Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kit Siang slams Soi Lek for giving in to Umno again

Saturday, 30 April 2011 12:51

by Lim Kit Siang

It should be the front-page headline news of the MCA newspaper The Star today, but it was tucked away in page 4, regarded as less newsworthy than Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding (entire front page with pic and headline ‘You look beautiful’), “PM – Innovate to compete: Relying on foreign labour a threat to economy, SMEs told” (p 2), “A sea tunnel, after two bridges – Penang’s proposed third link in the pipeline” and “Hostile witnesses an obstacle, says MACC panel” (p 3).

It finally appears in p 4 of Star “Party will give up posts – MCA presidential council backs Chua’s stand” beneath another Chua Soi Lek story “Stop fanning racial flame, Soi Lek warns opposition”.

This is what even journalists in MCA’s own newspaper, the Star, think of the newsworthiness and importance of Chua’s “shock announcement”.

Many Malaysians thought that MCA leaders are finally taking a political stand because they are moved by the latest World Bank report entitled “Malaysia Economic Monitor: Brain Drain” and adverse news headlines like “Malaysia’s brain drain getting worse, says World Bank” and “NEP, brain drain holding back Malaysia, says World Bank” which said among other things:

  • More than one million Malaysians live abroad and that policies favouring Malays are holding back the economy, causing a brain drain and limiting foreign investment.
  • a gloomy picture of the Malaysian brain drain situation today saying that it not only grew rapidly but is likely to intensify, further eroding the country’s already narrow skills base.
  • that the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad has tripled in the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.
  • foreign investment could be five times the current levels if the country had Singapore’s talent base.
  • Migration is very much an ethnic phenomenon in Malaysia, mostly Chinese but also Indian.
  • Governance issues and lack of meritocracy are “fundamental constraints” to Malaysia’s expansion because “competition is what drives innovation”.

Are the MCA leaders finally telling the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Umno leadership that unless Umno and Barisan Nasional government walk the talk of the “New Economic Model” and genuinely introduces 1Malaysia transformation in all aspects, government, economic as well as political, including denouncing Utusan Malaysia’s latest “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call, they see no purpose in MCA continuing in the Barisan Nasional Government?

But this is not the case.

Chua announced that MCA would give up all government posts if the MCA’s performance in the next general election is “dismal” but that it will continue to be in the Barisan Nasional.

He declared: “Our stand is to be with Barisan through thick and thin. We are also very confident in our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s leadership.”

Chua has gone out of his way to demonstrate that the MCA’s latest decision is not to be construed as a threat or pressure to Umno but he has no qualms whatsoever about threatening the Chinese electorate!

Chua should not have too inflated an ego about himself or MCA. For instance, in the other Star report today “lambasting” DAP for “playing up racial issues detrimental to a multi-racial nation like Malaysia”, he mentioned about his online posting about meeting Facebook fans in Johor Baru which was “taken out of context by DAP leaders”.

For the record, I do not know what Chua is talking about as I have never visited his Facebook. For that matter, I believe I can speak for the other DAP leaders and I will be very surprised if there is a single DAP leader who has ever visited Chua’s Facebook.

- Lim Kit Siang is the MP for Ipoh Timur and the DAP adviser


Who will be the next Prime Minister of Malaysi?

Saturday, 30 April 2011 12:43

Anwar Ibrahim, the brightest talent in Umno during the 80s and 90s, is now the ruling party's Number One enemy. The bounty placed on his head by the Umno elite can be compared to that of fugitive terrorist Osama bin Laden in the Western world.

For most part of the last decade and especially now, we have witnessed all scales of conspiracies, fabrication, lies, manipulation, defamation and attacks against Anwar.

The ultimate aim of the Umno elite seems to centre and revolve only around him. And of course, how to end his political career - prematurely and unnaturally.

The reasons are simple, it is because Anwar poses the biggest threat to the Umno elite - both inside and outside the party. This may sound strange since Anwar has long left Umno, in fact, since 1998 when he was sacked and thrown into jail.

But with current crop of leaders so dismal and the Najib Razak-Muhyiddin Yassin combo a shaming flop, Umno grassroots cannot be faulted for wishing for the glory days when their party stood proud and tall.

RAHMAN flipped to NAMHAR

Optimism and hope were then bursting and Anwar's Wawasan 2020 set to sweep the country and community to new heights.

Now, there are only tired and sad plots that depend only on sex and smut to rivet public attention.

If either Muhyiddin or Najib were to speak only about their policies, they can expect to draw only yawns. Because no Malaysian could ever believe they could translate their rhetoric into performance. This is what happens with tremendous loss in credibility.

So no surprises that Najib and gang are doing all they can to keep the Umno door tightly shut against Anwar and also to demonize him to the Malay community at large.

There is this famous 'belief' that all the prime ministers in Malaysia are already pre-named by the alphabets in the first prime minister's name RAHMAN.

Tunku Abdul Rahman himself was the first alphabet, followed Abdul Razak, Hussein Onn, Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak. Who will be the next prime minister then?

The return of the big A

The curious within Umno and the Malay community have already flipped the code backwards NAMHAR. 'N' is for the current Najib. But who will the 'A' be?

Many Malays believe that it is Anwar.

Now, perhaps Malaysians and foreigners will better understand the inexplicable, even mad onslaught of sexual accusations against Anwar. From sodomy and homosexuality to sex with female prostitutes and promiscuity, Najib has thrown all that he has at his political arch enemy.

Such smut must be agony for Anwar and his family, but reassuring it is for Malaysians that trumped-up sex and lust are all that Najib can try to pin onto the Opposition Leader. Not corruption, embezzlement or sheer dishonesty.

Imagine the reverse if Anwar was PM - would a warehouse be sufficient to contain all the investigation files of corruption allegations against Najib and the Umno elite?

So it is that Najib - Malaysia's 6th prime minister - is running out of 'bullets'. Only jail and sudden 'accidents' are left.

Which will it be and what will happen next, only time can tell. But make no mistake, behind the PM are men of ruthlessness deep enough for the darkest deeds. The Umno elite will do what it has to do to cling on.

It is left to the Umno grassroots and all other Malaysians to put their foot down and topple them.

Meanwhile, despite the monumental pressure, the 63-year old Anwar is bearing up well. If anything, the past years have weathered him for unbearable turmoil.

It is astonishing that he is still standing and has not U-turned from any of his stated goals to bring about racial and economic equality and justice, where the priority goes to those with the greatest needs regardless of colour.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is Utusan right? Are Malaysian Chinese disloya

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 23:49
Written by Iskandar Dzulkarnain, Malaysia Chronicle

Utusan Malaysia called on Umno today to spearhead a 1Melayu, 1Bumi movement involving all Malay parties — claiming DAP was intent on toppling the country’s Malay leadership. Utusan also added that the Chinese already controlled everything and was now aiming for political power.

Although, I would like to take Utusan’s side on this, I am afraid that Utusan is wrong to make such a sweeping statement. Most people believe that Chinese voted for DAP simply because DAP is a multi-racial party. The Chinese rejected MCA simply because it is the only party that represents Chinese. Many Malays refuse to vote UMNO because of the same sentiment.

“Only absolute political power has not been controlled by the Chinese, everything else has been taken,” pointed out Utusan. But it is inaccurate. To say that everything else is taken by the Chinese is laughable. What did the Chinese take? The Economy? Most Chinese thinks the Malays are controlling the economy through the NEP, and not the Chinese.

Other than the Chinese billionaires frequently mentioned in the press, the rest of the Chinese are not any economically different from the Malays. Are we going to fault the Chinese for being economically better than us? So what has the NEP done except for ensuring that we Malays are left further behind? Also, there are a lot of Malay Billionaires, except some of them do not have audited accounts to track their wealth.

Will the Chinese Malaysians fault us for absolute power in the country’s political administration? Must we Malays have absolute Political Power? What happened to power sharing? Why must we taunt the Chinese? Was it wrong for them to support DAP?

Great slogans

DAP’s great slogans among them, Undi Untuk Ubah (Vote for Change), Enough is Enough and Selamatkan Malaysia (Save Malaysia) were not only a hit with Chinese Malaysians but Malay Malaysians were also charmed by its spell, and don’t you agree that it sounds very appealing?

“In truth, those slogans are aimed at no one else but specifically the Chinese. It is displayed proudly on the chests of DAP candidates and supporters in the Sarawak election so that the Malay leadership of Malaysia is changed,” Utusan added. Very untrue as these statements were aimed at Malaysians of every community and not just the Chinese, Sincerely, the Chinese Malaysians should not be faulted for BN’s poor performance.

In the Utusan column, it was said that the Chinese community was a united force whose “brotherhood” was unmatched by any other race in the country. That they were united, helping each other economically, close and supportive, protective of their language, culture and each other, is a very good observation by Utusan. If that is the case shouldnt we try to emulate the Chinese then?

“In short, the Chinese are actually very fortunate to be in Malaysia. They have controlled everything. The top ten Chinese are Malaysian billionaires,” Utusan wrote.

I would not agree with that, as I think if they could make it here, and if they were back in China they would have been multibillionaires, given their explosive economy. And on no account, should we imply that they are fortunate to be in Malaysia. They are like you and me, born and bred here, and they are Malaysian citizens, and they also contribute to the economy of the country. We have no arguments with them.

Malays disunited?

Zaini, the Utusan editor who wrote the article, also said that while DAP has united the Chinese politically, Malays have so far done nothing in response. They are a race that is quite comfortable, complacent and apathetic. In fact, their thoughts are quite disorganised,” he wrote.

That is a sad fact as Malays are disunited. But the fact that UMNO has not done very much to improve the lot of the Malays, while the Chinese were racing to the finish line is the biggest factor that has caused the Malays to look at greener pastures in PKR and PAS.

Malays themselves cannot see much hope in racial politics and many are secretly hoping for change that will see a clearer landscape and a cleaner government, corruption free, nationalistic and where we can be respected for our beliefs. Utusan and UMNO always seem to condemn our own race. I really wonder why?

I think the last thing we want is to fan the fires of racism. Malaysia is a wonderful place, and it is big enough for all Malaysians, and we should learn to share, and respect each other’s beliefs and culture. Let the Politicians fight among themselves and while we try and douse the flames of radicalism.

Lastly, BN should ask themselves why the Malaysian Chinese are leaving in the first place. Very frankly, I think Chinese and Indians see BN as a lame government, unable to control the fanaticism of certain factions, the bullying tactics, and their unofficial label as 2nd class citizens, the Divide and Rule policy, clinging on to a hopeless Race Based Politics, Rampant Corruption and the erosion of Human Rights. Even Malays have lost hope as evidenced in the last election. What then of the others?

Utusan added that the Chinese component parties in Barisan Nasional (BN) would not be upset with such a move to unite the Malays as the Chinese were already united.

No, they would not be upset, but they will blow their tops at such a suggestion. It is a direct challenge to their loyalty for BN, and it will not go down well with the other component parties. BN should instead transform itself from the beginning, instead of clutching at straws now, because I really fail to see how the Chinese can be a threat to us.

Choose the 1Malaysia route

If BN and the Home Ministry endorses Utusan’s view, which many consider as anti-national, it will only strengthen the people's belief, that our Government is not serious about 1Malaysia.

In the past, religious protests against the Bible and Malay Supremacy were seen as sabotage by subversive elements out to disable Najib’s 1Malaysia. It has also tarnished Najib’s sincerity to promote the 1Malaysia concept.

BN failed to see that Malaysians were ready to embrace and had actually accepted 1Malaysia in the past, but bit by bit, this was chipped away by uncontrolled racist and religious flare-ups until most Malaysians now cannot feel even its shadow.

The RM50 million email fiasco will also not resurrect the faded 1Malaysia image and neither can the mainstream media if it continues to publish everything contrary to what 1Malaysia stands for. - Malaysia Chronicle


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Gospel According to Barisan Nasional

8 April, 2011
By Aston Paiva

The failure of BN to defend the rights of religious minorities to use the word "Allah" is a failure to defend the Constitution.

Original picture of Bible sourced from

Original picture of the Bible taken from

One of the biggest imbeciles Malaysians have had to deal with is a person called Nazri Aziz. As a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Law & Parliamentary Affairs, Nazri has outdone almost every other individual in the Dewan Rakyat when it comes to lodging one’s head into one’s own anus.

It’s quite a surprise when people refer to this charlatan as a "Minister of Law" or a "former lawyer". He displays none of the qualities required for the two. This man has single handedly been responsible for perverting the Constitution, misstating the law and duping the public with his erroneous and reckless statements.

Another member of Nazri’s entourage is a moron named Hishammuddin Hussein who very unfortunately is currently Malaysia’s Home Minister. He too is a "former lawyer" but judging from his antics — waving a Keris and promoting racism and defending acts intended to incite racial/religious violence — this man clearly lacks a functioning brain and should volunteer himself to be sterilized.

Hishamuddin’s predecessor, Syed Hamid Albar, a bona fide jackass of the highest order, is the man responsible for the Allah saga. He has now been removed from Cabinet and is probably kept in cold storage in some dysfunctional "Suruhanjaya" or "Badan" or "Lembaga" that the Barisan Nasional is famous for concocting.

If there’s anything Barisan Nasional has been good at, it is its remarkable ability to churn out mediocre, embarrassing and useless leaders, almost all the time.

The Constitution

Now, what does Nazri say on the use of the word "Allah" by Christians?

Nazri has repeatedly stressed and has as recently as March 16th 2011 reiterated that there are State laws within various States in Malaysia that restrict the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims. One such example would be section 9 of the Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam (Kawalan Pengembangan Di Kalangan Orang Islam) 1988.

This is a flawed statement. A simple reading of the Constitution shows that Nazri either doesn’t understand English or has succumbed to the pressures of those who desire to turn Malaysia into a theocratic state — to subjugate the rights of religious minorities.

Article 11(4) of the Constitution reads:

State law… may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.

There you have it. That is all there is to it. The restriction only applies insofar as it affects Muslims.

In fact, so clear and obvious is this that even the Enactments that Nazri keeps braying about expressly quotes the above in the introduction/preamble.

Therefore, non-Muslims are only not to use the word "Allah" when explaining or detailing their religion to Muslims, not when propagating their religion to other non-Muslims or practising their religion among themselves.

That there is the end of the entire Allah debate!

All non-Muslims are free to use the word "Allah" among themselves.

Hence, Nazri is wrong and should resign from his post as "Minister of Law".

You can debate all you want about Bible translations, theology, hurt feelings, etc. Ultimately, this is what the Malaysian Constitution and the State laws promulgated under it says. This is here to stay and most importantly, this is what the founders of this nation wanted.

The Proportionate Response

Now, it would amount to a crime for a non-Muslim to actively propagate his religion to people whom he knows to be Muslims but it would NOT be a crime for a knowledge-seeking Muslim to purchase, in his own volition, and read a piece of non-Muslim literature.

The greatest fear is still: How do we ensure that non-Muslim materials are not being given to Muslims for purposes of propagation?

Simple. All the Government needs to do is to ensure that the publishers and retailers of such materials make it clear that it is "Not for Propagation to Muslims" and perhaps, that sales of the materials be confined to the grounds of religious houses of worship and religious bookstores.

The above response, had the Government taken it, would’ve been reasonable, proportionate and respectful of constitutional rights. It would’ve also achieved its objective under Article 11(4). Nothing more needs to be done.

But of course, the decision taken by the Minister of Home Affairs against the Herald wasn’t really a decision based on political considerations. It was ultimately a religious decision which amounted to religious oppression i.e. imposing a particular religion on non-believers.

The then Minister of Home Affairs (Syed Hamid Albar) stated in his affidavit in Court:-

"Larangan yang dikenakan adalah kepada penggunaan kalimah ‘Allah’ di dalam penerbitan majalah tersebut kerana kalimah ‘Allah’ secara nyatanya adalah merujuk kepada Tuhan Yang Satu bagi penganut agama Islam sebagaimana termaktub di dalam Al-Quran iaitu dalam surah Al-Ikhlas"

(I have paraphrased the above as I believe the version quoted in the judgment contains grammatical errors).

And later:

"…kalimah Allah adalah nama khas bagi Tuhan Yang Maha Esa bagi penganut agama Islam dan ini jelas termaktub di dalam Al-Quran dan dimartabatkan di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan."

What nonsense!

Underlying both reasons is a noxious undertone: "My Religion says this, and you must follow it!"

This is extremely dangerous. The Minister has blurred the line between Government and Religion; a Minister of the Federal Government is telling you how to conduct your religious affairs and he is using "Islam" as a justification to do so. This is imposition of beliefs by Government and it is against the Constitution.

The reasons above also prove that the Minister is a bigot and that he and his clearly idiotic subordinates need a lesson on religious pluralism and constitutionalism.

And this is why we need to secure Secularism and secure it quick; so that ALL religions, thoughts and beliefs are given space to breathe, to grow and to develop so that Man may find his Truth — so that He may live in peace and harmony.

Why all of a sudden?

A common question among socially unconscious Muslims is the question as to why is there a sudden overnight need by the Christians to use the word "Allah"?

The use of the word "Allah" in this part of the world was not undertaken overnight or single-handedly by Christians. The use has been documented for centuries. I merely need to refer to the affidavit by the Catholic church:-

(iv) The word "God" has been translated as "Allah" in the Istilah Agama Kristian Bahasa Inggeris ke Bahasa Malaysia first published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia in 1989;

(v) The Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 had translated "Deus" (the Latin word for God) as "Alia" as the Malay translation (exh. MP27);

(vii) In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word "Allah" has been used continuously in the printed edition of the Matthew’s Gospel in Malay in 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible in 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible in 1879 until today in the perjanjian baru and the Alkitab;

(viii) Munshi Abdullah who is considered the father of modern Malay literature had translated the Gospels into Malay in 1852 and he translated the word "God" as "Allah";

(ix) There was already a Bible translated into Bahasa Melayu in existence before 1957 which translation was carried out by the British and Foreign Bible Society where the word "Allah" was used (exh. MP28);

(x) There was also already in existence a prayer book published in Singapore on 3 January 1905 where the word "Allah" was used (exh. MP29);

(xi) There was also a publication entitled An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine published in 1895 where the word "Allah" was used (exh. MP30);

(xii) Another publication entitled Hikajat Elkaniset published in 1874 also contains the word "Allah" (exh. MP31)

(xv) At least for the last three decades the Bahasa Malaysia congregation of the Catholic Church have been freely using the Alkitab, the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible wherein the word "Allah" appears

Much ado about Nothing

Over the months, I have heard numerous views forwarded for and against the usage of the word "Allah" by the Catholic church. One argument continually shines bright but in fact means Nothing.

It is the emotional plea that Christians should stop using the name "Allah" so as not to offend feelings or sensitivities. This is in fact barely an argument and is utterly immature. Our ability to communicate would be rendered illusory if we constantly had to keep tabs of who we might be offending.

If you feel offended because something conflicts with your beliefs, my advice to you is: grow up and realise that the world is bigger than you and your beliefs.

We will never grow as a Nation if we cower to the childish displays of those purported to be offended or instructed by their political masters to be offended. The claims of those "offended" have no basis, rationality or reason and should never be respected.

If any feelings have indeed been offended, it certainly must’ve been the feelings of the Christians; to be told overnight that you can no longer pray to and worship Allah is pure heresy. It is arbitrary Government intervention into the affairs of a Religious group and it must never be tolerated!

To be Christ-like

Jesus had a very captivating philosophy that seems to have transcended the spirit of his time and place. The man himself was courageous and honourable.

For a man who seems to have undergone one of the most horrific backstabs in history, an arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, degrading treatment which included people insulting him, slapping him, scourging him to a bloody pulp, forced labour and eventually a slow and painful murder, he stayed true to his words — if an enemy strikes you on one cheek, offer him the other. He never complained that his feelings were hurt or that he was offended. He never objected, never even said a word. Lived by his message.

During the entire "Allah" saga, particularly in the period after the Court’s decision when some 11 churches were either firebombed or vandalized, I must say that my admiration for the Christians of Malaysia grew exponentially for they clearly practiced what they preached.

The Christians of Malaysia stood firmly by what Jesus himself said: "…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." That they certainly did. No Christian ever retaliated. Not one mosque or surau was attacked by a Christian. No Christian leader in Malaysia ever preached for hatred or bloodshed.

The Christians of Malaysia are the real heroes during this "Allah" saga. At all times, they were humble, sincere and forgiving. They embodied the qualities all Malaysians should learn to inculcate in their lives.

And I say all of this as someone who isn’t a Christian.

A Secular State

I don’t believe in Allah. I never will. But I do believe in Religious Freedom for all. I believe that all men have the right to profess and practise their religion. It is a right inherent to all human beings by the sheer fact that they are human. In Malaysia, they are free to propagate their religion to all but they can be restricted in their propagation to Muslims. However, that does not bar a Muslim from holding a Bible, Gita or Dhammapada and reading it — that is his right and we must respect that!

Ultimately, we are all very fortunate for Malaysia, as intended by our founders, is a Secular state.

I believe in Secularism; I believe Government and Religion must always be kept separate. I believe only with such a wall of separation can there ever be Religious Freedom. Without Secularism, you can never have Religious Freedom. I believe that Man, as long as he causes no harm to anyone, must be allowed to live, think and act freely.

If we live by these principles and ensure that our Government obeys these principles, we will be a Free Society.

So, what can we do now? How can we move on?

At this juncture, the above questions are commonplace.

But before we answer them, let’s have a retake.

The Barisan Nasional government has failed the people of Malaysia. Nazri Aziz, Hishamuddin Hussein and Syed Hamid Albar have failed in their duties and are not competent leaders for a multicultural multi-religious Nation State like Malaysia. The Ministry of Home Affairs is a repeat offender for violation of human rights in Malaysia — it is a failure.

BN doesn’t care about the rights of religious minorities. BN has been perverting the language of the Constitution for its own religious theory. The Barisan Nasional government simply doesn’t care about you!

For decades now, the Barisan Nasional government has shown that it only cares about one thing — its own power. It only cares about keeping its power and expanding it whenever and wherever possible.

This Allah issue was just one of a series of violations perpetrated by BN. Previously it had banned the animated cartoon The Prince of Egypt and then a restriction on The Passion of Christ to Christian-only audiences, without a regard for the rest of the non-Muslims in Malaysia.

BN acted at snail’s pace when churches were being firebombed and vandalized. BN seems to be supporting any act that is meant to incite racial and religious violence, with a potential tipping point being the cow head protests.

Let’s also not forget the two reporters from Al-Islam magazine who had gone to a Christian church, eaten the Communion wafer, spat it out and photographed it. Despite such a disrespectful act committed against the Christian community, the BN machinery was silent on the issue and there were no prosecutions.

Then, they impounded the Al-Kitab Malay Bibles. Soon after, they defaced the Malay Bibles. No apology has been forthcoming.

I fear these are the beginnings and things will only get worse.

I would not at all be surprised if one day a Ministerial order is made that all Christian churches are not to publicly display a cross or crucifix. Wouldn’t exactly be a first too: Barisan Nasional MP Syed Hood once raised the proposal to remove crosses and Christian images in missionary schools, saying "Times have changed and I think that we cannot allow Malays to look at the crosses and statues without any explanation."

But regardless of what BN does, we must never forget that it is the people of Malaysia, and only the people of Malaysia, who can change their predicament.

These arbitrary actions by BN take place because Malaysians continue to put up with it. But enough is enough! And I think all reasonable minded Malaysians are fed up with the constant intrusion into private life, the moral and thought policing and the absolute disrespect BN has shown for the very citizens it was supposed to protect.

Aston Paiva dreamt of becoming an astronaut. He became a lawyer instead. However, he was successful in becoming a psychonaut.


Bible Desecration Shows Puerile Insensitivity

27 March, 2011
By NH Chan

Credit to |

In the Sun on Monday, March 21, 2011 I read with dismay about how insensitive the Barisan Nasional government is of the religion of other people. It reads:

Stamping desecrates Bible, say Christian federation

By Karen Arukesamy

PETALING JAYA: As far as the Christian community is concerned, they will not accept the 35,100 Bahasa Malaysia Bibles after the government imposed new conditions for their release from Port Klang and Kuching port.

Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said in a statement that the new requirement that the Malay language Bibles are stamped means they have been desecrated [meaning 'to treat something sacred with violent disrespect'].

He said Christians could not accept the released Bibles which have now been stamped with a serial number, official seal and the words ‘… for the use of Christians only, by order of the Home Ministry’.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander is a well known proverb. So how would the Minister feel if someone were to desecrate the Quran? The desecration of the Bible clearly shows that our government does not respect the religions of others in multi-racial Malaysia. Are the rest of us - who are not born a Muslim because we are not Malays - second class citizens? It certainly looks that way to us who are the rest of the people of this nation.

This should be a warning to all of us that the Barisan Nasional government has been in power for much too long, so much so that they think they are not answerable to the people of this country. For sure this is definitely not a government for the people. They have shown by their deed in desecrating the Bible that they are a government for themselves only. It is so because of self-interest and it is also blatantly clear that they do not respect the feelings of others who are not of their ilk.

In the next election, the people will know what to do. For the sake of the country, so that we do not sink further into the abyss of a dictatorship, we must all do our duty - indeed it is our patriotic duty - to vote the Barisan National out of office thus removing the people’s mandate from such selfish despots to govern this nation, and to replace them with a government for the people. I am sure the opposition will gladly accede to the people’s request.

However, if the opposition can’t deliver, we will exercise the power of the people’s vote again at every election until there comes a time when we can all live in a truly democratic Malaysia. We do not want totalitarianism being forced down our throat by a dictatorship because we are smart enough to know that any government, even a democratic one, would inexorably metamorphose into a dictatorship if allowed to overstay its hold on power.

I am not a Christian but I have read the Bible for my enlightenment. I also find it to be great literature. In order to allay some misconceptions about the Bible, I give below my insight on it which I hope may help those who are not Christians to understand and appreciate Christianity’s point of view.

Landmarks in the Law

Landmarks in the Law

Lord Denning in his book Landmarks in the Law, on page 313, tells us how the Old Testament in the King James Bible was translated into English:

The Old Testament was originally in Hebrew. It was translated into Greek. The Greek was translated into English by William Tyndale. It takes up three-quarters of the Authorised Version of the Bible.

I wonder why Denning said that. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a collection of manuscripts in Hebrew and Aramaic found in caves near the Dead Sea (between 1946 and 1956) and believed to have been written between about 100 B.C. and 68 A.D., provide biblical evidence that the scriptures the Old Testament and the New Testament were originally written in Hebrew.

I suppose Denning must have known that the New Testament were already translated by the Protestants who belong to the Churches of Western Christendom that are separated from the Roman Catholic Church and who adhere to principles established by Luther, Calvin, etc., in the Reformation. The British Protestants must have the English translation, albeit in Old English, of the New Testament.

At page 314, Lord Denning went on to say:

The New Testament is not accepted by the Jews. It is rejected by them. It has had even greater influence than the Old Testament. It contains the life and teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ who was a Jew and of all the 12 apostles who were Jews and the Letters of Paul who was a Jew.

The Authorized Version, an English translation of the Bible published in 1611 under James I who was king of England and Ireland (1603-25) in succession to Elizabeth I of England. He was also James VI, king of Scotland (1567-1625) in succession to his mother, Mary Queen of Scots. This version is also called King James Version, King James Bible. This is the version commonly used by English speaking Christians. But there are other translations of the Bible in modern English and other languages as well.

The Authorized Version of King James is printed in old English which most Malaysians cannot understand. This explains why the Bahasa Malaysia Bible is popular because of the educational system of this country where most of our people can read and understand the National Language but not the English language especially when it is in the English of the time of James I in the seventeenth century.

REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad | Protesters hold placards that read "Don't Challenge Islam" in a protest against the "Conversion to Islam" forum held by Malaysian Bar Council in KL August 9, 2008.

REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad | Protesters hold placards that read "Don't Challenge Islam" in a protest against the "Conversion to Islam" forum held by Malaysian Bar Council in KL August 9, 2008.

But what really riles me is for the Home Minister to say that the Bible is "for the use of Christians only". What business is it of him to fear for my conversion to Christianity? In a democracy I should have the right to choose the faith I want to believe in or not at all - I have freedom of choice and I will not stand for any pipsqueak bully, for that is what a dictator really is, to tell me what faith to believe in. What business is it of him to tell me what Bible I can read or cannot read?

Reading is knowledge and it also gives me a great understanding of the religious beliefs of others. That is the trouble with the puerile mentality of the composite Barisan National party. They cannot even tell the difference between what is right and wrong; they even relish in their own wrongdoings as in the Perak takeover of a legitimately elected state government. It is because of the BN that we even have an animal farm system of government - all animals are equal but the pigs under Napoleon the head pig are more equal than others.

But I am digressing. The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin bin Hussein had the gall to add insult to injury when he said:

The practice of stamping was standard protocol and not done to ‘deface’ the Bibles. He said the need for serial numbers was to identify the specific Bibles which were held back.

After he mentioned that the act of stamping and serialization was standard protocol, he said; see The Star, Wednesday 23 March 2011:

For example, Qurans imported into the country are also checked to ensure they are authorized, and are stamped with serial numbers before they are released.

And now (in the Star, 23 March 2011) they say:

The BM Bibles currently impounded in Kuching and Port Klang will be released with the words ‘For Christianity’ stamped clearly in Ariel font, size 16, in bold. No other words or serial numbers will be stamped on the Bibles.

Whether it is stamped ‘For the use of Christians only’ or ‘For Christianity’ it is still desecration of a Holy Book. The dictionary meaning of a Christian is ‘a person who follows the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ’ and Christianity means ‘the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ’. Therefore, this is a false argument and the dictionary word for ‘a false argument’ is sophism.

The Home Minister is not even a Christian and he wants to ensure that the Bibles we read are the authorized ones. Did he think he is King James I of England but does he know that James I was a bad king who alienated Parliament by his assertion of the divine right of kings? But Christians the world over have never had their Bibles censored by Big Brother. There are myriad translations of the Bible acceptable by Christian society.

Anyway, the word ‘authorize‘means ‘to allow someone to do something with official sanction‘. When James I came to the throne of England there was no English translation of the ‘Old Testament’. The Bible of the Church of Rome i.e. the Roman Catholic Church during the Roman Empire was in Latin. The Pope spoke in Latin and the language of the Church then was Latin. Nowadays the Bible of the Catholic Church can be in any language, although at the Vatican, I think they still use Latin.

The desecration of the Bible is insensitivity of the highest order. It should be enough to bring down the Barisan Nasional government in the next General Election. He forgets that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. It is not that, I think, that Christians would return the desecration of their Holy Book in kind. I know they would not do that. They would not demean themselves. Modern Christianity is a religion of love and forgiveness. Not since the Crusades in the Middle Ages (between 1000 and 1450) have Christian nations waged holy wars. Not even Napoleon or Hitler who were described the Antichrist by Nostradamus nor those who fought against their evil or the warring factions in the First World War had ever called their conflict a holy war.

To cap it all, the Home Minister showed his true colours when he reveals the true reason for the desecration of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. He refers to:

… the use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications …

Catholic newspaper banned from using the word "Allah"

Catholic newspaper banned from using the word "Allah"

Can anyone claim proprietorship to the use of the English word ‘Allah‘ where English is a foreign language in Malaysia?

I have said this before. The word ‘Allah’ is an English word since the 16th century. The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, Edited by C.T. Onions, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1979 reprint, says this:

Allah the deity among the Mohammedans. XVI - Arab. Allah, for al-ilah, i.e. al AL, ilah god = Aram. elah, Heb.eloah (Early forms in Eng. Writers are Alla, Allah, Ala, allough, Alha.)

‘XVI’ stands for ‘the sixteenth century’. So that this tells us that the etymology of the word ‘Allah’ in English had been used in the English language since the sixteenth century. In Arabic it is ‘al-ilah’ meaning ‘The God’. In Aramaic, it is ‘elah’. In Hebrew, it is ‘eloah’.

In the Collins English Dictionary for the word Allah, it gives the etymology of the Arabic word for God:

[C16: from Arabic, from al the + Ilah god; compare Hebrew eloah]

‘C16′ means ‘the sixteenth century’. The word ‘Allah’ in the dictionary is from the Arabic al the + ilah god, so that in Arabic al ilah means ‘The god’. In Hebrew ‘God’ is ‘eloah’.

If you do not already know, Arabic is the language of the Arabs who is one of a branch of the Semitic race. Aramaic pertains to the northern Semitic languages, the biblical name for ancient Syria. And Hebrew is a person belonging to the Semitic race descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Jewish is their language. Source: The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

Also in the same Dictionary of English Etymology you will find:

Semite Hebrew, Arab, Assyrian or Aramaean, regarded as a descendent of Shem (Gen. X): see The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

So that we now know that neither Arabs nor Jews would pronounce the word for their God as "Allah". The Arabs would pronounce the name for their God as "al-ilah". The Jews would pronounce the name for their God as "eloah". The word "Allah" is an English word (as seen in any English dictionary) and is a mispronunciation of both the Arabic and the Hebrew word for God. The pronunciation and spelling of this word "Allah" is distinctly English because it is a word accidentally invented by the British people because they have mispronounced a Semitic word.

Before Bahasa Malaya, now Malaysia, there was no National Language. The Malay language is the language of the Malay race. They could have used the Arabic word for God with the correct Arabic pronunciation and make this a word in the National Language for the God of Islam. Instead they plagiarized the English Word "Allah" into the National Language. Now they say we cannot use the English word "Allah" because the National Language has now claimed proprietorship of the English word "Allah" and, therefore, it is now the Nation?s word for the God of Islam which only Muslims can use.

But why must they insist that they must use an English word for the Islamic God when there is always available an Arabic word for the Islamic God as understood by all Muslims?

NH Chan, a much respected former Court of Appeal Judge, is a gavel of justice that has no hesitation in pounding on Federal Court judges with wooden desks for heads. Retired from the Judiciary to become the People?s Judge. Wrote the explosive "Judging The Judges", now in its 2nd edition as "How To Judge The Judges". Once famously hinted at a possible "case match" between lawyer and judge by remarking that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (see Ayer Molek Rubber Company Berhad & Ors v Insas Berhad & Anor [1995] 3 CLJ 359). We need more people like NH Chan. That’s why you should buyPASOC and his book.


Why Allah And Not Tuhan?

19 April, 2011
By NH Chan
Credits: nerdrazor Source:

Credits: nerdrazor Source:

Q: Why do Christians use the word ‘Allah’ in their Malay language Bible and not ‘Tuhan’?

A: It is because Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same God as the God of Abraham.

Before we all get confused, it is necessary to point out at the outset that the word which is spelt ‘Allah’ is an English word because it is written in English. The word which bears the same spelling in the National Language is a copy of that word which was first spelt in English in the sixteenth century. The English word ‘Allah’ is the phonetic spelling of the Arabic word for God.

We all know that the Malay word for god is ‘tuhan’. We also know that the God of the Muslims is Allah which is actually what this word sounds like in Arabic. Since most of us do not read or write Arabic, we tend to take the phonetic spelling of the Arabic word for God as used in English dictionaries. However, from the point of view of Christians, Christians worship the same God as Muslims do. The God of Christians and the God of Muslims is the same God as the God of Abraham. So if you are a Christian, the choice of using the word ‘Allah’ in their Malay language Bible is obvious since Christians also worship Allah which is the Malay language equivalent, since Malay uses the same English phonetic spelling - of the God of Muslims. In this country to be Malay is to be a Muslim.

Christians will not use the word ‘God’ in their Malay language Bible because God is an English word and therefore it is an inappropriate word if it is used in a Malay language Bible. In a Malay language Bible only Malay words should be used. But tuhan, although it is a Malay word for god, is not an appropriate word to use in the context and sense of the Bible. Christians who use Malay in their Bible will never use tuhan for their God because tuhan is other people’s god; it is not the God intended in the Bible. Just as Malay Muslims will never use tuhan for their God even though it is a Malay word for god because their God as well as the Christians’ God is the same God that Abraham (Ibrahim) worshipped - no one really knows exactly when Abraham lived - a traditional view is 1750 to 1500 BC.

Main Prayer Hall at the Cow Street Mosque, Beijing. Credits: kevinschoenmakers Source:

Main Prayer Hall at the Cow Street Mosque, Beijing. Credits: kevinschoenmakers Source:

Here is an example why tuhan is unsuitable to Muslims and Christians. Taoism is common among the Chinese - not all Chinese because there are also Chinese Christians and Chinese Muslims - indeed there are more Chinese Muslims in China then the entire population of Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia combined. In China a Chinese Bible is written in Mandarin and ‘Allah’ is written in Chinese phonetic characters to represent the sound of the Arabic word. A Taoist worships many gods both in heaven and in hell - I always think it is because the Chinese people want to play it safe, because either way they have appeased the deities. I don’t think any Christian or Muslim who uses Malay would worship tuhan even if you say tuhan is a Malay word for god! This is because they only worship their own God who was the God of Abraham (Ibrahim).

In the English Bible the name for God in Christianity is spelt with a capital G to mean the only God.

‘Allah’ is Arabic for God. Monotheism is the belief that there is only one god. In today’s world, the reality is only Jews, Christians and Muslims worship only one god who was the God of Abraham.

The Muslim God is spelt in any English dictionary as ‘Allah’ since the sixteenth century and it means ‘the name of God among Muslims’. In Malaysia it is also spelt exactly the same way as the English spelling when the National Language came into being after Merdeka. Both languages use Roman letters in their alphabet.


Allah is Arabic for The God - for al-Ilah, i.e. al (the) Ilah (God): see Collins English Dictionary which gives the etymology of the Arabic word for God:

[C16: from Arabic, from al the + Ilah god; compare Hebrew eloah]

If you do not already know, Arabic is the language of the Arabs which is one of a branch of the Semitic race. Aramaic pertains to the northern Semitic languages, the biblical name for ancient Syria. And Hebrew is a person belonging to the Semitic race descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Jewish is their language: The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

Also in the same Dictionary of English Etymology you will find:

Semite Hebrew, Arab, Assyrian or Aramaean, regarded as a descendent of Shem (Gen. X): see The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology.

Collins English Dictionary:

Semite or Shemite n. 1. a member of the group of Caucasoid peoples who speak a semitic language, including the Jews and Arabs as well as the ancient Babylonians, Assyrians and Phoenicians.

Semitic or Shemitic n. 1. A branch or subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic family of languages that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Araimaic, Amharic, and such ancient languages as Akkadian and Phoenician.

Shem n. Old Testament. The eldest of Noah"s three sons (Genesis 10:21).

See Also:

NH Chan, a much respected former Court of Appeal Judge, is a gavel of justice that has no hesitation in pounding on Federal Court judges with wooden desks for heads. Retired from the Judiciary to become the People’s Judge. Wrote the explosive "Judging The Judges", now in its 2nd edition as "How To Judge The Judges". Once famously hinted at a possible "case match" between lawyer and judge by remarking that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (see Ayer Molek Rubber Company Berhad & Ors v Insas Berhad & Anor [1995] 3 CLJ 359). We need more people like NH Chan. That is why you should buy PASOC and his book.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Christians can and will say 'No'

KJ John
Apr 19, 11

In my last column I argued that truth matters for Christians, but they will be less involved on issues of partisan political concerns alone; whether racial or otherwise.

For the more serious Christians, their ultimate loyalty can only be to their Master and Lord, the God-man Jesus Christ. Anything else or less, is idol-worship of some form.

That is biblical theology, and not my opinion.

In the early 1990s, Ishihara Shintaro wrote "The Japan That Can Say No: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals". (Incidentally, in 1996, he and Mahathir Mohamad co-authored "The Voice of Asia: Two Leaders Discuss the Coming Century").

Learning to say "No" without hurting the other's feelings is the best art of diplomacy. All will do well to learn how to do this. I will argue in this column that the federal government should not take

Christians in Malaysia for granted, for they can say "No", when needed.

Therefore let me argue that Christians did say "No" in Sarawak; twice now!

In fact, I would go further and argue that most Christians in the connected world of the Internet probably said "No" to the BN-led Chief Minister of Sarawak, in the last elections.

The others in Sarawak who did not either did not know about the real issues, or played ignorant, or genuinely do not know their faith as much.

Some maybe did not even vote; in order to avoid the difficult choice.

Short term resolution

The CFM, the Federation of all Christian Churches in Malaysia, including those in Sabah and Sarawak issued their newest response to the 10-point proposal of the government (please see letter column of Malaysiakini for a full version) and argued that Allah and Al-Kitab matter is not yet settled. The Bishop wrote:

azlan"We consider the 10-point solution to be an ad hoc and short-term resolution to the two consignments of Al-Kitab which have been impounded at Port Klang and the Port of Kuching.

"We reiterate that the Bible is our Holy Scripture and it is our right to read, study and pray with it in the language of our choice as freedom of religion is enshrined under our Federal Constitution."

I hope that the government realises that had CFM been upset before the elections in Sarawak by the ignorance and belligerence of the federal government and especially the attorney general and the books division of the Home Affairs Ministry.

They could have easily quite easily issued the equivalent of a circular (or fatwa) to all their congregations in Malaysia and asked them to say "No" to the government of the day in Sarawak.

The Star's Wong Chun Wai whom I quoted in my earlier column had already warned of this eventuality, and actually repeated his thesis in the most recent column in the Sunday Star in which he labeled Sarawak BN's loss of votes as due to "Land and Lord Issues."

Allow me to expand the argument that the Christians who voted for the BN-led leadership of the Sarawak government are actually allowing the abuse of these issues to continue.

I presume that these are the Christians in the hinterland of Sarawak and in the 'unconnected' long houses.

They have voted for their political elders, who represent them, but they don't know their rights as Malaysian citizens; to equity in development.

They have not learnt to say "No" yet; even after 46 years of dismal development. They have voted for politicians who may not be leaders in the truest sense of the word!

Christian discipline

Leadership is about standing up for matters of truth and the fundamental rights of every Malaysian community! Then, when truth matters, nothing else matters!

For truth of the kind that Christians believe and talk about actually transcends the material world; it is also the kind of truth that sets us free!

Once free like that, we owe no one any personal loyalties! The only loyalty required is that we always seek to obey our Master and Lord.

That is good Christian discipline, discipleship and faithful obedience.
The Bishop further wrote:

"The 10-point solution deals with the impounding of the Al-Kitab but not with the prohibition of publications containing the word "Allah". The root cause of the problem of the impounding of the Al-Kitab lies in the following:

a. The 1982 prohibition of the Al-Kitab and the 1983 prohibition of the Perjanjian Baru under the Internal Security Act 1960 on the grounds that the Al-Kitab is prejudicial to national interest and the security of Malaysia.

b. The 1986 administrative order prohibiting the use of the term "Allah" in Christian publications on the grounds of public order and prevention of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.

c. The Garis Panduan of the Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran of the Ministry of Home Affairs prohibiting the use of the word "Allah"."

The Federal Government needs to therefore understand what the real imperatives here are!

Three million

There are about three million Christians in Malaysia.

Christians are generally law-abiding citizens, unless there is a just cause for them to protest about; and protest they will, as it is now become obvious both in Sibu and all of Bandar Kuching and outskirts.

What the Government of Malaysia should not do is to unconsciously deny the fundamental rights of the Christians, and especially the Bahasa Malaysia speaking and worshipping Christians who are also bumiputra of Sabah and Sarawak.

sibu by election 090510 sibu churchThis momentum by Malaysian Christians against injustice, corruption and abuse of power, started before the last general election.

Then the battles was limited to only Peninsula Malaysia. Today it has obviously crossed over to Sarawak and at least amongst the Chinese community the message is loud and clear.

The Government needs to observe and understand this trend and ensure that the tide will move in a different direction before the next general election.

Otherwise, it is a foregone conclusion that by the time of the next general election, all Christians will vote conscientiously against bribery and all forms of corruption today.

The Christians in Malaysia have learned to say "No" too and I believe they can and will say "No" again if they are taken for granted and their fundamental and basic rights denied in very obvious and illegal ways!

May the Good Lord grant the government and the cabinet wisdom to understand the writing on the wall!

May God bless Malaysia!

KJ JOHN is dean of the Faculty of Economics and Policy Science at UCSI University and they are currently seeking good students for a Masters in Public Policy to be offered in May 2011. UCSI is also a regional centre for Blue Ocean Strategy which teaches Value Innovation processes.


The myths of S'wak polls results

Bridget Welsh
Apr 19, 11

COMMENT The dust has begun to settle on the 10th Sarawak polls with the BN touting its retention of the two-thirds majority as a victory, while Pakatan Rakyat points to the more than doubling of its seats. This was the most competitive state election in Sarawak's history and was hard fought by both sides.

BN, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak essentially camped in the state for 10 days to assure the two-thirds, while the opposition also focused is national machinery in Sarawak, bringing in the top guns from Peninsular Malaysia and thousands of party workers.

A closer look at the results show that the opposition has made impressive ground, despite its failure to break the two-thirds threshold. Sarawak is no longer BN's fixed deposit, and trends in mobilisation and support suggest that it is even more likely not to be so unless Sarawak BN radically changes how it governs.

Myth of Chinese-only swing

The spin on this election reflects a similar tone of 2006, focusing on the gains in urban seats and Chinese voters. The implicit threat in Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's statement that the Chinese will pay for their lack of loyalty highlights the perception that the losses are the product of continued Chinese support for the opposition.

In terms of sheer number of voters for the opposition, this is correct. In all the Chinese-majority seats - from Padungan to Bukit Assek - the level of support for the opposition increased, both in number of votes and share of the vote.

NONEThis reflected the dynamic - almost electrifying - opposition campaign in the urban areas, especially in Miri where voters experienced the political awakening that their counterparts in Kuching had experienced in 2006, and in Sibu at the 2010 by-election.

No question about it, a growing number of Chinese supported the opposition in Sarawak. The interesting finding from the results, however, is that they are not alone, and in fact the Chinese swing toward the opposition is comparatively less (yes, less) than the changes within other communities.

By comparing the 2011 results with those of 2006, I trace the changes in voter turnout and share of support (percentage of majority among voters who turned out to vote) for the opposition at the seat level and, when appropriate and with available data, the polling stream level.

azlanThe preliminary findings highlight that the movement is greatest in mixed constituencies, and significant movement occurred across the ethnic communities, even the Malays.

Let's begin with the mobilisation of voters across ethnicities. The 2011 polls show an impressive increase in voter turnout, in keeping with the increased competitiveness of the election. The greatest turnout increase was among the Malays, where the PBB machinery was well-honed, as more voters were brought to the polls, followed by increased participation of Chinese and Iban voters.

What this impressive increase in mobilisation across groups reveals is that Sarawakians recognised their power as voters and came out to vote in an unprecedented manner. This highlights the growing appreciation of political power in Sarawak and engagement with politics, which is in keeping with the unprecedented crowds at ceramah across the state, even in the rural areas.

azlanThe table (left) also highlights that the change in voting across the ethnic communities. The greatest movement compared to 2006 was in mixed seats, followed by movement in the Orang Ulu community in places such as Ba'Kelalan (where Baru Bian won his seat) but also places such as Telang Usan.

The share of movement in Orang Ulu-majority seats is large, a 20% swing. These numbers can be a bit deceiving in that the actual numbers of voters in Sarawak are small and 20% can reflect a small number of voters in the small constituencies, yet nevertheless, the swing is significant.

Ibans and Bidayuhs too change loyalities

Why then, given the swing, did the seats not move into opposition hands? The reason is simple - before 2011 opposition support in some of these areas was minuscule. In many constituencies, the opposition needed more than a 40% change to win. Yet there has been a very large swing, which is much larger than the swing in Peninsular Malaysia in 2008.

From my perspective, the most interesting ethnic changes occurred in the Malay/Melanau, Iban and Bidayuh areas. A look at the seat tally suggests that Malays are squarely in the BN camp. The PBB won all 35 of its seats and PAS failed to win a single seat, even in the close contest of Beting Maro.

The Malay/Melanau seats are interesting in a number of ways. First, the pattern towards the opposition varies, with a few of the seats moving even more strongly toward the BN, such as Sadong Jaya, and as such, the pattern is uneven.

Yet the Malay/Melanau ground was more competitive with more straight fights and more contests, such as in Daro and Dalat. PAS, in particular, made inroads. To suggest that the Malay/Melanau community is firmly behind the BN is wrong. Their support is changing as well, in spite of the ethnic campaigning and use of the racial card.

The Iban and Bidayuh majority seats also followed the pattern of opposition gains. In Iban areas, there was less movement in the share of the vote and like the Malay/Melanau seats the pattern was not consistent across seats toward the opposition, with some increased support towards the BN in Engkilili, but overall, the Iban have also changed loyalties.

azlanAs is shown in this table (right), this occurred most starkly in semi-rural areas.

The Bidayuh seats were seen to be those that would have determined whether the opposition broke the two-thirds or not. Pakatan hoped to pick up at least three of these Bidayuh seats, as sentiment on the ground toward the BN had shifted due to the religious issues and persistent exclusion of this group from economic benefits.

Higher education among the Bidayuh had increased awareness and exposure to political issues. The opposition failed to win a single seat, but here too the gains in the share of majority were impressive - an estimated 17.9% swing.

The bottom line is that the view that this election was the product of a bifurcated pattern of support - Chinese with the opposition and other groups with the BN - is wrong. Every group expressed serious concerns with the BN, and this was driven primarily with angst toward the long tenure and perceived excesses of the chief minister.

The urban voters myth

It is thus not surprising that given the changes across the board across ethnic communities, another myth needs to be shattered, namely that the opposition support is only in the urban areas.

Much has been made that the opposition won two very rural seats, Ba'kelalan and Krian. Yet, the most significant gains in terms of seats were in the semi-rural areas - for example, Batu Kawah, Dudong, Piasau (which has a large semi-rural area). The close fight in Senadin is also illustrative.

My preliminary analysis at the seat level shows that the gains in semi-rural seats were more than in the other areas, 19.7% compared to 14.8% in the rural areas and 13.4% in the urban communities.

NONEThe 'safe' seats in the urban periphery are no longer 'safe'. The change in voting pattern reflected not just Chinese support for Pakatan, but Iban and Bidayuh support as well. In fact, what is especially interesting is that the movement in support in rural areas is more than the share in urban areas (although it is important to note that the urban areas have more voters).

More than anything, these findings point illustrate how much the 'fixed deposit' is no longer secure. Semi-rural and rural cracks in BN support are part of the new Sarawak, a more competitive polity that has become increasingly receptive to a stronger two-party system and critical of BN governance, especially in the areas of corruption.

The growing youth revolution

The election of young candidates in the opposition in some cases fresh out to university may come as a surprise to some, but it highlights the final important dynamic in this election, the massive movement among young voters away from the BN.

Chong Snr ceramah in kuchingDrawing from the study of 'saluran' results in seven seats so far, from the Miri, Kuching and Bidayuh areas (semi-rural and urban seats), the findings suggest that a youth revolt has occurred.

In the lower polling streams, where new voters are concentrated, more than 70% of voters opposed the BN. Given the largely young crowds at rallies, especially in Kuching and Miri, this is no surprise.

We see two pattern - higher mobilisation of younger voters, an estimated 16% increase in turnout compared to older voters, and an overwhelming level of support for Pakatan among younger voters in the lower streams, with a change in trend of over 25%. In 2006, there was already stronger support for the opposition among the youth, but this appears to have significantly increased.

azlanWhen one considers the high number of younger voters that did not register, estimated in the 100,000s in Sarawak, and the large number of younger voters working outstation, these results should be quite worrying for the BN indeed. The fact that the election came before Gawai (harvest festival) is also important as it is likely that when younger voters returned home possibly further movement from the BN could have occurred.

Many a younger voter in my exit interviews highlighted the fact that they convinced their parents (and grandparents) to change support. The youthful composition of voting this election compared to 2006 shows that indeed a revolution among younger voters has occurred in Sarawak.

Rise of a new Sarawak

These results are preliminary and need to further confirmed with the official results at the 'saluran' (polling stream) level. This analysis is drawn from the newspaper publication of results and 'saluran' results that have been made available immediately after the polls, so the numbers should be seen as indicators of trends rather than absolutes.

These findings collectively show that there is indeed a new Sarawak, that voters across races, across geographic areas and especially the state's future are no longer supporting the BN to the same degree. While the two-thirds may not have been broken, profound political change did come to Sarawak.

It remains to be seen whether the opposition can continue the momentum or the BN will address the root causes of the discontent, but irrespective of this, Sarawak remains critical for the political direction of the country - now more than ever.

DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University and she can be reached at She was in Sarawak to observe the state election.


Islam converted the Pagans but did Paganism convert Islam?

| |

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Islam and the black stone

Islam and the black stone

The Arabia of Mohammed was religiously diverse during his childhood and throughout the region you had Pagans, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sabaeans, and other faiths. Therefore, Arabia was multi-religious and extremely diverse and many faiths co-existed and thought patterns were openly debated because countless families will have been religiously mixed.

However, once Mohammed obtained power then the “no compulsion in religion” became “kill the apostate.” This small aspect of the Koran and Hadiths point to a period of weakness and moderation during the early stage but once powerful, then Mohammed desired power mechanisms in order to defeat and control the economic system of the non-Muslims.

Mohammed and orthodox Muslims in the world today believe that the next stage was about monotheism and the eradication of Paganism within the body politic of Islam. However, while it is true to say that Muslim forces did defeat the followers of Paganism it is also true to say that Paganism defeated Islam within the tenets, customs, rituals, and sayings of Mohammed.

The name of the new God was “Allah” and according to the followers of Islam the impurity and errors of Judaism and Christianity were meant to have found their final home within the final messenger. This final messenger in Islamic tradition was Mohammed therefore Islam implies a link which unifies the Abrahamic faiths and is based on “the oneness of God” and the principles of monotheism.

In fact, Islam, in the eyes of conservative Orthodox Muslims is pure monotheism and the other two Abrahamic faiths have been diluted. Also, Mohammed and his followers believed that they had cleansed Arabia of Paganism.

Yet the name Allah already existed and Mohammed’s father was called Abd-ullah (Slave of Allah). In fact, just like the concept of Allah had already existed it soon becomes apparent that the very foundations of Islam are based on Paganism. Therefore, rather than “revolutionary change” it is apparent that you have modifications but these modifications are within the Pagan dominated Arabia of Mohammed’s childhood.

Deodorus Sicolus in 60 B.C. mentions the Ka’aba and it is clear that the Ka’aba, hajj (pilgrimage) and other customs existed before the Islamic faith. Pagan Arabs therefore worshipped at the Ka’aba, did their obligatory hajj and threw stones at Iblis (the devil) in Wadi Mina.

If Pagan Arabs could see the modern day hajj and Muslims walking around a black stone (animism) and then witness Muslims throwing stones at Iblis; then surely they would believe that the Pagan faith had triumphed over monotheism and other faiths which existed during the childhood of Mohammed.

The Sabaeans in the time of Mohammed prayed seven times a day and just like Islam, at appointed times. Ritual is very powerful in Islam and the Sabaeans fasted and celebrated Eid and just like the Ka’aba and stoning Iblis; it is abundantly clear that the religion of Islam incorporated all these things from different faiths within Arabia.

Monotheism now became fused within the power of a black stone and the animistic worldview, alongside constant pagan rituals. This transformed Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jesus, and others, and recreated the old texts within a fusion of Paganism.

The mystical night journey where Mohammed claims to ride on a magical horse called Buraq; does not find itself within the Abrahamic fold. However, the image would have been symbolic within the Zoroastrian faith.

The mystical virgins in heaven who are waiting to serve men do not belong to Abrahamic concepts. Yet, in Zoroastrianism the wide-eyed houris could have been seen within the paaris but unlike the Zoroastrian concept; the Islamic fusion uses the houris by rewarding Muslim martyrs who kill non-Muslims.

Mohammed, therefore, fuses elements of monotheism and borrows from his knowledge of Christianity and Judaism; albeit, with mistakes added. At the same time he fully understands that the powerhouse belongs to Arab Paganism and while he destroys other gods at the Ka’aba; he still incorporates the old ways and the black stone and other rituals are maintained.

In the Koran it states (3:145) No soul will ever die unless it is Allah’s will. The length of each life is predetermined according to the Scriptures. Those who wish to receive their reward in this world will receive it, and those who wish to receive their reward in the world to come will also receive it. And We will undoubtedly reward those who serve Us with gratitude.”

3:154 Then, after the trouble Allah sent down upon you, He sent down calmness to wash over some of you. Some were overtaken by sleep, and others lay awake, stirred by their own passions, ignorantly thinking unjust thoughts about Allah. And they ask, “What do we gain by this affair?” Say: Truly the affair is entirely in Allah’s hands. They hide in their hearts that which they do not want to tell you. They speak out saying, “If we had any say in this affair then none of us would have been killed here.” Say: If you had stayed at home, those of you who were destined to be killed would have died regardless…”

In these statements by Mohammed it is clear that he believes in predestination and once more Paganism and superstition will triumph within the body politic of Islam. Note, that Mohammed is stating that “life is predetermined according to the scriptures” andIf you had stayed at home, those of you who were destined to be killed would have died regardless….”

The natural conclusion is that everything is predestined, therefore, the killer merely killed because God had willed this and humans according to Mohammed must support the principal of fatalism. Once more, this is in stark contrast to the Christian worldview of “redemption” and such fatalism does not belong to the Christian concept of life because free will is valued.

Atheists will reject both Christianity and Islam; however, the theory of free will can be found throughout Western culture.

Rebecca Bynum, author of Allah is Dead states that By this logic, all three thousand people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 as a result of jihad action would have died at that hour regardless. And furthermore, because Allah did not intervene, it was Allah’s will that it happened. The jihadis who perpetrated this act, were only puppets on a stage, obeying the will of Allah according to a pre-written script. They did not cause all those deaths and all that destruction; rather, according to Islamic logic, Allah caused it as punishment for our sins, the sins of America as a collective entity”.

This further reduces to: everything that occurs in the reality of the material world we live in is a direct result of Allah’s will. Human will is but an instrument of the will of Allah and therefore does not have an independent existence in the overall trend of Islamic thought. Even though the concept of “testing” is present, Allah’s will is never subservient to human will.”

Mohammed was certainly an iconoclast and he despised images and he fused this with his version of monotheism. However, the rituals and symbols of Paganism were powerful and the belief system of predestination and animistic thought patterns of worshipping and walking around a black stone; meant that the God of Abraham had been transformed into a fusion of paganism, animism, and predestination.

This fusion, within the mindset of supremacy, dhimmitude, jihad, and the final messenger; not surprisingly would lead to the retardation of knowledge and would create a schizophrenic worldview because of the many contradictory factors.

Not surprisingly, fatalism and predestination, alongside scriptures which justify jihad and dhimmitude; would lead to the opposite version of the enlightenment.

Hudhayfa bin Asid reported that Mohammed stated that “Two angels visit every foetus in the womb upon the completion of forty of forty-five nights and say, ‘O Lord! Is it misguided or righteous?”

Therefore, everything is written and if nothing can be added because humanity is the slave of God and knowledge outside of God is false if it contradicts the Koran and Hadiths; then knowledge from other sources is not needed and according to the conservative Islamic view; then looking is deemed un-Islamic.

The logical reality of this is that Spain produces more books a year than the entire Muslim world. Also, you have more universities in America than the entire Muslim world. Why?

Simply put; because it is written, predetermined and knowledge outside of the word of God is blasphemy!

Therefore, in the Islamic world view of Saudi Arabia the apostate to Christianity must be killed. Yet, if everything is written and God created the future of the given individual then why kill what God decided?

This schizophrenia is dangerous because only Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia support killing people on the basis of free will despite supporting the notion that predestination exists and everything is written.