Hudud: 1 country, 2 sets of laws?


2 laws

(Should Islamic law take over precedent over conventional law if the conventional already exist and been applied by the courts of the country? The same case for hudud now. Why not improve on the existing laws and enforce it instead of bringing in another set of law that does not apply to all and in a country known for lack of and selective enforcement? Why reinvent the wheel? Cartoon source: The Net)

The issue of hudud have been in the news lately and there have been plenty of statements made in public and by various parties including politicians from both side of the fence, supporting for or opposing the implementation of hudud.

Before anyone starts to jump up & down and argues that the non-Muslims should stay out of it and keep their silence on the issue of hudud since it will only be imposed on the Muslims and nothing further than that, let’s clear our minds for a moment and let’s try to understand why there have been so much objection, noise and comments by the non-Muslims on something that does not affect them in the first place.

An article by Mariam Mokhtar over at FMT may explain this further. It makes a lot of sense and shows that we have a long way to go before we can implement something called hudud which at the end of the day, will affect us all – both Muslims and non Muslims.

Reject hudud before it destroys our lives

How often have Muslim clerics, the National Fatwa Council or the Islamic institutions spoken against corrupt and immoral leaders? How often have they highlighted the injustices, in particular the deaths in custody or the murders of people who are linked to the echelons of power? When did they last criticise people who openly abuse power?

Those of us who oppose hudud do so not because we are anti-Islam but because we do not trust the people who will implement hudud. In Malaysia religious and controversial topics like hudud elicit six responses, all of them unsatisfactory.

First: Those who hate Umno Baru will say, “Bring it on! We want to see hudud being used on Umno Baru ministers and politicians. Let us see how they will cope without limbs!”

This is just wishful thinking. Thinking without any rationality does not help the debate on hudud. No-one in the Umno-Baru elite has been punished for the thousands of injustices perpetrated today, from rapes of maids to “rasuah”, or theft of taxpayers’ money to the taking of lives by powerful people.

Criminals escape punishment not because we have insufficient laws, but because the laws are not enforced and our judiciary is corrupt to the core. Umno-Baru ministers have always escaped punishment. Who honestly thinks that hudud will escape manipulation?

Second: Those who propose the implementation of hudud claim that hudud will result in a crime-free (or relatively low crime) state. Wrong! Which nation under hudud has a low crime rate, negligible rape and no corruption? PAS Kelantan cannot perform miracles.

Corrupt leaders and institutions thrive because the systems to check them, have failed. They fail because the people who should be enforcing them are not trustworthy or have a secret agenda. Once we start to administer laws without fear or favour, crime rates may drop.

Third: If you are a Muslim and you oppose hudud, it means that you are going against Islam. Nothing could be more insulting to any decent God-fearing Muslim. Islam encourages the acquisition of knowledge and encourages debate, but Malay Muslims appear reluctant to engage in intelligent discourse. Why?

In Malaysia, Malay Muslims accept archaic laws or traditional thinking and beliefs without question. Last month a retired judge criticised the presence of large statues at the entrance to the Batu Caves and in Penang. In Egypt, the land of 95% Muslims, few worry about the presence of the Sphinxes.

Kartika Dewi Sukarno was charged with drinking beer in a public place. She was treated like someone who had committed a heinous crime, like murder. The Muslim clergy wanted to make a showcase of her, by punishing her with whipping even though civil laws prevent women from being whipped, in Malaysia.

Soon after, three women were whipped in secret, for having extramarital sex. No details are known of the men. The government was afraid of a backlash like the Kartika case. The three women and Kartika were punished, whereas well-connected people who drink freely, and fornicate in five-star hotels and exclusive clubs in Kuala Lumpur escape scot free.

Fourth: If you are a non-Muslim and you made your views known about hudud as any responsible Malaysian would, some Muslims will attack you and say, “You have no right to comment. You are not even Muslim.”

Another response might be, “You have nothing to fear as you are not Muslim. Hudud will not affect you.” Wrong again! A woman was charged in Penang under syariah law even though she was not a Muslim.

In a recent child conversion case, the father kidnapped his son, even though his former wife, a Hindu, had been given custody of their child. There have been other miscarriages of justice when bodies have been snatched and taken for “Muslim” burial.

Who says that non-Muslims will not be affected by Muslim laws? Hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later.

Fifth: Some Muslims will say that it is God’s law and Muslims must abide by it. As we have seen, civil or syariah laws have been manipulated by evil, unscrupulous and corrupt men, to suit their own selfish agendas.

One girl I know, was forced into marriage because her neighbour, whose advances she had rejected, accused her of having sex with her boyfriend. She is now a sad divorcee with children, and she freely admits, “We were forced into marriage to avoid humiliation for both our families. We married to avoid a prison sentence, but still had to pay a fine.

“The neighbour was wrong to accuse us and call the moral police. He wrecked our lives. Eventually, we had children and I had to stay at home to look after them. I regret ending my studies and I think my boyfriend resented me. We were both young, but we were wronged.”

Another woman was set up by her husband. He wrongly accused his first wife of infidelity so that he could marry a younger woman. He beat his first wife and she left him. He refused to grant her a divorce, and he will not help with the upkeep of the children. He married in southern Thailand and simply paid a nominal fine, when he returned to Malaysia, for failing to register the marriage and for not seeking the permission of his first wife.

Syariah failed both these women and one doubts if hudud would reduce the discrimination against women, the poor and the marginalised. Several homosexual Muslim men and women lead secret lives in Malaysia or have emigrated. What would happen to them under hudud? Aren’t they God’s creatures, too?

The sixth response is apathy. Yours! The Allah case has divided this nation, because a few men held their tongues. They were afraid to go against one man who had a personal agenda against another party. Speak out now, before hudud destroys our lives.

(Source)

Firstly, there is a valid reason why the non-Muslim are very concerned with the idea of hudud. Yes, it only applies to the Muslims for now but once this is in place and implemented wide spread, what is the assurance that it will not be expended to cover the non-Muslims as well – all in the name of standardisation and to weed out double standards?

It will never happen, you say? Well, think again:-

The drama unfolded when Takiyuddin questioned Md Alwi’s statement to the press outside the House on Wednesday that the PAS-led Kelantan government was inconsistent in banning gambling but allowing non-Muslims to consume and sell alcohol. Takiyuddin said the government had never condoned alcohol consumption in Kelantan as it was against Islamic teachings.

Later, at a press conference outside the house, Md Alwi clarified that the Kelantan government practised double standards. “If they had banned gambling activities they should also ban alcohol consumption for both Muslims and non-Muslims,’’ he said.

(Source)

And this:-

PAS Kelantan State Government should rescind the ban of liquor sale by the Tanah Merah district council ordering coffee shops and restaurants to stop selling alcoholic drinks, including beer and stout and issue a similar directive to all local councils in the state.

It has been reported that the directive, contained in a letter dated August 8 and signed by council secretary Ruslan Hassan was hand-delivered to several Chinese-owned coffee shops and restaurants in the district, giving them a grace period of 15 days to clear their stocks.

(Source)

And this:-

Hair dressing salon operators are learning the hard way that gender segregation rules in Kelantan apply to non-Muslims as well. They have had to pay many summonses for allowing their female workers to cut the hair of non-Muslim male patrons, which they thought was permissible. E-Life Hair Salon manager Ong Lee Ting said she had settled 11 summonses since she opened for business in KB Mall in 2010.

Gender segregation is among the controversial regulations imposed by the PAS state government, which insists that the rule be also observed at supermarket check-outs. The last time Ong went to the local council office to pay a compound, she was told that the licence for the salon would be revoked because of the many summonses issued to the operator.

However, council secretary Mohd Anis Hussein said: “As long as they (the salon owners) pay the compounds, they will be allowed to operate.”

(Source)

And lately this:-

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) officers allegedly asked two non-Muslim students questions about the Islamic faith as part of a scholarship interview in Sarawak over the weekend.

The students were left speechless after being asked to name the prophets of Islam, the rukun (precepts) of Islamic prayers, and their opinion on the controversial hudud law, among others.

They are now afraid that their inability to answer the questions would affect their applications for university scholarships under the Indigenous People’s Trust Council.

(Source)

What will happen if a Muslim and non Muslim been caught under the same crime? Will they be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes – one jailed for x number of years and another with his limbs amputated? For how long you expect them to be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes before someone comes up and claims double standard and asks for both to have their limbs chopped off?

There are already some morons in this country calling fellow Malaysians infidels just because some of us profess to difference religion and insists on overriding everyone to come up on a Islamic state (where they were all these years when Malaysia is branded as a country with multiple race, religion & culture?). Yes, now they will say that it applies only for Muslims but in the near future, what’s stopping them from asking why the “minority infidels” are not subjected to the same law of the “majority. It is only fair, right? I am sure even then they will chant the mantra “don’t let ‘infidels’ decide on hudud”

Secondly, even though one may argue that hudud only applies to the Muslims, it is part and parcel of the Islamic teaching and is needed to curtail the escalating crime rate, the thing is why we need 2 sets of laws in this country that only creates sheer confusion to all Malaysians – both Muslims and non Muslims alike.

Just take a look at the case of S. Deepa who had won the custody of their two children at the civil High Court, only for someone to come along and kidnap her son:-

The police will not investigate a Muslim father accused of abducting his six-year-old son despite a civil High Court awarding custody to the Hindu mother, the country’s police chief said today. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the father, a Hindu-turned-Muslim who now goes by the name Izwan Abdullah, had also won custody at the Shariah High Court.

Jelebu district police chief Setapa Yusof was reported by The Star daily earlier today saying the police were unable to take action due to the two conflicting court orders.

“As far as we are concerned, we cannot investigate Izwan for abducting his son. We have to respect and obey the orders issued by both courts,” he told The Star yesterday.

(Source)

In the above case, S Deepa does not have any recourse in the Syariah Court simply because she is not a Muslim (thus the case should not have gone to the Syariah Court in the first place) Where is the fairness when only one appears before the court and argues the case. And despite the High Court order came after the Syariah Court’s order and thus should in effect supersedes it (by this definition that the Syariah Court being an inferior court to the High Court) and makes S Deepa the legal guardian of the children, the police had decided upon themselves to say that both orders are valid and both has custody to the same child. So it has ended of who kidnap who first and the police had to look the other way in this case?

But you cannot blame them too – the confusion is there and the Government is keeping its silence on the matter and yet to come out to state the obvious. There is no clear precedent from the various court cases as well. After all, when the Parliament amended the Article 121 of the Constitution that created the Syariah Courts, it is unlikely it wanted the newly created Syariah courts to be in direct conflict with the existing civil courts.

Let’s set aside the issue of confusion for a second and look into the urgency and effectiveness instead.

The thing is, there NEVER been an issue of a serious lack of laws and rules in this country to cover the various offences. We made a wise move by adopting the Englishman’s law (or rather Indian & Australian penal codes) when we got our independence from the British. At least we did not had to create it from the scratch. We did not drop it despite it was the law of a “coloniser”. And despite having the Muslims as the majority back then, we did not opt to instil the Islamic law and choose to do what the Arabs did or go on own way. And over the years, we have repealed some laws, enacted some new ones and strengthened some of the existing ones.

We have always done that and the law had always worked to ensure fair play, justice, better protection and deserving punishments. So why now, there is an urgent need bring in the hudud laws? What is the shortcomings in the civil law that cannot be improved and can only be rectified by implementing hudud laws? And how one can say that hudud will be more effective in curtailing the crime rates than the conventional criminal laws? We need the promoters of the hudud laws to further clarify this. Perhaps they will argue that by chopping one’s hands, this guarantees the criminal will not be able to steal again. Ya, it makes sense but what happens if this person is found guilty due to an error by the witness or framed by someone else or a loophole in the law and only later after various appeals and perhaps new evidence, he was found to be innocent? Can he get back his hands?

Why not instead focus on the current shortcoming of the current civil law? And a large aspect of it boils down to the enforcement of the law. In some cases, a severe case of double standards and selective enforcement of the law. After all, these days, one wrong Facebook post of a politician’s wife could get the police to drop everything and swiftly arrest you. But the similar thing happens for the opposition MP (an elected one), nothing really moves. If the matter is something petty, then why the swift action on former’s case? And if it is the law, then why no action on the latter’s case? You see my point here? If the punishment is not severe enough, why not just amend the existing laws and impose a higher jail terms or whipping by the cane?

As a nation, we are already blundered big time many times over by having different economic policies to different sectors of Malaysians and different education system and political preference based on race, religion and culture, why  strive to disunite the nation even further by having different set of laws for different class of Malaysians? Still striving for developed nation status by 2020? Throw in the lack of enforcement and selective enforcement into the wood works and it will only be bad news for the country. Is this what we want at end of the day?

The non Muslims, frankly speaking, are not against hudud if it is implemented for the Muslims only and it is done fairly and without any bias but unfortunately, they have seen enough to know that it will not be the case. They are wary of the warning – hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later. They are wary of the overzealous officials in enforcing the Islamic laws and this spilling over to affect the non Muslims (there already too many examples in the state of Kelantan, the very place they want to introduce the hudud laws). They are wary of the those entrusted with the necessary authority to be fair and unbiased when judging the law and applying it in the most equitable way to all Malaysian (such in the case of S. Deepa).

So just, prove to us that it only will apply on Muslims and hudud is being implemented only because there is a serious shortcomings in the current civil laws and we will stop worrying and make a big fuss about it.

Being Holier than Holy


Firstly my condolences to the parents and family members of the 2 young children who were murdered by their maid. It was tragic beyond any comprehension and no matter what is said and done, nothing can replace the 2 lovely children and console the parents. Nothing. The devil indeed walks on the earth in disguise of these killers. May the murdered children’s soul rest in peace.

Secondly, many laughed back in 2011 when the words preppers or prepping is mentioned. One person I know even boasted that his house water tank would last until the water situation was back to normal and preppers were wasting their time. But now with water ration in place (hitting at least 3 million consumers) and some places like Balakong had no running water for 2 weeks, I wonder how many of them regret for not prepping for these kind of situations. At home, we have stocked up drinking water and it should be enough to last us for at least 1 week but it may not be enough if the hot weather continues for the next few weeks (but we have worked out a Plan B & C, just in case).

Back to the post for this week…

Read these first:-

Some months ago, as I was lazing around the house (as usual), my wife came over and sat next to me. She asked if we could go to the temple later in the evening (it is a question that I usually get on the weekends). She said that it was crucial that we go to the temple on a weekly basis as it will be beneficial to us and the kids spiritually and it will bring in more of the positive “chi”. Well, I don’t discount the impact of astrology on our daily life but then again, as T.E. Lawrence had once said, nothing is written and I feel the same. Doesn’t God help those who help themselves?

Anyway, her point was well noted. No harm going to temples – there is certain sense of tranquility when we are there to say our prayers and thanks to Him. There is a sense of positive energy once you have entered the temple grounds. The thing is, being a 21st century devotee, I hate the lack of parking at temple compound (which leaves many to park their car haphazardly by the road side and sometimes find broken into) and sometimes the over-killed “time procedures” and elaborate ceremonies.

These are obviously added up (perhaps over past centuries) so that the temples can make more money through the various charges & services and also to bring in the crowd. Well, I don’t blame them – with too many temples in the same vicinity fighting for the same pool of devotees, they had to do something. Still remember the sudden appearance of the white snake in Puchong some years ago? This is why I sometimes opt to go to smaller, less crowded temples where one just walk in, buys the arachana slip and do the prayers and walk out without the need to wait long.

My wife was waiting for an answer, she knows that I hate going to the temples for the right reasons. I said “ok” in a low bass tone. Then as usual, later in the afternoon, I decided to take a quick nap and went to bed. I woke up at night, obviously missing the trip to the temple. It was certainly not a quick nap as I had intended it to be. My wife was not happy of course but this has become a routine in recent years, so it was nothing new to her. Besides, for me, the weekends is time to catch up on sleep, lazing around and playing with the kids and perhaps visiting relatives & shopping. Going to temples and spending hours there in sweat & frustration was never part of my weekend agenda.

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(Never let the religion man to do science work. The outcome will very likely to be unscientific. Image source: Facebook)

Let’s talk about temple priests as this too been a factor whether I want to go temples or not. I have come across a number of them over the years – some are simple & humble like the priest who went to India to do engineering and ended up learning on religion. He does things right and you can always have a friendly chat with him without the need to indulge in religion. And some are nothing but selfish, arrogant conman who say one thing and do another and insist everyone to do his way or else God Himself would be angry on those who had failed to abide (this causes some friction with some relatives as they would insist on us doing certain things just because some priests they know had told them so). These are same guys who will conduct the prayers on a touch and go basis and yet insist on payment on everything you touch. And I simply hate when the job is outsourced to priest’s inexperienced kids / relatives.

Others, well I am sure you would have heard of the famed “Swami Nithyananda” who takes advantage of the ignorance and blind faith. Now, having said that, there are also good ones and the bad ones at every corner and in every so-called mainstream religion. Once in a while, we will hear the worse of the worse such as this and this.

Let’s face it – not all priests are not holy man and not all holy man are priest. I know some who even wear a suit to work and lives a normal life and yet holds the highest level in integrity, conduct and a good knowledge of religion. They read a lot and they do debate the issues of religion and science (the bane of religious men and this leads to sometimes peculiar situations) in good manner and they readily accepts the evidence of science. They had never dismissed it outright as for them, God works in strange ways and science would be one of that way.

Over the years, temples (and the minions who run them) have become too commercialized. No, I am not talking about the usual donation and service charges that they imposes for prayers. That’s normal as everyone has overheads and even this is not enough (which is why temples must merge). I am referring to those who have gone to do the religion business on the concept of MLM.

That is why I rather go to a quiet corner of the house and say a silent prayer. I know that God speaks and understands many languages so I don’t necessary need a priest to translate into Sanskrit. And I am sure He did not mean prayers to be very complicated and for common people like you and me to reach HIM only through some complex ceremonies & mantras. Even better, I am very sure that just by thinking and doing the right things and without any malice is more than enough to score good karma than doing all things evil and then trying to bribe God by going to temple and doing elaborate ceremonies.

Think about it when you meet another holy man asking you to do things that does not make any sense…

Mixing Cows & Coconuts


Read these first:-

1295441219-thaipusam-and-coconut-smashing-2011_560979

(It does not matter if you are breaking it for fun or for a deep sense of devotion but it is high time we reconsider breaking up coconuts in insane numbers on public roads. Imagine driving your car over this minefield and you will understand why we need to reconsider this. God, I am sure, is happy with breaking of one coconut. It is the substance that counts and not the form. Image: http://www.demotix.com)

No one had say it better on why schools should not be used for slaughtering animals than Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, the chairperson of Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) and it makes a lot of sense too:-

1. The school as a venue for animal slaughter is highly inappropriate as students become unwilling spectators whether or not they are invited to watch. While some may be able to stomach the procedure there will also be some who may be traumatised by even the cry of an animal before it is slaughtered. Children are sensitive lest we forget. Incidentally, religious officials continue to gently remind worshippers that the photographs of slaughters being taken at mosques and suraus are not to be indiscriminately publicised as it may induce trauma to the faint-hearted;

2. School grounds are ill-equipped for any type of slaughter in particular the drainage and sanitary system to ensure the proper extermination of blood, carcass, waste products and odour, which in turn if not adequately disposed of, may result in an unhygienic condition;

3. Also comes into question is the area where the animal is tied down which must be secure to ensure the safety of the students at all times as animals have been known to come loose, run free and hurt bystanders especially children who have slower reflexes than adults;

4. It is not necessarily an issue about religious sensitivities as even Muslim parents are enraged. However, it can be educational if students are prepared and willing to witness the slaughter of an animal in a proper manner best carried out at a licensed slaughter house where facilities are available to ensure a high standard of hygiene. A visit can be arranged to a slaughter house as a school activity instead; and

5. Principals by failing to communicate clearly with parents and students on the purpose of conducting such a practice without considering its cause and resulting effect of such an action in the first place allows matters to be thrown out of context.

(Source)

I have always maintained that schools should be used as a place of national unity and learning and not for anything else (namely politics and religion). On the latest issue above, well some may argues that it is nothing spectacular – slaughtering animals during festive seasons is nothing new. I am sure that everyone agrees that the issue at hand is not whether can slaughter cows or not (I have seen slaughtering of goats and chickens in some temples in a grander scale) or whether it has “offended” the non-Muslims. The issue at hand is whether it is right to be slaughtering animals in a school and whether it is the right thing to do during school hours. I am sure everyone agrees that there is a proper place and time for everything.

Is it right to expose young children to the cruelty of slaughtering a living animal and the “bloody” mess left thereafter? Is a school even designed to cater slaughtering of animals. Some years ago, some of my neighbors got together and organised similar slaughtering of animals. The only place available was the children’s playground. The problem was after the slaughtering and after the blood and the bits of carcass had spill over on the grass, it was not easy to clean (despite the best effort from the neighbors). For some days the smell alone was enough to keep kids from the playground (thankfully a couple days of heavy rain did the trick). But it was a lesson well learned – the open slaughtering stopped and these days, I guess the neighbors do it at a mosque where it was easier clean things up. Even if there is no other place suitable for slaughtering the cows, couldn’t this been done after school hours?

But having said that and since the issue was raised, it has kind of opened up the Pandora’s box or rather the question – what about other religion or cultural rites that may frighten small kids (like the pierced kavadi during Thaipusam) or may pose danger and unhygienic like the massive coconut breaking on public streets mainly during Thaipusam and open burning of those large incense sticks during Chinese festivals. While some of us may argue that is is not the same thing, we need to accept that it is a good question and it is something we should ponder seriously.

I am not sure if seeing anyone with pierced kavadis during Thaipusam is an issue as it is only done near to the temple (sometimes it is not only frightens small kids but also adults who are not used to seeing one) but they may have a good point there with the massive coconut breaking on public roads. But before that, here’s the reason why Hindus break coconut in case some of you are wondering – there are many version of the reason but the simplest would be this:-

Coconut represents the human head. The ego resides in the head. A tantric who has gained mastery over senses, literally cuts off his head as a sign of submission of ego. In Sathwik/Vedic mode of worship, coconut is used instead to depict the same. In either ways, the acts signify surrender of ego and submission to God’s will.

(Source)

Breaking the coconut is usually done within the compound of the temple and sometimes in front of the house (provided there is no cars parked in the vicinity) but doing the same on public road may need to be reconsidered. Yes they have been doing it for a long time now. Yes, it is a core part of the Hindu rites. Yes, it may not be related to the incident of slaughtering animals in schools. However does it makes any difference if we break one coconut in the temple and 100 coconuts on public streets as far as religion is concerned? I don’t think there is a difference. Other than an unnecessary waste of money, it poses unnecessary danger to road users – despite the pieces of coconut may get cleaned after the rites, there still may be some sharp pieces of the coconut shell that can cause serious damage to vehicles. Further, have you smelt coconut water after a few days left under the hot sun?

As I had said, there is a proper place and time for everything. No one is stopping you from breaking coconuts and no one is saying that you cannot break 1,000 coconuts but let’s confine to temples or house compounds. In the meantime, let’s focus on what is more important in schools – educating the future generation and making them the star of the country. Use the schools for the actual purpose it was built and pour all your time and energy for the same reasons. If we simply insist of doing what we want to do without any consideration to others, it is going to be a tough time in Malaysia for everyone.

Have a good Deepavali shopping this weekend…

And God Strikes Back!


Just a quick one before I am off for the holidays…

(It was good to see a very familiar face at the helm of, surprisingly a public demo – perhaps it was high time to learn a thing or two on public demo from Hindraf and Bersih. Unfortunately this was done before it was revealed that it was BN and not Pakatan who approved the development plans. It then turned to be a comedy piece from there onwards)

Happy belated Deepavali and happy holidays to all and since we are on the subject of religion & culture, let me tell you a story.

A long time ago or rather more than 100 years old someone “discovered” Batu Caves and decided to open a temple in one of the caves (thank God that no one lives in caves these days; otherwise we would have another cow-head incident). And over all those years, this temple have grown bigger, more organised and became one of the “must have” place for the Hindus in this country to visit and pray – more so during Thaipusam. And it has been so for damn good years until the 2012 when someone discovered that a private developer is going to build a 29 storey condominium project near the temple and started to make some noise. Religion fanatics, opportunists and issue-hunger politicians then decided to put their 2-cents words and squarely blamed the State Government and demanded that the project to be scrapped otherwise to face the wrath of the Indian community (hoo, are you scared now?) and legal suits. After all, Batu Caves is in Selangor and election is just around the corner – so who want to miss this rare opportunity to create some “inconveniences” to the State Government? Well they tried with the water issue and then with the Talam issue but nothing much happened, so this is not so surprising.

Former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu spearheaded today a demonstration at the Batu Caves Hindu temple, objecting to the construction of a 29-storey condominium project, in what is seen as a bid to pressure the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration ahead of the 13th general election.

The former works minister accused the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) of having approved the construction project without a proper study. He said legal action could be taken against the council.

“This project is not planned properly and without referring to any professional party,” Samy Vellu told a 300-strong crowd of Hindus and non-governmental activists who had turned up at the famous temple complex this morning to protest the condominium construction, saying the work was an environmental risk and would jeopardise the temple grounds.

(Source)

More accusations flew in the media and the long-lost political party readied themselves to come out from the political wilderness and to champion this great “danger” to the rights of the community. It is not a big secret that some Indians (there’s one in every community) are quite passionate (and brainless) when it comes to religion and any intrusion to their turf (despite having too many unregistered temples at the same place) and how the destruction of temples in Selangor was one of the key factor for the swing of Indian votes to Pakatan in 2008. The plan on paper was rather simple – highlight the great “danger” to the temple due to the development so to “unite” Indians from both divides, give a final option to the Pakatan led Government (well knowing that Pakatan Government cannot keep due to obvious legal implications and short of time) and once that deadline is passed, accuse Pakatan of selling out the Indians in the State and tell the Indians that the ONLY way out from the mess is to vote Pakatan out from the State (as predicted, with the usual I help you, you help me kind of pre-election promises thrown in for good measures).

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given the assurance that Barisan Nasional will stop the controversial 29-storey condominium project in Batu Caves if it regains power in Selangor.

In making this promise, the Prime Minister said Batu Caves is a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide. “I give you my assurance that if Barisan takes over Selangor, we will cancel this project.

“We do not want development of the surrounding area to pose a threat to this place,” he said at the MIC Deepavali open house held at the Batu Caves temple complex. The Prime Minister also said the Cabinet had decided to submit an application to Unesco for Batu Caves to be considered a World Heritage Site.

(Source)

Of course, during this chaos, the so-called community champions will conveniently forget some key questions – why no demonstration and objections when the development was approved back in 2007? It was not like they were kept in the dark. Why nothing was done in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011? Why nothing was done in the first few months of 2012? Why only now the Federal Government has plans to apply Unesco World Heritage Site status despite for donkey odd years BN ruled Selangor? Why only now Batu Caves is “deemed” a revered and respected site among the Hindu community in the country and worldwide? And doesn’t the World Heritage Site status irrespective of who govern the State is good for Malaysia (and the Indian community) as whole?

Of course, none of these questions would be made and heavily discussed in public by the same champions but the condemnation and accusations against the Pakatan led State Government will continue, hoping the Indian community will fail to see the bigger picture and will swallow whatever that is dished out by the crusaders of the community as the gospel truth.

Apparently God has been watching this for some time now and decided that the whack way back in 2008 was not enough. Nothing much has changed since then, nothing much is likely to change in the near future. He decided to throw in the spanner into the woodwork – just for the fun of it.

Its official – all 19 members who attended the full board meeting of the Selayang Municipal Council voted in favour of approving the Dolomite Avenue Park project in Batu Caves in 2007. Despite earlier denials and assertions by some councillors that they were neither party nor privy to the approval process, minutes of the meeting held on Nov 29, 2007 – obtained by theSun – show otherwise.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk A. Kohilan Pillai, who was a councillor between 1997 and 2008, had voted in favour of the project. So did the three councillors from the MIC – Rajakupal Sinnathamby, Jayakumaran Govindasamy and Rajandran Muniandy.

(Source)

Wonder who is having the last laugh now? It was interesting to see how the same crusaders and the 300 odd demonstrators are going to spin themselves out of this new found truth. Many thanks to good sensible journalism by theSun, we now know that out of the 19 fellows who approved the development way back in 2007 (before Pakatan came in power),  THREE were MIC councillors and also included Gerakan’s Kohilan Pillai.

As much as Kohilan must be given a chance to give his side of the story, equally important is that he gives plausible explanations.

Are we to assume that the Selayang council at one time or the other operated like a “secret society” keeping vital information away from the residents? Are we to assume that minutes are not recorded accurately? Are we to assume that the minute-taker took it upon himself or herself to “censor” the proceedings and only showed the “good side” of the council reflecting the buddy-buddy working relationship of councillors with no dissent? Are we to assume minutes of council meetings are nothing but pieces of formalities to record what had been previously agreed upon?

Something is certainly fishy. So many questions remain unanswered. The most important is: Why did the council, including its president and the councillors, defy the views of the Department of Environment which stated that development would cause imminent danger to the nearby limestone hills? Enough of pussy-footing. Let’s have some straight answers.

(Source)

In the end this is a story of how some people screwed themselves left, right and center. In the meantime, enjoy the up-coming wayang kulits and a string of memory lapses as the Pakatan State Government gets their hands into the mess left behind by the same community crusaders. Happy holidays to all.

Did You Get The Message?


“If we have listening ears, God speaks to us in our own language, whatever that language is.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Read these posts first:-

(I have said this before and I will say it again – all you need is mutual respect on each others beliefs, culture and religion and we can get along just fine no matter what happens. Image source: http://www.ausgamers.com)

Read this:-

The 25-year old youth is being probed under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act and Section 298 (a) of the Penal Code for deliberately making statements to hurt the religious sentiments of another. Gopinath was alleged to have insulted Islam last week, which prompted several social media users to create the ‘Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’ page. The page currently has 5,529 followers.

Yesterday, Gopinath’s home in Taman Klang Jaya was attacked by several men, who destroyed furnitures and damaged his car. No one was injured in the attack as Gopinath and his family was not at home.

A group calling itself Jemaah Fisabilillah Klang said it masterminded the attack and even posted on the Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’s page that they would track down Gopinath’s family.

(Source)

And missing from the police’s list was this:-

A few years back, Shah Kirit was caught when his video came out in the public. In the video, he was speaking in a closed forum ridiculously explaining and insulting Hindu religion to the core and making sexual remarks about Hindu gods.

When the video came out, Shah Kirit apologized to the public, and despite numerous police reports against him, he was never caught. Tell me my Muslim brothers, if someone is to insult your religion like in this video, will you ever forgive him?

(Source)

It is claimed that there are about 4,200 different religion in this world.

When it comes to religion, some people sometimes (some all the time) do not keep in mind that the issue itself is very sensitive and in the history of mankind, minor sparks (cartoons included) have caused violent demonstrations, major conflicts and tragedies. And it sometimes creeps into absurdity too – no, not the religion itself but on how weak some a##holes conduct themselves with the religious issues (the fact that it is creeping to the young minds seems to be worse of the worse). Just imagine if each followers of the 4,200 religion start to hurl damaging statements at each other.

(Eddie Griffin’s simple and yet powerful message when it comes to religion – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Think about it for a second. Does it make a lot of sense than some religious zealots shouting that my God is better than your God? )

The law concerning religion hatred and slurs no doubt has to be fair and need to be enforced fairly on all who insult any religion but at the same time, let’s ask a more serious personal question – how will one attacking another’s faith & beliefs makes one own religion look and sound better?

Does your own religion (any religion) or your karma get cookies points whenever you “score” an insult on another’s religion? Absolutely not! Your religion (or faith or belief, whichever you want to name it) or your karma scores cookies points (if any) when you talk well about your own religion and do not make any cross reference to others and in the end, walk the talk. Do goodness to others, do charity to the well-deserving, do sincere kindness to all regardless of race & culture and at the end be humble.

But once you start to insult others (no matter was the excuse is), the situation can quickly escalate to worse and before you know it, it will be a tit for a tat. One insult another’s religion, the person insults back (without thinking much) and others gets angry (often in high emotion) and goes to do more damages and this goes on and on. When does this madness stop? What happens when there is no else to be insulted?

After all, what is religion and what is the underlying message?

To many it means many things but the underlying message has to be something positive, laced with love for fellow human and mutual respect and I know that no religion in this world will profess its followers to say anything and act in bad faith or bad intention. No religion in this world had professed that you need to kill or harm others in order for you to spread the religion. Whatever you say or do is between you and God and not to be manipulated to be imposed on others.

This is one of the reasons I don’t usually go to temples – the only time I am “forced” to go is when my wife wants to go too (or when I know I can get good parking spots). My reason of going to temples is simple – I am going to have my moment with God in an atmosphere that is calm, peaceful and conducive. I want to have a heart to heart talk with Him. If I am going to a place that is crowded with people, the queue (in front of the altar) is long & you have wait your turn, waiting hours (for prayers) are long due to the crowd, impression that my prayers becomes “invalid” because I don’t say or do something prescribed by the priests or the priests are more interested on how much collection that is coming for the day (usually during the “special” prayers), forget about it – I rather stay and pray at home. I know God can hear me even though I don’t say anything or I don’t chant anything that sounds exotic. At the end of the day, it is just between me and Him.

Let’s not escalate the seeds of disunity in the country further with attacks on each others religion & faith (we do not add this to the on-going delicate racial issue). Don’t be dumb, don’t be naive too – the world is not made of one race or one religion. There are millions of people in this world who practice a different faith from you and for them, their religion is true and well. If you don’t agree with this, well it is just too bad. Spending time and resources to claim the other religions are false and untrue is pointless and a gross waste of time. The sooner you appreciate the situation, the sooner we put aside the difference and be true to our own faith.

Remember, the underlying message of the day is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and not “my religion is better than yours”.