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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Siblings thrilled to resume school

Source: The Star

BUTTERWORTH: The school bell rang, signalling the start of class, and excitement soon filled the eyes of V. Agilandaiswary, 12, and her sister V. Thuranayagi, 11, in SJK (T) Mak Mandin here.

The sisters are finally back in school, resuming their studies with friends and preparing for examinations after getting their temporary permit from the Education Department.

The siblings, as well as their brother V. Suria, 13, who is now studying in SM Mak Mandin, have not been attending school since the new term started because they have been listed as “non-citizens” in their birth certificates.

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Sabah police rubbish report on child warriors

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah police commissioner Ramli Din has dismissed a report that stateless children born in Sabah had left and joined thousands of “child warriors” during the Marawi war in southern Philippines last year.

The report, by the Manila Times, had cited an unnamed source as saying that “some Sabah-born stateless Muslim children of Filipino descent returned to the Philippines through the porous borders of Mindanao” and fought in Marawi.

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Keep politics out of civil service — Emmanuel Joseph

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY EMMANUEL JOSEPH

RECENTLY, the Education Minister warned teachers and staff of the Education Ministry to stay out of “opposition” political activities. Strangely, later in the speech, the minister appeared to encourage the same audience to participate in ‘government’ party activites.

As lopsided as his comment seemed, the minister was not really suggesting something new, but merely putting on record, what appears to be the unwritten rule about political participation amongst civil servants; open support for the opposition is frowned upon, while open support for the Government is quite encouraged.

This policy, partially official but partially not, also sees schools, hospitals, mosques and other government-run facilities, shy away from hosting visits by opposition leaders, even if they are members of a state government that is run by the (Federal) opposition.

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Many questions over pastor’s abduction — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

A LETTER from the IGP triggered the derailing of the Suhakam Inquiry into the abduction of Pastor Koh just when it was about to commence its final three days’ hearing. Two crucial witnesses were required to take the stand: a senior officer from the Special Branch unit of the police; and a technical officer to explain the malfunctioning of the critical CCTV cameras along the alleged abduction route.

The IGP’s letter to Suhakam stated that a person had been charged the day before for the kidnapping and abduction of the pastor. Together with seven others at large. All very well it appeared until it was revealed that the person charged was a young Chinese part-time driver. The same person that the police had charged in an ongoing trial for trying to extort money from the family by alleging (falsely) that he had information on the missing pastor.

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