What a Najib win could mean for Malaysia

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The rule of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional looks set to be extended for many years to come if the Umno-PAS alignment works, according to an editorial in the East Asia Forum.

However, this portends ill for the non-Malay minorities and liberal Muslims, as Umno, increasingly dependent on PAS, dances to the latter’s tunes, it says.

The editorial of the East Asia Forum, which is based in the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, says Najib Razak will almost certainly survive the 1MDB scandal unscathed if Umno’s understanding with PAS holds and its manoeuvring to drive a wedge between the opposition parties continues to succeed.

“Decades of institutional degeneration under Umno rule, and the concentration of power in the office of the prime minister, has seen Najib able to swat away any domestic attempts to hold him to account for his role in the 1MDB affair. The unfortunate importance of identity politics in shaping voter behaviour also helps insulate him from much of the electoral backlash.”  Read more

Umno can file any motion in Penang, says Guan Eng

Source: The Malay Mail Online

GEORGE TOWN, April 10 — Penang Umno can file any motion at next month’s state legislative assembly, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

The Penang lawmaker said Penang practises a democracy, so the state Opposition can file any motions even if it is against him.

“Even though our motion to ask for the prime minister’s resignation was rejected in Parliament, we will allow them to move their motion in Penang because we practise a democracy,” he said in a press conference at his office today.

He was responding to a statement by Penang Umno Liaison chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman who said state Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid will be filing a motion calling for Lim’s resignation due to his ongoing corruption case in court.

“So far we have no objection to them filing the motion, but it is up to the Speaker to decide,” he said. Read more

In tit for tat, Penang Umno to file motion against Guan Eng

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Penang Umno state liaison chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said Lim Guan Eng’s (pic) refusal to relinquish his post or to take leave due to the corruption charges against him has tarnished the authority of the Penang Chief Minister’s office. — Picture by K.E.Ooi for the MMO.

Penang Umno state liaison chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said Lim Guan Eng’s (pic) refusal to relinquish his post or to take leave due to the corruption charges against him has tarnished the authority of the Penang Chief Minister’s office. — Picture by K.E.Ooi for the MMO.

GEORGE TOWN, April 10 — Penang Umno said today it will table a motion demanding for Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s resignation, after he announced plans to file a motion condemning an Umno MP’s comments on rape victims.

Penang Umno state liaison chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said Penang Umno has decided to ask its Opposition Leader, Datuk Jahara Hamid, to table the motion at the state legislative assembly that will start on May 19.

“We want to reiterate our call to Lim to take leave or to resign from his chief minister post until his corruption case in court is over,” he said in a statement issued today.

He said Lim’s refusal to relinquish his post or to take leave due to the corruption charges against him has tarnished the authority of the Penang Chief Minister’s office.

“Witnesses especially government officials will be at a loss and feel pressured if they are called to give their testimony in court against a chief minister who is still in office,” he claimed.

He added that the long trial of the case will also disrupt the daily schedule of the chief minister and could adversely affect the state administration. Read more

The politics of Himpunan 355 — Hew Wai Weng

Source: New Mandala

Hew Wai Weng reports on Malaysia’s recent rally for sharia law, and what it says about the prospects for Islamic party PAS in upcoming elections.

On 18 February, Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur hosted Himpunan 355, a rally to support the enactment of the 1965 Syariah Courts Act, best known as RUU 355. The rally was organised by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), together with a few Muslim organisations.

The enactment of RUU 355, proposed by PAS President Hadi Awang, is a contentious issue in Malaysia. PAS leaders have publicly reiterated that the main aim of the proposed amendment was not about hudud but merely to strengthen the sharia laws, while opponents claimed it is an unconstitutional move and a stepping stone for the implementation of hudud.

About 30,000 purple-shirted people attended Himpunan 355. This is slightly higher than the Malay crowd at Bersih 5. Yet, this should not be seen as indicative of the strength of PAS’s electoral support. While this figure reflects the ability of the Islamist party to mobilise a crowd, it also reveals its limitations. Read more

Unity for Rohingya: Politics or true concern?

Source: FMT News

An analyst says PAS and Umno should address Orang Asli problems if they care about human rights. Pic from FMT News.

An analyst says PAS and Umno should address Orang Asli problems if they care about human rights. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A political scientist regards the recent PAS and Umno protest against the treatment of the Rohingya in Myanmar to be more of a showcase of their newfound political alliance than a show of concern over a humanitarian crisis.

“Instead of addressing the Rohingya issue, the rally looked more like an attempt to showcase Umno and PAS coming together and working as a political pact rather than a coming together of two parties in the name of human rights,” said Faisal Syam Hazis of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

“If that’s the intention, I think the opposition has the right to question their motives and the kind of image they are trying to portray for themselves.”

Faisal said that there were many pressing national issues that required cooperation beyond partisan politics, such as the plight of the Orang Asli in PAS-governed Kelantan. Read more

Malaysia’s Dangerous Path — Daniel Wagner

Source: The Huffington Post

BY DANIEL WAGNER

Muslims from around the world have long chosen Malaysia as a holiday destination, being widely viewed as a moderate Muslim country, where people of diverse ethnicity and religion live in harmony. Muslims account for approximately 60 percent of the population (most of them being ethnic Malay), with Chinese and Indian minorities accounting for most of the rest, practicing Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism as they please. That is part of what makes Malaysia unique. Its tranquility is now under threat, however, a combination of simmering ethnic tension and government action that is taking the country down a dangerous path.

For decades, Malaysia’s main opposition party – the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) – has promoted the adoption of Islamic law, and for decades the government has objected to such law, until now. Prime Minister Najib Razak has for many months been embroiled in a corruption scandal, in which he has admitted accepting nearly $700 million as a “donation” to him. Moreover, his government is in trouble, as urban voters are increasingly rejecting the ruling United Malay National Organization (UMNO) and it policies. Many Malaysians have had enough of Mr. Najib, UMNO, and the current government.

Mr. Najib and UMNO have therefore decided to court rural Malays, who tend to be more conservative and who support PAS in greater numbers than their urban counterparts. In May of this year, UMNO fast-tracked the reading of a bill drafted by PAS which sought to increase the punishment courts may impose on those Muslims convicted of religious offenses through existing Islamic courts. Opening that Pandora’s Box has naturally created an uproar among moderate Muslims in the country.

Islamic law is already enforced in some capacity in the more conservative parts of the country, where, for example, religious authorities already check patrons’ religion in hotels and bars. The authorities may already jail those who do not practice official interpretations of the law. Some PAS members want Muslims convicted of drinking alcohol to receive up to 80 lashes of the rattan cane, and for adulterers to receive up to 100 lashes of the cane, in ominous echoes of the punishment already dispensed in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Is the next step amputations for stealing and hangings for being gay? Moderate Muslims know that such a pivot toward the imposition of Islamic law usually only leads in one direction: more of the same.

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