In Year of the Dog, Malaysian businesses play down, skirt dog decorations

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Picture of dog

Dogs are considered ‘unclean’ under Islamic tradition and Muslims are required to carry out a ritual of washing themselves if they are in contact with the animal. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Some Malaysian businesses are skirting around or playing down the portrayal of canines in Chinese New Year decorations this year, wary of offending the country’s Muslim majority in the Year of the Dog.

Dogs are considered “unclean” under Islamic tradition and Muslims are required to carry out a ritual of washing themselves if they are in contact with the animal.

Multicultural Malaysia has seen an increasing intolerance towards activities considered insulting to Islam, reflected in protests in recent years of beer festivals and concerts.

While Muslim Malays are the biggest ethnic group among Malaysia’s 32 million people, Chinese make up the second-biggest group with 23 per cent of the population.

One shopping mall in the popular Kuala Lumpur tourist area of Bukit Bintang did not depict dogs in its decorations ahead of the new year in February, focusing instead on the 10th anniversary theme of the centre, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.

Director of Marketing Kung Suan Ai said religious and cultural sensitivities were a determining factor in conceptualising decorations. The mall attracts three million people of various backgrounds each month, she said.

Read more

Nur Sajat deserves respect and dignity ‘just like any other’ human, SIS tells Jakim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Nur Sajat (far right) posted on her Instagram account a picture of her meeting with an unidentified man wearing a skullcap whom she listed only as a Jakim officer.

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — Non-governmental Islamic group Sisters in Islam (SIS) wants Malaysia’s federal Islamic authority to stop its probe into Nur Sajat Kamaruzzaman’s gender.

The group said the lengthy verification process by the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on the popular entrepreneur is a “gross violation to the rights of an individual and disparages a person’s dignity as a human being”.

“Nur Sajat deserves to be regarded and treated with respect and dignity as a fellow Malaysian, just like any other,” SIS said in a statement today.

It questioned the need for a Shariah research panel to take at least one month to look into Nur Sajat’s gender identity and expressed concern that the probe may cause mental, emotional and even physical harm to the latter.

Read more

41 parents fail to become parties in ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Chief Justice Raus Sharif however allows them to become friends of the court in landmark case on whether Muslim children born out of wedlock can be given the surname of a person acknowledging himself as the father.

Picture of Raus Sharif

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

PUTRAJAYA: Twenty couples and a single parent have failed to become parties in a Federal Court appeal that will decide whether a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock can take his or her father’s surname instead of “Abdullah”.

However, a five-court bench led by Chief Justice Raus Sharif allowed them to become amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist parties in the appeal which will be heard on Feb 7.

Raus said the appeal came by way of judicial review and it was not fair for the applicants to be made interveners.

“There are various steps to follow. If we allow it, it will be side-stepping the procedures,” he said.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who appeared for the National Registration Department (NRD), its director-general and the government, was not invited to make his submission.

Lawyer Azahar Azizan Harun, who represented the applicants, later told reporters he would appear as a friend of the court.

Interveners appear as parties to the appeal and, as such, can make submissions as of right. Those with “friend of the court” status only have the privilege of addressing the court at the invitation of the bench.

Read more

Yes, 1MDB showed failings, lapses in governance, says Najib

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Picture of najib

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Razak today issued a frank admission of 1MDB’s failure, adding that there had been “valid cause for concern” over the state company’s affairs which have triggered investigations in several parts of the world.

“Now, I am not going to brush over this issue. There were indeed failings at the company, there were lapses in governance,” Najib told some 1,000 people at the Invest Malaysia 2018 conference today.

But Najib said the 1MDB issue had been politically exploited, adding that there was “a concentrated campaign” to sabotage the Malaysian economy.

He said the government was aware of 1MDB’s failings, which was why it had launched an investigation involving multiple authorities.

“Their findings were taken on board – and the company’s board was dissolved, its management team changed, and its operations reviewed,” he said.

1MDB was created by the government to promote long-term economic development for the benefit of the Malaysian people.

Read more

Reminder not to support opposition was ‘fatherly advice’, says Mahdzir’s press team

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Mahdzir Khalid

Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid was ‘only advising you not to make statements that could negatively affect your future’. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 20, 2018.

EDUCATION Minister Mahdzir Khalid was giving “fatherly advice” when he reminded teachers and education officers not to support the opposition, the minister’s press team said on Twitter.

“What he said was like the advice that a father would give his children and not as the media have made it out to be in news that have gone viral,” the Education Ministry’s Media and Communications Office posted on Twitter late last night.

“He advises everyone, especially the civil servants, to be wise when making decisions and when issuing statements against the government, because they serve the government for the sake of the people.

“The statements you make can undermine your (civil servants) position in the public sector. Hence, he was only advising you not to make statements that could negatively affect your future. Thank you.”

The tweets were accompanied by a report of Mahdzir being quoted by Chinese daily Kwong Wah telling teachers that disciplinary action would be taken against them if they backed the opposition.

He said civil servants, including education department officers and teachers, were barred from joining any opposition party or criticising the government as these were tantamount to sabotaging the government and tarnishing its image.

Mahdzir, who was delivering the ministry’s new year message at an event in Putrajaya, was quoted telling teachers who were guilty of such acts to resign before the ministry asked them to do so.

It was all right, however, if the teachers were to join any of the ruling political parties, he said.

Read more

Gap between rich, middle-income earners set to widen further

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Picture drawn from Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The gap between the rich and middle-income earners is set to further widen in Malaysia as the business environment continues to favour those with money and high skills, according to an economist.

Sunway University economics Professor Yeah Kim Leng said these two elements were the main contributing factors to the income gap and inequality.

“Our economy favours those with capital and high skills. Even though there are a lot of jobs in the service and manufacturing industries, those holding mid and low-level jobs have not seen much increase in their wages.

“Prices of food seem to be increasing faster than their salaries,” he told FMT.

He said this was not the case for those with money as they had the capital to invest in stock markets and take part in other forms of investment.

“The rich are also getting richer because of the low-interest rates, allowing them a tremendous increase in liquidity. This has injected higher capacity of cash benefiting the rich,” he explained.

Due to this, he said, the rich would continue to spend money on acquiring luxury cars and high-end properties.

Read more

To fight crime, let’s have a national CCTV policy

Source: The Star Online

Picture of camera

Picture drawn from The Star Online

SUBANG JAYA: The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) has proposed that the Government establish a national policy on closed-circuit television (CCTV).

Its vice-chairman Datuk Seri Ayub Yaakob said the proposal was made during the one-day Selangor MCPF townhall discussion on effective strategies in prevention of crime and drug abuse here Saturday.

“We have seen billions of ringgit being spent and CCTVs installed everywhere, but none of them followed any regulation or policy to assist in crime prevention and criminal investigations.

“Therefore, we urge the Government to formulate a policy as a means of regulating CCTVs as has been implemented in developed countries such as Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom,” he told a press conference after the discussion.

Read more

Asyraf: Don’t make viral videos of cross-dressers

Source: The Star

Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki

Picture drawn from The Star Online

KOTA BARU: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (pic) has urged the public not to make viral videos which are of no value or benefit, including those involving cross-dressers.

Asyraf Wajdi said such videos did not benefit the community or help build a good mindset and sense of identity.

“There are many more important things, and for me, the media should not sensationalise things that are not beneficial to the people,” he said.

Asyraf Wajdi said that he does not want to comment on things that don’t bring meaning to the development of the ‘ummah’ (Muslim community) and the country.

Read more

Use of Sedition Act unconstitutional ‘as it’s not made by Parliament’

Source: The Malaysian Insight

picture of Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram speaking at the launch of the Selangor Bar’s new auditorium in Section 13, Shah Alam, today. He says if a pre-Merdeka law cannot be brought to accord with the constitution because it violates the doctrine of separation of powers, then the court has ‘no choice, but to strike it down’. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin

THE use of the British-inherited Sedition Act 1948 to prosecute individuals is unconstitutional as it is a pre-Merdeka law, said a former Federal Court judge.

Gopal Sri Ram, who represented Anwar Ibrahim in the opposition leader’s second sodomy trial in 2014, said only Parliament had the power to impose restrictions on freedom of speech.

“The Sedition Act is an existing law. All right. It is good. You can frame it up on your wall. But, you cannot prosecute anyone under it because it is not a law made by Parliament.

“So, it is an existing law and a valid law, but it cannot be enforced,” he said during a lecture at the launch of the Selangor Bar’s new auditorium in Section 13, Shah Alam.

Read more

‘Stop all illegal logging’

Source: The Star

picture of deforestation

Scarred landscape: An aerial view showing part of Bukit Enggang cleared due to logging activities in Sik, Kedah. — ZAINUDIN AHAD/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is urging the relevant authorities to put a stop to all illegal and unsustainable logging in forest reserves to preserve the vital water catchment areas and their rich biodiversity.

Its president Henry Goh said it was irregular for a large swathe of forest reserve of more than 500ha in Bukit Enggang, Sik, Kedah, to be logged without an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

“The villagers living in the foothills of Bukit Enggang have to ‘dam up the river’ to collect water for their daily use.

“This river is heavily polluted by the logging in the forest located upstream which has rendered the water unusable,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Goh said other logging concessions closer to villages were given out for logging in Bukit Enggang without any consideration of the impact on people living in the vicinity.

Read more