

It is not widely known that our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stepped down as Prime Minister for three months in 1959 in order to strengthen his party, the Alliance, for the Federal Election after it had lost two states, Kelantan and Terengganu, in the State Elections which at that time were held before the Federal contest. Giving up power in this manner which was extraordinary by any standard showed that the privilege of position was not central to his life. Tunku stated openly that it would be wrong of him to take his salary as Prime Minister when he would be concentrating upon party work. A few years later, in the wake of the Alliance’s electoral setbacks in the 1969 General Election, and amidst  growing criticism of his leadership, the Tunku decided that he would  relinquish his position as Prime Minister and President of UMNO, the mainstay of the ruling Alliance. He chose not to cling on to power. 

The Tunku’s successor, Tun Abdul Razak, exercised enormous power for a while as Director of the National Operations Council (NOC), established to restore law and order following the May 13th riot. Instead of perpetuating NOC rule --- which he could have --- Razak and other key leaders brought back parliamentary democracy. Razak preferred the limitations of democratic governance to the unfettered power of absolute authority. 

The third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, led the country for a little more than five years and had to quit because of ill-health. His graceful exit won the accolades of the people. 

Unlike his three predecessors, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, had a stronger attachment to power. He was Prime Minister for 22 years but even in his case he gave up his position voluntarily. It was a smooth transition to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

Abdullah served only for five years and four months. The ruling Barisan Nasional’s failure to retain its two-third majority in the Federal Parliament and its defeat in five states made it difficult for Abdullah to continue as Prime Minister. He therefore chose to leave high office with dignity.

While in power, he created more space for dissent facilitated no doubt by the new media. Dissent in a democracy is the interrogation of power. His successor, Dato Sri Mohd Najib instituted specific democratic reforms through a Freedom of Assembly Act and by making some changes to the Printing and Publications Act and the University and University Colleges Act. Most of all, he did what none of his predecessors dared to do. He abolished the Internal Security Act (ISA) with its provision for detention without trial and the various Emergency Proclamations in September 2011.By doing so, he removed from the arsenal of the Executive some of its most powerful tools for dominance and control of society. Najib had subordinated power to principle.  

And yet in the last few months in the face of major controversies related to integrity and honesty, Najib has given the impression that he is determined to hold on to power come what may. Instead of facilitating and expediting investigations into 1MDB, he removed his two Cabinet colleagues --- Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Mahyuddin Yassin and Minister Dato Seri Shafie Apdal --who were most vocal in demanding that the Cabinet fulfill its promise of ensuring that the truth about 1MDB be made known to the public. Najib and his allies have also stymied the work of various agencies entrusted with the task of uncovering the operations of the state-owned company by easing out former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail; transferring out and intimidating officials of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC); investigating Bank Negara personnel; and emasculating Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee by incorporating four of its members into the Executive branch of Government. What has angered and incensed a significant segment of the public even more is Najib’s  utter inability to provide an honest explanation for the 2.6 billion ringgit deposited into his personal bank account in 2013. Some of the ludicrous attempts by the Prime Minister’s friends to justify the huge amount in his account as a donation that has been utilized for UMNO and the BN and other good causes have done immense damage to his credibility.

Indeed, Najib’s credibility is at its nadir. Public confidence in him has sunk to a low level. There is a yawning trust deficit between him and the people.
To restore the people’s trust he should:-

1) Be honest and open about both 1MDB --- he is the Chairman of its Board of Advisers --- and the money in his account. A few of us have made this call a number of times. 

2) Publicly encourage the Auditor-General to complete his investigations as soon as possible and not wait till December.

3) Enable the PAC to resume its work immediately by completing the necessary processes without any delay.

4) Give full support to conscientious officers in the MACC to complete their investigations without fear or favor.

5) Publicly declare that since Bank Negara has submitted the results of its investigation to the Attorney-General and expects the AG to enforce its recommendations, the AG should act expeditiously. The AG should also act with courage on the recommendations of the MACC and the PAC when the time comes.

If the Prime Minister does not act in the interest of truth and integrity and the situation deteriorates further with all its consequences for the economy and politics, the calls for him to resign which are getting louder and louder will reach a crescendo soon.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Momentous issues at stake in court by Prof. Shad Saleem Faruqi - The STAR

A legislature deriving its powers from a Constitution cannot devour the source of its powers.
THE Court of Appeal’s remarkable decision in the case of Muhammad Juzaili Mohd Khamis v Negri Sembilan is soon coming up for appeal to the Federal Court.
This was the famous Gender Identity Disorder (GID) or cross-dressers’ case in which Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 was held to be unconstitutional. The section provides that “any male person who in any public place wears a woman’s attire or poses as a woman shall be guilty of an offence”.
The three persons at the centre of the legal storm are young Muslims who are biologically males but who, according to expert witnesses, have an intrinsic, persistent, ineradicable identification with the female gender.
The Court of Appeal held that the impugned section was unconstitutional for a host of constitutional grounds.
Personal liberty: This fundamental right in Article 5(1) encompasses the right to dignity, work, livelihood and commingling with fellow human beings. Section 66 puts GID sufferers at perpetual risk of arrest, prosecution and uncertainty when they leave their house to go to their place of work.
Equality: Under Article 8(1), “like should be treated alike”. From this it flows that those dissimilarly situated should be treated dissimilarly. Section 66 omits any exception and treats GID sufferers as if they are normal males.
Further, Section 66 is gender-biased and contrary to Article 8(2) in that it singles out men who dress like girls but says nothing about girls who dress like boys.
Freedom of movement: Everyone has a right under Article 9 to freedom of movement. Section 66 criminalises any Muslim man who wears a woman’s attire in a public place.
Freedom of expression: This right under Article 10(1)(a) includes manner of one’s dressing and grooming but is subject to eight restrictions in Article 10(2)(a), including ‘morality’.
Who may enact the law? It was held in Kelantan v Nordin Salleh [1992] 1 CLJ 72 that the permissible restrictions on the rights in Article 10(1) can be enacted only by the federal parliament and not the state assemblies.
Unreasonableness: Though Sec­tion 66 falls within the powers of the state in Schedule 9 List II, Para 1 to create and punish offences against the precepts of Islam the law is unreasonable in that it fails to address the ineradicable dilemma of GID sufferers.
No proof of immorality: The Court of Appeal clarified that it does not condone homosexuality or prostitution, of which there was no evidence in relation to the persons concerned. Nor does the impugned section refer to such misconduct.
Inapplicability of Constitution: In reply to the cogent reasoning of the three distinguished Court of Appeal judges, it is reported that lawyers for Negri Sembilan are going to raise the revolutionary argument that syariah laws are not subject to the Constitution’s chapter on fundamental liberties!
What legal basis this audacious claim has remains to be seen. The learned judges of the Federal Court will undoubtedly take note of the following:
> Under Articles 4(1) and 162(6), our Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
> Though Islam is the religion of the Federation, Article 3(4) says that nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution.
> Despite Islam’s exalted position, the syariah is not the basic law of Malaysia or the litmus test of validity: Che Omar Che Soh (1988).
> Federal and state laws are subject to any conditions or restrictions imposed by the Constitution: Article 74(3). A stream cannot be higher than its source. The powers in Schedule 9 are subject to the chapter on fundamental rights as was laid down in Mamat Daud (1988).
> Any derogation from the Constitution’s commands must be specifically authorised as for example Articles 8(5), 11(4) and 153.
> The syariah is divine. But much of the “syariah law” in Malaysia is a fascinating mixture of divine commands, the fiqh (juristic reasoning) of the scholars of the Syafie school of Islam, Malay adat and the subjective craftsmanship of politically appointed state religious officers. That is why there are 14 separate, often conflicting, sets of laws in the country, each claiming to be the ideal syariah enactment!
> If syariah laws and syariah authorities are exempt from the chapter on fundamental rights, are they also liberated from other entrenched provisions of the Constitution on federal-state division of power, position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Malay Rulers, citizenship provisions and Malay special position? Why de-fundamentalise only the fundamental liberties?
> The Federal Court will undoubtedly note that Section 66 deals with “any male person”. This covers all persons including non-Muslims. The words “any public place” are also in need of a clear definition.
> The Federal Court will also note that this case is not just about the estimated 10,000 to 20,000 transgenders in this country. It is also about the largeness and compassion of Islam. “Allah makes no soul responsible for what is beyond its capacity” (2:233). The Quran acknowledges that there are “men who have no wiles with women” (24:31, 24:60).
> Prof Hashim Kamali informs us that Islamic jurisprudence recognises two categories of transgenders – the khunsas who resemble females because of inherent conditions and the mukhannath, men whose feminine behaviour is of their own making. For this reason, scientific evi-
dence needs to be obtained before the law is employed.
> In Pakistan, Kuwait, Egypt and Iran Islamic law grants transgendered people the right to sex reassignment surgery under certain medical and psychological conditions.
> The Court may wish to ask counsel for Negri Sembilan whether Islam requires every wrongdoing to be criminalised; whether a distinction between crime and sin exists in Islamic jurisprudence?
> Finally the court may be minded to ask itself whether we are going to jettison our Constitution and grant a carte blanche to authorities whose record of acting justly and complying with the Constitution is not too commendable.
> Are we going to forget the infamy caused to Islam by such overzealousness acts as raids on Christian churches and Hindu temples, seizing of books not yet banned, prosecution of a former Mufti just because he gave a ceramah without obtaining prior state permission and defiance of civil court decisions in the Borders bookstore case?
> The total inhumanity of denying custody to pining mothers whose husband had converted to Islam and abducted the infant children defies moral reasoning. Are these the authorities for whom exemption from the Constitution is being applied?
The Malaysian legal system stands at a crossroad. Our judges have the chance to choose the direction for our children and children’s children. I hope they choose wisely.
> Shad Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A return to the Constitution by Hariati Azizan - The STAR

Dr Shad Saleem: ‘If aurat is the issue, then why doesn’t the same law apply to Muslim men who compete in bodybuilding championships?
Dr Shad Saleem: ‘If aurat is the issue, then why doesn’t the same law apply to Muslim men who compete in bodybuilding championships?
It is important for us to defend our recourse for judicial challenge against discriminatory laws that curb our civil liberties, including Syariah laws, say constitutional experts.
WHEN the Court of Appeal declared a state syariah law criminalising cross-dressing as unconstitutional last year, many felt that the landmark ruling has nothing to do with them.
They are wrong, says Bar Council constitutional law committee co-chair Firdaus Husni.
The decision impacts all of us, says Firdaus.
As she points out, the ruling upholds four out of the nine basic human rights promised under the Federal Constitution: Article 5 which guarantees the right to live with dignity, Article 8 that ensures gender equality, Article 9 for freedom of movement and Article 10 for freedom of speech and expression.
In the landmark case mentioned, the three Muslim transgender bridal make-up artists in Negri Sembilan decided to challenge Section 66 of the state’s Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 after it was used to continuously intimidate, arrest and finally convict them in the religious court. The use of Section 66 against them deprived the three of their basic rights, particularly to leave their house without fear and to live with dignity.
As the appellate court heard, the three transwomen have been diagnosed with a medical condition called gender identity disorder (now classified as gender dysphoria by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5) which means their gender at birth is contrary to the one they identify with.
The condition, they claimed, led them to dress in female attire as it is the essence of the gender they identify with – as women.
As stated in the court’s judgement, Section 66 directly affects the three’s right to freedom of expression in that they are prohibited from wearing the attire and articles of clothing of their choice.
Firdaus stresses that freedom of expression is one of the fundamental liberties that are not incompatible with Islam, and as these fundamental rights are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, this shows that the constitution is also con­gruous with Islam.
Justice is the core of Islam, she says. It protects the basic rights of all, regardless of the individual’s background or beliefs.
Similarly, the Federal Constitution belongs to all of us, she argues.
“It provides for all Malaysians. It guarantees one’s fundamental liberties. It provides for good governance by setting out the powers of the government and institutions, as well as limits of those powers. It provides for a justice system. It provides for safeguards so that those in power do not arbitrarily take away protection provided by the Constitution for its people. I fail to see what is unIslamic about these.”
Firdaus believes it is not productive to look at the Federal Constitution, fundamental liberties and Islam as entirely exclusive of each other.
“We are taught that one wonderful feature of the religion of Islam is that it is universal. Unfortunately in Malaysia, at times this does not seem to translate in the exercise of one’s fundamental liberties as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.”
It is also for these reasons that all of us as Malaysians have the duty to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, she adds.
“If we don’t, what the Constitution seeks to provide, gua­rantee and protect will be meaningless.”
And while there is no such thing as absolute freedom or liberty, notes Firdaus, there is nothing that suggests that current civil laws are not Islamic.
“What has been the debate is rather the limit or extent of that liberty or freedom notwithstanding a debate in Islam or as a Western idea. To reconcile fundamental liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution with Islamic laws is to look at the bigger picture and find common grounds between the two. That common ground is the aim to achieve justice and fairness.
“Most times, we are too fixated on labels. If a law or anything for that matter does not, on its surface, appear to have any Islamic elements, then surely it is not Islamic and therefore bad. When a law is just and fair, isn’t that what Islam is all about too?”
Thus, as Article 4 provides that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law in Malaysia and any law passed which is inconsistent with the Consistent shall, to the extent of inconsistency, be void, the validity of Islamic laws, or any laws applicable in Malaysia, can be measured against what is provided under the Federal Constitution, says Firdaus.
“The word “law” under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution includes written law, the common law as far as applicable and any custom or usage having a force of law. Neither Article 4 nor Article 160 makes any exception on Islamic laws.
“Therefore, Islamic laws in Malaysia can and must be measured against constitutional rights to determine its validity,” she says.
Firdaus dismisses the fear that if any challenge to the Syariah Law is allowed, it will open the floodgates to other constitutional challenges on our Syariah law.
“This fear is unfounded,” she asserts.
“The challenge against Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment, for instance, is not the first time a Syariah law has been challenged. All laws applicable in the country including Islamic laws have to be measured against the Federal Constitution, and any inconsistency with the latter is void, as set out in Article 4 of the Federal Constitution. Article 4 is not a new law or inclusion into the Federal Constitution. Article 4, declaring supremacy of the Constitution, was already in existence when the Constitution first came into force on Aug 31, 1957. What the individuals in the challenge against Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment did is merely to go back to the Federal Constitution,” says Firdaus.
For constitutional expert Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, opening the floodgates can have a positive effect, and may even be necessary for Malaysia as a maturing nation.
“Well, if there are no floodgates, if floodwater is not allowed to flow out a little bit, it will burst out from the pressure that builds up and the dam will collapse,” Dr Shad Saleem philosophises.
The main issue, he underlines, is whether we believe that the Federal Constitution is supreme.
“That is the question we need to ask ourselves – is our Federal Constitution supreme or not?
“When our document of destiny was drafted in 1957 and substantially reconstituted in 1963, the following core features illuminated its content: The Constitution is supreme. Any law, whether federal or state, primary or secondary, enacted before or after Merdeka, which infringes the glittering gene­ralities of our basic law is void.”
Says Dr Shad Saleem, this includes the provisions on fundamental rights (Articles 5-13), federal-state division of powers and legis­lative procedures.
“The civil courts have the power to review all legislation on the touchstone of constitutionality including the Syariah law.
“Though Islam has the exalted position of being the religion of the federation, Article 3(4) says, “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution”.
Dr Shad Saleem adds that while it is better to go straight to the apex court of the country, the Federal Court, when challenging any state laws including Syariah Law, cases that concern laws that are against human rights can be handled by all civil courts.
“To prevent any danger of bias, it is better to go to one court, and the Federal Court is the best to handle the issue.
“However, when it involves the fundamental rights of a citizen, any court should be able to handle it, including the lower courts. The lower courts can always refer the case to the higher court should they choose to. There is no need to invoke Article 4 of the Federal Constitution; there are literally hundreds of cases concerning fundamental rights here that were handled by the High Court,” he says.
Citing Bank Islam v Adnan Omar (1994) and Che Omar Che Soh v PP (1988), he adds, the assertion that all Islamic civil and criminal laws are within state jurisdiction has no constitutional basis.
And while the contention that the “Islamic law” must be interpreted broadly as Islam is the supreme religion of the country and reflects “a complete way of life”, Dr Shad argues that the Syariah law is just a creation of human beings – they can be challenged and we should be allowed to challenge them.
“A large part of what is referred to as Syariah Law here in this country is actually a mix of Malay adat (traditions) and Islamic law only from the Shafie school of Islam,” he opines.
“It does not encompass the majestic width, breadth and depth of Islamic jurisprudence. The Shafie school of jurisprudence is also often the most extreme and conservative and obscurantist view of the law.”
Basically our Syariah Law is confined to a very narrow definition of the law, Dr Shad notes.
“The Syariah laws enacted by the various agencies here reflect the wisdom of the drafters of the laws, not necessarily the wisdom of God.”
In fact, Dr Shad believes there is selective persecution in our Syariah Law, as he cites the case of three Muslim women in Selangor who were charged under Sect 2 (C) of the Syariah Crimes Enactment Selangor 1995 for competing in a beauty pageant which is a violation of the religious edict from the National Fatwa Council that prohibits Muslim women from participating in beauty contests.
“If aurat (nakedness or shame) is the issue, then why doesn’t the same law apply to Muslim men who compete in Mr Universe and bodybuilding championships? Why is it all right for Muslim men to parade on stage in their underwear?” he argues.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Honesty is the best policy by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

No other episode in recent times has underscored the significance of that ancient adage cherished in all cultures, religions and civilizations --- HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY --- than the deposition of 2.6 billion ringgit into the personal bank account of Dato Sri Mohd Najib by a donor from the Middle East.

When the existence of this huge quantum of money in Mohd Najib’s personal account was first exposed by a foreign newspaper in early July 2015, he should have told the world the whole truth about the donation. He should have been honest and open with his people. Though it was his personal account, the donation was being made to an individual who is the Prime Minister of a sovereign, independent nation. That fact alone raises a number of critical moral issues.

One, did Prime Minister Najib inform others about the donation? Did he inform his wife and family, his colleagues in the Cabinet, in the UMNO-Barisan Nasional leadership, about receiving such a large sum of money from the Middle East? Was Bank Negara privy to this transaction? Was the Ministry of Finance aware of this? Was the information shared with the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and did the LHDN impose a tax upon the recipient?

Two, since the Prime Minister has said that the money was not used for “personal gain”, who  actually benefitted from it? Was it used for the 13th General Election, given that the money was transferred into his account a few weeks before the Election? Or was it used for purposes of charity and for humanitarian causes?  Or did people close to the Najib --- as it is alleged in certain quarters --- use part of the bounty for their own private interests?

Three, it is equally pertinent to ask, why did the donor --- a foreigner --- make the donation?  Was it a mark of his friendship with Najib? Or, was there some other motive behind it, related to bilateral ties, or foreign policy, or the economy?

The Prime Minster should reveal everything in a formal statement to the people. Malaysian citizens have a right to know. It was foreign money transferred into the bank account of their Prime Minister.

A public statement will also make it easier for both the Prime Minister and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when the latter questions the former about the money in his account . In this regard, the MACC should continue to probe the deposition of 2.6 billion ringgit into the Prime Minister’s bank account and to investigate the 4 billion ringgit involving SRC International, 1MDB’s former subsidiary.  The MACC should be commended and supported by all Malaysians who value integrity and honesty in public life for trying its very best to carry out its responsibilities in an increasingly difficult situation. This is what Amanah ( fulfilling trust) is all about.  It is a shame that so far seven individuals associated with the MACC have been detained by the police and their statements recorded. MACC offices have been raided. Important documents have been removed. The MACC’s Chief Commissioner, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed is on leave. The Acting Chief Commissioner, Datuk Mustafar Ali, has said that police investigations on some of MACC’s personnel in relation to the alleged leakage of classified documents could affect its probe on SRC International.

The police should realize that it is not those who reveal wrongdoings who are a threat to national security but those who commit wrongdoings and then go all out to undermine any attempt to establish the truth and to punish the culprits.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar.
Kuala Lumpur.

6 August 2015.