Sabah news (update 14a): IGP urges review of Malaysia-Philippines trade ties - includes considering breaking economic and trade ties; Massive hunt for Filipino gunmen who took two Malaysians in latest Sabah kidnapping ' War in Mindanao cost P2.013 trillion ; Pan Borneo Highway To Be Toll-free; Philippines to ‘downgrade’ Sabah claim to fight China by FMT Reporters ; MILF leaders alleged to be Malaysians

20 May 2015: IGP urges review of Malaysia-Philippines trade ties - includes considering breaking economic and trade ties

Citing security breach, IGP urges review of Malaysia-Philippines trade ties By JULIA CHAN Wednesday May 20, 201502:11 PM GMT+8;
KOTA KINABALU, May 20 — Malaysia may need to review its bilateral trade relations with Philippines in order to put more pressure on the Philippine government to curb terrorist activities from its southern rebels, especially cross-border kidnapping. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, in furthering his proposal to ban barter trade between Sabah’s east coast communities and southern Philippine residents, said it was more important to secure the country’s safety than its economic standing. “Their people are threatening the safety of our people. We need to take serious action that will affect the relationship of the people like reviewing our trade relation with the Philippines. This includes considering breaking our economic and trade ties. “Some may disagree with my proposal but I put our safety first,” he said, adding that the country is under continuous threat from these terrorist groups. “Philippines also needs to teach these groups a lesson and send the message that it doesn’t pay to cause problems for us,” he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters here. Local security forces have long faced criticism over numerous reports of armed intrusions on Sabah’s borders over the years. The latest kidnapping occurred in Sandakan last Thursday, when four armed men raided the popular Ocean King Seafood Restaurant and took away a man and a woman. Restaurant manager and co-owner Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, and patron Bernard Then Ted Fen, 39 were abducted during peak dinner hours are now believed to be held on a southern Philippines island while their kidnappers have demanded a “very large” ransom. - See more at:

16 May 2015: Massive hunt for Filipino gunmen who took two Malaysians in latest Sabah kidnapping

Massive hunt for Filipino gunmen who took two Malaysians in latest Sabah kidnapping Published on May 16, 2015 9:15 AM; SANDAKAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A massive hunt is underway on both sides of the Malaysia-Philippines sea border for Filipino gunmen who brazenly abducted two Malaysians from a popular seafood restaurant here.
As Sabahans reeled in shock over the latest daring raid on a restaurant on the mainland, 3km from here, Malaysian security forces and their Filipino counterparts combed the islands along their borders for the gunmen who snatched Ocean King Seafood Restaurant manager Thien Nyuk Fun, 50, and Sarawakian engineer Bernard Then Ted Fen, 39, during a raid on the restaurant on Thursday evening.
The kidnappers are believed to be linked to the extremist Abu Sayyaf group based in Jolo.
- See more at:

2 April 2015: War in Mindanao cost P2.013 trillion

War in Mindanao cost P2.013 trillion - From 1970 to 2001 by Philippine News Agency April 2, 2015; Manila — The Mindanao war cost the Philippine government a staggering P2.013 trillion during the 31-year period from 1970 to 2001, an amount nearly equivalent to the P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget. This was disclosed by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) based on the data it gathered from various sources, including the World Bank (WB).
In 2009, the peace process was resumed in the remaining six months of the Arroyo government and was pursued by a new administration under President Aquino in 2010 that resulted in the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and MILF on March 27, 2014. Under the agreement, the MILF would turn over their firearms to a third party, which would be selected by the rebels and the Philippine government. The MILF has agreed to decommission its armed wing, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). In return, the government will establish an autonomous Bangsamoro. The Aquino government is now asking Congress for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the legal instrument that will operationalize the agreements as contained in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed on Oct. 15, 2012 and its annexes....

1 April 2015: Pan Borneo Highway To Be Toll-free

Pan Borneo Highway To Be Toll-free - Najib; BINTULU, March 31 (Bernama) -- The Pan Borneo Highway will be toll-free, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday. He said the highway was the main artery connecting Sarawak and Sabah and there were no alternative routes between the two states. This was unlike the case in peninsular Malaysia where the North-South Expressway was the main link and there were many alternative routes, he said when launching the first phase of the highway, the Pan Borneo Sarawak, that costs RM13 billion. Najib said toll was imposed on the North-South Expressway in peninsular Malaysia but the people could choose to travel on the toll-free alternative routes. He also said that the subsequent phases of the Pan Borneo Highway would be built also this year, with the next launch expected to take place in September....

 Philippines to ‘downgrade’ Sabah claim to fight China by FMT Reporters  | March 30, 2015
The question that arises is whether it can “downgrade” something that it never had in the first place.
KOTA KINABALU: The Philippines, in a desperate note which literally asks Malaysia to risk its growing ties with China, has offered out of the blue to “downgrade” its “claim” to Sabah if Putrajaya supports its (Manila’s) case against China, on its maritime borders, at the United Nations Arbitral Court.... It’s not entirely clear what this “downgrading” means”. The question that arises is whether it can “downgrade” something that it never had in the first place. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, in an immediate response, said Putrajaya does not recognise any claim by the Philippines to Sabah. “What claim? We don’t recognise any claim, (so) the note is irrelevant.” He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the two-day Asian Regional Forum (ARF) Workshop on Combating Wildlife Trafficking in Tuaran, Sabah... Manila’s offer is contained in a note verbale, a copy of which was obtained by VERA Files according to the Philippine Star, handed to the Malaysian Embassy in Manila last week by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The note follows a week after a visit by Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to Manila.... The note refers to the May 6, 2009 joint submission by Malaysia and Vietnam to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental She’d (CLCS). Malaysia, in the joint submission, claims an extended continental shelf, 350 nautical miles from the baseline, which was clearly projected from Sabah..... The Philippines, which protested the joint submission on Aug 4, 2009 on the grounds that Sabah belongs to it, is now willing to “review” its protest. China protested the submission too and this is likely to stand even if Manila withdrew its objections...... However, Manila’s review would depend on Malaysia’s support for its case against China at the UN. The case is contained in two “requests” i.e. Malaysia to confirm that its extended continental shelf extends from the peninsula; and that it will not claim any continental shelf beyond 12 nautical miles, as provided for under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), from the maritime features in the Spratly Islands it claims....commentary... Datuk Gunda'dal Gurudam ·  Top Commenter: Putrajaya must not entertain such claim, if they do, it's just a recognition to Philippine's claim to Sabah; Maxeemillian Sv ·  Top Commenter: but they did.. send official replies..about the rental !! Why did they do such a foolish act ? Syed Abdul Khaliq ·  Top Commenter: Why do we need to pick a fight with People's Republic of China? What does Philippines has to offer, another poor country? Syed Putra Jamalullil ·  Top Commenter · St. John's Institution, KL: China will guarantee the minorities in Sabah to use any word they want in their religious obligation. Odi Rex ·  Top Commenter: Actually there is no freedom of religion in China.
Terence Lee ·  Top Commenter · St Gabriel's Secondary School:  In the first place Philippines has no right to claim Sabah belong to them. Why play such stupid game? Zosimo Jimeno · Follow ·  Top Commenter · Trainer at Ed2Career: The claim is as likely as the Sultanate of Kedah claiming back Penang. Syed Putra Jamalullil ·  Top Commenter · St. John's Institution, KL: penang is on indefinite lease, which means, if penang default in payment, that claim stands.....

15 March 2015: MILF leaders alleged to be Malaysians, Nograles worries about sacrificing Philippines sovereignty if BBL Law is written for Malaysians, urges subpoena of Murad and Iqbal travel documents

Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders Murad, Iqbal are Malaysian citizens: Lawmakers may be liable for treason by Ishi Gonzales Sunday, March 15th, 2015 at 1:58 pm; Leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front are Malaysian citizens travelling with Malaysian passports. “This is a very serious allegation and must be investigated immediately, even before we continue deliberations on the BBL,” Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles said on Saturday.... “According to former Secretary Rafael Alunan III, both Chairman Murad and Chairman Iqbal travel with Malaysian passports, and are in fact Malaysians,” Nograles said.... “I raise this concern because if it is true that we are writing the BBL Law for Malaysians then we in Congress will be criminally liable for acts of treason,” the lawmaker explained. “We are all for peace but we should achieve peace in Mindanao without sacrificing our sovereignty as one nation and one people.” ... He urged the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on BBL to call on Bureau of Immigration and subpoena all travel documents of Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Mohaquer Iqbal to shed light on the issue.

11 February 2015: Lahad Datu intrusion trial, 27 Filipinos and three local residents in the dock

Wife of accused in Lahad Datu intrusion trial may not have left country, court heard Posted on February 11, 2015, Wednesday; KOTA KINABALU: The High Court today heard that the wife of an accused in the Lahad Datu intrusion trial, who was arrested with him about two years ago, may not have left Malaysia.... Acting ASP Mohammad Khairani Khalid, who was attached to the Bukit Aman Special Action Unit (UTK) when he made the arrest on Datu Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram, said he did not know what happened to Gina Teves as she was not implicated in the case despite being arrested with her husband.... The couple was arrested on March 23, 2013 at a bushy and swampy area at Kampung Sri Melor in Semporna.... In the dock are 27 Filipinos and three local residents who are facing one to multiple charges of being members of a terrorist group, waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, recruiting members for a terrorist group or wilfully harbouring individuals they knew to be members of a terrorist group....

1 February 2015:  Secession is a right?

Secession a right of any state that joined Malaysia voluntarily, says Sabah politician Published: 1 February 2015 1:08 PM Bingkor assemblyman and Sabah STAR party chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said talks of Sabah and Sarawak's secession should not be deemed seditious if federal leaders do not honour the Malaysia Agreement. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 1, 2015.It is not seditious for Sabah and Sarawak nationalists to call for secession from Malaysia if the agreements that formed the country in 1963 are not honoured, Sabah opposition politician, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said. - See more at:

30 January 2015: Housing affordability worsens with Sabah worst

Comment: We hear that Sabah property was a hot sector with a lot of money coming through from the palm oil sector boom. Although palm oil prices have moderated in recent years, the margin has still been good for most.

Housing affordability worsens with Sabah top of list, Penang, KL Thursday, 29 January 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Housing affordability, which is based on the ratio of average terraced house price to average household income, has worsened over the past five years, according to Rahim & Co, Chartered Surveyors Sdn Bhd.... In its survey of the Malaysian property market 2014/2015, the ratio increased from 3.4 in 2009 to 3.6 in 2012 and 2014.... “This essentially means that an average terraced house would cost an average household or family in Malaysia, 3.6 times its annual gross income.... “The least affordable terraced house in Malaysia in 2014 was recorded for Sabah (6.2 times), Penang state (5.9 times) and Kuala Lumpur (5.6 times). Sarawak was fourth with a ratio of 4.4 times,” the survey showed.... Rahim & Co, which is one of the largest real estate consultancy companies in Malaysia, also said in its outlook that transaction activities in the residential sector after expected to soften with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015.
To recap, Rahim & Co said that over the past four year, property prices were fuelled by the nation’s development plans, investment concentration and also the rapid growth in Iskandar Malaysia.
“The cautious market sentiment echoes the state of property market in reaching its plateau and reconciliation period is expected in the near future,” it said......

15 January 2015: A Suluk leader (former asst DO of Kudat, Sabah) of 2013 Lahad Datu crisis dies

Sulu leader of Lahad Datu attack dies Updated: Wednesday January 14, 2015 MYT 11:37:51 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram (pic), who led the armed Sulu intrusion into Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu, Sabah, is dead..... Philippines intelligence sources confirmed that Azzimudie, 74, died of cardiac arrest in Tawi Tawi province in southern Philippines on Tuesday.
Azzimudie or Agbimuddin, the younger brother of the late Jamalul Kiram, who was the self-styled Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram, led a group of armed men to invade Tanduo in February 2013..... He disappeared without a trace after he "fled'' Lahad Datu on March 11 as Malaysian security forces recaptured Kampung Tanduo, Sabah in a massive offensive. A total of 73 intruders were killed (59 bodies have been recovered) in the nearly eight-week armed showdown with Malaysian security forces..... Malaysian police have arrested 184 people and charged 31 with various criminal offences, including waging war against the Agong. Their cases are ongoing in court..... Azzimudie was a former assistant district officer of Kudat, Sabah in the early 1970s....

On the Lahad Datu crisis: ISEAS Perspectives: The Sabah-Sulu Crisis Threatens the Palm Oil Supply-Chain By Khor Yu Leng, /khoryuleng/2013/03/iseas-perspectives-sabah-sulu-crisis.html

7 December 2014: Sabah onshore oil & gas, the oil royalty push, secession talk is sedition

News is out - we had been hearing about talk of this from friends in the oil & gas industry for some time now. Is there big onshore oil & gas in Sabah? Notably in the vicinity of Sahabat?

Sabah signed oil and gas production sharing contracts (PSCs) effective 20 November 2014 for 27 years. Petronas awarded Sabah government's 100%-owned M3energy Bhd a 25% stake in PSCs for Blocks SB331 and SB332 onshore; it partners SapuraKencana Petroleum (70%) as operator and Petronas Carigali (5%). Expected production will come in 2021. The Edge writes that "last year, Sabah's three main soruces of revenue were sales tax on crude palm oil, oil royalty and issuance of bonds, which accounted for over 70% of total revenue.... Oil royalty accounted for 30.5% of total state revenue...(Gumusut-Kakap and Kikeh oilfields which are) deep-water projects.... With 5% oil royalty being guaranteed to oil-producing states, a major stake in PSCs could provide additional and sustainable contributions to Sabah's coffers...the Sabah government's big stake in the PSCs caught many by surprise as previously, state governments only held minor stakes in downstream projects. For instance, the Sabah government has only 10% interest in LNG 9 in Bintulu, Sarawak...(there has been) dissatisfaction over the quantum of oil royalty.. in May, Sarawak passed a resolution to request an increase in oil royalty from the current 5% to 20%, which prompted oil-producing states (Terengganu, Sabah and Kelantan) to follow suit...." The Edge also writes that "the amount of reserves and resources available in the two blocks is not known.. Petronas says, "there have been minimal activities in the blocks, but the presence of oil and gas seeps indicates a probable working petroleum system"

Source: The Edge, 8 December 2014

Sarawak folk slam Najib for Sedition Act use against secession calls BY DESMOND DAVIDSON Published: 27 November 2014; "Sarawak leaders and social media users, such as Borneo Wiki, reacted negatively to Datuk Seri Najib Razak's U-turn on the Sedition Act.... Sarawak leaders and social media users were quick to take to Facebook to condemn Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for reneging on his promise to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and more importantly, his proposal to amend the act to criminalise calls for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak.... "

22 November 2014: Security concerns linger

Nazri: I was speaking the truth about Sabah security; Updated: Saturday November 22, 2014 MYT 3:21:32 PM; PETALING JAYA: Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has defended his remark that Sabah was still unsafe to visit amid criticism that his statement harmed tourism in the state.... He told The Star Online that he made the remark during a debate in Parliament as he had to tell "the truth" so that he did not give a wrong impression to tourists. "When we are still in this situation, it means it is still not safe to go to Sabah. I cannot say it is safe now just because we have Esscom there," said Nazri. Nazri said the continued extension of curfew in the state’s east coast also gave the impression that Sabah was still under threat. "I had to tell the truth because if I told journalists overseas that Sabah was safe, then they would ask, why are our people still held by the kidnappers? "In fact, among those who were kidnapped are policemen who are supposed to guard our security. So, how do I answer that?" asked Nazri..... On the statement by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar that Sabah was safe to visit, Nazri said it contradicted the announcement of another two-week extension of curfew made by the Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jalaluddin Abd Rahman.  The minister had on Monday in Parliament said that he would not guarantee the safety of tourists in the state as long as the two kidnapping cases remained unsolved.... "If the Sabah Tourism Minister, the IGP and also the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) feel my statement is wrong, I hope they can help me by going to China and declaring that Sabah is a safe place to visit.... "Don't just blame me...just go to China and meet their media and say that Sabah is safe. I would be really grateful if they could do that for me," he added.

16 October 2014: Sabah projects for Sabahans?

Sabah projects should go to Sabah firms, Dewan told, Thursday, October 16, 2014; "KUALA LUMPUR: Development projects in Sabah should be given to locals there instead of wealthy companies from the peninsula, a Sabah Barisan Nasional MP said in Parliament. Kalabakan MP Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh said the Pan Borneo Highway was one infrastructure project that should be awarded to Sabahans to benefit the state economy. "There's this letter being circulated that said the project was awarded to Syed Mohktar's company. "I would like the Prime Minister to look into this and if this is true, action should be taken," said Ghapur, referring to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.... Ghapur said after 51 years of being Malaysia, Sabahans still feel "left out" of development compared with other parts of the country. "There are still many who live in the rural areas, like in Kinabatangan, who have to dig a hole for their toilet," said Abdul Ghapur in his speech on Budget 2015, Wednesday. .... Ghapur said it was no surprise that a so-called secessionist movement was taking root in Sabah given the lopsided policies accorded to a state that helped BN retain power in the previous two general elections.... "Our people remain poor. Our oil royalty remains low and when there is development, like the upgrade of the pan-Borneo highway, it is given to Syed Mokhtar," he said... It was reported that UEM Group Bhd will be partnering MMC Corp Bhd, an engineering and construction group owned by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, for the project...."

Abu Sayyaf suspected of shooting fishing boat by stephanie lee; Thursday October 16, 2014 MYT 7:01:48 AM; KOTA KINABALU: Gunmen linked to the Abu Sayyaf might be behind the shooting of a Sabah-registered fishing vessel in the border waters between northern Kudat and the Philippines.
Two of the vessel’s 10 Vietnamese crew sustained gunshot wounds as they evaded the gunmen and fled towards Sabah in the 9am incident on Tuesday, some 22 nautical miles east of Pulau Banggi.

23 September 2014:

Red alert over Abu Sayyaf-IS links Updated: Monday September 22, 2014 MYT 10:02:49 AM
Loyalty pledge: A video grab of Hapilon taken from YouTube by the Philippine National Police and the US Rewards for Justice Program. KUALA LUMPUR: A red alert has been raised in Sabah following an open declaration of support for the Islamic State (IS) movement by Isnilon Hapilon – one of the most wanted terrorists with up to RM16mil bounty on his head. The 48-year-old Abu Sayyaf leader, along with masked men, posted a video of themselves on YouTube in July but intelligence sources said it gained momentum on social media last month. Sources said pro-IS and jihadist websites in Bahasa Malaysia were being watched following this new development.
In the video, which appeared to be shot in the jungles of southern Philippines, the IS movement’s symbolic black flag is depicted in the opening scene.  In the six-minute clip, Hapilon is seen wearing a black gown, linking his arms with his men, some of whom wore masks. Speaking mostly in Arabic and in his native dialect of Yakan, they swore allegiance to IS and its head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the form of baiah or oath of loyalty...."

No need for referendum in Sabah, Sarawak; Bernama | Updated: September 23, 2014; (First published on: September 23, 2014 09:13 MYT) KOTA KINABALU: There is no need for a referendum to determine the number of people in Sabah and Sarawak who want out of the Malaysian Federation, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nancy Shukri. She said the people of Malaysia, including those in East Malaysia, had worked as a team to develop the country and it was unfair to neglect those who helped Sabah and Sarawak achieve "what they have today". "I don't think there is a need for that yet...there is no need for a referendum because there are more people talking about being in Malaysia, rather than out of Malaysia.... Nancy was asked on whether there was a need for a referendum in Sabah and Sarawak, as was done by the United Kingdom Government in Scotland.... The Batang Sadong MP stressed that the people of Sabah and Sarawak enjoyed development under the Federation of Malaysia, including education, security and infrastructure, and were accorded some of the special rights. Meanwhile, she reiterated that the Sedition Act 1948 was essential in safeguarding security, harmony and unity in the country...."

17 September 2014:

Sarawak and Sabah will not leave Malaysia, says PM by stephen then;  Updated: Wednesday September 17, 2014 MYT 6:50:19 AM; MIRI: There is no turning back. Sarawak and Sabah will never break away from Malaysia because the country has gone too far together and the only way to march forward is together, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Speaking before 40,000 people at the Miri City Fan Recreation Park when launching the grand celebration for the 51st anniversary of Malaysia Day here last night, he said Sarawak, Sabah and the peninsula had become one big family over the past 51 years.

16 September 2014:

Painful to be part of M'sia, say Borneo leaders, 5:00PM Sep 16, 2014; "The Federation of Malaysia is meaningless if Sabah continues to be "occupied" by "Malayan" government officers and federal agencies, said Borneo Heritage Foundation chairperson (BHF) Jeffrey Kitingan..."

11 September 2014: Sabah Secession talk worries and the Scotland effect

Interesting that old news on Sabah from July is now being highlighted in the national dailies in Malaysia. The Felda Sahabat incursion was first reported a case of low politics i.e. land promised and not given. But increasingly it was reported otherwise, and secession talk crops up again.

I had a chat yesterday evening with a senior historian for the Malay archipelago (the meet up was triggered in part by my updating on the Johor Iskandar-Singapore project and its historical resonance). As we meandered through different topics, he highlighted to me his interest in the Scottish secession referendum, and how this might trigger Catalonia (Barcelona) which is a rich region in Spain to do similar (wiki:; and we also noted that the Crimea is making some noises on the same (news link: Why is there seemingly a wave of secession talk and how will these notions affect us in this part of the world - Southeast Asia?

Handily enough in my email box from a few days ago was a report from a bank on the political betting odds of the Scottish Referendum (which points to a "yes" to remain; which differs from opinion polls results) and how it would affect England.  Do read the article excerpts (see below!), which also discusses recent accuracy of opinion polls versus betting odds in politics and points out how reliant Labour is on its Scottish MP base. Looking at 18 September Scottish Referendum betting odds sites suggested,
 accessed 8.35am KL/Singapore time

News headlines:

Three held for joining bid to claim Sabah for Sulu sultanate, Published: Thursday September 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM, Updated: Thursday September 11, 2014 MYT 7:43:20 AM;; "KUALA LUMPUR: Police have detained three people, including a Filipino, for their alleged involvement in the so-called Royal Sulu Army... Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police arrested the three – Abu Bakar Jayari, Zainuddin Mislani and Kassim Ibrahim – on July 22 under the Prevention of Crime Act for allegedly joining the group with the aim of removing Sabah from the Federation of Malaysia... “The three are believed to have been recruiting new members to join their cause... “It is supposed to be a starting phase in their bid to claim Sabah for the self-proclaimed Sulu Sultan,” he said in a statement yesterday... Khalid said the three men were detained under Section 19A of the Act which provides for detention for not more than a two-year period...."

Anger over Barisan’s incompetence fuelling secession talk, say PKR MP, 4 September 2014;

Bank of Singapore: Follow the Money in Scotland Vote, 9 September 2014  
Economics has plenty of obscure areas of research and sometimes they are relevant to financial markets. One field looks at the predictive power of opinion polls compared to the odds in betting markets. The strong conclusion is that we should “follow the money” as betting markets have a much better track record... This is important now that the opinion polls are suggesting the Scottish referendum on independence will be a close vote. Here ( is a link to a BBC website that tracks how opinion polls have developed. Sterling has fallen sharply after one poll showed a majority in favour of “Yes” in the vote for independence that will take place on 18 September, and others showed a tight contest... In contrast, betting markets (such as Betfair or Ladbrokes) continue to show a strong prediction of a “No” vote. Admittedly the odds have narrowed – until recently the betting market gave the Yes vote about a 25% chance, while now it is up to 34%. That is still a huge distance from the neck-and-neck race shown by opinion polls... Betting markets have an established track record of predicting the winners in US politics. Recent examples were when the opinion polls were showing a close race between Bush and Kerry in 2004 or between Obama and Romney in 2012, while the betting markets were leaning strongly in favour of the eventual winner... The idea seems to be that numerous informed and interested participants express their views through a betting market. It is not one-man, one-vote – the biggest wagers will have the most interest in the outcome. In contrast opinion polls are a relatively narrow cross section of potential voters, where the presentation of the question can also affect the result... There is a high degree of uncertainty about the consequences of a Yes vote. Much would depend on negotiations in the 18 months before independence in March 2016, with national defence, the allocation of government debt and assets, location of financial institutions, the choice of national currency and membership of the EU all to be settled... The direct impact on the remainder of the UK does not appear too large, as Scotland represents less than 10% of the economy. However, there is potentially a large political impact, as Scotland predominantly sends Labour politicians to the UK parliament in Westminster. Currently there are 41 Labour MPs from Scotland (out of a total of 257) and just one Conservative, so it would become harder for Labour to win an election.... It is not clear how a pro-independence vote would affect the next UK general election due by May 2015, as the Scottish seats might not be contested or they could only serve until the split in the Union... From a financial market point of view it would increase the chance of a Conservative government bringing a referendum on continued membership of the EU in 2017. Moreover, without the influence of (relatively pro-EU) Scotland it would make an exit more likely. Whether or not this is negative for GBP is debateable, as it would probably lead to a more free market orientation to the UK, less constrained by the social democracy of the EU. However, markets seem to be viewing such an outcome negatively. If the betting markets are right then these are complications that will not trouble us after the vote on 18 September..."

4 August 2014: Sabah-Sulu problems fester on while China expresses interest

Sabah issues continue after the Sabah-Sulu crisis of early 2013, which we wrote about here in March 2013: Initially, the incursion on Felda Global Ventures leased plantations at Sahabat was reported as a land dispute gone out of hand. Thus, a problem of low level politics and the grand Suluk territorial claims took advantage of the situation? Since then, there have been several kidnappings, including of China nationals which has significantly disrupted the tourist business. Over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations at a friend's home, I had occasion to speak to retired military man who had worked on major operations in Sabah. Unfortunately, he did not have a positive solution to mind, as he said that the military may occupy and clear out an area for 3 days, but 3 days later the people who had dispersed would just return through the very porous sea border.

What's also new is China's apparent stepped up interest in Sabah - a plan to establish a consulate in Kota Kinabalu and suggestion to link Sabah with Shandong Province for cross-investments.

News items:

Curfew along Sabah's east coast extended for another two weeks, Updated: Monday August 4, 2014 MYT 7:30:21 AM; "KOTA KINABALU: The dusk-to-dawn sea curfew along Sabah’s east coast will be extended for another two weeks in a bid to clamp down on cross-border kidnappings. Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun said the extension started yesterday until further notice from the Home Ministry. Legally, however, the curfew can only last up to two weeks. Rashid said in the fortnight that the curfew was imposed from July 19, 40 fishermen in Sandakan and Tawau had been given special permission to work during the curfew hours...... The curfew was imposed in the wake of an attack on two policemen at the Mabul Water Bungalows in Semporna on July 12. Kpl Ab Rajah Jamuan, 32, was killed while his colleague Kons Zakiah Aleip, 26, is still being held hostage by Filipino gunmen in southern Philippines. Another hostage, Chan Sai Chuan, 32, who was kidnapped from a fish farm in Kunak, Tawau, on June 16, is also being held captive.... The curfew covers an area of three nautical miles from the shore until the international border with the Philippines. The area stretches for about 362 nautical miles from Tanjung Pundaras in Sandakan to part of Pulau Sebatik near Tawau. The six districts involved are Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Kunak and Tawau..."

A Sabah-Shandong G2G mooted? Expand China-Sabah collaboration – envoy, The Borneo Post  - Posted on July 25, 2014, Friday;; "The Malaysian and Chinese Governments should create a platform to promote exchanges and understanding between East Malaysia and China, said Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kuching Liu Quan. Liu said there was still a lack of exchanges between East Malaysia and China, which caused a lack of understanding on both sides.... Liu said he had visited Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA) in this trip, in which he learned about the enormous potential in Sabah, particularly in the oil palm, aquaculture, oil and gas industries as well as biodiversity. e said Sabah and China could potentially collaborate in these sectors... Even though there were incentives in place for investors, and that policies in Sabah were relatively open, there was still a lack of exchanges and understanding between Sabah and China, he said. Hence, Liu said the Sabah State Government could kick start a collaboration with a province in China. For instance, the Sabah Chief Minister could lead local investors to visit Shandong Province with the aim to establish good relations and vice versa.... Liu hoped to see the setting up of a Chinese consulate in Kota Kinabalu as soon as possible, which would provide assistance to Sabahan businessmen who wished to invest in China. Although the Chinese consulate in East Malaysia is located in Kuching, Liu said the consulate served Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan...."
Shandong Province: and its largest city Qingdao:

While MH370 issues seem to be stabilizing, China-Sabah tourism is seeing impacts from problems that started arising about the same time as the air disaster.
Sabah kidnaps have had more impact than MH370 on Chinese tourist numbers, says minister; BY EILEEN NG Published: 17 June 2014 | Updated: 17 June 2014 2:32 PM - See more at:; "Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said as of April this year, China cancelled 76 flights to the state capital city, Kota Kinabalu.... National carrier Malaysia Airlines saw 10 scheduled flights from Shanghai cancelled, while China Southern Airlines cancelled 22 flights from Shenzhen. Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines cancelled 44 flights from Shanghai to Sabah.... "Yes, what happened in Sabah has had a worse impact than the MH370 incident," he told Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak)...."

Malaysia Moderation / Extremism? (update 16): Taman Medan church cross removal protest. Home Minister Zahid says protest against cross is seditious, IGP earlier said protest not seditious, IGP's elder brother involved in cross protest (claims to be mediator to defuse tension, not protest leader). Reactions to Jakim rules on concerts, including gender segregation.

21 April 2015: Taman Medan church cross removal protest. Home Minister Zahid says protest against cross is seditious, IGP earlier said protest not seditious, IGP's elder brother involved in cross protest (claims to be mediator to defuse tension, not protest leader). Reactions to Jakim rules on concerts, including gender segregation.

Protest in Taman Medan is seditious, says Zahid Hamidi Astro Awani | Updated: April 20, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Action may be taken under the Sedition Act against the residents who protested in front of a church in Taman Medan yesterday, said Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.  He said, action would be taken against anyone who touches on religious sensitivity.
“It does not matter... it does not matter who. Anyone who touches on religious sensitivity, the Islamic religion especially or any other religion is subjected to the Sedition Act,” said Zahid in a press conference held today. “Definitely...definitely, any action will be taken. Yes anyone. I’m 'color blind'  (not racist), and so is the police. Action ill be taken on anyone,” he added.  When asked if any disciplinary action will be taken against any Umno members found to be involved in the protest, Zahid said Umno is a party that respected other religions, and the members involved in the protest will have to bear the consequences of their actions. “Because they have gone against the law and as Umno we respect other religions. They have to face the consequences of their action,” he said....

Top cop unfit to investigate ‘cross’ protest, says DAP MP Published: 21 April 2015 8:26 AM Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is not the right man to investigate Sunday’s protest against a church for affixing a cross on its premises, says Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 21, 2015. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar's quick dismissal of Sunday's protest against a church for affixing a cross on its premises proves he is unfit to investigate or comment on the case, DAP said today. Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said it was clear that the protesters breached either the Sedition Act or Section 298A (1) of the Penal Code in demanding for the church's cross to be taken down. "That the IGP has dismissed the case against the protesters without even commencing any form of official investigation calls into question the IGP’s impartiality and judgement, especially in the light of the fact that the leader of the protesters was his own elder brother, Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar.

Taman Medan cross protest not seditious, says IGP Astro Awani | Updated: April 20, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: There is no form of sedition in the protest held in front of a church in Taman Medan yesterday, said Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
 He said this is because the protest was held in regards to the location of the church and not the Christian religion itself. “We do not see it as seditious because it did not touch on Christianity. It was just about the location of the church,” said Khalid as reported by The Malaysian Insider.  It was reported yesterday that a group of 50 people had gathered to protest the sign of cross outside a shop lot used as a church in Taman Medan.  The group had demanded for the cross to be taken down and argued that the sign influence the minds of the younger residents there.........

Yes I’m IGP’s brother, Umno cross protest man says, ‘but it doesn’t mean what I do is wrong’ BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY Monday April 20, 201502:07 PM GMT+8 ; KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — An Umno leader who took part in a Muslim group’s protest against a church in Taman Medan yesterday has admitted to being Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s brother. Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar who is the Taman Lindungan Jaya Umno division leader however stressed that his family ties with Khalid should not be misconstrued, and that he had done nothing wrong by taking part in the protest. “Yes I am the IGP’s brother but does that mean if I do anything, I am abusing my position or whatever I do is wrong?” he told the Malay Mail Online. Abdullah also denied reports that it was him who had led the protest, stressing that he was merely the liaison between the church representatives and the protesters Abdullah runs a firearm and security business. Explaining how he became the mediator during yesterday’s protest, Abdullah said he noticed in a community chat group that several Malay residents were unhappy with the cross and that tensions were rising. - See more at:

Police reports lodged against 'cross' protesters by royce tan Updated: Monday April 20, 2015 MYT 7:39:45 PM GEORGE TOWN: Two police reports were lodged in Penang against the group that protested outside a shoplot church in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya on Sunday.  Law student and human rights activist K. Sudhagaran Stanley, 30, who lodged the report at the Patani Road police station, condemned the actions of the group saying it provoked religious harmony in the country.
“The action of the protestors went against the freedom of religion and a violation of the Federal Constitution which accorded for all religions to be practiced in peace and harmony. “It makes no sense to argue that a church or its symbol or even other non-Muslim places of worship should not be present in a Muslim-majority area. “If that was the reasoning, then no non-Muslim places or worship should exist in Malaysia,” he told reporters outside the police station......

Jakim guidelines can damage industry, say stakeholders By Audrey Edwards and Aizyl Azlee Sunday April 19, 201507:28 AM GMT+8; PETALING JAYA, April 19 — Stakeholders of the live performances and concerts industry say the Malaysian Islamic Development Department’s (Jakim) guidelines for live entertainment are unrealistic and could damage the industry. Arts, Live Festival and Events Association (ALIFE) acting president Datuk Razlan Razali said he was shocked, as it would affect live performances in Malaysia if the guidelines were enforced.  “This is an ad hoc and knee-jerk reaction. It’s taking us 10 steps backwards,” he said.  “They didn’t take into account the industry or stakeholders. We were not consulted or involved in any way.” ALIFE is an organisation promoting live arts and entertainment.  Razlan said more clarity was needed and he wanted an explanation.  “We are not sure what the action or penalties will be,” he said........... “What is the objective of crowd segregation? Does this mean there will soon be segregation at any gathering including weddings? This is not the vision of the country or the PM.” He challenged Jakim to enforce the guidelines at the concert.  Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer said Formula One concerts in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi did not have crowd segregation. Malaysian Association of Creative Artistes president Datuk Freddie Fernandez echoed the sentiment. “I wouldn’t go to a concert if I had to be separated from my wife. A concert is a shared experience,” he said. He said the revision of the guidelines by Jakim was a knee-jerk reaction following the incident of fans hugging a Korean artiste. “I don’t think if a boy and a girl go to a concert, it will damage their morals. I don’t think the girls who hugged the Korean artiste had their morals damaged. “As long as the acts are clean, the lyrics are fine, I don’t see how concerts can be a negative influence,” he said............

20 April 2015: You’re not alone, DPM tells Dr M;  New open letter by 40 urges Najib administration to restore moderation; Jakim sets out new rules for stage entertainers including no criminal record & good morals, limited jokes on stage, gender segregation for attendees etc.; 50 stage protest against cross on new church in PJ (greater KL)

You’re not alone, DPM tells Dr M by sharanpal singh randhawa Updated: Monday April 20, 2015 MYT 7:15:21 AM; KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has praised Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for never shying away from the truth. “Telling the truth and standing up has been your trademark since you were a young doctor and an ordinary Umno member,’’ Muhyiddin said during his speech at a forum. “Let me assure you, sir, that you are not alone,” he said.  Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir had always stood up for what he believed in and saluted the former prime minister for having the guts to stand up to world superpowers in making a stand against war. Muhyiddin said this in his keynote speech before officiating the “World Forum: Engaging the Young to Criminalise War and Energise Peace” at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday. The event was also attended by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who is the founder and chairman of the Criminalise War Club.... Muhyiddin said extremist tendency among Malaysians must be quickly stopped before it poses a serious threat to the nation’s peace and stability. He said strong measures must be put in place to keep such threats in check and to address the root causes. Extremism and terrorism had become one of the greatest threats the world was facing, and Malaysia enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) to deal with such threats.....

New open letter by 40 urges Putrajaya to restore moderation Published: 19 April 2015 7:00 AM; Another group of Malaysians, including prominent former civil servants and leaders, have signed an open letter urging Putrajaya to recommit to 10 universal values which make Malaysia a moderate country. The letter signed by 40 individuals said the values – trust, responsibility, honesty, dedication, moderation, diligence, discipline, cooperation, honourable behaviour and thanksgiving – were introduced in 1982 by the government to inculcate universal Islamic values....In the letter by the 40, titled “Strengthen the foundational structure of our nation”, the group wrote that moderation as a value was being "ignored by certain quarters, including political leaders who espouse sectarian views to suit their audiences". "Never before in this country’s history have such stresses and strains been made to bear upon the foundational principles of nationhood which now threaten to subvert the bonds that have held all Malaysians together and kept the nation comprising the territorial components of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak intact," the letter said. The three-page statement, signed by former judges, ambassadors, activists, educationists and notable individuals, said Malaysia had a "civil national order which is religion neutral".... "We consider ourselves duty-bound to call upon the federal government and the state governments to give their undivided attention to this grave peril which our nation faces." Among the signatories were Datuk Albert Talalla, former ambassador to China, Germany and the US; Bob Teoh, former general-secretary of National Union of Journalists; Datuk Choo Siew Kioh, former ambassador to Sweden and Mali; and Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert, former secretary-general, Finance Ministry. Others included Hartini Zainudin, child activist; Datuk K.J. Abraham, former deputy director-general of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage; Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, chairman of Proham and past president of the Malaysian Bar; Datuk Lily Zachariah, former ambassador to Italy, Chile and Senegal; Datuk Stephen Foo Kiat Shin, former state attorney-general of Sabah; Dr Lyana Khairuddin, educator and scientist working on HIV and HPV; Datuk Stanley Isaacs, former head of Prosecution, Commissioner of Law Revision and Parliamentary Draftsmen of the Attorney-General’s Chambers. On December 8 last year, a group of 25 prominent Malays had penned an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy.....;

The letter from G40 here:; ".....In 1982, the government introduced a policy to inculcate universal Islamic values that all Malaysians have little difficulty in supporting. Of these 10 values – trust, responsibility, honesty, dedication, moderation, diligence, discipline, cooperation, honourable behaviour and thanksgiving – what remains of the policy today is the single value of moderation under the concept of Islam Wasatiyyah. Even that value of moderation is ignored by certain quarters, including political leaders who espouse sectarian views to suit their audiences. It is unfortunate that the policy of promoting these 10 values has become a platform for “Islamisation" by religious bureaucrats. There is mounting disquiet on bureaucracy-driven “Islamisation” of Malaysia and the Malaysian way of life by the expanding and increasingly assertive religious bureaucracies both at the federal and constituent state levels and the posturing of extremist individuals and groups capitalising on this trend..........Let our leaders, be they from the legislative, executive or judicial arms of governance with the undivided support of all patriotic Malaysians, uphold their oath of office to preserve, protect and defend our constitution. We write this letter with deep anguish. Our leaders must, with immediacy, act intentionally, decisively and authoritatively before irretrievable damage is done to our beloved country. – April 19, 2015. "

In Malaysia, new entertainment rules restrict dressing, lyrics and crowd interaction Published: April 18, 2015 07:06 AM GMT+8 By Zurairi AR; The YouTube video ‘Perempuan melayu dicabul atas pentas oleh mat kpop B1A4 semalam’ drew angry response from netizens. — YouTube videograb; KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Entertainers coming to Malaysia will now have to adhere to new rules prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which imposes limitations on stage performances, dress and behaviour codes and gender segregation for attendees. The rules, which were released by the department this week, also stipulate that an artist should not have a criminal record, whether in a Shariah or civil court, and should maintain a “noble personality” and “good morals”, even outside the performance. During a performance, the artist must “dress decently” in attire that covers their “aurat”, which refers to the “intimate body parts” that Muslims must cover with clothing. Performances, songs, events and music videos must not insult religious sensitivities, the nation and any race, while the use of any symbolism that go against Islamic teachings and faith is also forbidden. For stage performances, Jakim insists that jokes told should be “sparing”, must “toe the line”, and should not lead to “extreme laughter”. Entertainers are also forbidden from making light of “serious and mournful matters”....

50 stage protest against cross on new church Updated: Monday April 20, 2015 MYT 7:28:23 AM
PETALING JAYA: About 50 residents staged a peaceful protest against a new church situated in a shop lot in Taman Medan after the congregation put up a cross on the building facade. The group, which gathered at about 10am while Sunday service was going on, contended that the sight of the cross in a Muslim-majority area “challenged Islam” and could influence the young. The group was later pacified by a village leader, who spoke with the pastor of the church. “After meeting with the pastor, the church agreed to take down the cross the same day. “If they have the authority to operate, we cannot stop it. “But we ask, out of concern that this is a Malay area, that they take down the cross,” said protest leader Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar. Other protesters, however, felt that the existence of a church in the vicinity was an affront to their faith.  Some of them also threatened a reporter, saying “You better write about us nicely, or else ...” with some holding on to his shirt as he interviewed protesters....

11 April 2015:  92 detained for suspected IS links, held under Sosma (security offences act) - cops monitoring armed forces and civil servants for militants

IGP: Cops monitoring IS elements within Armed Forces Updated: Saturday April 11, 2015 MYT 8:15:12 AM; KUALA LUMPUR: Police are working closely with the Armed Forces to identify elements of the Islamic State (IS) within its ranks, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar..... Referring to the two Armed Forces personnel detained with 15 other suspected militants on Sunday, Khalid said police were monitoring members of the group that returned from Syria and those still in that country. “We are auditing government departments and agencies for civil servants who could be involved in militant activities,” he said, adding that police are expecting the group to plan terror attacks and their acti­vities are constantly being monitored. “So far we have been getting very good support from the public in informing and giving us information on suspected members of IS. We hope this will continue,” Khalid added........ On Sunday, Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division officers rounded up 17 militants in raids in Kedah and the Klang Valley. Those detained were between the ages of 14 and 49. They are being held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma). The latest arrests bring the number of those detained for suspected IS links to 92 since February 2012.

10 April 2015: After 12-hour debate, amendments to Sedition Bill passed; PAS hudud facilitation bill will be resubmitted in May; Umno leader says his party’s apparent support for hudud was “just politics” and “Hudud isn’t mainstream"

After 12-hour debate, amendments to Sedition Bill passed with voice vote by yuen meikeng, hemananthani sivanandam, AND martin carvalho Updated: Friday April 10, 2015 MYT 7:40:08 AM
KUALA LUMPUR: The Sedition (Amendment) Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament early Friday, together with several changes to the proposed amendments brought by the Government.
It was passed after the voice vote was taken among the MPs.... The Bill finally got the nod from the House at 2.30am after a gruelling 12 hours of debate, despite attempts by Opposition MPs to stop the amendments.... The Opposition had proposed nine changes to the Bill during the committee stage of the debate but failed to get them approved by the House. However, the Home Ministry’s four changes to the proposed amendments were passed. Among the changes introduced was to preserve the discretion of the Court, whether to grant bail for seditious offences.... This was done via the deletion of Section 5A which states that anyone charged with Sedition shall not be released on bail if there is a "certificate in writing" by the Public Prosecutor stating that it is not in the public interest to grant bail to the person charged... However, the changes to the Bill retains Section 5B which seeks to empower the Public Prosecutor to apply to prevent an accused, who is released on bail, from leaving Malaysia.
The Bill also stated that the Court can also, upon application from the Public Prosecutor, order the accused to surrender his travel documents.... Other changes include reducing the minimum jail term for seditious offences that cause bodily injury or damage to property from five years to three years.
The new changes also state that the act of importing seditious publication is no longer an offence under the principle Act..... Another change made was the removal of the illustration which was inserted to make clear that the act of "exciting any person of group to demand for the secession of any State from Malaysia.".... The part that was removed read "A excites a person or a group of persons to demand for the secession of State B from Malaysia. Such act is seditious."... Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in a press conference at the parliament lobby early Friday, clarified that the issue of secession depended on the interpretation and definition of the courts.... "Some say the interpretation is wide and will lead to abuse. It is the court that does the interpretation based on the terms and present legislations," he told reporters.... Dr Ahmad Zahid also said he was thankful that the amendments to the Sedition Act went on smoothly.... He added that the amendments were vital for three sensitive issues relating to sedition, namely secession, use of social media and religion.... "It is not true for the Opposition to say that this Act will be used to oppress the voice of dissent against the Government as it is clear that the provisions relating to the criticism to the Government in the principal Act were removed," he said.... Dr Ahmad Zahid clarified that the amendments were more focused on those who committed sedition that resulted in bodily injury and property damage....

Umno playing politics with hudud push, Saifuddin tells students in Australia BY SHAUN TAN; KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — Support for hudud exists only on the fringes despite the high-profile coverage on the controversy over the Islamic penal law in Malaysia, said Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah. Speaking during a summit organised by the Malaysian Students Council of Australia (MASCA) in Brisbane, Australia yesterday, the Umno leader also said his party’s apparent support for hudud was “just politics”. “Hudud isn’t mainstream. The mainstream is moderation and democracy,” he said. During discussions on the topic, he said while the Quran uses the word “hudud” 14 times, none of the mentions involves a fixed punishment, but instead appears in relation to marriage, divorce and kindness to orphans. Saifuddin also condemned last year’s Bible seizure by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department and the attempts to ban non-Muslims from using the word “Allah,” as well as the ruling party’s stance on Islam and society. “Barisan Nasional has lost the plot,” he said. “We have to rewrite the script (and reclaim) the new middle ground.” - See more at:

May tabling for hudud Bill Updated: Friday April 10, 2015 MYT 7:38:00 AM; PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s Private Member’s Bill did not make it for debate as the Dewan Rakyat adjourned for the day. His Bill will have to be re-submitted during the next sitting in May. Earlier, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim confirmed that there was no indication from the day’s order of proceedings that Abdul Hadi’s motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisidiction) Act 1965 would be read by the time the sitting ended last night....

6 April 2015: On eve of Prevention of Terrorism Act, 17 arrested for plotting terror acts

Malaysia Detains 17 People Suspected of Plotting Terror Acts Associated Press  KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Apr 5, 2015, 11:36 PM ET; Malaysia's police chief says 17 suspected militants have been detained for allegedly plotting to carry out terrorist acts in the country's largest city, Kuala Lumpur. Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar says the 17 people were detained Sunday. Khalid tweeted on Monday that two of them had just returned from Syria. No further details were immediately available. The government has detained scores of Malaysians believed to be supporters of the Islamic State militant group. Last month, the home ministry proposed two new anti-terror laws that will reintroduce indefinite detention without trial and allow the seizure of passports of anyone suspected of supporting terror acts to curb militant activities in the country. Critics, however, say the new laws as a return of oppressive policies that will curb civil liberties....

4 April 2015: It’s not even Islamic hudud, it’s PAS hudud, says Dr M

It’s not even Islamic hudud, it’s PAS hudud, says Dr M BY ANISAH SHUKRY Published: 4 April 2015 11:40 AM; Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says today PAS’s intention to implement hudud is to win elections. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, April 4, 2015.Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says today PAS’s intention to implement hudud is to win elections. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, April 4, 2015.The hudud that is proposed by PAS is not Islamic, and the Kelantan Umno assemblymen who had voted for it‎ were not even aware of what they were supporting, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today. The former pr‎ime minister said PAS's hudud law was unjust because it created two sets of laws, one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims, and included the punishment of stoning to death, which was not even included in the Quran. He added that PAS's intention to implement hudud was not to uphold Islam, but for politics and to win elections. "The hudud that is p‎roposed by PAS is not Islamic hudud. It is PAS hudud. "If you are not just, you are not Islamic. If you have political intentions, it's not Islamic. So the people in Kelantan Umno who supported this don't even know what they're supporting," said Dr Mahathir at a forum in Cyberjaya today.......He added that only the hadith mentioned cases of people being stoned to death, and said the two incidents were unique rather than the norm. "When you start anything, as a Muslim you say, 'bismillahirrahmanirrahim' which means 'in the name of the God, the most merciful and compassionate'. You think it's merciful and compassionate to stone people to death? "It is an unjust law. What they are introducing, because they are confining to Muslims and not to Muslims, it is unjust. If it is unjust, it is not Islamic."........ He added that as long as the government applied common law and upheld justice, it was already obeying the teachings of Islam. "I never felt any guilt at all that what I was doing was un-Islamic. I felt I was doing things Islamic in having certain family matters placed under Shariah and other crimes placed under common law to achieve justice."

Tun M: PAS' hudud is just to fish for votes  by joseph kaos jr Updated: Saturday April 4, 2015 MYT 2:14:23 PM; CYBERJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) has criticised PAS’ implementation of the hudud law in Kelantan, calling it “unIslamic” and used only to fish for votes. He explained that the Islamic hudud promotes justice and the hudud law that is proposed by PAS excludes the non-Muslims from punishment and therefore is not just. “In the quran there are 43 verses that say that when you judge, you must judge with justice. But under PAS’ hudud, it only applies to Muslims. If a Muslim and a non-Muslim were caught for robbery, the Muslim will get his hand chopped off while the non-Muslim only goes to jail. “Tell me how is that fair? If it is not fair, it is not Islamic,” said Dr Mahathir, who was responding to a question fielded by a participant of the “What Youth Should Know” leadership conference here on Saturday. Dr Mahathir also said PAS’ “niat”, or intention, to implement hudud was not for Islamic reasons but rather political reasons. “PAS’ niat is not for Islam. It is for winning elections and proving there are more Muslim than Umno. If politics is your ‘niat’ than the hudud they are trying to implement is no longer Islamic. “Kelantan Umno voted for hudud but they do not even know what they are supporting. Dr Mahathir said that as a multi-racial country, it is not viable to implement hudud in the country. “We cannot apply hudud in Malaysia as it is a multi-racial country. But the common law is there to uphold justice. I always believe when you uphold justice, than you are upholding the principles of Islam,” he said.

3 April 2015: Malaysia freedom of speech concerns and the rise of sensitivities

Malaysia faces harsh Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) act that critics worry could be used to detain political opponents indefinitely without trial (in an apparent return of the feared features of the colonial era Internal Security Act). Concerns in Malaysia are rife with "with more than 150 people arrested or investigated in the last two months mainly over freedom of expression.." (see MI article below). It seems that ever since George Bush's "war on terror" (example, "you're with us or against us" and the push to be silent on public criticism for fear of demoralising the troops and being seen as unpatriotic), sensitivities increasingly seem to trump freedom of speech considerations.

Meanwhile in Singapore, Amos Yee, a teenager, has been charged as an adult for a hate speech - an obscenity laden tirade which dwells on recently deceased Lee Kuan Yew in the most part; with some negative words that might upset Christians. On the latter, a petition for forgiveness was started by a Singapore Christian (Petition: Release Amos Yee from your anger*).

Broadly speaking, in chats with people in KL and Singapore, a significant number feel that sensitivity / sensibility issues are important (and it seems that the substance was of lesser concern than the form or format). Also, some in KL feel that Singapore is a good place (comparatively speaking) and that Amos Yee was "terribly ungrateful." In a chat with researchers this morning, we noted the negative responses that a postings on Singapore's relatively developed status (thanks to British colonial rule) and the important role of Lee Kuan Yew's lieutenants in building the newly independent island city were attracting. Do some regard this as wrong or wrongly diminishing Lee Kuan Yew's stature? Furthermore, some may also feel that in a time of mourning, there should not be any criticisms whatsoever?

*The petition has "Reasons for signing" section that includes many opinions including these: "The boy's views are expressed rudely, but arresting him would simply prove him right. It is a failure of our education system that we cannot enable people to express dissent in a polite manner. I know people with exactly the opposite views (from him) who are equally rude. He is more a symptom than a problem, and a symbol of what's wrong. Don't punish the messenger....... Please do not follow Malaysia footstep on silent minority voices. Atheism is not a crime ... Forgive is the way to go ....... I would like to take this opportunity to show him grace and mercy bcos my Lord Jesus loves him as who he is. Jesus came for the sinners and not the righteous.....I find Amos Yee to be an extremely talented youth. He may have problems, I am not sure, but his videos surely are telling me that he belongs to a rare breed of talented people... Please do not punish him, but help him. Thank you.....What shocked me was how unprepared Singaporeans are for it. I watched your other videos and was impressed with so much genius. Your video on how to speak Singlish is simply brilliant, thank you for it. Your article on your 4 years spent on high school is one of the most intelligent things I’ve read written by a Singaporean and it beats anything I have read on Singaporean newspapers. You are an inspiration for those who appreciate sarcastic humour, like myself........  If you arrest this kid, then why isn't there any arrest made on the Grassroots leader who made that vicious, self-centered threat to harm this kid, as well? We all have seen pictorial proof of what the grassroots leader said. Why isn't he arrested for causing disharmony as well? This grassroots leader is equally dangerous to society with his sinister mentality as the young kid might have been!......he is a kid for God's sake. Plus you've got lots of people hurling obscene word at others (uploaded on Facebook) but are not persecuted. Is this another way to instil fear in the hearts of others?..........I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of choice. And transparency of government.....Everybody should have freedom to speak, to fight for their future......Let he who has not sinned at 17 cast the first stone....I am signing this because this kid got balls....."I may not agree with what he says but I'll defend to the death his right to say it." .... "

Critics miss the point, problem lies with hate speech law in Amos Yee case By Carlton Tan Apr 02, 2015 5:33AM UTC

Singapore Teen Charged With Obscenity After YouTube Rant  By Lucy Westcott   3/31/15 at 1:41 PM

WATCH: Singapore teenager Amos Yee jailed for video critical of late founder Lee Kuan Yew and Christianity  BY  Associated Press  /  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/ Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 1:44 PM

Amos Yee: Singapore charges teen over anti-Lee Kuan Yew rant 31 March 2015

Crackdown may eventually backfire on BN, say analysts BY ANISAH SHUKRY Published: 1 April 2015 6:59 AM There was a huge turnout at the #KitaLawan rally on March 7. Soon after, Putrajaya began cracking down on dissent, leading to the arrest of many activists, opposition politicians and academics. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 1, 2015.With more than 150 people arrested or investigated in the last two months mainly over freedom of expression, political analysts say the police crackdown might cripple dissent briefly, but would ultimately backfire on the ruling coalition. While the arrest and investigations on opposition politicians, activists, academics and media personnel would cow the public for a while and drain the resources of those critical of Putrajaya, such actions would not be effective for long, they told The Malaysian Insider. “In the short term, it certainly helps the ruling coalition because it has a chilling effect on the public and reduces the ability of the opposition to take advantage of the ongoing internal problems in Umno,” said Ibrahim Suffian, the director of independent pollster Merdeka Center.... “But in the longer run, it will affect public sentiment. These days, you can’t keep a lid on things. It will create problems and affect the legitimacy of the government.” Dr Lim Teck Ghee, the director of think-tank Centre for Policy Initiatives, said urban and educated voters would see no logic for the arrests, despite the official justifications. He said most Malaysians would rather have the police concentrate on their crime and security mission rather than take on a political role. - See more at:

Sedition Act won’t shield corrupt leaders forever, says Zaid Ibrahim Published: 3 April 2015 10:32 AM; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must remember that the people always win against corrupt and oppressive leaders, says a former Umno minister. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 3, 2015. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must remember that the people always win against corrupt and oppressive leaders, says a former Umno minister. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, April 3, 2015. Although the Sedition Act has been retained, a former Umno minister warned that leaders who have "wronged" the country should not use the colonial-era law to "shield" them from their wrongdoings. Writing in his blog, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said oppressive means to stifle dissent would not be popular, adding that it was a matter of time before the legislation was abolished. "All I can say is that the people of this country do not need the Sedition Act.  "This law is used to prevent people like you and me from talking about abuses that affect our country. "Najib and his friends must remember that the people always win against corrupt and oppressive leaders, no matter how much force is used to suppress their will. It’s just a matter of time," he said in reference to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. "The Sedition Act will go once the country is free. For now the act can shield them, but without it, the leaders who have wronged this country will be exposed."
- See more at:

31 March 2015: Malaysia Insider editors and bosses caught up by police over news reports on royal opposition to hudud - which were denied as true

Malaysian Insider's top bosses Ho and Jahabar detained by Charles Ramendran  Posted on 31 March 2015 - 12:19pm; KUALA LUMPUR: Barely a day after three senior editors of Malaysian Insider were held under the Sedition Act, the web news portal's publisher Ho Kay Tat and chief executive officer Jahabar Sadiq were detained soon after being summoned by police for questioning today.
Ho and Jahabar had turned up to be quizzed at the Dang Wangi police headquarters here at about 9am.... They were summoned over a news report published last week in Malaysian Insider that claimed the royal institution had opposed to the amendment of the Federal Constitution to enable hudud laws to be implemented....

27 March 2015: Ruler's deny hudud remarks, Kelantan hudud plans never presented in the first place!

Murky happenings.

Rulers’ office denies issuing hudud remarks, lodges police report Thursday March 26, 201505:30 PM GMT+8 KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal denied today issuing any statement on Kelantan’s hudud plan, and is seeking a police investigation into the matter. In a statement quoted by Bernama, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said a report has been lodged at the Jalan Travers police station. “The Conference of Rulers has never discussed the matter at its meetings. “The office (of the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal) did not issue a press statement dated March 25 on the matter,” he reportedly said. Online news portal The Malaysian Insider carried a report yesterday claiming the Conference of Rulers had rejected Kelantan’s proposed amendments to a federal law meant to enable the enforcement of hudud. A Kelantan government leader, however, disputed the article. Datuk Mohd Takiyuddin Hassan, who is head of Kelantan’s permanent secretariat on hudud, said yesterday he was informed by Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob that the state’s hudud plans were never presented to the royal council in the first place. - See more at:

26 March 2015: Malay rulers rejected hudud proposal put up by Jakim-Umno-Pas group - Straits Times; Lim Kit Siang asks if PM Najib will deviate from stance of the first five PMs against hudud; is PM Najib's prolonged silence on hudud part of a strategy against his political enemies - Malaysiakini

The question swirling in KL at the moment: Can PM Najib retain control of the genie now let out? Some tell of some Muslim politicians with strong views that hudud is a topic only for Muslims to discuss. What is the level of contestation on this policy among Muslims? Some ask if it's likely there is "no choice but to agree" for many Muslims? KL-ites avidly looking for how Parliament approaches the matter. Who in BN is for/against hudud? News on Malay Rulers views a potential big development - are they rulers before all else?  (see Conference of Rulers denial in 27 March posting above). Questions on triggers for out-migration.

Malay rulers rejected hudud proposal - They felt it encroached on their constitutional authority as religious heads By Shannon Teoh, Malaysia Correspondent in Kuala Lumpur Published on Mar 26, 2015; PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has submitted a Private Member's Bill in an attempt to get the federal law changed.... A MOVE to introduce the Islamic penal code or hudud in Kelantan is proving to be much harder than first envisaged, as it has run into resistance from Malaysia's respected Council of Rulers. As a result of the rebuff by the nine-member council earlier this month, Kelantan had to go about using a Private Member's Bill to try to introduce changes to a federal law that are necessary if hudud is to take effect in the state.... The proposal was put to the rulers' council by Jakim, a federal Islamic agency, after discussions between representatives of Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) in an unusual joint effort between Malaysia's ruling party and the Islamist opposition party, which runs Kelantan.... The agreement was thrashed out at a little- known hudud technical committee set up last year to promote the implementation of the criminal code in the state.

Every PM's been firm against hudud, save Najib By Lim Kit Siang  10:00AM Mar 26, 2015
MP SPEAKS Time is running out for Prime Minister Najib Razak in the next 24 hours when the cabinet holds its weekly meeting on Friday (during parliamentary meetings).  This is as to whether Najib has deviated from the stand of the first five prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr Mahathir Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Badawi and the bedrock Umno/BN nation-building principle and policy that hudud law is against Malaysian constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and not suitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia.
For nearly 60 years, every prime minister if asked will have no hesitation to declaring the federal constitution and the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 will not permit the implementation of hudud laws.

As enemy crumbles, Najib delays hudud stand; On Feb 10, the Prime Minister's Office broke a record of sorts when it swiftly issued a statement on the Federal Court's decision to uphold Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction, even before sentencing.... But six days after PAS moved one step closer towards its theocratic goal of implementing hudud, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has remained silent over how his administration or the ruling party view the matter....

25 March 2015: G25 says no place for PAS' hudud - problems arise if hudud enforced before the conditions for its application are met. Where's PM Najib's statement?

There are calls for PM Najib to make a statement on hudud. Silence so far.

Najib to issue statement over hudud - UMNO Supreme Council member Astro Awani | Updated: March 22, 2015  (First published on: March 22, 2015 15:29 MYT).  KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will make an official statement regarding  the hudud law soon, revealed an insider from UMNO Supreme Council. The statement, said the source will put an end to various accusations hurled by the Opposition against Najib on his views on the hudud law. “We have to wait for Najib’s statement on the hudud law which will be issued soon. It will be the party’s stance on the implementation of the law in Kelantan,” said the source to Astro AWANI when contacted, today.

G25: No place for PAS' hudud in moderate Malaysia by victoria brown Updated: Wednesday March 25, 2015 MYT 6:16:56 PM; PETALING JAYA: The implementation of PAS’ hudud will indicate to the world that Malaysia has abandoned its moderate path, said a group of prominent Malays, dubbed G25.... “The Prime Minister has continued to steer the Government along this path and has launched the Global Movement of Moderates to show to the world that the country is committed to the principle of moderation. ... “The imposition of PAS’ hudud laws will signify to the world that Malaysia has abandoned the moderate path.... “We will be seen as a country governed by religious laws which are subjected to the vagaries of interpretation of the ulama who are also fallible human beings,” said the group of retired civil servants in a statement on Wednesday. The group further expressed its concerns as to whether hudud would succeed in upholding justice. “A perusal of the 2015 Hudud Enactment of Kelantan reveals that it has retained the emphasis on punishment rather than repentance and rehabilitation as enjoined in the Quran,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday... The group quoted World Union of Muslim Scholars chairman Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi that problems would arise when hudud is enforced before the conditions for its application are met.....

24 March 2015: Impossible to enforce hudud in Malaysia, says law minister; who's for / against? 

Those speaking out against hudud include: DAP, PKR and two BN/UMNO members - Nazri, Nur Jazlan, and BN component parties from Sarawak under Nancy Shukri. Those supporting hudud include: UMNO Kelantan, Tengku Razaleigh, Shahrir Samad (BN Backbencher Chairman).

Impossible to enforce hudud in Malaysia, says law minister ‎BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH Published: 24 March 2015 10:37 AM; De facto law minister Nancy Shukri today dismissed the chance of hudud being implemented in Kelantan, saying the Private Member's Bill on the issue will never get a single vote from Sarawak lawmakers in Parliament. She agreed with fellow minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz that it was impossible to implement the Islamic penal code in Malaysia, as‎ there were already provisions for criminal offences in the penal code. "We have the federal constitution. We have to look at the offences under hudud. There might be double jeopardy," Nancy, who is Batang Sadong MP, told reporters in ‎Parliament today. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1400601790726-3');}); "A lot of provisions are already under the federal constitution, there needs to be a another study if we were to allow hudud to pass through." Nazri, the former law minister, said that hudud was unsuitable for Malaysia and those who discussed it were fools. The first Umno minister to openly dismiss the implementation of the Islamic penal code, he said that the hudud could only be implemented by amending the Federal Constitution and this would require two-thirds of legislators in Parliament to support it. - See more at:

19 March 2015: Kelantan state assembly votes unanimously for hudud bill

Kelantan's hudud bill amendments passed by syed azhar Updated: Thursday March 19, 2015 MYT 2:03:15 PM; KOTA BARU: Amendments to Kelantan's Syariah Criminal Code 1993 were passed unamiously by the State Legislative Assembly here on Thursday. The amendments were passed at 12.05pm after more than two and a half hours of debates by four state assemblymen and two winding-up speeches including one by Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob. Ahmad's motion was supported by his deputy Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah. The vote was passed unanimously by 44 assemblymen comprising 31 from PAS, 12 from Umno and one from PKR.....

28 February 2015: I fought for all Muslims (against intimidation), says Borders manager after court frees her

I fought for all Muslims, says Borders manager after court frees her BY JENNIFER GOMEZ Published: 26 February 2015 1:42 PM Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz (centre) with other staff of Borders Bookstore. She says her legal battle is to ensure that other Muslim workers will not be intimidated by the authorities for doing their job. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, February 26, 2015.Borders Bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz said her legal battle with Islamic authorities over a charge of selling and distributing a book deemed to be against Islam had changed her and made her realise her larger role to ensure other Muslims are not harassed for doing their jobs. Given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal by the Shariah High Court today, Nik Raina said she had been a shy and reserved person before the raid on May 23, 2012 on the bookstore where she worked, but her ordeal had turned her into a more outspoken person. Along the way, she realised that she had a role to play in facing up to the charges against her... Nik Raina said most of the management staff at Borders are Muslims, and she feared they could be subject to the same intimidation if she did not stand up for her rights in facing the charges. - See more at:

25 February 2015: PM Dept says Imams must report deviationist teaching - Malaysia has 22,000 mosques and suraus with 15,254 imams

Imams must report any deviationist teaching - Jamil Khir Bernama | Updated: February 25, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: The imams must play a more aggressive role in preventing the spread of deviationist teachings which can confuse and destroy the faith of Muslims or lead to other problems spreading in the country.... A minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said in this regard, the imams must report to the authorities if they detected the spread of any deviationist teachings.... "Such things cannot be left unchecked because it can spread rapidly if no drastic action is taken to prevent it," he told reporters after closing the National Level Conference of Imams in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the existence of the National Mosque, Tuesday.
He said there were 22,000 mosques and suraus throughout the country with a total of 14,254 imams....

14 February 2015: In social media in Malaysia a list of Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera consumer goods and F&B is making the rounds with other tit-for-tat boycott ideas - triggered by the boycott call of Agriculture & Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (who has denied being racist, and has been defended by Prime Minister Najib on having misstated*); Brunei's rising restrictions on non-Muslims

Also being circulated is the Brunei restrictions on Chinese New Year (next week) celebration displays:

In addition an UMNO  Division Chief who has been cited as saying he does not require non-Malay voter support has been identified via social media postings as being a Managing Director of a public company that owns a subsidiary producing or distributing beverages including global brand soft drinks and others. It is being suggested that if he is not needing the political support of these groups, he / his company also does not need their consumption support. 

This list via Facebook shares...

Senarai Produk BUMIPUTERA
1. Roti Gardenia (Syed Mokhtar)
 2. Beras Jasmine (Syed Mokhtar)
 3. Minyak Masak Tiara (FELDA)
 4. Minyak Masak Saji (FELDA)
 5. Susu Manis Pekat Saji (FELDA)
 6. Susu Manis Cair Saji (FELDA)
 7. Magge Sajimee Saji (FELDA)
 8. Mayonis Saji Mayo Saji (FELDA)
 9. Marjerin Pelangi (FELDA)
 10. Sos Cili Pelangi (FELDA)
 11. Sos Tomato Pelangi (FELDA)
 12. Jem Peanut SunBear (FELDA)
 13. Sardin Agromas
 14. Sardin Pertima
 15. Kopi Hang Tuah
 16. Bihun Sufi
 17. Mi Kuning Sufi
 18. Kuey Teow Sufi
 19. Garam Sufi
 20. Sos Lada Hitam Sufi
 21. Sos Cili/Tomato Sufi
 22. Kicap Masin/Manis Sufi
 23. Tepung Goreng Sufi
 24. Minyak Masak Sufi
 25. Telur Cap Sufi
 26. Ubat gigi Najwa
 27. Ubat gigi Halagel
 28. Garam Halagel
 29. Tepung gandum Cap Bidara
 30. Tepung gandum Faiza
 31. Jus minuman Safina
 32. Syampoo D’herbs
 33. Pasaraya Mydin
 34. Pasaraya MyMart (kedai keluaran Mydin)
 35. Bihun Kampung
 36. Burger Ramly
 37. Air Mineral Eden
 38. Air Mineral Ala Fonte (Mofaz)
 39. Beras Faeza
 40. Beras Langsat
 41. Kicap Adabi
 42. Kicap Cap Kipas Udang
 43. Minyak Masak Alif
 44. Nugget Ayamas
 45. Sos Rohaya
 46. Sos Adabi
 47. Barang Kosmetik Secret Garden

1.A&W (Milik KUB)
 2.Burger King (Milik Ekuinas)
 3.The Manhattan Fish Market (Milik Ekuinas)
 4.Poppeyes (Milik Ekuinas)
 5.San Francissco (Milik Ekuinas)
 6.Tutti Frutti Ice Cream (Milik Naza)
 7.Ramly Burger (dijamin masih milik melayu)
 8.Otai Burger (Melayu)
 9.1901 Hot Dog Fast Food (Melayu)
 10.Burger Bakar Abg Burn (Melayu)
 11.HPA Radix Fried Chicken (RFC)
 12.Old Malaya Kopitiam (Selangor)
 13.Lam Yong Kopitiam (Selangor)
 14.Jonker Walk Kopitiam (Selangor)
 15.Lay Pak Kopitiam (KL)
 16.Umai Kopitiam (Negeri Sembilan)
 17.Pak Tam Kopitiam (Negeri Sembilan)
 18.Manjung Kopitiam (Perak)
 19.D'Impian Kopitiam (Johor)
 20.Mai Kopitiam (Kedah)
 21.Umai Kopitiam
 22.Kfc (Milik Qsr Brands)
 23.Pizza Hut (Milik Qsr Brands)
 24.Rasamas (Milik Qsr Brands)
 25.Ayamas (Milik Qsr Brands)

1.Roti Massimo
 2. Bihun Aminah Hassan
 3. Minyak Masak Sri Murni
 4. Nugget Sri Murni
 5. Tuna Marina
 6. Sos Cili Aminah Hassan
 7. Sos Tomato Aminah Hassan
 8. Tepung Gandum Cap Sauh
 9. Beras Cap Rambutan
 10. Ali Café PowerRoot
 11. Cereal PowerRoot Oligo
 12. PowerRoot 9SPOT ISOTONIK
 13. Malta
 14. NutriMalt
 15. Teh Cap Masjid
 16. Teh Guru Cap Masjid
 17. Pau Ahmad
 18. Old Town White Coffee
 19. Pasaraya EconSave
 20. Pasaraya KK mart
 21. Pasaraya 99 SpeedMart
 22. Minyak Masak Knife
 23. Minyak Masak Buruh
 24. Minyak Masak Naturel
 25. Minyak Masak Daisy
 26. Drinho ALL DRINKS
 27. Isomax Isotonic
 28. HomeSoy
 29. Farm Crows Butter
 30. Tempura Marina
 31. Hotdog Marina
 32. Kacang Peas Hijau Marina
 33. Kacang Baked Merah Marina
 34. Beef ball Marina
 35. Nugget Marina
 36. Burger Saudi
 37. Pencuci Muka Shahirah
 38. Pencuci Muka Safi
 39. Ubat Gigi Safi
 40. Pencuci Muka Balqis Safi
 41. Café Powerroot Ali
 42. Mee segera Ruski
 43. Pasaraya Long Wan
 44. Pasaraya Bilal
 45. Beras Cap Masjid
 46. Air Mineral Spritzer

Restoran NON Bumiputera
1.The Chicken Rice Shop
 2.Old Town White Coffee
 3.Mc Donald
 4.Kenny Rogers
 5.Papa John’s Pizza
 6.Wendy’s Hamburger
 7.Krispy Kreme
 8.Starbucks Coffe
 9.Kyros Kebab
 10.TGi Fridays
 11.Dave’s Deli
 12.Baskin Robin’s
 13.Coffee Bean
 14.Domino’s Pizza
 15.Carls JR
 16.Secret Recipe
 18.Dominos Pizza
 19.Kemaman Kopitiam
 21.Pak Li Kopitiam
 22.Pak Hailam Kopitiam
 23.Mr.Kaya Kopitiam
 25.Roti Bakar Kopitiam
 26.Victoria Station
 28. Nandos

x suruh pun boikot...cuma suruh pilih mana yg lebih utama.. kalau bangsa yahudi diorg akan utamakan bangsa diorg.. bangsa cina pun sama jgk wlupun diorg menafikan hakikat sbnr.. org inggeris pun sama diorg akan utamakan bangsa diorg.. sama jgk org kulit hitam pun.. kita org Melayu ni ja yg kebanyakan x pentingkn bangsa kita sendiri... kononnya takut bangsa lain angap kita rasis pdhal bangsa lain kita x nmpk plk yg diorg tu sbnrnya lg rasis dr kita... so..sendiri pikir la yea...

A loose translation: I am not telling you to boycott, but to ask you to choose which is more important. If the Jews can favour their own, and Chinese does the same as the Jews but the Chinese will not admit to this truth, the English also favour their own race... same with the black people. Why then do the majority of Malays choose not to favour their own race. ..apparently because Malays are worried other races will consider us racist, when in reality, the other races themselves fail to see that they are more racist than the Malays, so please think for yourself….

*Najib defends Ismail Sabri, says comment meant for ‘all traders’ Published: 4 February 2015 5:12 PM; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today defended Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's Facebook comment on Chinese traders, saying the Umno minister was not targeting any specific race.
The Prime Minister's Department in a statement said the Cabinet was told that Ismail's post was a reminder for all businesses to lower the price of their goods....

4 February 2015: Speak up for secular politics, Anwar and three others tell Muslims; Agriculture & Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob clarifies he only meant to urge Malay consumers to boycott stubborn (not all) Chinese traders but some readers of his blog postings are not convinced

Speak up for secular politics, Anwar and three others tell Muslims Published: February 1, 2015 08:34 AMUPDATED: February 01, 2015 10:50 am; KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Muslims must reject the commingling of religion and politics to avoid falling victim to religious extremists and authoritarian governments purporting to combat them, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has said in an opinion with three other Muslim world leaders. In the piece published by Indonesian news portal The Jakarta Globe and in response to last month’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris that was triggered by the magazine’s caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, the four also said that freedom of speech was an inalienable right in Islam. The article was penned by Opposition Leader Anwar along with founder of Khlass Le Silence Felix Marquardt, president of the World Council of Religions for Peace Ghaleb Bencheikh, and imam and rector of the Great Mosque of Bordeaux Tareq Oubrou.... In the article titled “Islam is a victim of global terrorists”, the quartet condemned the “barbarous” killings in Paris by Islamist gunmen and said that violence — physical or verbal — was not the way Muslims should defend their faith.....

'I meant stubborn Chinese traders, not all' by Malaysiakini; Under fire for urging Malay consumers to boycott Chinese traders in order to bring prices down, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob now clarifies that he did not mean all Chinese traders....

Blog postings don’t lie, but ministers do By Yoursay; YOURSAY ‘Clearly his blog was intended to induce hatred of the Chinese.’....

30 January 2015: Selangor Mufti 'beat the wife" comdemed by NGOs saiying it is unlawful under Domestic Violence Act

NGO condemns Selangor Mufti’s ‘beat the wife’ call by FMT Reporters  | January 30, 2015
Malaysians urged to stand up and reject the Selangor Mufti’s extremist, misogynistic, and unlawful statement. domestic-violence SHAH ALAM: The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality has condemned Selangor Mufti Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahid for reportedly stating that a man is allowed to beat his wife and children under certain circumstances.... The Selangor Mufti Department’s objectives include providing “advice and guidance to the Sultan, the State Government and society”, pointed out the Group in a statement, “not propagate misogynistic and unlawful views”.... The Group warned the Selangor Mufti that Penal Code section 323 criminalises “voluntarily causing hurt”, and the Domestic Violence Act makes it very clear that abuse by a husband towards his wife, physical or psychological, is a crime....

13 January 2015: Sarawak cancels talk on the Prophet in the Bible by Iraqi Islamic scholar

Sarawak cancels Islamic talk after Christians object BY DESMOND DAVIDSON Published: 13 January 2015; Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs in the state, said he “advised” the organisers to cancel the talk because of objections from the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), certain individuals and politicians. The talk – organised by the Islamic Information Centre (IIC) and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) – was scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday.... But it was deemed unhelpful in defusing religious tension between Muslims and Christians in the country.... The talk, in conjunction with Prophet Muhammad's birthday, was to feature Iraqi Islamic scholar Shaykh Afeefuddin Al-Jalani speaking on the Prophet Muhammad in the Bible.... PKR state chief Baru Bian, who today faxed a letter to Daud, stated that the topic of the talk was “an affront to Christians because Prophet Muhammad was never mentioned in the Bible, contrary to what the topic implies”. He said many church leaders considered the topic to be blasphemous. “Imagine how the Muslims would feel if a group of Christians proposed to invite a Christian scholar to talk about the Quran. “I shudder to think of the reaction from the extreme ‘defenders of the faith’ in West Malaysia,” he added....

12 January 2015: Paris attackers never visited Malaysia says Royal Malaysian Police

Jewish store attackers never visited Malaysia for a holiday - IGP by Astro Awani | Updated: January 11, 2015 (First published on: January 11, 2015 09:27 MYT) KUALA LUMPUR: The Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has denied that France's terror duo involved in the Paris kosher grocery store massacre had entered Malaysia for a holiday, as reported by CNN.
Khalid wrote that checks by Royal Malaysian Police proved that the duo had never been to this country....

10 January 2015: Minister warns on Paris-type massacre risk, DAP's Kit Siang criticizes Najib inaction on extremism and points to Malaysia ranking #48 in Global Terrorism Index 2014

After Hisham’s caution on Paris massacre, Kit Siang queries unfettered extremism in Malaysia Published: January 10, 2015 09:13 AM; KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — A minister’s warning that Malaysia could see its own version of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris that left 20 people dead has prompted DAP’s Lim Kit Siang to ask why growing religious extremism is not muzzled here. Agreeing with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s prognosis on the threats of religious extremism, Lim nevertheless lamented that the minister was commenting on the symptom — the threat to national security — rather than the cause: growing religious fundamentalism and extremism. Citing the Global Terrorism Index 2014 released by the Institute of Economic and Peace in November, the DAP parliamentary leader noted that Malaysia has climbed 91 spots in the ranking since 2012 and was now 48th in a list topped by war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.... Criticising Putrajaya for its inaction against open provocation and bigotry, Lim then juxtaposed the government’s incongruous silence against extremism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s repeated messages espousing moderation both at home and abroad....

29 December 2014: Sarawak bars controversial Ridhuan Tee, moderate Muslims initiative

CM's Office bars Ridhuan Tee from entering Sarawak; 1:39PM Dec 26, 2014  By Bernama; The Office of the Sarawak Chief Minister has issued a directive prohibiting the entry of academician Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah into the state.

SIS: Ridhuan's thinking may lead to real terrorism; 10:29AM Dec 18, 2014 Malaysiakini
If the arguments put forth by people like controversial academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah are not countered, we may soon have our own version of Islamic State (IS), warns an NGO.

Ridhuan given his just desserts in Sarawak; 8:39AM Dec 28, 2014 By Yoursay ; YOURSAY ‘Sarawak doesn't want you and neither does the rest of the country.’

Moderate Malays initiative gathering momentum 8:10AM Dec 19, 2014  By Yoursay
22 Muslim activists show support for Eminent 25

Interview (3/3): Wong Chen on anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 3 of 3)

Q&A with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015. On Malaysian Parliament, 9 March – 9 April 2015 session - anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 3).

Q. People are angry with opposition MPs who did not turn up for the vote. What is your opinion on this?

Every MP is responsible for his/her own action, or in this case absence. They should face their constituents on this matter - their constituents have a right to question them and to know the truth. I got a lot of calls from reporters asking me to state who were absent. I got many postings on Facebook asking me to reveal the absentees. I also got hammered for no reason too.

I did not keep a list but I know for certain about the presence or absence of those seated near me. Some of the lists being circulated on the internet are clearly wrong. Raja Bahrin of Kuala Trengganu was definitely there for the vote and throughout was instrumental in the POTA fight.

Some lists reflect who were there for the day but in fact were missing for the actual vote. Only Parliament records can confirm the vote list. I wouldn’t venture to make a list from my memory but I will vouch for those seated near me.   

Q. Were they properly alerted to these crucial matters (POTA and Sedition Act amendment), so they could come back to vote?

Yes, we have a dedicated WhatsApp group for Pakatan Rakyat MPs. So, they would have received notices. The Chief Whips would have also SMS-ed them. For those overseas or outside KL, they probably could not come back in time to vote.

Q. But why not rush back? Why even be outstation or overseas in the first place? The POTA bill were on your desks a week beforehand. Don’t all MPs plan to be at all the Parliamentary sittings? How many days do you have each year for this?

Look, I cannot speak on behalf of those absent. Whatever reasons they have for being outstation or overseas they need to answer to their own constituents. We are in Parliament for roughly 80 to 90 working days a year, divided into three sessions.

Q. Your observation – what are typical reasons for being missing from their seat in Parliament (other than being sick)?

They may have important “official engagements”, who knows? That’s the most overused excuse. It’s a bit like “melawat sambil belajar” (a study trip). But I don’t believe anyone had official engagements at 2.30 am. I believe Parliament must be a priority, especially so when debating legislations. During question time and less significant policy level debates, you can arguably take some time off. These events are when ministers answer your questions. In most cases, the ministers actually try very hard not to answer your questions.

However, you should never ever be absent when legislations are tabled, especially so involving crucial legislations such as POTA and the Sedition Act. My own practice is to decline any invitations when Parliament sits. I enjoy my Parliamentary work with fellow MPs and at this time, I am quite happy to leave my staff, who are very competent in helping with all the sundry complaints of potholes and clogged drains.

Even during legislative work, of course, you cannot sit there in your chair every second of the sitting. It is common to sometimes take an hour or two off during a full day’s legislative sitting especially if you’re not scheduled for debate or not an expert on a particular subject. Most will hang out at the Parliamentarian’s lounge or head out for a meal as the food in Parliament can be quite awful. Importantly, we also have out of chamber things to do like discussions with others MPs, work with our researchers, drafting and so forth. But all these activities should be done in premises of Parliament.

For instance, when I debated on the Securities Commission Act amendment, a somewhat specialised matter, a lot of MPs took breaks and the hall was three-quarters empty. But MPs should always be nearby, to rush back to vote. It is practice for MPs who want to push the matter to a vote, to give other MPs at least one hour’s notice beforehand. When the vote comes, there is a two minutes warning by a bell to alert MPs back into the chamber.

Q. You clearly have no answer for your missing brethren. OK, so, how can the opposition ever defeat a contentious UMNO-BN bill?

That’s not quite fair. But I can understand people’s frustrations.

How can you defeat a legislation? You can never defeat the UMNO-BN administration in a straight vote as they have 60% of the seats in Parliament. They only need 51% to pass any legislation. They need 66% to amend the constitution, which is why they are stuck on the issue of electoral boundary redelineation.

There are basically three key ways to defeat a bill. One, is to win BN backbenchers over to go against the Najib administration. This very rare event happened last November last year, when the BN backbenchers asked the government to withdraw the bill on MPs pay. They regarded Najib’s proposed pay rise as insufficient, since it was lower than the pay of a state assemblyman. Many backbenchers were furious and as such Najib had to withdraw the bill.

Second, is to get external people to pressure the government. For instance, last year, in the investment panel issue, I provided information to the media, rating agencies, academics and the business community on Najib’s bill. They in turn pressured Najib to drop his plan for an investment panel within the income tax department. So we achieved a positive result. The contentious investment panel clause was removed. Many regarded it as an unusual and dubious thing. My office and I worked very hard on this issue.

Third, is to convince the Speaker that the Najib administration has failed to follow procedures of the Standing Order, hence the bill cannot procedurally, be tabled. We tried the third move on the Sedition Act amendments but the Speaker rejected Gobind’s sub judice argument and instead supported the Najib administration.

MPs standing to be counted on the Sedition Act amendments vote (Photo: Wong Chen)

Q. What other important bills were there in this sitting?

In addition to POTA and the Sedition Act amendments, there were two other significant bills presented to us during the sitting: the KWAP bill deals with the civil servants pension fund; and the bill on the creation of a Malaysian Aviation Commission.

These two bills saw the consolidation of the Prime Minister’s powers. He will have a lot influence over the decisions that these two bodies make. In the KWAP bill, the Bank Negara Malaysia (central bank) representative was removed from KWAP board for reasons unknown. The type of investments KWAP could make, were broadened to include derivatives and unlisted entities (these offer less transparency).

In the Aviation Commission bill, which decides on licensing for the operation of airlines, ground maintenance and aerodomes (in my estimation a RM 20 billion industry since Air Asia is valued at RM 6 billion and MAS at RM 4 billion). The commission allows for nine members on the board, with one appointed by the Ministry of Transport and the other eight appointed by the Prime Minister. Najib has powers to decide everything about the Board including selection of its members, their remuneration and their sacking.

Q. It’s been a long interview, any last words?

Many people feel a loss of hope as they see all the odd things happenings at the top. Some people grow used to these abuses by UMNO BN and now believe there is no other way. When several Pakatan MPs failed to do their job in Parliament, it compounds that sense of hopelessness. Many are already upset with the stagnant economy and the fall of the Ringgit. GST comes along. Then draconian laws passed in Parliament. It is all very sad and sickening. People keep asking how much lower we can go. People even stop me on the street to ask if they should leave Malaysia for good. I just shrug and then say we must stay and we must fight.

An exclusive interview with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015.

This is Part 3 of 3.

Read Part 1 here, /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-wong-chen-on-anti-terrorism.html.

Read Part 2 here, /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-wong-chen-on-anti-terrorism_14.html

Interview (2/3): Wong Chen on anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 2 of 3)

Q&A with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015. On Malaysian Parliament, 9 March – 9 April 2015 session - anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 2).

Q. Was the POTA legislation rushed? What's with the 12 hour debate into the wee hours?

POTA was not only rushed. It was bulldozed through. Apparently, Malaysia is about to be attacked by terrorists. That’s what the IGP said a week ago. Therefore, BN needs it, and they need it now. The bills was so needed that it had to be passed at 2.30 a.m.

The Malaysian Parliament isn’t anything like many others in the Commonwealth and legislatures elsewhere. There is little use of bi-partisan select and standing committees. There is almost no consultation with experts on draft bills. No public hearings. The bills pop up on our tables at Parliament just days before the debate.  At the so-called committee stage, there is in fact no committee; it is just another round of floor debates where questions and opinions are often greeted by more heckling.

For POTA, the Pakatan MPs were determined to record our objections to key problematic clauses of POTA in the Hansard. We mounted a strong challenge at the policy level and also at the committee stage debate. On my count, the debate went on for 12 hours.

What was also disappointing was the fact that even the two MPs of Gerakan (part of BN) voted for POTA. One of Gerakan’s main pillars was its stance against ISA. But their two MPs voted for it.

Q. Were any BN MPs concerned about the POTA provisions?

In my opinion, overall no. Not from the content of their speeches. The BN MPs argued a simple line: we need these extensive powers to fight terrorists. And then they promised not to abuse it.

People ask me, can you trust their promises? Najib’s administration has so far arrested 150 under the Sedition Act within the space of a year. Others point to other examples of empty promises - the ISA. The ISA was created by the British to fight communists and UMNO-BN kept it on and used it too. Out of the 10,000 odd people arrested under it, the majority of detainees were in fact non-communists but political opponents of the government.

As far as I’m concerned, the MPs from BN failed to demonstrate any deep understanding or real concerns about human rights. They probably voted out of blind loyalty, and they voted as a bloc. I suspect a good many who did not take part in the debate are unaware of the real substantive issues. I was particularly upset with the senior members of the backbenchers – all the BN Tan Sris and Dato Seris - for they should know better. They should be the seniors defending the constitution. You shouldn’t be an MP for three or more terms and pretend that legislations such as POTA and the Sedition Act are okay and acceptable.

During the debate, we also tried another strategy. By pointing out obvious flaws in the drafting. But these guys must have some sort of shame deficit, they rammed the legislation through anyway; warts, flaws and all included. From their actions, I’ll say that the BN MPs also couldn’t care if the world laughed at how bad the drafting was. 

Q. Do opposition MPs ever vote to support UMNO-BN legislation?

No, not that I can recall. In my two years as an MP, probably not even once. But we do not have a blind loyalty bloc vote policy, not in PKR and not as Pakatan Rakyat. We have room to agree to disagree. We are expected to think for ourselves, whilst bearing in mind our common policies and visions for Malaysia. These policies are set out in our Manifesto and also in our annual Alternative Budget.

For instance, 2 days ago, I debated on the matter of the Securities Commission bill. I praised the appointment of Ranjit Singh as Chairman. I saw this as an example of meritocracy. I said that the fact that the SC has financial independence is a big contributing factor to its success. I also said I had no problems with most of the proposed amendments. But, I asked for two changes. One to ensure that any external experts or advisors to an SC meeting shall first declare their interests and if they do have, then obviously they shouldn't act as an expert. The second change I wanted, was that after declaring an interest in a matter, a member of the SC must not be in the meeting and must not vote. Nothing political about my reasonable suggestions. But the UMNO-BN bloc voted against my suggestions. In turn, I could not support the legislation without my changes. As such, supporting or opposing a legislation it is not always a clear cut, black and white matter.

Q. So what about the Sedition Act - what are issues with this piece of legislation?

The amendments to the Sedition Act were put in at the very last minute and we were all caught by surprise. The bill was presented on our tables at 9am, two days before the debate. Two days! That’s an ambush. You can’t morally legislate such an important bill with two days notice.   

On the fateful day, I was first in Parliament at about 8.45 am. On my desk, staring back at me was the Sedition bill amendments. I took photos and WhatsApp the same to Pakatan MPs. There was a particularly nasty clause: the Najib administration wanted to disallow bail for anyone charged under this act. They sought to remove the discretion of judges in granting bail. They tried to transfer that discretionary power on bail to the attorney general. It was just so wrong on so many levels. YB Rafizi Ramli, who is facing 4 sedition investigations was mildly shock when I informed him of the clause.
This means that if you’re arrested by the police for sedition and if the attorney general is of the opinion that you are threat, you will be detained in police lock-up until the trial is over. Effectively, you could be in jail until trial completes in 2 to 4 years. UMNO-BN wanted to elevate the crime of sedition to a non-bailable offence. Do you know what crimes are not bailable? Kidnapping and murder. Come on, is criticising the government on the same league as murder? We immediately alerted the Bar Council, International Commission of Jurists and the United Nations on this issue.

My research officers and I then went into an emergency meeting with several MPs and started planning our next steps to try to stop the bill. YB Gobind Singh came up with a brilliant idea, arguing that the amendment to the Sedition Act is sub judice because the legality of the entire Sedition Act is currently under consideration of the Federal Court. To avoid sub judice, we asked UMNO-BN to at least defer the amendments until after a Federal Court makes a decision.

We then informed the three Chief Whips (PKR, DAP and PAS) of our plans and asked them to quickly contact the Speaker and the Minister to try to convince them to withdraw the amendment bill. In the meantime, we devised a strategy to buy more time for more bi-partisan discussions.

Several MPs approached the Sabah and Sarawak BN backbenchers. Apparently, we got support from some. To our surprise, Bung Mokhtar spoke against the bill. He is the wiliest of all BN backbencher. For instance, last week he was sympathetic of “Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia” (a Sabah and Sarawak secessionist group) and this week he called them “Orang Gila” (crazy people) and asked the police to arrest all of them. By nightfall, we heard that the Minister had agreed to withdraw the most onerous elements of the bill. To be safe, we nevertheless filed our own committee stage changes to the bill.

The next day, we were informed that the Najib administration had indeed removed the clause on “no bail” but they retained many more terms which are clearly abhorrent. I was particularly upset about their refusal to remove the clause on youthful and first time offenders. The Najib administration pushed through a clause that says youthful offenders (aged 18-21 years) and first time offenders cannot be shown any leniency by the courts. Therefore, they must serve a minimal jail term of 3 years up to 20 years for sedition, if found guilty.

 Debate notes on the clause on youthful and first time offenders (Photo: Wong Chen)

Whereas POTA has been packaged as a bill against terrorists, the Sedition Act has no such pretense, it is clearly aimed against citizens who want the right to exercise reasonable free speech and or carry out peaceful rallies.

This amendment bill was pushed through at 2.30 am after some 12 hours of debate. I lost my temper with several UMNO leaders and berated them over declaring war on Malaysian youths. I reminded them that we were all 18 years old at one time, and we’ve all been rebellious over something. As such, youths should be given special dispensation and not face the full weight of the law. I asked them if they knew what they had just voted for, to which I got blank faces. I asked them if they had children or grandchildren and to think of them.

Q. Some people ask if this the end of democracy in Malaysia (such as it is)? What do you say?

In my honest opinion, I’ll say it’s moving towards the end. We don’t have a free mass media other than the internet. But we are used to living with that. However, when they pass draconian laws, I’ll say that we are 70% to the end. Thank God we still have some good judges and some professional policemen.

There is a joke going around in the halls of Parliament that PM Najib has finally fulfilled his “1 Malaysia” dream. SOSMA was introduced after the Lahad Datu incident – sending a strong message to the people of Sabah and Sarawak. Then, he introduced PCA or the Prevention of Crime Act – targeted at so-called triads, essentially sending a strong message to the Chinese community. With POTA, he sends another strong message to the Malays and the Indians. It is Najib’s “1 Malaysia” dream fulfilled, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban and Kadazan all living in fear: semua sama-sama akan kena.

An exclusive interview with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015.

This is Part 2 of 3.

Read Part 1 here, /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-wong-chen-on-anti-terrorism.html.

Read Part 3 here, /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-33-wong-chen-on-anti.html:
•People are angry with opposition MPs who did not turn up for the vote. What is your opinion on this?
•Were they properly alerted to these crucial matters (POTA and Sedition Act amendment), so they could come back to vote?
•But why not rush back? Why even be outstation or overseas in the first place? The POTA bill were on your desks a week beforehand. Don’t all MPs plan to be at all the Parliamentary sittings? How many days do you have each year for this?
•Your observation – what are typical reasons for being missing from their seat in Parliament (other than being sick)?
•You clearly have no answer for your missing brethren. OK, so, how can the opposition ever defeat a contentious UMNO-BN bill?
•What other important bills were there in this sitting?
•It’s been a long interview, any last words?

Interview (1/3): Wong Chen on anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 1 of 3)

 Q&A with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015. On Malaysian Parliament, 9 March – 9 April 2015 session - anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 1).

Q. What were the important events at the recently completed Parliamentary sitting?
The two biggest events were the tabling of the Prevention of Terrorism (POTA) bill and the amendments to the Sedition Act. There were 13 legislations presented for this sitting, 7 of which were related to POTA. POTA is a new legislation, so other existing legislations relating to criminal justice needed to be amended to sync with POTA. The 7 related bills included matters concerning criminal procedure, penal code and evidence.
POTA has provisions for detention without trial (renewable every two years) for an indefinite period. The amendments to the Sedition Act were intended to give extensive powers to the police and widen the definition of "seditious tendencies". If passed, these two bills will erode the rakyat’s already fragile and limited rights. Many worry that this points to the Najib administration becoming more authoritarian and less tolerant of criticisms.
Q. What do you mean if passed? Aren’t these laws passed after the two 12 hour sessions in Parliament?
Before a bill becomes an act there are two further stages. After Dewan Rakyat (the lower chamber of Parliament), a bill needs to go to the upper house or Dewan Negara. After that it needs the Agong's (ruler, the head of state) signature.
The upper house is majority controlled by the Najib’s appointees and if the ruler refuses to sign, it will become law irrespective after one month.
In terms of expected timing, these bills will become law within the month of April. Our fear is that these legislations may be used against the people for the May Day rally. It may even be used against Dr.Mahathir to stop his increasingly brazen questions about Najib.
Q. Can you highlight how these legislations were debated in Parliament? What did you do?
Since November last year, when UMNO-BN introduced the White Paper against ISIS, we knew that a legislation against terrorism will be prepared. However, not a single person from Pakatan Rakyat or the Bar Council was consulted on the drafting of the anti-terrorism bill. So, two weeks before the start of the recently concluded Parliament session, I asked my two researchers to start looking at the anti-terrorism legislations of Australia and the UK. They researched a pile of data and policy points. At the start, none of the MPs seemed interested except for Raja Bahrin of PAS.
On the first day of the Parliament session, I had breakfast with Raja Bahrin, MP for Kuala Terengganu. We usually breakfast together. There is only a handful of MPs that get to Parliament before 9.30 am. We talked about POTA and decided to do a few press conferences to alert the public. We started by alerting the public that MPs had yet to receive the draft bill.
The bill was finally put on table a week before debate. Since I was assigned by PKR to analyze the bill, my researchers worked harder crafting arguments for MPs to use. I also worked with Ooi Heng (the parliamentary researcher for PKR) and he arranged for a special briefing by the Bar Council, open to all Members of Parliament. Despite the open invitation, only Pakatan Rakyat MPs attended.
Around 20 MPs attended the briefing, which I co-chaired.
Thereafter, I called for a meeting of Pakatan MPs to attend a drafting session to put our alternative amendments to POTA. That was on Saturday 4 April 2015 in the PKR HQ. The YBs that attended the drafting were Sim Tze Tzin (PKR - Bayan Baru), William Leong (PKR-Selayang), Manivanan Gowin (PKR – Kapar), Hanipa Maidin (PAS –Sepang), Lim Lip Eng (DAP Segambut) and myself. My two researchers and Shao Loong of Institut Rakyat (the PKR think tank) also attended. I chaired and presented suggested amendments, William Leong and Hanipa gave a lot of feedback.
Saturday 4 April 2015 meeting on POTA bill (photo: Wong Chen)

YB Sim Tze Tzin then drafted and faxed our amendments to the Parliamentary secretariat. He has experience with such amendments. Our amendments were a tactical move to slow down proceedings and also force our version to be debated. We were hoping to slow down proceedings so to buy time for our MPs to try to “turn” some BN backbenchers. By submitting written amendments, BN backbenchers could then read our proposals and duly consider the issues. Throwing oral arguments across the floor will have limited impact compared to presenting a written document. We hoped some would support it instead of the Najib administration’s bill.
Q. So what did you propose?
We are not soft on terrorism. We wanted a law that balances the need to protect citizens from terrorism and at the same time upholds rule of law and justice.
So we looked at the UK and Australian models. They have been actual targets of terrorist attacks. They are on constant high alert. Yet their laws are grounded. In the interest of fighting terrorism, they forgo minimal civil liberties and adopted a pre-trial detention system. Their authorities have powers to detain a suspect. However the maximum detention time is only up to 14 days. Thereafter, they must either set him free or charge him in court. UK and Australia are prime targets of terrorist attacks, yet their MPs saw the need to protect democracy and find a practical solution to security threats.
We liked what UK and Australia did. Tough on terrorism but without sacrificing a whole lot of civil liberties. So we basically adopted their laws in our counter-proposal to Najib’s version. We proposed a similar 14 days pre-trial detention. In truth, I would have even gone beyond 14 days to 28 days, if BN had counter-proposed, which they didn’t. Anything would have been better than indefinite detention without trial.

Pakatan Rakyat’s amendments submitted for the POTA bill (photo: Wong Chen)

Q. What’s in Najib’s POTA bill?
The Najib administration proposed a system of detention without trial. POTA also allows normally inadmissible evidence, to be admissible. What does that mean? Hearsay or illegal confessions (however obtained) will be admissible in POTA. POTA also states that there will be no judicial review, whatsoever. Habeas corpus will not be allowed.
POTA has a Prevention of Terrorism Board, the bulk of the members do not have any pre-qualification requirements. The Chairman needs only 15 years experience in the legal field to qualify. This means that a banking lawyer of 15 years can lead the POTA Board! We asked for the Chairman to be at least a High Court Judge with experience in the criminal division. Our request was rejected. 
The Board also has powers to make up any rules or procedures whenever they like. There is also no oversight by Parliament, POTA only answers to the Home Minister and ultimately the Prime Minister who appointed him. But the biggest threat is the matter of indefinite detention without trial.
When a suspect is arrested under POTA, he may be detained for a period of two years, renewable every two years for an indefinite period. This is basically ISA 2.0. We took the stand that this system would ultimately create more terrorists because you cannot fight terrorism by smashing the rule of law.
For instance, what if the Najib administration catches a misguided 18-year old who supports ISIS? They could detain him and deny him his basic rights to a trial. Give him no access to a lawyer, no access to his family. He will simply disappear. When the authorities eventually release him, he may have become so angry and filled with hatred that he might just become a terrorist. When a man is denied justice or a fair trial, he might fight his oppressors harder.
We looked at history, how unfair detentions in Northern Ireland had in fact created more sympathizers and IRA fighters. The same too in the recent Egyptian crackdown on the Islamic Brotherhood. Our greatest fear is that POTA may end up creating more terrorists.
Q. But isn’t this about existing terrorists?
No, POTA is extremely wide ranging. It isn’t just restricted to containing terrorists who carry guns and bombs. Terrorist activities are given such a wide definition that it will include people who “support” terrorist groups. Support is such a vague term, and certain parts of the bill has wordings that refers to financial contribution and purchase of merchandise as terrorist activities. Thus, that categorizes someone who buys or sells ISIS t-shirts or ISIS flags as a terrorist too.
Several PAS MPs alerted me that the US treats Hamas as a terrorist organisation. In Malaysia, Hamas is accepted by many Muslims as an organization that tries to help Palestinians. Every Friday prayers, right across Malaysia, thousands of people donate to Islamic charities, which direct these donations toward the rebuilding of Palestine. What happens if Malaysia follows the US stance and declares Hamas a terrorist organisation? Combine this with such a wide definition under POTA, many thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Malaysian Muslims may be regarded as terrorists. Why create a law that makes thousands vulnerable to potential arrest and detention without trial? Some ask if this is intended to instill fear. History teaches us that a government that rules by fear will not be a government for long.
When my researchers dug deeper, we also discovered that not only some Muslims may be targeted, but some Tamils are also potential targets. The Tamil Tigers are currently classified as a terrorist group under Malaysian laws. The Tamil Tigers are very popular amongst the Tamil population in Malaysia. So with POTA, wearing a Tamil Tiger t-shirt will categorize you as a terrorist.

As I said earlier, if POTA is used against such supporters - putting them in detention without trial, and depriving them of legal rights under POTA - they may emerge hardened in terrorism. But if you give them a fair trial together with rehabilitation efforts, you stand a much better chance to return them to normalcy. 

An exclusive interview with Wong Chen, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya, 11 April 2015.

This is Part 1 of 3.

Next, read Part 2 - Interview (2/3): Wong Chen on anti-terrorism, sedition, bloc voting, missing MPs and more (Part 2 of 3) /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-wong-chen-on-anti-terrorism_14.html
  • Was the POTA legislation rushed? What's with the 12 hour debate until the wee hours?
  • Were any BN MPs concerned about the POTA provisions?
  • Do opposition MPs ever vote to support UMNO-BN legislation?
  • So what about the Sedition Act - what are issues with this piece of legislation?
  • Some people ask if this the end of democracy in Malaysia (such as it is)? What do you say?
Read Part 3 here, /khoryuleng/2015/04/interview-33-wong-chen-on-anti.html:
  • People are angry with opposition MPs who did not turn up for the vote. What is your opinion on this?
  • Were they properly alerted to these crucial matters (POTA and Sedition Act amendment), so they could come back to vote?
  • But why not rush back? Why even be outstation or overseas in the first place? The POTA bill were on your desks a week beforehand. Don’t all MPs plan to be at all the Parliamentary sittings? How many days do you have each year for this?
  • Your observation – what are typical reasons for being missing from their seat in Parliament (other than being sick)?
  • You clearly have no answer for your missing brethren. OK, so, how can the opposition ever defeat a contentious UMNO/BN bill?
  • What other important bills were there in this sitting?
  • It’s been a long interview, any last words?

Khor Yu Leng has researched and written about the political economy of Felda and Johor-Iskandar and voting outcomes in GE13 (with a focus on rural voting behaviours). Some highlights here: /khoryuleng/2014/04/malaysia-political-economy-of-felda-and.html. These works were published in Kajian Malaysia / Journal of Malaysian Studies in 2014 and a book by ISEAS in 2015. She was Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) in 2013. She is married to Wong Chen.