Sunday, August 31, 2014

Repeal Sedition Act, not preserve it with Facebook knock-off, critics tell Putrajaya

By Ida LimAugust 31, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 — Putrajaya should abolish the Sedition Act 1948 instead of entertaining “escapisms” such as a local Facebook alternative to curb seditious content, according to critics of the colonial-era law.

Variously describing the law as antiquated, regressive and abusive, they noted that the problem was the Act itself rather than how to restrict Malaysian discourse to fall within its confines.
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said Tan Sri Rais Yatim’s proposal on Friday for Malaysia to emulate China by creating a local Facebook replacement to control sedition painted the former information minister as “old fashioned, totally irrelevant in this Internet age”.
“A new Facebook like China is not only expensive, it doesn't serve the purpose. It's not foolproof. It's not effective. The more effective way to prevent sedition is to repeal the Act,” the former de facto law minister told Malay Mail Online yesterday.
The Sedition Act should no longer be used against Malaysians who are “loyal” citizens in a free country, he said, adding that sedition is only a “big issue” for the government because it cannot accept criticism.
National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah described the suggestion as “an escapism from not being able to be in sync with new realities and an effort against the repealing of the Sedition Act.”
“Democracy is no longer about voting every five years, but people want to have a role in decision-making in all aspects and levels,” the former deputy minister explained. “China is not a good example. Unless we believe in less democracy.”
Saifuddin said it was “pointless to replace Facebook” as new technologies will continue to emerge, adding that Putrajaya should “encourage debates” to widen the public sphere and end “the culture of fear”.
The Sedition Act should also be replaced with better laws such as NUCC’s proposed Harmony bills, he said.
Civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan questioned if Rais’ suggestion was intended to help Putrajaya regain its control and monopoly on information that it once had before the advent of the Internet and social media.
“If they shut down Facebook, it is censorship, then the MSC Bill of Guarantees where one of the guarantees is non-censorship of Internet will just be an empty guarantee,” he said.
He also said the word “sedition” is being abused by Putrajaya to “restrict freedom of expression, freedom of speech”.
“If you look at sedition under the Act, it is so wide. When they say ‘sedition’, what they mean is ‘we want to stop people from saying things we don’t like,” said the chairman of the Bar Council’s National Young Lawyers Committee spearheading the #MansuhAktaHasutan (Abolish Sedition Act) campaign.
Another civil liberties lawyer, Eric Paulsen, said Rais’ suggestion was “without merit because Malaysia instead of going backwards should be moving forward towards more openness, transparency and flow of information”.
“If Malaysia were to take such a drastic and backward step, it would cause Malaysia to be left far behind while other emerging nations would leapfrog Malaysia’s progress,” the co-founder of Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) said.
Rais, who is now the Social and Cultural Affairs Advisor to the Government, said yesterday that he had submitted his proposal to the Attorney-General, urging for his idea to be studied immediately.
Earlier this month, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek reportedly said Putrajaya has no intention of shutting down Facebook, saying it was an “impossible” move as Malaysia has some 15 million users.
The government was forced yesterday to deny that the recent spate of sedition investigations and prosecutions were selectively targeted, insisting that it did not control the judiciary while reiterating its commitment to abolish the law.

On Merdeka wish list, watchdog wants Putrajaya to scrap Sedition Act

Published: 31 August 2014

A human rights watchdog is urging Putrajaya to honour Malaysia’s independence by removing the Sedition Act, which it says is a legacy from the British colonial era.
The Society for the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham) chairman Datuk Kuthbul Zaman said the Sedition Act 1948 was used by the colonial administration to stifle the activities of independent fighters.
"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should keep his promise and repeal the Sedition Act as it is outdated," he said in a statement today.
He said Najib had already abolished the Internal Security Act 1960 and the Emergency Ordnance 1969.
"The Sedition Act has been recently used frequently to stifle the freedom of speech and it is a violation of democratic principles.
"This is weakening the foundations of human rights in Malaysia. There is a strong suspicion that the Sedition Act is being used against opposition MPs."

Kuthbul said constructive discussions would provide a deeper commitment to the principles of the Federal Constitution.
"Just because an individual raises a question or thought does not mean that the core theme such as religion, language, special position and monarchy will be dismantled."
Kuthbul warned that legitimate questions and criticism on politicians and political parties should not be deemed seditious.
"This is part of the democratic and political process and these leaders must use the public space to convince the general public.
"Holding leaders accountable is part and parcel of holding public office in a democracy."
Last week saw a number of opposition lawmakers charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act, which provides for a jail term of up to three years or RM5,000 fine or both.
They are: PKR vice-presidents Rafizi Ramli and N. Surendran, Shah Alam MP and PAS central committee member Khalid Samad, and DAP Seri Delima assemblyman R. S. N. Rayer.
DAP Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and PKR Batu MP Tian Chua are also facing trial for sedition, while former Perak MP and Changkat Jering assemblyman Nizar Jamaluddin was charged with criminal defamation for a statement he had allegedly made two years ago.
Critics are calling the move an attempt by Putrajaya to silence its political foes. – August 31, 2014.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dr Mahathir’s criticism not about Umno, but Putrajaya

Published: 30 August 2014
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is dead wrong. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's stinging criticism against him two weeks ago and withdrawal of support for the prime minister is not an Umno matter, in the same way that corruption and vote-buying by Umno senior officials is not some quaint concept called money politics that should be dealt in-house.
The former prime minister's laundry list of complaints against Najib goes right to the core of governance of a country.
It has nothing to do with whether young talent is being allowed to flourish in feudal Umno, or whether the divisions have been conducting their annual meetings as required.
Dr Mahathir's criticism goes right to the heart of being a leader of Malaysia. In his view, the prime minister is weak, servile and blind to issues in the heart of most Malaysians.
For example, he says that Najib's manner of dishing out cash payments under the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) scheme only provides temporary relief but creates a dangerous culture of entitlement.
And, Dr Mahathir also points out that race and religious relations are at dangerous levels in Malaysia, and blames Najib's policies and inaction for this desperate state of affairs.
There is some irony here as Dr Mahathir is the patron of the Malay rights group Perkasa, which mushroomed after the 2008 elections and now flourishes with provocative racial rants under the Najib administration.
Then, there is the famous complaint about the administration allegedly being in the servitude of foreign governments and being prepared to sign a trade agreement not favourable to Malaysia.
These are serious allegations as they involve the well-being of the country, not a political party.
So, it is best the PM disabuse himself of this notion that the Dr Mahathir attack is some Umno matter. Malaysia is not Umno and Umno is not Malaysia.
Just saying, "We view this as an internal party matter and it will be dealt with accordingly and in the best possible way", will not take the sting out of Dr Mahathir's comments.
Najib and his government will have to address each point openly and not sweep it under the carpet as an internal party matter. After all, Dr Mahathir founded this new Umno, and knows better whether his criticism is about the party or the government.
This is not about Umno, or Dr Mahathir would have just quit the party again. This is about Malaysia. – August 30, 2014.

The Dr Maharthir vs Najib match is not over

11:15AM Aug 30, 2014

By JD Lovrenciear

The country is still reeling in and over Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s public expression that he is withdrawing his support for the number one leader of the nation.

Secondly, Mahathir’s public criticism over Najib Abdul Razak’s leadership is drawing in all kinds of interpretations that only go to demonstrate that this match-of-our-times is not over - even if the main stream media blanks out the news.

Now, Prime Minister Najib’s recent and first public responseto Mahathir’s assault is also seemingly not believable when he tried to douse the arrowed sparks by saying it is an internal party matter.

There are two issues here and the issues do not negate each other. How could our politicians be so naïve as to think that the citizens are not wary?

The key issue that makes Mahathir’s public outcry through his new-media weapon of political warfare is the fact that he was withdrawing his support for Najib. Leave aside the rationale behind that stance. The point that gawks is the implications.

Mahathir was withdrawing his support for the number one nation-driver. Najib is more than an Umno leader. He is the prime minister of Malaysia’s 28 million people here and is so, too, seen as such all across the globe.  

Suppose a leader or even a former top leader of the opposition bloc said the same. What would be the national stand? What would the Barisan National that is the government in power do? One can only imagine the magnitude of the reverberations.

So for Najib to meekly dismiss Mahathir’s public outcry against him as merely an internal party matter only paints a more questioning picture. The public perception that is, as a result, being fuelled is that all things are certainly then not well within Umno the pack leader of BN.

Unfortunately some politicians have scurried to harp that Mahathir was only criticising. Never mind about the fact that that criticism was against the nation’s number one leader and a public stance made also for the magnifying lens of global opinion.

How do we now deal with this national shame? There is reputation and serious collateral damage here, folks!

Suppose Najib is a written-off failure, then can the people take to the streets to rally behind Mahathir to save the nation from further doom?

Suppose Najib is still endorsed as a capable leader, do the citizens then scream for Mahathir’s neck to rescue the nation from shame and disgrace?

Three monkeys stance?

Or shall we take the position of the proverbial three-monkeys stance: see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil as we pray that the tide will flow by the bridge and soon be forgotten? At least, we Malaysians have a track record for such benignness, let us face it.

No. Something is seriously not right and Malaysians must take personal and collective accountability for all such failures. Otherwise we will all end up as in the story of the sorry frogs in a slow cooking pot of water, i..e we do not even know we are in trouble, serious trouble until it is too late to realise and save the nation.

In short, this is not an internal party problem. It is not even one man against another. It is far beyond speculation that Mahathir is never happy with anyone unless we get a Mahathir-clone to be PM. It is beyond a criticism. It is not a simplistic case of personal opinion - not even one of merely withdrawing support.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Will China be world's largest Christian nation by 2025?

AUG 27, 2014
Fenggang Yang is a sociology professor at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival Under Communist Rule.  He believes that "China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon."  By his calculations, the number of believers in the People's Republic of China will rise to 160 million by 2025 and 247 million by 2030.  If so, the country would be home to more Christians than any nation on earth.

When I visited Beijing a few years ago, I was told that the rate of Christian growth is even higher than Professor Yang documents.  By some measures, as many as 100,000 Chinese people come to Christ every day.  Growth there is hard to document, given the large underground Christian movement in the country.  Some observers believe that there are more followers of Jesus in China than members of the Chinese Communist party.

When missionaries were expelled from China in 1949, there were less than four million believers in the country.  Many predicted the death of the church.  In the decades since, the Christian movement has exploded in growth, defying all odds and persecution.  Recent attacks on church buildings in China are the enemy's latest response to the advance of God's Kingdom in this ancient land.

What has led to China's spiritual renaissance?

First, Christians in China have learned to depend fully and unconditionally on the power of God's Spirit.  When I visited Beijing, I was astonished by the passionate spiritual depth I encountered.  In a culture where there is little cultural support and active government resistance, believers must turn to God.  Mother Teresa was right: "You'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have."

Second, Chinese Christians have paid the price of perseverance.  They have weathered waves of persecution and opposition with steadfast resolve.  Such commitment has deepened their community and their faith.  Albert Schweitzer observed that "one who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."  Albert Einstein believed that "in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

How has God called you to engage your lost culture with his truth and love?  The higher your calling, the harder you must climb to fulfill it.  But Charles Spurgeon was right: "If we cannot believe God when circumstances seem to be against us, we do not believe him at all."

Do you believe God today?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mahathir’s Case Against Najib Detailed

Written by John Berthelsen
WED,20 AUGUST 2014

Former premier lists specific reasons for his withdrawal of support for serving PM

As long as two to three months before former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad publicly attacked his successor, Najib Tun Razak, through his blog, the former premier sent Najib a letter bristling with a list of demands to change his ways.
Mahathir’s irritation has sputtered behind the scenes since before the disastrous May 2013 general election, in which the ruling Barisan Nasional lost the popular vote for the first time in 44 years although it retained its majority in parliament via gerrymandering.  Since that time, bloggers deployed by Mahathir have made general attacks on the sitting prime minister, who took office in 2009 with Mahathir’s approval. 

But for the first time he personally criticized Najib in his blog, Che Det, saying on Aug. 16 that he had withdrawn support.  The campaign against Najib has been mounted now in advance of the November United Malays National Organization general assembly, where it appears Najib has an unassailable position as party president.
Mahathir was scheduled to leave tonight for London, where Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been for the past several days after a holiday that began three weeks ago after Najib’s speech to families of the doomed MH17 airliner, which was brought down by a rocket over disputed territory in Ukraine on July 17. 

In the letter to Najib, quoted to Asia Sentinel by a businessman with links to UMNO, Mahathir reportedly listed seven demands. Najib is said to have dispatched Tengku Adnan Tenku Mansor, the secretary-general of the United Malays National Organization, to see Mahathir, asking him to withdraw the letter.  Mahathir refused, however, sources say.  In the intervening weeks, nothing has happened. 

Since Mahathir’s attack, the story has been playing out behind the scenes of the mainstream media, which are controlled by the political parties that make up the national ruling coalition. They have gone black, carrying only praise for Najib without mentioning Mahathir’s assault. Instead, the papers have merely included statements of support for Najib from leaders such as Foreign Minister Hishamuddin Hussein and others without mentioning the reason the support is needed. 

Meanwhile the story has lit up the Internet, with independent news portals having a field day while Mahathir’s blogger allies including Rocky’s Bru, Outsyed the Box and others have defended him.

The demands listed in the letter included one that Najib reform the controversial 1MDB sovereign fund, which is deeply in debt after having funded a long string of controversial projects. It is said to be a major scandal sizzling out of sight and involving controversial Chinese playboy Taek Jho Low and Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor. 

The octogenarian former premier also complained that not enough contracts let by Petronas, the national energy company, were going to build up Bumiputeras, mostly ethnic Malays, but instead were being let to more neutral parties. At one point in October of 2013, Mahathir actually resigned from Petronas, saying his doctors had advised him to slow down. But the real reason is said to have been his anger with Najib’s performance. 

He also accused Najib of being too friendly with foreign governments including the United States over the bid to join President Barack Obama’s TransPacific Partnership Agreement free trade pact, andSingapore for bending to Singapore’s wishes and cancelling a controversial crooked bridge between the two countries over the Singapore Strait. He was also said to be miffed that Mahathir’s immediate successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, attended a dinner with Obama during the latter’s Malaysia visit but that he wasn’t invited.

He also objected to the so-called one-off BRIM cash handouts that the government announced to households making less than RM3,000 (US$847) per month in 2012 as an election sweetener to alleviate the burden of a rising cost of living for low-income earners, saying it was breaking thebudget. It ended up costing the treasury as much as RM4 billion.

He demanded that Malaysia Airlines, which is 70 percent owned by the Khazanah Nasional sovereign fund, be turned over to the private sector to attempt to right it after two disastrous crashes that took the lives of more than 500 people and which is almost moribund, losing billions of dollars. The private sector is said to be Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhairy, a longtime Mahathir crony who became the country’s richest Bumi tycoon, largely through government contracts.

Finally, Mahathir criticized Najib over the breakdown in racial and religious relations in the country, which have grown progressively more poisonous by the year.  That seems to be a striking obtuseness on Mahathir’s part, since he has backed the Malay-supremacy NGO Perkasa, headed by firebrand Ibrahim Ali, and has made incendiary statements about racial superiority on his own. Prior to the 2013 general election, he sought to lead a major rally on May 13, the anniversary of 1969 communal riots that took  the lives of hundreds.  Najib forced the cancellation of the rally.

Allies say Mahathir’s aim is not to bring down Najib, but to apply enough pressure to force him into making deep changes in the way the government is being run. However, at the age of 89, having been out of power since 2003, and with few remaining allies in UMNO, it is questionable at this point how much clout he still has. 

However, he has a formidable record, having forced the ouster of Tunku Abdul Raman and Hussein Onn as prime ministers before his own 22 year period in office, beat back challenges by UMNO stalwarts Tengku Razaleigh, the Finance Minister, and both Musa Hitam and Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy prime ministers, all of whom attempted to unseat him,  and then forced the departure of the successor he picked, Abdullah Badawi.  He is expected to mount a daunting campaign against Najib when the two return from overseas.


Monday, August 11, 2014


2014-08-08 08:27











Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Indonesian Government Officially Bans ISIS

By Ezra Sihite on 06:56 pm Aug 04, 2014
Category FeaturedNewsTerrorism
Coordinating minister of political, legal and security affairs Djoko Suyanto, center, said on Monday that government bans development of ISIS in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Ezra Sihite)
The coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, center, said on Monday that there is no place for ISIS in Indonesia. (JGPhoto/Ezra Sihite)
Jakarta. The Indonesian government on Monday officially banned the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, saying the militant outfit should not be allowed to spread its teachings in the archipelago.

“The government bans ISIS from developing in Indonesia, because it goes against the ideology of Pancasila, the unitary Indonesian nation-state and pluralism,” Djoko Suyanto, coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said during a press conference at the president’s office on Monday. “Every attempt to promote ISIS should be prevented, Indonesia should not be the place to spread [this ideology].”

The announcement came after a limited cabinet meeting about ISIS led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Djoko was accompanied by high-ranking officials when declaring the ban, including Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Marciano Norman, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin, military chief Gen. Moeldoko and Gen. Sutarman, the chief of National Police.

“The activities of ISIS and now IS [Islamic State, as the movement officially calls itself] have since the beginning been monitored by some ministries, [including] the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and the National Police,” Djoko said.

He said that ISIS should not be understood as a religious movement, but as an ideology that runs counter to Indonesia’s state ideology of Pancasila. The National Police and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), Djoko added, would lead the law enforcement effort against ISIS activities in Indonesia.

The minister also said that regardless of the situation in the Middle East, support from Indonesia should be in the form of humanitarian aid and diplomacy, not by sending people to fight, which would only make matters worse. “Let’s not get influenced, and not be easily provoked to join ISIS,” Djoko said.

The government also said it would be monitoring Indonesians who plan to travel to countries in the Middle East and South Asia where there is armed conflict, to ensure they will not be joining or working for ISIS. “The Foreign Affairs Ministry will take the lead, the National Police and the BNPT will be the clearing house to monitor Indonesian citizens who travel to the Middle East, South Asia and other conflict regions,” Djoko said.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Nothing Is Worth Grieving the Holy Spirit

(Gary Buchanan/
When you spend time with God, you get to know His ways as well as His Word (assuming you are reading His Word). More than that, you develop sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. You eventually get to know His ways to the extent that you sense when you are about to grieve Him.
The problem is, when we grieve Him, we almost never know we did it! We find out later. But you rarely know at the precise moment. Samson told his secret to Delilah and didn't feel a thing. But he found moments later than his prodigious strength had gone. (See Judges 16:20-21.)
I would define spirituality as "the time gap between sin and repentance." In other words, how long does it take before you realize or admit that you sinned—that you were wrong? Some take years. They say, "I'll never admit I was wrong." And they are true to their word.
Some, however, after a long time, cool off or come to themselves and say, "Well, perhaps I got it wrong after all." But what a pity that it took so long! Some narrow the time gap to months, some to weeks, some to hours (that's better), some to minutes, some to seconds. And if you can narrow the time gap to seconds, you are often able to sense the wings of the dove flapping and ready to fly off—and you stop yourself!
Don't finish that sentence! Don't write that letter! Don't make that phone call!
Nothing is worth grieving the Holy Spirit.
So, if you want to have a lively, real, unfeigned and constant relationship with God, His Son and the Holy Spirit, you must get to know God's ways. One of the ways of the Holy Spirit is that He is sensitive—like a dove.
Did you know that pigeons and doves are in the same family? But they are not the same! You can train a pigeon; you cannot train a dove. The pigeon can be domesticated; the dove is a wild bird. A pigeon is belligerent; the dove is loving. A pigeon is boisterous; a dove is gentle. A pigeon will mate with more than one pigeon; the dove mates with only one dove for life.
The pigeon represents the counterfeit spirit—strange fire. The dove represents the Holy Spirit—holy fire. I reckon there are services where people imagine that the Holy Ghost came on the church, but when you get to the bottom of it, you discern it may bepigeon religion. Strange fire. Personally, I think it is an absolutely wonderful but probably rare moment when the authentic Holy Spirit comes down in great measure. Holy fire.
It is so easy to grieve the Spirit. It happens to people on the way to church. They shout to each other as they drive into the parking lot. Then they worship as if nothing is wrong and wonder why there is no sense of God. It happens to a minister as he prepares his sermon. It can happen at any moment.
Although we have only ourselves to blame when we lose our tempers, point the finger or speak of another person in an unflattering manner, it is also true that our adversary the devil lurks about, looking for an opportunity to seize our weak spot. We all have them.
The ungrieved Spirit in me will connect with the ungrieved Spirit in you. If you get two or three people together when all have been walking in the ungrieved Holy Spirit, there is richness of fellowship. That doesn't mean everybody is in total agreement theologically or politically. But the sweetness is there.
Imagine what it would be like when congregations of a dozen, or 1,200, or 12,000 are all—everyone—walking in the same ungrieved Holy Spirit! Who knows what would happen when marriages are healed, people start forgiving their parents, Christians start speaking to one another, ministers finally start speaking to one another and everybody truly loves each other!
First the dove, then the fire.
I wonder how many people pray for the fire to fall but take no notice of their personal attitudes. I wonder how many pray for revival but do not think of examining themselves. I wonder how many go to church to worship God and hear a sermon but have no awareness of personal issues that cause the dove to stay at bay. I wonder how many times we grieve the Spirit and feel no conviction of sin whatever.
If, therefore, you want to know what grieves the Holy Spirit, read Ephesians 4:30-32.
Keep short accounts with the Lord. As soon as you sense bitterness—and the dove lifting from you—turn to the Lord. Remember 1 John 1:9. He is faithful.
The goal is to enjoy unbroken fellowship with the Holy Spirit so that there is no discontinuity in sensing His smile and presence. After all, you want the dove to remain.
Holy FireAdapted from Holy Fire, by R.T. Kendall copyright 2014, published by Charisma House. The Holy Spirit, greater than our theology, bigger than any denominations, beyond all we can imagine is God's gift to us. If you want to increase your knowledge of this most misunderstood member of the Trinity, or if you long to experience His presence in your life in a deeper way than ever before, this book is for you. To order your copy, click here.