Zakir Naik should be extradited to India to face trial


April 17, 2017

Zakir Naik should be extradited to India to face trial

UMNO Malays are a confused lot

COMMENT by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com

The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal has already turned Malaysia into a nation of kleptocrats and somewhat of a rogue nation in the eyes of the world.

In the United States, this is by and large the biggest case of money-laundering that the country has ever seen, considering that the US has existed since 1786. The latest that we have learnt is that they are now filing criminal charges against Jho Low.

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Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Arab Philanthropist, not the King of Saudi Arabia. US Department of Justice will bring Jho Low to trial for moneylaundering

According to The Wall Street Journal, Low, a Malaysian who is a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is now a major suspect in a money-laundering case involving 1MDB. He is also a person of interest in Singapore.

The money-laundering scandal is being investigated in a number of countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, and although the major scandal happened with a Malaysian investment arm under the Finance Ministry, to date, no one has been prosecuted.

This has put us in a very tight situation. While we are talking about North Korea as a rogue nation because they have yet to return the four suspects in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, we are no better.

Interpol red alert

Although an Interpol red alert has been sought against Zakir Naik under a non-bailable warrant issued by Mumbai’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act court, no action has been taken to repatriate him back to India.

This has placed Zakir as a prime suspect in some major money-laundering. And, instead of going back to India to contend his case in court, the defiant preacher accused the Indian authorities of having “double motives”.

Malaysians should not be duped by Zakir’s argument that he had offered India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) an interview through video-conferencing or phone. No authorities would agree to that.

By remaining here in Malaysia (or elsewhere), Zakir is putting more strain on the country’s reputation. Certainly, he does not care as long as he has a place to escape, but it does not go well on his own reputation.

If he has done nothing wrong, he should surrender himself to the Indian authorities and request for the interview to be recorded or observed through glass windows by his lawyers. His defiance puts Zakir in a bad light.

Unless he has something to hide, he should not be afraid to face the NIA. The NIA would not have applied for the Interpol red alert unless they have obtained solid evidence against Zakir.

Image result for Chief Mufti of Perlis and Zakir Naik

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi hopes Zakir Naik can save him from Najib Razak’s political axe.  Hindraf’s P Waythamoorthy takes a strong stand for the neglected Indian Community. Shame on the MIC Leadership. No ‘Nambikei’.

Look at the US Department of Justice. It took time for them to finally arrive at a decision to file criminal charges against Low. The time will come when the long arm of the law will catch up with Zakir. Zakir will have to eventually face the law, whether now or later.

Fugitives have no credibility

Zakir can continue living as a fugitive, but whatever he preaches will no longer hold water. We are talking common sense, and there is no attempt to belittle any religion. This is a case involving someone who is being pursued by the Indian authorities.

On the back of everyone’s mind is: “Why is this man running away from the authorities? Is he involved in money-laundering? Why is he allowed to settle down in Malaysia? Was he also involved either directly or indirectly with the attack on the Artisan Bakery in Gulshan Thana in Dhaka, where 29 people were killed?”

There are only two options for Zakir. Either he continues to live in Malaysia and remain a fugitive, or he to returns to India to face the law enforcers if he believes that he is not guilty of the charges against him – which I think is more honourable for him. There is a Malay saying, “Berani kerana benar” (Be brave because you are right).

I am sure that the Indian authorities would be professional about it and they would record the interview on video; in fact, they would be equally concerned that Zakir turned around and complained of ill-treatment during the interrogation.

As long as Zakir remains in Malaysia, he will drag Malaysia further down. At the back of the minds of the Indian community in this country, it appears that a fugitive is given better protection than the local Indians.

Image result for Corrupt and Lying Najib RazakReally, Prime Minister Najib Razak? You sold Malaysia and hoodwinked Malaysians. And you are about to do it again in GE-14

I wish to quote from Hindraf’s chair, P Waythamoorthy, who had once trusted Najib during the lead up to the last general election.

Waythamoorthy wrote: “This new plan to launch a new Malaysian Indian Blueprint on April 23 is nothing but to hoodwink the Indians. Najib, enough is enough! Your public apology to the Indians for their four decades of neglect under BN on April 18, 2013, is still fresh in the minds of Indians.

“You and your UMNO and MIC Ministers have cheated the Indians with your ‘Nambikei’ slogan. Hindraf worked hard to deliver the Indian votes in the earnest belief of finding a permanent and comprehensive solution to the problems faced by the downtrodden.”

Waythamoorthy’s statement is very clear. And by Hindraf’s court case against Zakir, it means that BN will lose more Indian votes this time by protecting Zakir, a foreigner and a wanted person in his own country.


STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

Speaker Pandikar Amin (NOT)Mulia gets notice of court action on tabling of Act 355


April 5, 2017

Speaker Pandikar Amin (NOT) Mulia gets notice of court action on tabling of Act 355

by Adrian Wong@www.malaysiakini.com

Image result for Tawfik Ismail

Civil Society Activist

Mr. Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, the son of former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, expects PAS not to table the controversial proposed amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 in Parliament tomorrow.

This comes with him having served an originating summons to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, to make the entire tabling of the amendment to be sub judice.

“We do not expect the Act 355 amendment to be on the order paper for tomorrow,” Tawfik told reporters after serving the summons he obtained from the High Court, which he served on the speaker of the House.

His solicitor, Mansoor Saat, who was also present, explained that this would be so because the Speaker had set precedents in past matters that the issue of sub-judice would set in if a matter before the House is taken to court.

“Following the precedents in some other cases, similar with this issue, the amendments should not go into the Dewan Rakyat for the tabling,” Mansoor added.

Tawfik filed the originating summons in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last Friday, to seek a declaration that the proposed Act 355 amendments were unconstitutional.

Tawfik explained at the press conference today that the move to table the amendments without the Malay rulers or Conference of Rulers’ giving the go-ahead would deem them unconstitutional. This is because the nine Malay rulers also head Islamic matters in their respective states.

“This move is taken to defend the country and the Federal Constitution. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also has to defend the rule of law.

“For me, the court should make several declarations so that the amendments would not cause problems in the people’s thinking,” Tawfik said, adding that the application was filed in court last Friday and copies were served today to Pandikar (photo) and the Dewan Rakyat secretary.

He added that he was acting urgently on this matter, because Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang would be able to table the amendments on the last day of the Parliament sitting, which is tomorrow.

He said this was something of natural concern, and “we do not think that the proper procedures have been followed in Parliament”.

‘Must always abide by the constitution’

Tawfik added that he had sent several letters on the matter, and even to the Keeper of the Rulers Seal to ascertain if the Malay rulers had given their approval to the controversial bill or otherwise.

“We already sent another notice to remind the ‘Speaker last week, and he didn’t respond. So we have no choice but serve the originating summons today.

“We wrote to the rulers before the Rulers’ Conference in March. And the amendments did not get any acknowledgement of approval from them.We are also concerned because the government too wanted to table its own bill on the same basis. But if the government did not have the consent of the rulers, then how? We must always abide by the constitution,” he said.

 

Najib Razak is playing with Islamic Fire and will be burnt politically

“I hope the Prime Minister (Najib Abdul Razak) feels the same on this. Maybe, due to political reasons, he has been caught. If Abdul Hadi does it the proper way, by getting the rulers first of all to agree, then nobody would have an issue of its constitutionality. We are not attacking the philosophy behind this bill, because it is not religious as far as I am concerned. This concerns a matter of rule of law,” Tawfik explained.

 

Much Ado over the word “Alleged”– But Missing Dean’s Message


March 18, 2017

Much Ado over the word “Alleged— But Missing Dean’s Message

by Dean Johns @www.malaysiakini.com

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The Alleged Malaysian Official No. 1 who allegedly stole Billions of Ringgit from 1MDB

Many readers have complained about what they see as the over-use of the word ‘alleged’ in the alleged columns that allegedly appear in Malaysiakini under my alleged name. And I sympathise with these critics in the sense that constant over-use of ‘alleged’ or indeed any other word can be very tedious.

But in my own defence I have to say that a good many appearances of ‘alleged’ in my columns are there by courtesy of my long-suffering sub-editors, in their ceaseless attempts to lend some sense of journalistic propriety to my practice of accusing members of Malaysia’s UMNO-BN regime of crimes of which, despite apparently overwhelming evidence, they have not, at least so far, been proven guilty.

Far from convicted, in fact, most have never even tried, investigated or identified as suspects, or even, for that matter, have even admitted that the crimes I and others allege against them have ever actually occurred.

As, for example, in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) case, which the court of public opinion and a good many legal jurisdictions around the world regard as a monstrous swindle and money-laundering scam, but whose alleged mastermind, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak aka Malaysian Official 1 or MO1 and his alleged accomplices and supporters claim is entirely free of any shred of irregularity or impropriety, let alone criminality.

A situation that explains why I have to plead guilty of frequently pre-empting my sub-editors by personally employing, and in the process arguably over-employing, the word ‘alleged’ for the purpose of making the point that there is no evidence, let alone proof, that any of the UMNO-BN regime’s alleged agencies of alleged government can be accused of honestly carrying-out its sworn duty.

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Malaysia’s Attorney-General who allegedly cleared Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak of any wrongdoing over RM2.6 billion of 1MDB money that went to the latter’s personal bank account

There’s precious little or no proof, for example, that the alleged Royal Malaysian Police Force properly performs its function of impartially and equally enforcing the laws of the land and protecting the populace, as it is evidently far too busy protecting the interests, allegedly criminal and otherwise, of the regime that effectively owns it.

Just as there is lamentably little evidence for the proposition that the alleged judiciary administers the laws, either criminal or civil, for the benefit of the Malaysian people at large.

Especially in light of the fact that an Attorney-General (AG) who some time ago showed signs of intending to investigate the 1MDB can of worms was summarily ‘retired’ in favour of a successor who immediately decided that allegations against Najib/MO1 and his fellow suspects were false and without foundation.

Similarly, the alleged ‘journalists’ of Malaysia’s alleged mainstream ‘news’ media can never be suspected or accused of performing their professional duty of reporting the news without fear or favour, or indeed of reporting anything at all that might inconvenience, embarrass or more likely incriminate the ruling regime.

Image result for Malaysia's Attorney General The Pious Saudi Royals who were allegedly donated RM2.6 billion to the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak

While the regime’s alleged ‘religious’ authorities, for their part, persistently support UMNO’s alleged, indeed all-too-obviously false claim to be the ‘defender’ of Islam, despite the regime’s routinely committing such excesses of corruption and criminality as to disgrace Islam or any other alleged ‘faith’.

And the alleged Electoral Commission (EC) is apparently on a mission to avoid even the hint of any suggestion that it might honestly perform its function of ensuring relatively equal numbers of voters across electorates, as specifically required by the constitution, let alone polls free of bribery or other forms of rigging in the regime’s favour.

Indeed, the alleged EC is so extremely biased toward UMNO-BN that the current alleged government, since it lost the majority vote in the 2013 general election, can arguably be considered not guilty of actually being legitimately in power at all.

Preferring a more presidential role?

 Prime minister Najib Razak has denied accusations that he stole money from state fund 1MDB.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has denied accusations that he alledgly stole money from state fund 1MDB. Allegedly  Pious Muslim. Photograph: Fazry Ismail/EPA

And as far as many of us are concerned, Najib Abdul Razak is only allegedly Prime Minister of the country, as he clearly prefers playing a more presidential role in which he seldom deigns to attend Parliament, and he and his alleged ministers are protected from replying to questions by an alleged speaker who perceives his function solely in terms of preventing the alleged opposition from speaking.

Speaking of speaking, I suspect that at least some of the readers of Malaysiakini who allege that ‘allege’ appears far too often in my alleged columns are themselves only allegedly regular, honest Malaysians.

In other words, a great many anonymous alleged readers, to judge by the low standard of their alleged English and the idiocy and suspicious uniformity of their alleged ‘opinions’, are actually so-called ‘cybertroopers’, or in other words paid propagandists, or, if you prefer, propagandistutes, for UMNO-BN’s alleged ‘government’.

Admittedly, of course, it could be alleged that my ceaseless allegations against UMNO-BN and its members and minions could be nothing but figments of my alleged imagination, and evidence of a tendency to paranoia into the bargain.

Image result for Malaysia's Attorney General

Kevin Morais who was allegedly murdered

It’s altogether possible, of course. But, as boring as all my alleging may be to some, I can’t bring myself to either apologise for this practice or to allege that I intend to engage in it any less.

After all, I owe it to myself as a genuine rather than merely alleged writer, and even more so to you as a truly rather than allegedly respectable and intelligent reader, to go right on expressing my allergy to UMNO-BN’s countless alleged Ali Babas and their ridiculous alleged alibis.


DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia’, ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’, ‘Missing Malaysia’, ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.

 

Looking Back on Vietnam before the 1968 Tet Offensive


March 17, 2017

Looking Back on Vietnam before the 1968 Tet Offensive: America’s Defeat or Nixon’s Peace with Honor

 

Hopefully, this will remind President Donald Trump and his associates in The White House to deal with Asia with care.  We in Asia will not allow ourselves to be your pawns again. It is easy but expensive to make war.

Learn not only from Vietnam but also from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Syria. America, you are not invincible. So give diplomacy a chance and allocate more money to Foggy Bottom (The State Department) and control the military-industrial complex and The Pentagon. –Din Merican.

 

Gauging The Hudud Thing in Malaysia


March 14, 2017

Gauging The Hudud Thing in Malaysia–Political Islamism out of UMNO’s desperation

by Rashaad Ali

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/03/08/gauging-support-for-islamic-law-in-malaysia/

Image result for The Hudud Thing in UMNO's Malaysia

The Desperate Godfathers of Hududism in Malaysia–UMNO’s Najib Razak and PAS’Hadi Awang

The 18 February 2017 rallies both for and against the bill to amend the 1965 Criminal Jurisdiction Act, known as RUU 355, have opened yet another political and social schism in Malaysian society. RUU 355 began as a private member’s bill by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) President Hadi Awang and seeks to raise the penalties for certain crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of sharia courts in Malaysia.

Public opinion appears divided on the issue, as the continued politicisation of religion takes precedence over authentic religious debate on the matter. Some see the bill as a facade for the eventual entry of hudud — Islamic — laws into the country. PAS held the rally in support of the bill, which drew a reported 20,000 people, while the counter rally was organised by the non-governmental organisation Bebas and drew a much more modest crowd of around 200.

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Hudud –The  Political Hypocrisy of  It All

Support for the bill is significant enough. Various surveys, including one conducted recently amongst university students, indicate Malay-Muslim support for the amendment and for the implementation of Islamic laws. The pro-RUU 355 rally emphasises this and the numbers indicate some level of moderate success for PAS — mobilising 20,000 odd people for a rally is no small feat.

But as the subject of this bill is central to the party’s aims, larger numbers could have been expected. This suggests a difficulty in appealing to urban folk and that mobilised supporters from other, more remote parts of the country account for the majority of the turnout.

Image result for zaid ibrahim dapThis Guy does not  know where he is coming or going in Malaysian Politics–UMNO to PKR to DAP and what next?

The counter rally, held at the same time but at a different location to the PAS gathering, better demonstrates the mood regarding the bill. While the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) was critical of the bill when it was first announced, it eventually distanced itself from the counter rally completely. The only DAP name who attended was Zaid Ibrahim, and that was in his individual capacity rather than as a party member.

The DAP’s absence is unsurprising as the issue puts it in a difficult position: the DAP may not support the bill, but attending the counter rally would cement the perception that they are an anti-Malay and anti-Muslim party. The discourse surrounding this issue has been very black and white; support for the bill is seen as a Muslim’s religious duty, while opposition to it is deemed vehemently anti-Islamic.

The general public’s low attendance at the counter rally suggests that the issue was not significant enough to take to the streets in numbers. For Malay-Muslims, the fear of reprisal for attending a rally seen as anti-Islamic is a significant factor in keeping people away. It appears easier for the pro-RU 355 rally to draw Malays, as the narrative is more populist, keeps with a conservative Islamic position and is supported by major Malay parties like the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and PAS.

As for non-Muslim participation, it appears this issue is neither relevant nor attractive enough to drag would-be participants out of bed in the morning. They can hardly be blamed as many voices from the pro-RU 355 camp constantly state that the amendment will not affect non-Muslims.

Although this amendment does not mean that non-Muslims are suddenly going to be tried under sharia law, having two legal systems for two different groups of people brings the notion of equality before the law into question. For a multicultural country that should seek to be inclusive instead of exclusive, these amendments are not helpful, especially when considering the knock-on effect it will have on the country as a whole.

Past cases of overlapping jurisdiction between sharia and civil courts, such as conversion cases or burial rights of non-Muslims indicate that the separation of the courts is not clearly defined. While the bill aims to raise the penalties for certain crimes under sharia law such as murder and theft, some constitutional experts argue that these crimes fall strictly under the purview of federal, not sharia, law. This bill exacerbates an already highly polarised society divided along racial and religious lines.

It is also another episode in the overall Islamisation trend happening in Malaysia that directly and indirectly affects all groups in society. Various incidents in the past few years point to how religious relations in the country can easily sour. A church was forced to take down its cross display in 2015, there have been recent issues with the usage and distribution of paint brushes containing pig bristles and there is now moral policing of dress code at government buildings.

The issue is complicated further because it is primarily for political rather than religious purposes. Putting aside PAS’ ambition to see this through, the bill is an obvious affirmation of the party’s own religious credentials. In the current climate, this helps to regain the trust of its core supporters, which also explains why the UMNO has jumped on the bill’s bandwagon. It helps the UMNO bolster its image at a time when the administration has suffered a dip in popularity. The timing of this issue is also convenient, as elections are due to be held by 2018.

As it stands, it would not be surprising if the bill passes next month when it comes to parliament. Opposition members who oppose the bill are likely to be absent from the vote for fear of being branded anti-Islamic. If the amendment passes, the biggest concern is whether it will worsen existing racial and religious polarisation in the country. Given the political dimension of the bill and the looming general election, a more inclusive Malaysia is not yet on the horizon.

Rashaad Ali is a research analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

This article was first published here on RSIS.

 

 

A blinkered Fiscal Vision-There is no such thing as a free lunch, Mr. Trump


Match 7, 2017

Donald Trump may have veered from self-inflicted crisis to self-inflicted crisis over the course of his young presidency, but he has kept one policy goal steadily before him: tax cuts for the wealthy. A case in point is his recent proposal to find $54 billion more for military spending by slashing Head Start, food aid for low-income pregnant women, environmental protection and other programs. Those trade-offs are bad enough in themselves. But they also reveal a ruinous worldview in which nondefense spending is always excessive and tax cuts are necessary for growth. This sort of thinking will only weaken the economy and betray the people who put their hopes in Mr. Trump.

Spending on the nonmilitary discretionary programs that have been targeted by Mr. Trump comes to 3.2 percent of the economy — well below the average of 3.8 percent going back to 1962. By calling for cuts that would average about 15 percent in almost every category other than defense and “mandatory” programs like Social Security and Medicare, Mr. Trump would undermine his promises to make sure “every child in America has access to a good education,” to help the “poorest and most vulnerable” and to rebuild infrastructure. Other categories at risk of being cut include scientific and medical research, job training, national parks, air traffic control and maintenance of dams.

Worse yet, some Republicans may call for limiting Mr. Trump’s proposed reductions by cutting instead from Social Security and Medicare, which Mr. Trump has pledged to protect. That would be needlessly tightfisted. A rich nation with a resilient economy can afford to care for both the poor and the elderly. Besides, support for the elderly is already becoming stingier as a result of changes instituted years ago, including an increase in the Social Security retirement age from 65 in 2002 to 67 by 2027.

That is not to imply that all spending cuts are off limits. But it’s sensible to mix them with tax increases. The approach of Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans would deeply cut taxes even as spending is slashed.

Mr. Trump has essentially called for three tax cuts: a personal income tax cut, a corporate income tax cut and a cut achieved by repealing the Affordable Care Act. Specifics are scant, but one thing is clear: All three would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans. A campaign draft of the income tax plan indicated that at least half of the proposed multitrillion-dollar tax cut would flow to the top 1 percent of earners in 2025, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Repealing the A.C.A. would end the additional 0.9 percent Medicare Hospital Tax on incomes above $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples).

Image result for trump's fiscal policy plan
Donald Trump is a bold conservative. But he’s not just a conservative on fiscal issues… He is a foreign policy conservative, too! That’s why  on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Donald Trump explained his plan to do what President Barack Obama is unable to do: Destroy the Islamic State (ISIS). But make sure that these mentally deranged Islamic fanatics don’t screw  you first like they did to George W. Bush on September 9, 2011

Mr. Trump and Republican lawmakers say tax cuts spread prosperity by generating economic growth and thus increasing federal revenue — a thoroughly debunked claim. Experience shows that large tax cuts either deepen the nation’s debt or necessitate spending cuts. Forecasts from the Congressional Budget Office indicate that if tax revenue is not increased in the coming decade, spending cuts of $3 trillion — or about 25 percent outside of Social Security and Medicare — will be required to keep the debt at its current level of 77.5 percent of the economy. Clearly, if defense spending rises in the coming decade, as Mr. Trump has called for, while tax revenue declines, either the debt will rise or spending cuts will need to be even deeper.

Both outcomes can be avoided by abandoning deep tax cuts. It would be wise to take on new debt for stimulus during economic downturns or for infrastructure investments, but not to finance tax cuts during a military buildup. Economic activity could be encouraged by bolstering wages, including federal overtime protections. Tax revenue could be raised in constructive ways, including a carbon tax.

Giving the wealthy never-ending tax cuts while gutting programs for the middle class would create more of the resentment and inequality Mr. Trump has promised to address.