Thanks Anil Netto for the kick in the right place!
… by 2001, following the arrests of 10 reformasi activists, a new movement was born: the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI), made up of over 80 civil society groups, calling also for the closure of the Kamunting Detention Camp.
And now, we have five state governments calling for the release of ISA detainees! Many of those who had previously campaigned against the ISA are now in these state governments or in Parliament. For instance, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, the man who sensationally defeated Samy Vellu, never fails to wear the “Abolish ISA” badge wherever he goes and is now in Parliament.
During the talk at St Anne’s, we ran through the list of over 80 groups in the GMI to find out how many Christian groups were part of the movement. We came up with only one name: the Society for Christian Reflection, and that’s hardly a mainstream Christian group. Where are the other Christian groups? Why are all the various church organisations not in the forefront — or even in the back-seat — of this campaign? I don’t think it’s because we are too busy praying for the release of the detainees!
Josh Hong’s pen heating up here …
Hence, I would rather Pakatan take over the country sooner.
No doubt, all the talks about mass crossovers by Sabah MPs beg the question as to whether such lobbying is ethical.
My position is simple, and pragmatic. In a fully-fledged democracy blessed with a free press, clean and fair elections, proper checks and balances in Parliament, equitable laws and a strong civil society, one would have ample time for an academic debate on politics and morality. But sadly, Malaysia is devoid of such luxury.
We may congratulate ourselves on the extraordinary performance of the opposition parties in the March 8 election, but it is pretty much what it really is: extraordinary, and not indicative of greater democratization in the country.
Post-election, all the evil pieces of legislation to muzzle the people and the press remain intact, while the BN still has the gigantic state machinery at its disposal.
Many court cases against a number of opposition MPs and state assemblypersons are pending, with new lawsuits being studied to weaken Pakatan. No doubt, most zealous are those who see their future in government at stake.
For all my disagreements with Umno, I am perfectly fine with Abdullah staying as prime minister. Perhaps he can use his remaining tenure to introduce serious reforms in the judiciary, education and public administration before he retires.
Even when the curtain falls on Abdullah’s long career as Umno leader, he may still want to put up a good fight. No one wants to be remembered as a prime minister who handed five states to the opposition. Provided, of course, Abdullah genuinely cares about his legacy.
Myanmar through the eyes of a Malaysian.
Interesting twist and re-framing exercise …
I was asked recently to write an article about homosexuality in Islam.
At first I started by trying to look up verses from the Quran, Bible and even those from the Torah on the subject. Why include the Bible and Torah you may ask? The reason primarily being that Islam regards Christians and Jews as “People of the Book” that is that god had given them the Bible and the Torah before the Quran and that there are all from the words of the one god.
In the process of doing so, I found a common thread from the holy books of all three faiths – the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. God had basically turned the city upside down because they engaged in anal sex.
But as I continued to ponder on how I should tackle this subject, I found myself not asking about how homosexuality is regarded in Islam, Christianity and Judaism but rather whether the three religions were still relevant today.
Let’s end with some insights from royalty 🙂
Is Pak Lah still the right man to lead Umno?
For the moment. He cannot resign now. Give him some time to reorganise the party and then step down. He cannot be wholly faulted for the poor showing in the election, but as the leader he must take responsibility.
He has to go before the next general election but not now. And this time, he has to serve the full term. It was bad timing this time around with so much unfinished business … the Khairy factor et cetera. He still had one year for damage control and I think he should have taken advantage of this.
Somehow his image as a leader has taken a beating and he will never recover from it.