Sedition Act: What The People Want

In 2012, our Prime Minister openly vowed that the Sedition Act 1948 would be repealed and be replaced by a National Harmony Act. In London last year, he renewed his pledge to abrogate the Sedition Act

To the surprise of many (including MIC’s deputy chief), Datuk Seri Najib Razak decided that it mattered more to please his fellow party members and regain their support, than to be a man of his word and honor his promise.

In UMNO’s recently concluded annual general meeting, Datuk Seri Najib announced that the Sedition Act 1948 is here to stay and will receive further strengthening (as if the Act is not oppressive enough at the moment)

We now know that maintaining the Sedition Act is what UMNO, its members and several other BN component parties want. But more importantly, is it what the electorate wants? The only reason the Government is in power is because of the mandate given by the people. Never forget that political sovereignity lies with the electorate!

So how do we know what the people want? One of the more effective ways would be by engaging in some form of direct democracy. It is not something new and has proven to be a good barometer of the public’s opinion

Alex Salmond, former leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) wanted Scotland to exit the United Kingdom and go solo despite being a part of Great Britain since 1707. As SNP advocates Scottish independence, it is safe to assume that all of Salmond’s party members would have wanted the same for Scotland

The question is, did Alex Salmond and the SNP decide amongst themselves whether to leave the union on behalf of the people of Scotland, just because they were democratically elected? No!

What happened is that Alex Salmond and co got the UK Government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, to allow Scotland to conduct a referendum regarding its future in the UK (see the 2012 Edinburgh Agreement)

The decision to leave the United Kingdom would have had grave repercussions, thus it was only logical that the people should be consulted. What better way to obtain the public’s views than through a referendum?

The Scottish Parliament then passed the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 and the Scottish Independence Referedum (Franchise) Act 2013 in order for the referendum to take place

The 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum showed the entire world that the majority (55.3%) of people who voted wanted Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom. Why can’t we have a referendum regarding the preservation/repeal of the 1948 Sedition Act?

Some of you may be wondering, “but going independent is not the same as maintaining the Sedition Act!” That’s true to a certain extent. However, once you see the bigger picture, you’ll see that both have the ability to impact the lives of the people

It has been established that it may be seditious to give a legal opinion (see Karpal Singh’s case), or to state the law as it is (see Azmi Sharom’s case), or to ‘like’ a Facebook page of your choice (see case of Form Five student). Still disagree with me?

Furthermore, less than a month ago, the state of Massachusetts conducted a referendum regarding the abolition of the Massachusetts 2011 casino gambling law. The result: 60% of voters agreed to preserve the statute, and the legislation remains valid till today. If a state in the United States can do so, why can’t we learn from their example?

After all, some who voted for Barisan Nasional may be against the Sedition Act because of its possible misuse due the absence of requisite to prove the accused’s intention (contrary to criminal law principles)

Perhaps many who voted for Pakatan Rakyat are against the Sedition Act because of the wide definition of ‘seditious tendency’ which leaves it open to potential abuse

Moreover, fence sitters could be sick and tired of the Sedition Act appearing to be a tool for the Government to silence dissent and Opposition leaders. There are so many uncertainties which can be resolved by a simple referendum!

Anyhow, by virtue of going back on his promise, Datuk Seri Najib has created a very dangerous precedent in which the very promises/pledges that come out of his mouth are subject to sudden change. The only silver lining is that his flip-flop attitude may lead him to someday make a u-turn regarding his decision to preserve the Act!

*The Malay Mail Online, Malaysiakini, and Free Malaysia Today featured this article

Perkasa’s New Direction?

national unity convention

Perkasa seems to be getting more and more dissatisfied with UMNO’s performance in defending malay rights. A coalition of Malay rights groups (including Perkasa) plans to submit a memorandum to the Government, touching on issues like the abolition of vernacular schools and the limitation of PTPTN loan exemptions to only bumiputeras

As of 2013, Perkasa claims to have a membership of around 500,000 (an impressive feat considering it has only been around since 2008). If the numbers prove to be true, perhaps instead of supplementing UMNO, Perkasa should become a political party and give UMNO a run for their money

I know many of us would balk at the idea of seeing a Perkasa candidate on our ballot paper. However, a hallmark of a democratic society is the presence of competitive and unique political parties (ethnic supremacist groups included)

Case in point, the United Kingdom. The UK has the British National Party (BNP), which is their very own version of Perkasa. The reason I liken BNP to Perkasa is because amongst other things, the former advocates white nasionalism

In regards to legal immigrants settled in UK, the BNP “recognises the right of legally settled and law-abiding minorities to remain in the UK and enjoy the full protection of the law, on the understanding that the indigenous population of Britain has the right to remain the majority population of our nation”.

It offers however voluntary repatriation where “generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish to leave permanently”

It is important to note that BNP has no representative in the House of Commons or the European Parliament. This could possibly mean that the people of UK generally do not subscribe to BNP’s principles

Only by running for elections will Perkasa know if the people truly supports its ideologies. Perhaps Perkasa could outdo UMNO as its far-right stance may appeal to certain segments of society more than UMNO’s new centrist direction under the command of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

It wouldn’t be fair to gauge Perkasa’s wealth of potential just by looking at its president’s failure to recapture Pasir Mas in the 13th General Election.

After all, just because Ibrahim Ali lost his beloved parliamentary seat (which he has been contesting in without fail since 1986) to a political novice doesn’t mean the people dont want him right?

Futhermore, considering Perkasa supposedly has 500,000 members, it shouldn’t be too difficult to field a candidate for every parliamentary seat up for grabs in the next general election

Even IF 60% of Perkasa members happen to also be UMNO members, in the event of a mass exodus to UMNO, Perkasa would still have 200,000 members give or take a few

In the hypothetical situation whereby Perkasa fields 222 candidates for election to be members of Parliament, the malay supremacist group would still have plenty of manpower to go around campaigning and garnering for support. Talk about strength in numbers!

Instead of complaining and whining that UMNO does a dreadful job in upholding the Bumiputera agenda, Perkasa should play a more active role in the 14th general election and not shy away from the challenge. I’d honestly love to see the reception of the rakyat (people) towards Perkasa.

*Check it out also at The Malaysian Insider , Free Malaysia Today, Malaysia Today, and Malaysia Chronicle

Kiki vs Khoo

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(Source: Free Malaysia Today)

I believe Kiki Kamaruddin needs no further introduction. She is famous (or infamous) enough because of her actions four months ago

Khoo, however, is the new “Kiki Kamaruddin” if you will. He damaged another driver’s wiper and side mirror, as well as spat on her windscreen because she honked at him for changing lanes recklessly.

How he felt he is in the right is beyond my comprehension. On top of that absurdity, he is 58 years old, and one would reasonably expect him to have been more skilled when it comes to driving.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this is because there are netizens accusing a certain group of Malaysians of practicing double standards. They say that mainly because that group of people were more vocal in Kiki’s case

Prima facie, both situations have a material difference. Kiki was being a racist road bully towards Uncle Sim. Just a recap of some of the things she said:

“you think you are Chinese that you are bigger and better than us!”

“tak, dia cina, saya tahu dia punya intention” (no, he’s Chinese, I know his intention)

Khoo is obviously a road bully too, but he did not racially abuse Alisa. Perhaps if he uttered derogatory/racist words to Alisa, the backlash would have likely been bigger

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that what Khoo did was justified and should not be objurgated because he did not racially abuse the other party. I believe both Khoo and Kiki were legally wrong, and as such, should be punished heavily as a deterrent for themselves and others

All I’m saying is that we should not turn everything into a racial issue. Regardless of the race of the road bully or the victim, the perpetrator must face the legal consequences of his/her actions.

As Malaysians, let us unite to condemn road bullying. Let this be a future lesson to all existing road-bullies and road-bullies-to-be that their behaviour is not tolerable and WHEN they are caught, they WILL face the full brunt of the law

*Check it out at The Malaysian Insider, Malaysian Chronicle, and Free Malaysia Today

The Future Of PR

It has now become more and more apparent that PAS and DAP don’t play well together. Ever since the Selangor Menteri Besar imbroglio, blows have been traded repeatedly ad nauseam

Over the past few weeks, the issue on the table has been PAS President, Dato Seri Haji Hadi Awang (HA)’s absence from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) presidential council meetings

In all fairness, HA is an elderly man and is thus more prone to sicknesses. For the sake of the betterment of PR, shouldn’t HA temporarily delegate his ultimate decision-making power to a trusted right hand man? Or at least step down in order that a physically fit person may take the helm

Yes, PAS does send its representatives (namely deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man) for PR presidential council meetings. However, if you have been following the recent criticisms by DAP, it centers around HA having veto power and yet being absent from the meetings

Basically, whatever is agreed upon by the PAS representatives in the presidential council meetings may be overruled by HA at the end of the day. Thus, DAP has a valid point when it says that a PR presidential council meeting without HA is akin to PAS being absent

It is clearly undemocratic for a political party leader to have veto power in every matter considering other leaders are also elected by the members of the party. As cliche as it sounds, there is a lot of truth to the saying “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton)

If PAS refuses to sort out the aforementioned issues, PR’s effectiveness as a coalition would undeniably be adversely affected, and PR may need to reconsider its composition. After all, you can’t join the school but refuse to wear the uniform!

Just like when Britain entered the European Union (then known as the European Community) in 1973, it had to subject itself to EU treaties, regulations, directives, and European Court of Justice (ECJ) decisions despite having done things its own way for centuries

A good example of PR’s effectiveness being hindered would be when the PR presidential council accepted the proposal for Datuk Seri Wan Azizah to be nominated as the new Selangor MB, and HA ended up vetoing the decision and nominating candidates of his liking

Another problematic issue is PAS’ continuous insistence on implementing hudud. Prior to the 13th General Election, PAS seemed to have abandoned its hudud agenda by pursuing a benevolent state concept.

Needless to say, the whole “Pas For All” election slogan, gained PAS the votes of many non-muslims who were unsure of PAS yet wanted a regime change. However, after GE 13, PAS reverted back to advocating hudud

Since PAS is seriously considering implementing hudud in Kelantan and has taken many steps to realise it (e.g. a federal-level hudud technical committee, finalising that “trained professionals” will be carrying out the amputations), it is high time for PKR and DAP to consider whether to move on without PAS

PAS’ move may gain support from the more hard line Islamists, but it is sure to cause loss of votes for PR because DAP and PKR will be seen as being inable to influence PAS to abandon its wishes for hudud.

A PR without PAS would most definitely appeal to the more progressive Malaysians. Will we see a PR coalition without PAS/DAP? Or will we see PR end up just like Barisan Alternatif? Or will PR learn how to sort out its differences and work together? Only time will tell

On a side note, if UMNO Kelantan supports PAS’ efforts (which is has in the past), it is time for MCA, MIC, and Gerakan to reconsider its partnership in BN. After all, what’s the point of being in a coalition if your view doesn’t matter?

*This awesome article appeared in The Malay Mail Online, The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, and Free Malaysia Today

Bibles and Selangor

Many of us would like to express our gratitude to Selangor MB, Azmin Ali for orchestrating the return of the Malay and Iban language bibles which were seized by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) in January 2014

Under the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution (which contains the legislative lists), religion is under the purview of the state

As per Frank Murphy (former US Supreme Court judge), “religious freedom is too sacred a right to be restricted or prohibited in any degree without convincing proof that a legitimate interest of the state is in grave danger”

Although religious issues are under the scope of the state, it is trite law that state enactments cannot contradict the Federal Constitution which is the ultimate law of the land.

Prima facie, the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988 is constitutional as it is made as per Article 11(4) Federal Constitution which allows for laws to be made to control or restrict the propogation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam

Under section 9(1)(a) of the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation among Muslims) Enactment 1988,

a person commits an offence if he in any published writing uses any of the words listed in Part I of the Schedule, or any of its derivatives or variations, to express or describe any fact, belief, idea, concept, act, activity, matter, or thing of or pertaining to any non-Islamic religion

At first glance it appears as though as the Malay and Iban bibles breached s. 9(1)(a) by virtue of containing “Allah.” However, there shouldn’t be an offence under the enactment for the following reasons

Firstly, there is no proof of propogation because the bibles were taken from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM)’s premises. At most, JAIS can say they acted under suspicion, but whether their suspicion is reasonable is a different story

Then BSM president, Lee Min Choon, pointed out that all its Malay bibles were imprinted with a picture of the cross and the words ‘Penerbitan Kristian’ on the cover and noted that the Home Ministry regularly inspects its bible shipment imports .

This is a huge sacrifice on the part of BSM to abide by the law in order to ensure that its customers may have access to Malay bibles

As to why the bibles are in our national language, “more than 60 per cent of Malaysian Christians only speak Bahasa Malaysia, and the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731, is “Allah.”

“The word is used by Bumiputera Christians who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their common language in Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia, and by the Baba community in Malacca” (Christian Federation of Malaysia)

Regarding why the Bibles are in Selangor and not in Sabah and Sarawak, it is important to note that BSM is the one that imports, prints and distributes Malay bibles to Sarawak and Sabah (as per Nic Ng, BSM’s executive council member). Perhaps the bibles were in storage awaiting importation?

Even if some of the bibles were not to be imported, it shouldn’t be an issue that the bibles are in Selangor because there are Malay speaking Christians in peninsula Malaysia (e.g. sabahans and sarawakians who come over looking for jobs)

If Malay language bibles aren’t allowed in Selangor, it would most definitely infringe on the right of the Malay speaking Christians to freely practice their religion (enshrined in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution)

In June, after much investigation and deliberation, the Attorney-General (AG) accurately concluded that JAIS erred in seizing the bibles and ordered for the case to be closed.

US Politician, Mike Quigley once wisely said that the “protection of religious freedom means considering the faiths and beliefs of everyone involved.”

In future, JAIS and other religious enforcement agencies should not be so overzealous, especially when dealing with holy books of other religions. Perhaps a more thorough investigation (which would have made the raid unnecessary) could have prevented this dark dent in our history

Even if the roles were reversed and Qur’ans were superfluously seized, right thinking Malaysians would stand up and speak out against the blatant infringement of the freedom of religion!

*This awesome article featured in The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini, Malaysia Chronicle, and The Malay Mail Online

The Use Of “Allah”

The whole “Allah” issue has somewhat been a thorn in our flesh. Just recently, Selangor MB, Azmin Ali exclaimed that the siezed Bibles belongs to the Christians and should thus be returned to them.

Abu Bakar Yahya (Selangor Perkasa chief) then expressed his concern that Azmin’s action of returning the Bibles with the word “Allah” in them would “…threaten the future of Malay Muslim youth. This means Islam is under threat”

Despite the fact that the Christian Federation of Malaysia wrote an article explaining when, why, and how the word “Allah” is used in the Al-Kitabs, there is still a general lack of understanding amongst Malaysians.

Let me now clarify that I’m not a religious scholar or even remotely trained in the field of comparative religions. I am just a Malaysian who is trying to be objective about the use of the word “Allah” by Christians

Let us consider the following propositions:

Proposition 1: “Allah” is an arabic word

Many academics hold the view that the word “Allah” is derived from the arabic words “al” (the) and “ilah” (god/deity).

“Allah is formed by joining the definite article al meaning ‘the’ with Ilah (God). Literally, Allah means ‘The God’.” [Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, p.222]

“Etymologically, Allah is probably a contraction of the Arabic al-ilahh, “the God,” although the Aramaic Alaha has also been proposed. The origin of the name can be traced to the earliest Semitic writings in which the word for god was Il or El, the latter bring in the Old Testament synonym for Yahweh. Known to Arabs even in pre-Islamic times, Allah is standard Arabic for God and is used by Arab Christians as well as Muslims.” [Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia (Vol. 1; p. 250)]

Renowned Iranian-American scholar of religious studies, Reza Aslan also supports this proposition

[d] (k) r ‘l’-’lh bn’mt Mnfw w-Tlh’ bn Mr’ l-Qys w-Srgw bn S’dw w-Strw w-Syl [.] thw.

The apparent scribblings above is actually a pre-Islamic archaeological inscription (dated ca. 512AD) found in Zabad (60km south-east of Aleppo) that shows the word al-ilah was already used by Christians then

Operating on the assumption that “Allah” was derived from “al” and “ilah,” the only apparent requirement to the use of the Arabic word would be monotheism. As we all know, words must be used according to its meaning, and in the proper context

A huge misconception is that Christians believe and worship three gods, hence their usage of the “Allah” word is erroneous. That could not be further from the truth!

The doctrine of the Trinity refers to ONE God who exists as THREE distinct persons. The fact that Christians believe in and worship only ONE God would render their usage of the word “Allah” according to its meaning and in the proper context

If “Allah” is truly an Arabic word, it’s definition would be based on its meaning and not what the Qur’an says in Surah Al-Ikhlas (112th Sura of the Qur’an) or what other sources say are the prerequisite to the use of the word

Many scholars have also brought forward the idea that the use of “Allah” predates Islam

The word ‘Allah’ was a term used for the supreme God in a pantheon of gods, before the revelation of Islam. (The Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam ed., H.A.R. Gibb & J.H.Kramer and The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, ed. John L. Esposito)

“The name Allah is also evident in archaeological and literary remains of pre Islamic Arabia” (Dr Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret , New York:OUP, 1956, p. 31)

“Allah is found . . . in Arabic inscriptions prior to Islam” ( Encyclopedia Britannica, I:643)

The translation of the Al-Kitab is not from the English translation but based on the Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘God’ has the same root form as the Arabic language. So, when the word ‘God’ was first translated into Bahasa Malaysia, the translators merely followed the Arabic Christian usage and retained the word ‘Allah’

Historically, Malay-speaking Christians in South-East Asia have used ‘Allah’ to refer to God. The proofs are as follows:

• The Kitab salat as-sawai or Christian catechisms in Malay written in 1514 and published around 1545,

• The printed version of the Gospel of Matthew in Malay by A.C. Ruyl in 1629,

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• Malay-Latin Dictionary was printed in Rome in 1631 (The Dictionarium Malaicum-Latinum and Latinum – Malaicum)

• The translation of Genesis by D. Brouwerius (1662),

• M. Leijdecker’s translation (1733),

• H.C. Klinkert’s translation (1879),

• W.A. Bode’s translation (1938), and

• The complete Malay Bible of 1731-1733 containing the word ‘Allah’ for God.

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There is also a book from the 19th century titled “Porkara Terakhir” (The Final Matter). It is a book of prayers for Catholics in native Malay. A text in the book goes, “Ia, Maha Penebus ku, tiap kali beita sudah buat dosa, sudahlah beita mengalau angkau deri hati ku, sambel choba membunoh Allah sabuleh nha…” It is a day-to-day language of the ancient or olden Malay Language; sentences like that do not exist in the Indonesian language

Furthermore, there is a Catholic prayer book titled “Worship Daily”, published in 1890, which also used ancient Malay. An example of a text in the book is “Sapuloh Penhurohan Allah”, which is the 10 Pillars of Biblical Commandments (Ten Commandments). Note how both of those books use the word “Allah” to mean God

Not many of us are aware by this but even the Sikh holy book mentions “Allah” quite a number of times. Surprisingly we don’t hear the likes of Perkasa and ISMA creating a ruckus over this fact.

Proposition 2: “Allah” is not an Arabic word

“Allah … is a proper name applied to the Being Who exists necessarily, by Himself, comprising all the attributes of perfection, a proper name denoting the true god … the al being inseparable from it, not derived…” (Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon)

If Allah is not an arabic word, is it only exclusive to muslims considering their worldwide usage? In January 2013, PAS’ Syura Council decreed that “Allah” is a specific and holy word used to refer to the Muslims’ god

However, former Perlis mufti, Dato’ Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said that Islam allows for followers of other faiths to call their gods “Allah” if they are referring to the Supreme Being

Swiss-Muslim theologian Dr Tariq Ramadan is also of the opinion that “Allah” is not exclusive to the Muslims

According to Francis Edwards Peters , “The Qur’ān insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews (29:46)

If indeed no one but the muslims are allowed to use “Allah,” wouldn’t Saudi Arabia (where Islam came from) and Indonesia (the country with the largest population of muslims in the world) have said/did something about it a long time ago?

Instead, what we see is that the usage of “Allah” is tolerated and is not even a point of contention in those countries (unlike here in Malaysia)

Now let’s look at some frequently asked questions

FAQ 1: Why must the Christians use BM?

First and foremost, BM is the national language. On top of that, more than 60 per cent of Malaysian Christians only speak Bahasa Malaysia, and the word used for God in the Bahasa Malaysia Bible (Al-Kitab) since its translation in 1731, is ‘Allah’.

The word is used by Bumiputera Christians who only have Bahasa Malaysia as their common language in Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia, and by the Baba community in Malacca.

Nowehere in English, Tamil or Mandarin church services would you hear the word “Allah” being mentioned

FAQ 2: Why don’t Christians use “Tuhan” as the BM translation for “God”?

The current position in the Al-Kitab is that “Tuhan” is used as the BM translation for “Lord” while “Allah” is used for “God.” In Isaiah chapter 41 and verse 13; also 43:3 and 51:15. “For I am the LORD, your GOD…” is translated as “Akulah TUHAN, ALLAH kamu…”. (ALKITAB : Berita Baik. 2001. 2nd edition. Published by the Bible Society of Malaysia).

It creates an absurd situation if Christians have to translate the biblical phrase ‘Lord God’ as Tuhan Tuhan. The repeated words Tuhan Tuhan indicates plurality in Bahasa Malaysia, and creates the false impression that Christians believe in many gods, which is fundamentally incorrect theologically

FAQ 3: Why doesn’t the Vatican or Christians in the West use “Allah”?

The answer is pretty simple. If “Allah” is an arabic word for “God”, the Vatican and the Christians in the West wouldn’t need to use it because they have other word(s) in their language(s) to mean “God”

A basic analogy would be the word “makan” which is the BM word for “eat.” How come we never ask why the Vatican or Westerners don’t use the word “makan”? That’s because it’s common sense that in whatever language they speak, there would be a word/words that mean “eat,” hence there is no need for the word “makan”

In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI used “Al-Rab” when giving a blessing in Arabic. Many Malaysians then got the idea that instead of using “Allah,” why not follow the Pope and use “Al-Rab”?

First of all, Al-Rab is arabic for “The Lord” and NOT “The God.” Therefore, even if the Christians in Malaysia were to use “Al-Rab,” it would only be replacing the word “Tuhan” and not the word “Allah” in the Al-Kitab

Besides that, the literal meaning of the word “Rab” is Sustainer , Master and/or “Nourisher” which bears more resemblance with the English word “Lord” than “God”

FAQ 4: Why not use “Jehovah” or “Yahweh” instead?

The answer is similar to that of FAQ 1. Jehovah is a Latinisation of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה , a vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH). YHWH is in ancient Hebrew which has no vowels, thus its pronunciation is not agreed on.

However, most academics agree that “Yahweh” is the most accepted way to say it. In some English language Bibles, YHWH is written in all capital letters as “LORD,” as in Jewish tradition

Jehovah and Yahweh are in English. The issue is, how do we convert the original Hebrew word to BM in order that it may be used in the Al-Kitab? And even IF that’s possible, how do you change hundreds of years of using “Allah” to this new word?

Sources:
Christian Federation of Malaysia’s article
Project Dialogue’s interview of Father Andrew 
The Micah Mandate
Bible Believers
PLIM Report
Sikhi Wiki
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement

Analysing The Prosecution’s Reply

Today (31st October 2014) concludes day one of the highly anticipated reply by the prosecution to the many things that were brought up by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defence team. 

I have to be honest that as an objective person following the Sodomy II trial, I am disappointed by Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah’s performance.

I was sincerely hoping that he would bring his A game and rebut with facts every point the defence submitted. Shouldn’t he be darn good at what he does considering the Attorney General overlooked all the DPP’s under his charge?

Regarding Anwar’s alleged alibi witness, Shafee questioned why the witnesses would be scared of the police when the police only wanted to interview them. Seems like a valid question

However, years ago, in an unsworn statement from the dock, Anwar claimed that “Haji Hasanuddin bin Abd Hamid, had been harassed by the police for a total of thirty hours in the recording of his statements which were all video recorded.”

Solving this problem wouldn’t require one to be a rocket scientist. A simple review of the videos from the interrogation would allow the courts to see whether or not Anwar’s allegation about the witness being harassed is baseless

Another thing I failed to comprehend is how the defence never filed for a subpoena to compel Haji Hasanuddin to appear before the courts. Considering his ownership of the unit where the alleged sodomy took place, and the possibility that he could provide Anwar with an alibi, what he has to say is imperative

Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah failed to address the issue of the meeting between Saiful and Datuk Seri Najib, as well as two other police officers prior to the alleged sodomy. Najib admitted to meeting Saiful for about an hour at his residence

It’s legally not wrong to meet up with high ranking officials. However, it’s a bit fishy considering that Saiful was Anwar’s former aide, and Najib was on the side of the political divide.

What’s even more odd is that the meeting concerned scholarships yet was held at Najib’s private residence. The fact that Shafee did not thoroughly address this meant that the door on the likelihood of Anwar’s political conspiracy theory remained open

Moreover, Shafee in his rebuttal, questioned how investigating officer Jude Pereira would have had access to fresh semen samples if indeed the latter had tampered with the evidence. This is a well thought out point, but is still subject to Anwar’s political conspiracy theory which was not refuted

If indeed there was a conspiracy to end Anwar’s political career, it wouldn’t be surprising that Anwar’s semen was found on an underwear not worn by Saiful on the day of the alleged sodomy. Powerful people can make things appear or even make them go away

Supt. Jude Pereira placed the DNA evidence in a steel cabinet instead of in proper refrigeration facilities (fact). On top of the DNA evidence being retrieved after 36 hours of the alleged sexual assault taking place (fact), it was also left open to degradation

Just because Jude Pereira mitigated the mistake by turning on the office air conditioner to keep the samples cool, this doesn’t negate the fact that negligence has occured. Pereira’s blatant failure to perform his duty could very well have affected the credibility and admissibility of the DNA evidence

Shafee’s reply to the lack of evidence regarding the use of the K-Y Jelly is laughable. The lead prosecutor held that there was no carpet stain because the jelly could’ve been spilled on a towel instead

Why is this possibility in contradiction with Saiful’s testimony that some of the jelly spilled onto the carpet? Where is this mysterious towel Shafee speaks of? How come it wasn’t admitted as evidence to support the claim that the controversial K-Y Jelly was used during the alleged sodomy?

Moving on, Shafee brought up the possibility that Anwar and Saiful had a “relationship” as the latter was given allowances and perks during his tenure as Anwar’s aide.

Shafee’s primary justification was that Saiful was a school dropout yet was able to afford expensive suits, was given generous allowances, and was sent on overseas trips

Citing Saiful’s testimony, Shafee said the former aide to the opposition leader earned a basic salary of RM1,000 but was given US$1,000 as allowance for a trip to Singapore and HK$1,000 dollars when he was sent there

Objectively speaking, the amounts mentioned aren’t exorbitant, though it is worth taking note of. Isn’t it completely normal for employees to be given allowances when they are sent on overseas trips? Some company trips are even completely sponsored!

Does this imply that the supervisor/manager has a relationship with the particular employee? Not in most circumstances! Anwar just needs to satisfactorily justify why the allowances were given and it will no longer be an issue

Next, Shafee attempted to reconcile the inconsistency in Saiful’s testimony regarding the duration of the alleged sexual assault. During the trial, Saiful said that the alleged sodomy lasted for five minutes. However, initially, Saiful mentioned that it was for thirty minutes

Today, Shafee told the court that the 30 minutes included the time to take a shower. Am I the only one who thinks this is ludicrous? Why would anyone include the time taken to take a bathe when asked about how long he/she was sodomised?

A mind-bloggling question I struggled with since the beginning is why Anwar never testified from the witness stand where he can be cross examined? If he was truly innocent, it wouldn’t be an issue to testify under oath right?

After all, this trial is a matter of life and death (metaphorically speaking) for Anwar. Being sent to jail would signal the end of his political career and possibly the demise of Pakatan Rakyat

So many unanswered questions remain. It is no surprise that the Sodomy II trial is a highly controversial one! I look forward to round two of the prosecution’s submissions.

*Read this amazing article at The Malaysian Insider