Archive for November, 2013

Siapa yang kata 40,000?

November 20, 2013

So asked Anwar Ibrahim in a press conference today. The 40,000 is, of course, in reference to the number of Bangladeshis that he was alleged to have accused BN of flying in as phantom voters.

To be fair to Anwar, when you look at the statement that he made just before GE13, he did not single out Bangladeshis. What he mentioned was “40,500 dubious individuals” being flown in from Sabah and Sarawak, which consisted of “foreign nationals as well as Malaysians”. This was allegedly done at the instruction of the PM in cahoots with the SPR. (BTW, this in itself is a serious allegation that has never been proven for which he really should be called to account for)

So, to the charge of accusing BN of flying in 40,000 Bangladeshi phantom voters, I would have to declare Anwar not guilty. The reason being only that in that specific statement where he mentioned the 40,500 figure, he didn’t say that they were Bangladeshis, or indeed were all foreigners.

However, if you had paid close attention to today’s PC, you probably would have noticed that in his denial, he was very careful to tie the allegation of the phantom Bangladeshi voters with the number 40,000. Why is that?

The reason, I believe, is that although he did not mention Bangladeshis in that particular instance, he is very much guilty of accusing BN of employing Bangladeshi phantom voters in other instances. For example, below is a speech he made at the Blackout 505 event in Johor Bahru on May 15th. Remember, this is ten days after the general election, by which time it must have been clear to him that Bangladeshis had, in fact, played no appreciable part in the election whatsoever.

At 6:09 in the video, Anwar says:
“Apa yang ditinggalkan? Dato’ Najib lupa kenang jasa orang yang memenangkan beliau dan UMNO Barisan Nasional. Dato’ Najib patut lantik timbalan menteri Banglasia. Ya, regrettable that Najib omitted a very important representative that had played a pivotal role to ensure the victory of UMNO and Barisan Nasional. He should have appointed at least one Bangladeshi, Banglasia, as a deputy minister in his cabinet”

So how many Bangladeshis would it take to “play a pivotal role to ensure the victory” in the GE? A lot more than 40,000, I would think.

This is another example of the trick of the carefully worded denial that Pakatan politicians seem fond of using. I highlighted one such denial made by Lim Guan Eng  in a previous post. In Anwar’s case, he is taking advantage of people mistakenly conflating 2 separate allegations  that he made, i.e. (1) of 40,000 dubious voters flown in from East Malaysia, and (2) of BN using Bangladeshi voters to win them the election.

He did say both these things, only not at the same time. So, by taking the art of splitting hairs to the extreme, he is technically correct in his denial. One has to admire his audacity in attempting such a move in the face of the overwhelming evidence against him. It is heartening to note though that Malaysians are now much wiser to his antics and that no one is biting this time.

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Cakap Tak Serupa Bikin

November 18, 2013

When views from a “constitutional expert” are needed, you can pretty much bet your mortgage that The Malaysian Insider will wheel out Aziz Bari to give his 2 cents.

Sure enough, when the Sultan of Selangor recently issued a statement on the usage of Allah by non-Muslims, an article carrying Aziz Bari’s comments duly appeared on TMI. The article begins with: “State rulers in Malaysia have no power to suspend or deny the rights of non-Muslims to refer to God as Allah or their rights to religious freedom“, which I suppose summarizes what Aziz Bari had to say on the matter. This, by implication, would suggest that “denying the rights of the non-Muslims” was what he thought the Sultan was trying to do in this instance.

However if you read the actual statement, it should be quite clear to you that the Sultan was doing no such thing. He was merely reminding his subjects to abide by laws that were already on the state’s books. The Sultan did not write the ENAKMEN UGAMA BUKAN ISLAM (KAWALAN PENGEMBANGAN DI KALANGAN ORANG ISLAM) 1988. It wasn’t even him who gave consent for it to become law. This enactment was passed by the state DUN long before he ascended to the throne.

As a PKR candidate in the recent general elections, one would expect Aziz Bari’s words to reflect the party’s views on the matter. Indeed, Anwar Ibrahim has consistently come out in support of the Church’s right to use “Allah” to refer to the Christian God. Other Muslim leaders within PR such as Khalid Samad too have come out vocally in support of this position. Lim Guan Eng, in his Christmas address last year, implored the Federal government “to allow the use of the word Allah on the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible”.

But here’s the thing. For all their bluster and rhetoric, PR have done absolutely nothing to follow up on their pronouncements where they actually have had the power to do so, for example in Selangor and Kelantan.

The PR government in Selangor has had 5 years to repeal the Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam 1988, yet why hasn’t an amendment even been tabled in the dozen or so DUN sessions since they came to power? They now have a super majority in the Selangor DUN. Surely it would be just a formality for them to repeal such an unjust law. If they really wanted to.