MAIS’ “Defense” on the Bible Society Raid


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.

[Politics] Eternal Vigilance

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” – John Philpot Curran.

There are many good posts and updates on Facebook about yesterday’s results. I will not repeat them here. However, I think everyone should think long and hard about this:

The next five years, my fellow Malaysians, will be the dirtiest we have seen. It will be the ugliest. UMNO, and by extension, Barisan Nasional, will depend on the “us vs them” rhetoric to shore up their support in the rural areas. In fact, Najib, the leader of UMNO, has already fired the first salvo yesterday by claiming it was a “Chinese Tsunami” that threatened its dominance and reduced its majority in Parliament further.

They will attempt to create an emotional response and use that to blind and break us every time we question, resist, or protest their schemes, ideas and projects. Sometimes they will use it even to hide their own shortcomings. It will be one of those “storm in a teacup” moments, where everyone will forget all about the main issue and focus on only that one small thing (anyone remember that “leaking” remark made by Bung Mokhtar which lead to a massive outcry? Yes? Do you remember what prompted it, without referring to Google? No?* I thought so).

Democracy is not just the event of throwing our votes every 5 years. It is a journey of nation-building. It is hard, ongoing, and consistent work. If we want to build a better Malaysia, then we must be prepared to work for it.

Question. Listen. Understand. Agree to disagree.

That is what democracy is.

* If you DO remember what the issue is, I salute you!

Lahad Datu Conjectures

ALL THIS ARE MY OWN OPINIONS AND THOUGHTS. THEY ARE NOT FACTS. PLEASE UNDERSTAND BEFORE YOU RUN OFF YOUR ROCKER.

So sometime in February, armed invaders landed in Sabah and attempted to claim east Sabah as their own. They called themselves the “Royal Security Forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo” and said that east Sabah belonged to them. The Malaysian BN Government surrounded Kampung Tanduo (or Tanduo Village in English) and gave them two weeks to leave the country, but did not specify what would happen if they chose not to.

The invaders chose to stay put.

According to some local sources, on the 17th day of their “stay” in Sabah (aka March 1, 2013), a small group of their fighters attempted to leave the cordoned area. They fired at the security forces around that area, killing 2 policemen with mortar fire and injuring another two more. There was a short gun battle that apparently ended with 10 dead on the Sulu side, and 2 on Malaysia’s.

That was what happened on Friday. Bear in mind, this is what we have been told so far. There is apparently a gag order on the media about this. Wiki does have a pretty good link to the story.

After that happened, these thoughts ran through my head:

  1. There are a lot of illegal immigrants in Sabah. Nothing has been done about them over the years despite the pleas of Sabah.
  2. A large number of them are Tausangs, who are apparently Sulu people. Some say about 8,500 of them
  3. It would be completely realistic to expect the Tausangs to “rise up” in retaliation for their comrades being killed.


Yesterday, March 2, 2013, there was a gun fight in Semporna, about 150km from Lahad Datu. Some sites claim that the people who fired on the policemen were actually on their way to attack the Lahad Datu police station. However, the official news report says that the gun fight was unrelated to what is happening in Lahad Datu, because our boys in blue were carrying out an operation to find and confiscate illegal firearms.

OPINION AND IDLE SPECULATION BEGINS HERE

Anyone who’s read political thrillers and the like can take a conjecture as to what is happening next. The chances of there being a full out invasion in Sabah is very high, aided by “sleeper” agents who have entered Sabah over the years. Considering that both the Philippines and Malaysia have elections scheduled for this year, there is speculation that this incident was also orchestrated to embarrass certain parties.

From a reddit thread I read yesterday, there is speculation that this was orchestrated by an opposition component (Philippines is scheduled to have elections in May). In Malaysia, there is wide speculation that it was orchestrated by the BN government to delay General Elections, which must be called in the next few months, barring an Emergency.

So what do I think may happen?

The invaders may rise and overwhelm the Sabah population. War is declared. Elections are delayed for Malaysia, continue as scheduled for Philippines. The war may spread to Sarawak. Indonesia may take the opportunity to reclaim Sarawak.* Borneo Brunei (thanks for spotting this, N4vin!) decides that West Sabah belongs to them and stakes a claim.

Basically, widespread chaos.

But hey, what do I know, right? I’m just a keyboard warrior.

Who is utterly pissed and feeling frustrated at what is happening in Sabah. I have friends there, damnit!

Additional points:
Badí‘ Yee Tzyypirng aka ‏@badiyee on Twitter points out that there is a 5 Defense Pact for Sarawak. Should Indonesia attempt to annex Sarawak, they will be smacked.

Suzuki Swift Test Drive

So I finally walked into a Suzuki showroom today to check out the 2011 Suzuki Swift (GLX). Right after the drive, there were a few things evident:

The Swift is a really nice car. In person, it’s got a number of security features I like. Instead of having to dig out your keys, all you need is the key to be in your pocket, and you can open the car by pressing on the buttons on the door handles. Even better, you can open only the door you need, so if I’m driving alone, I can press once to open just the driver’s door instead of the entire car. Considering the scariness of Malaysian crime these days, it’s an advantage. Oh, and that single door thing applies to the boot as well. When I’m near the car, I can open just the boot instead of the whole car. It’s a pretty neat feature.

The boot space was surprisingly roomy and deep. I’m thinking that maybe it’d be big enough for a few bags. Note though, that it’s definitely smaller than my current Proton Iswara hatchback. It’s deeper yes, but it’s not longer. That means if I’m carrying longer stuff, the seats will definitely have to come down.

The seats were firm. Driving the car reminded me of getting my first Android smart phone; SO MANY NEW FEATURES TO PLAY WITH! I should have really taken my time to play with the car. The nervousness of going for the test drive meant that I didn’t spend as much time as I should to familiarise myself. The first thing that I did notice though were that I had a much wider range of view compared to my own car.

The side view mirrors were controlled by what looks like a joystick; twist left and right for their respective mirrors, then move it up, down, left and right for the angles. Nice. To start the car, press the brake and the Engine Start/Stop button simultaneously. The car jumped to life with a pleasant roar. Then it was time to actually drive.

The Swift has a 4-wheel brake disc instead of the usual rear brake disc, and it shows. The few times I pressed on the brake, it was actually rather hard and sudden. Definitely an improvement from my current car. Turning and pickup was quite good. The sound system was quite ok, by my standards. I’m not an audiophile, so as long as it plays music I think it’s good. The sound system supposedly has USB connectivity, and while I did notice it I didn’t get to use it. The USB connector was located under the audio buttons in a fairly sizeable recess behind the gear.

Which brings me to another point; unlike other cars I’ve driven before, there’s no indicator on the gear box to show you which gear you’re in. The displays are on the dashboard, where the odometer was. It was very disconcerting. However, this was offset by the fact that the gear hid the recess to dump your keys and wallet and mp3 player, so I might take it as an acceptable trade-off.

Mileage seems to be far better than my current car (well, the present ride is about 20 years old) at 500km per full tank, which works out to about RM60-RM70 (note: RON 95). The salesperson did warn me that the Swift doesn’t do as well as bigger cars when driving outstation, which was something I already expected. For in-town driving though, it handles well.

However, I did not really take the opportunity to really lean back and enjoy the seats. At first sit they’re hard and nice, while the steering fits well in my hand, but I’m still on the fence on that.

Price was about RM77,888 for the base model, which is what I would have gotten anyway (spending RM5,000 on the body kit which was basically all decoration is not my cup of tea) with a downpayment of RM8,000. I’m still thinking of this though, and I want to give the Ford Fiesta a try. We shall see.

I’m Alive

It’s Merdeka Day, so let me just say:

Dataran Merdeka - Malaysia Flag, Our Pride

Negaraku
Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Rakyat hidup
Bersatu dan Maju
Rahmat bahgia
Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita
Selamat bertakhta
Rahmat bahgia,
Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita
Selamat bertakhta.

[Civicness] So is it in effect or not?

There are apparently two amendments made to the Evidences Act.

The first was about VA ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE OBTAINED UNDER MUTUAL ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL (something, probably got truncated due to Twitter’s character limits). This is the same law that was passed last year and takes effect today.

However, there is also this second amendment, which states:

if an anonymous person posts content said to be offensive on your Facebook wall, or if someone piggybacks your WiFi account and uploads a controversial document, you will be immediately deemed the publisher of the content and subject to prosecution under the relevant laws such as the Sedition Act.

The Sun originally stated that this second amendment will come into effect on June 1. However, according to Syahredzan Johan on Twitter, what comes into effect is a completely different amendment. I’ll be checking the headlines tomorrow to confirm.

That doesn’t change the fact that Nazri has said that this amendment will stay. The implementation has been stayed, but that doesn’t mean we can relax our vigilance. In fact, you should still sign the petition to stop this amendment from taking effect.

Bersih 3.0 Experience

I actually wasn’t planning on going to Bersih 3.0 yesterday. It was a very late decision made after realising I would be a horrendously big hypocrite for talking about the need for clean and fair elections without actually going for such a rally. Plus, unlike last year, I had no family obligations planned for today. Continue reading