Category Archives : Opinions


[Civics] GST petition request

This is a quick one, in case you missed it over my Twitter and Facebook: right now, the Malaysian Government is considering a list of some 800 items to be added to the list of zero-rated GST items, which means customers will not be taxed for such items.

However, pads and tampons are NOT on that list. According to this, it’s because the ministry has NOT received any official petitions/requests for such an exemption. Thus, I’m asking everyone to write to them and request that period items, aka sanitary pads, tampons and menstrual cups be zero-rated (I am not sure if the last is GST-charged, to be honest.

Sign the petition, write the emails, and help us ask the Malaysian Government to STOP TAXING our periods.


MAIS’ “Defense” on the Bible Society Raid 1


MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM SELANGOR
PRESS STATEMENT OF SELANGOR ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (MAIS) ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NON-ISLAMIC RELIGIONS (CONTROL OF PROPAGATION AMONGST MUSLIMS) ENACTMENT 1988 IN SELANGOR

The following press statement is made to clarify the action taken by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) being the Islamic affairs law enforcement agency in the state of Selangor.

MAIS would like to reiterate that the action taken by JAIS on January 2, 2014, to enter the Bible Society of Malaysia business premises in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, and consequently seized a number of the Bible (Al-Kitab) in Malay version of which includes a few Malay printed copies of the Gospel of Luke wherein the name “Allah” appears in the said Bible was in accordance with the powers conferred upon them under the law, particularly under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1988 Enactment’).

The inspection and investigation by JAIS were done after complaints have been lodged by the public regarding the publication of the Bible (Al-Kitab) wherein the name’Allah’ is used in the Bible (Al-Kitab) which if it proven is an offence under Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment.

Pursuant to the provisions under the 1988 Enactment, JAIS has the jurisdiction and power to investigate offences committed by Muslims as well as non-Muslims under this Enactment. Section 12 read together with the Schedule of the 1988 Enactment provides the power to conduct inspection and investigation to the officers from JAIS department as well as the police officers.

MAIS also would like to emphasize that the action by JAIS was not initiated on the basis that the Bible were printed in Malay language but due to fact that the name “Allah” was used in the said Bible which merits an investigation to determine whether such publication contravene the provision of Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment. Unfortunately, the media and also the statement from the Chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) have made various inaccurate allegations as reported in newspapers stating that the actions by JAIS in confiscating the said Bible printed and published in Malay Language was inappropriate and illegal. The action by these parties is regrettable because they have made statement without finding out the accurate facts.

MAIS also would like to highlights that JAIS has no obligation to inform any parties regarding any inspection and investigation because it may hamper the investigation’s process. However, the recent action by JAIS was done after.MAIS took a stance in its monthly meeting that JAIS must act on the complaints lodged by the public with regards to the offences under Enactment 1988 or in other words to enforce the existing laws in Selangor.

JAIS’s action should not be misunderstood as an act of interfering with the constitutional right of anyone to profess and practice their religions as enshrined under the Federal Constitution. This is because JAIS’s action was merely to enforce the law which was enacted to prevent the propagation of other religious doctrine or belief amongst the Muslims. Thus, it has nothing to do with any attempts to intervene with the rights and freedom of other religions to perform their religious practices.

The public is hereby reminded that besides the 1988 Enactment which prevents other religions from using the name “Allah”, there is also a fatwa issued by the Selangor Fatwa Committee which was gazetted on February 18, 2010, prohibiting the use of the name “Allah” by the non-Muslim in their religions. The state’s fatwa is also consistent with the decision pronounced during the 82nd National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs in Malaysia.

Besides that, the Court of Appeal on October 14, 2013 in the case of Minister of Home Affairs & 8 Others v. Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (Civil Appeal No. W-01-1-2010) has held that the use of the name”Allah” in The Herald-The Catholic Weekly will cause confusion within the community and the name”Allah”certainly does not form as an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. Although the Court of Appeal’s decision is being appealed at the Federal Court, such decision is still binding on all parties.

Pursuant to the fatwa which was issued at the State and National level along with the decision by the Court of Appeal, and taking into consideration the existence of the 1988 Enactment, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor, as the head of the religion of Islam in Selangor, after consultation with Selangor Council of the Royal Court decided that any future action to be taken by the Selangor religious enforcement body must be in line with the provisions of 1988 Enactment.

Under such circumstances, MAIS urges the public not to make this into an issue so that the investigation can be completed without any undue influence and to ensure a fair and effective investigation.

DATO’ SETIA HAJI MOHAMAD ADZIB BIN MOND ISA PENGERUSI MAIS


Malaysian Passports, 2013 edition

If you’re going to be renewing your Malaysian passport beginning the second half of 2013 onwards (aka August and beyond), note the following:

  • Your passport photos must now have a WHITE or OFF-WHITE background
  • There are no more machines, so you need grab a number, wait for it to be called, submit your passport, then wait again as your number will be called again and you can make payment.

How long will the process take? Depending on what time you go and how hardworking the staff is, anywhere from 40 minutes (HAH!) to 3 hours (most likely). You should also be aware that it’s a two step process: First you have to submit a form, your old passport (if applicable), your NRIC and 2 photos on a white background to the officer. Once they’ve had a look through, you’ll then wait for the same number to be called at the next counter to pick up your NRIC and make payment (RM100 for 2 years, RM300 for 5 years).

Collection is the next day.


Religion and Choices

This post was originally published on my Facebook profile yesterday. Reproducing it here today because of the Allah appeal that is currently happening.

So today it finally struck me. I mean, I know this intellectually, but this is the first time I’ve felt the truth of it hit hard in the gut.

Why in the world are we so preoccupied with someone else’s religion?

Religion isn’t a numbers game. It’s not a competition where the religion with the most followers automatically win the world, or God’s favour and blessings on them forever. If you have your beliefs, then so be it. You have your faith in your God, and I have my faith in my Goddess. Pure and simple. When you die, if there is an afterlife, then you’ll be answerable to your God. That is all. God’s going to ask you what you did. He’s not going to reward the entire religious organisation without evaluating the sum of its parts.

And so if you have faith in your God and religion, then nothing can turn you away from it. Having someone curse you, drinking holy water, air zam zam or wailing at the Wall isn’t going to turn you away from the religion of your CHOICE.

Yes, that is the keyword.

Choice.

No one can force you to believe in a faith you do not have. You may have doubts about your faith, you may have doubts about God’s existence, you may even doubt that your deity is the person you thought they were.

But here’s the thing: It’s YOU.

You make the choice to believe in them. YOU make the choice to hold on to your faith. YOU make the choice to believe in the tenets of your faith, to keep to it, and to hold it sacred and practice for as long as you shall live or so choose.

No one, but YOU yourself.

Belief is, as you grow older, a personal choice. There is no one who holds a gun to your head and say “BELIEVE IN MY WORD THAT PIGS WILL FLY” and you will believe in your heart, unless you choose to. Someone may take your hand, put a pen in it, and then write “I AM A BELIEVER” with your hand, but if you do not believe it in your head, then it is meaningless.

So stop pushing the responsibility for your faith onto others. I cannot slap you and make you believe that my Goddess is greater than yours, unless you choose to believe my words. By that token, you cannot force belief in me that your God and religion is really greater than mine.

Stop thinking that drinking holy water, walking by a church or into a mosque, listening to Buddhist chants and/or smelling temple incense is going to turn you away from your religion. HAVE FAITH IN YOUR RELIGION LA!

**Note: I have deliberately left out times when you doubt the existence of God in this essay, aka nights of the soul.