November 17th, 2014

Gerak-geri, perbuatan sentiasa diperhatikan

MINGGU lalu, Selak memperkatakan tentang punca Islam dan Melayu diperlekehkan adalah disebabkan oleh masyarakat itu sendiri. Di bawah tajuk Punca kedudukan Melayu, Islam diperlekehkan, orang Melayu beragama Islam sendiri yang mencetuskan polemik dalam masyarakat sama ada melalui ucapan atau tindakan mereka. Akhirnya ia menjadi bahan perbincangan bukan sahaja oleh kelompok masyarakat itu sendiri tetapi juga orang lain. Beberapa tindakan pelik yang bertentangan dengan adat susila agama dan bangsa dilakukan kononnya atas nama kebebasan bersuara dan hak asasi manusia. Dalam sesuatu isu, ada orang Melayu dan Islam menyokong dan sebilangan yang lain menentang. Akhirnya, orang bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam keliru. Lebih parah jika mereka yang keliru ini, `tumpang semangkuk’ membincangkannya. Akhirnya orang Melayu dan Islam tidak dihormati.

Begitu jugalah halnya dengan pelbagai kenyataan di pihak kerajaan. Ada beberapa kenyataan yang menimbulkan keresahan orang ramai disebabkan tidak dibuat secara berhati-hati. Akhirnya pemimpin dan kerajaan yang menjadi sasaran. Contohnya isu yang dilontarkan oleh Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) dan Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP). JPJ tentulah berkaitan operasi nombor plat kenderaan, cermin gelap, lampu HID dan strob manakala KWSP pula berkaitan pengeluaran wang caruman pada umur persaraan 60 tahun. Secara sinis, berkaitan cadangan KWSP, sudah ada yang berkata, adakah pencarum tidak tahu mengurus kewangan? Adakah pihak kerajaan sahaja yang pandai mengurus wang? Akhirnya kritikan itu terbawa-bawa kepada pelbagai sumber kewangan lain yang diuruskan kerajaan. Isu ini akan lebih panas jika KWSP tidak tampil dengan maklumat yang lebih tepat dan difahami pencarum.

Ingatlah, dalam dunia teknologi maklumat (IT) hari ini, penyebaran maklumat begitu pantas. Jika Sistem Penguatkuasaan Automatik (AES) yang dalam keadaan statik di lebuh raya hanya mampu merakamkan kesalahan pengguna yang melintas melebihi had laju tetapi lain pula `kamera litar tertutup (CCTV) bergerak’ yang ada di mana sahaja termasuk di dalam poket. Apa yang Selak maksudkan dengan `CCTV bergerak’ ini adalah telefon bimbit. CCTV inilah yang merakamkan pelbagai `kelakuan dan kesilapan’ sama ada di jalan raya, lebuh raya, bengkel, hotel atau di mana-mana sahaja. Maka tidak hairanlah apabila cerita spesifikasi nombor plat turut merakamkan pelbagai aksi ketika operasi berkaitan dilancarkan. Memang teruk JPJ `dibelasah’ oleh pengguna berhubung isu ini. Pelbagai kritikan dikeluarkan melalui blog, WeChat, Telegram, Facebook dan WhatsApp. Ada yang berkata, operasi itu ditangguhkan ke satu masa lain, ditangguhkan bagi membeli peluang kepada pihak kerajaan memperbetulkan plat kenderaan masing-masing. Dalam satu kenyataan yang dikeluarkan pada 13 November lalu, seperti dilaporkan Bernama, JPJ menjelaskan, operasi bagi penguatkuasaan lampu HID dan lampu strob akan diteruskan. Operasi nombor pendaftaran pula akan diteruskan dengan memberi fokus hanya terhadap pesalah yang melanggar undang-undang secara serius sahaja.

Tidak pasti apakah yang dimaksudkan dengan pesalah serius. Kata JPJ lagi, operasi itu penting kerana maklumat Polis Diraja Malaysia dan Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat menunjukkan kesalahan seperti melanggar had laju dan lampu isyarat merah, penggunaan telefon sewaktu memandu dan lain-lain kesalahan memberi kesan kepada keselamatan pengguna jalan raya. Menurut JPJ, kamera penguatkuasaan juga tidak mampu mengesan pesalah yang menggunakan nombor pendaftaran yang tidak menepati spesifikasi.Kita amat mengalu-ngalukan sebarang usaha JPJ untuk mengurangkan kemalangan di jalan raya. Jika nombor plat menjadi punca, ambil tindakan. Begitu juga jika memandu laju, cermin gelap atau memasang pelbagai lampu di kenderaan bagaikan `kelab malam’ di jalan raya. Bertindaklah secara berterusan, bukan hangat-hangat tahi ayam.

Jika tidak silap, spesifikasi nombor plat ini sudah lama dibincangkan, sejak Dr. Ling Liong Sik menjadi Menteri Pengangkutan. Tidak pasti apa yang terjadi tetapi akhirnya sehingga ke hari ini, pelbagai `wajah’ plat kelihatan di kenderaan. Ada plat yang huruf dan nombornya disusun sehingga boleh membentuk perkataan, bukan lagi menampakkan nombor sebenar yang jelas. Saiznya pula pelbagai, tidak seragam. Akhirnya nombor plat menjadi seperti `rojak’, bukan sekadar `bahasa rojak’. Kenapa perkara seumpama ini berlaku? Di mana silapnya? Siapa pula yang menggunakan nombor plat yang `pelik’ ini? Kebanyakannya orang yang `berada’ termasuk peringkat pemimpin. Nombor plat kenderaan mereka inilah yang perlu diperbetulkan kerana ia menjadi ikutan apabila tidak ada tindakan tegas diambil. Persoalannya apakah spesifikasi sebenar yang diluluskan? Adakah semua pengguna tahu? Jika diselak perangkaan yang lepas, pada 2011 sebanyak 12,778 kes kesalahan berkaitan nombor pendaftaran yang tidak mengikut spesifikasi. Jumlah itu meningkat kepada 24,556 kes pada tahun 2012. Adakah pemilik kenderaan tidak sedar dengan kesilapan itu? JPJ harus mencari punca di mana silapnya. Adakah pembekal nombor yang silap? Adakah pengeluar kereta yang perlu dipertanggungjawabkan? Adakah wajar jika JPJ sahaja diserahkan tanggungjawab mengeluarkan nombor berkenaan, bukan sekadar menjual atau mengeluarkan tawaran bagi memilih nombor pilihan kenderaan. Jika JPJ tidak mampu melakukannya, satu garis panduan perlu dikeluarkan supaya dipatuhi oleh pembekal. Iringi garis panduan itu dengan penguatkuasaan berpanjangan, bukan mengikut musim. Jangan tahun ini dikuatkuasakan, tahun depan berubah perlahan-lahan.

Lihatlah pelbagai peraturan yang dilakukan bagi membendung kemalangan. Masih ingatkah mengenai kotak hitam, lampu amaran pada bas dan kenderaan berat bagi mengawal had laju? Apa sudah jadi? Begitu juga dengan cermin gelap. Adakah ia mengambil kira kenderaan import? Khabarnya ada kedai yang menyewakan cermin bagi menggantikan cermin gelap apabila sesebuah kenderaan mahu menjalani pemeriksaan di Puspakom. Semua ini memerlukan pemantauan dan penguatkuasaan. Baru-baru ini, seorang sahabat memberitahu, JPJ menahannya dan cuba mencari silap dengan mempersoalkan maklumat cukai jalan yang tidak jelas. Sahabat itu berkata: `` Kalaulah pegawai itu bertanya kenapa maklumat cukai jalan itu tidak jelas, aku akan menjawab: Bukan saya yang mengeluarkan kad cukai jalan ini, pihak tuanlah yang mengeluarkannya. Adakah saya bersalah?’’. Berhati-hatilah ketika bertindak. Kesilapan melakukan tindakan bukan sahaja menjejaskan nama baik jabatan tetapi yang lebih parah ialah kerajaan. Ingatlah ‘CCTV bergerak’ sentiasa mengawasi gerak-geri anda sebagai sebuah jabatan atau agensi kerajaan. Kelakuan, tindakan dan kesilapan anda akan dirakam dan disebarkan.

HASSAN MOHD. NOOR Utusan Malaysia Rencana 17 November 2014 1:41 AM

Menerima hakikat adanya perbezaan

SEJAK akhir-akhir ini telah berlaku insiden dan keadaan di mana ikatan perpaduan antara sesama rakyat diuji kekuatannya. Ia berlaku dalam konteks agama, sosial, kebudayaan, dan pastinya politik di mana perbezaan-perbezaan fahaman, pegangan dan norma-norma sosial yang telah berpotensi mewujudkan keadaan berbelah bahagi sesama sendiri.

Polemik dan perbahasan pelbagai bentuk telah di ketengahkan oleh banyak pihak, masing-masing mengetengahkan hujah bahawa hanya mereka sahaja betul, dan pihak-pihak yang tidak sependapat, bukan sahaja dianggap tidak betul, tetapi wajar diambil tindakan ke atas mereka.

Dan tidak kurang pula adanya pihak-pihak yang sentiasa bersiap sedia untuk terlibat dalam polemik dan perbahasan-perbahasan tersebut.

Dalam sebuah negara yang menuju ke arah status negara maju, tentu sekali ukuran tahap kemajuan tersebut tidaklah semata-mata terbatas kepada pencapaian-pencapaian kuantitatif , seperti ukuran peningkatan pendapatan, dan kriteria-kriteria lain yang boleh dihitung.

Selari dengan peningkatan dalam aspek-aspek ekonomi, wajar terdapat lain-lain transformasi dalam masyarakat, yang akan jelas mencerminkan bahawa penduduk berbilang kaum dan fahaman di Malaysia, benar-benar telah menjadi masyarakat dewasa, seimbang dan setimpal dengan Malaysia berusaha menjadi sebagai negara maju atau negara dunia pertama atau ` first world’.

Transformasi tersebut adalah antaranya seperti :-

- Sikap matang dan terbuka , dan menghayati apa yang telah dan sedang berlaku secara global

- Tidak dikongkong oleh sikap-sikap dan persepsi masa lampau, yang tidak mendorong motivasi untuk terus maju, tetapi sebaliknya menjadi penghalang kepada kemajuan

- Meninggalkan sikap-sikap dan persepsi-persepsi yang sempit, yang tidak membolehkan minda berganjak ke tahap yang lebih tinggi, dan menghayati realiti bahawa dunia telah banyak berubah dengan pelbagai kemajuan yang didorongi oleh pelbagai bentuk teknologi,terutama teknologi maklumat dan komunikasi

Tetapi lebih penting ialah kematangan masyarakat itu wajar mencerminkan keupayaan untuk-untuk menilai dan mengutamakan, perkara-perkara yang jelas mendatangkan kebaikan kepada negara, serta yang mampu memperkukuhkan ketahanannya dalam suasana global yang sangat mencabar. Sebaliknya, bijak pula untuk:-

- Menolak polemik dan perbalahan tentang perkara remeh temeh, yang sebenarnya tidak produktif, dan tidak menghasilkan kepada apa-apa nilai tambah kepada negara

- Menghindar dari memberi perhatian kepada perkara-perkara yang jelas semata-mata akan mendatangkan pecah belah, serta mengundang selisih faham yang tidak sewajarnya.

Seelok-eloknya kita bersatu dalam memperbetulkan perkara-perkara yang benar-benar memberi kesan negatif kepada negara dan masyarakat seperti:-

- Gejala-gejala salahguna dadah dan kegiatan-kegiatan sampingan yang merosakkan masyarakat, terutama golongan muda.

- Disiplin pelajar-pelajar di sekolah yang jelas mencerminkan sikap dan tingkah laku antisosial.

- Keupayaan anak-anak muda menguasai bahasa universal seperti Inggeris, yang tidak boleh dinafikan akan menentukan daya saing anak-anak muda ini bersaing.

Pendek kata, kita mesti beralih dari hanya ‘tolerate’ atau semata-mata bersabar dengan kepelbagaian dan perbezaan-perbezaan antara kita rakyat Malaysia yang berbilang kaum, dan berbeza agama, fahaman dan ciri-ciri budaya.

Sudah sampai masanya rakyat Malaysia menerima dengan hati terbuka, dan fikiran yang matang, perbezaan-perbezaan yang terdapat antara sesama kita . Usahlah kita bersikap menganggap bahawa mereka yang berbeza dari kita adalah tidak betul.

Malaysia tidak mampu dilemahkan oleh sikap dalam kalangan sesetengah masyarakat, yang hanya mencetuskan konflik dan perbalahan. Ia juga tidak mampu dihakis kekuatannya, apabila kepelbagaian antara kita dijadikan unsur, untuk menghalakan perhatian kita daripada perkara-perkara yang benar-benar penting untuk masyarakat dan negara.

Perlu kita bezakan antara apa yang kulit dan apa yang isi.

Begitu banyak masalah yang wajar difikirkan dan diselesaikan bersama, untuk kepentingan masyarakat dan negara. Wajar dikenalpasti masalah-masalah tersebut , supaya perbahasan kita adalah pada haluan yang sama, dengan niat yang sama, dan harapan yang sama.

Anak-anak muda kita mesti diasuh berfikir cara matang, dan bertindak cara rasional demi kepentingan negara dan masyarakat. Mereka wajar diingatkan supaya “ jangan semata-mata nampak kuman di seberang laut , tetapi tidak nampak gajah di depan mata”.

Contoh dan teladan mesti datang dari generasi yang lebih berumur dari mereka, dan yang semestinya memberi contoh yang baik.

Gunakanlah masa, pemikiran serta keupayaan kita, untuk mencari, membina dan memperkukuhkan perkara-perkara dan faktor-faktor persamaan antara kita, yang mencerminkan hakikat bahawa matlamat dan masa depan generasi sedia ada, dan generasi-generasi akan datang bertaut erat. Dan bahawa kita bersama-sama bernaung di bumi bertuah Malaysia ini.

Jangan pula, kerana fikiran sempit dan tidak dapat menerima hakikat perbezaan-perbezaan antara kita, ada yang bertindak sehingga bukan sahaja mencetus polarisasi di kalangan masyarakat, tetapi juga menghalang Malaysia terus maju ke hadapan. Kita wajar merujuk kepada hakikat bahawa “Bersatu kita kukuh, bercerai kita runtuh”. TAN SRI RAFIDAH AZIZpernah berkhidmat sebagai Ahli Parlimen selama 35 tahun, menteri selama 28 tahun dan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO selama 38 tahun. Beliau kini ialah Profesor Adjung di Kolej Perniagaan Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) selain menjadi Pengerusi AirAsiaX, Megasteel dan Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studio. Utusan Malaysia Rencana 17/11/2014

One for your laksa

The ‘laksa leaf plant’ is an exotic herb and a must-have ingredient in tangy Asian dishes, writes Elaine Yim

HAVE you heard of Vietnamese mint or Vietnamese cilantro? It is not commonly used in western dishes and is regarded as an exotic herb from Southeast Asia. It is said to be widely used in Vietnam as a substitute for peppermint and cilantro, the 3-in-1 with the fantastic flavour of coriander and mint, and the potent aroma of real lemons.

Malaysians call it the “laksa leaf” plant, named after our popular asam laksa dish. It is the secret to the tastiness of Penang asam laksa, ranked seventh by CNN Travel out of 50 most delicious food in the world. Home chefs will insist that we can’t make a good, tasty bowl of asam laksa without the laksa leaves or daun kesum. It is a must-have ingredient in our asam laksa, asam pedas, asam fish, tom yam seafood and Peranakan dishes. This plant can be grown in our home gardens.

Daun Kesum for Laksa



All parts of the plant are fragrant.

PLANT PROFILE

Scientific name:Persicaria hydropiper

Synonym:Polygonum hydropiper, Persicaria odorata, Polygonum odoratum, Polygonum minus

Common names: Laksa Plant, Laksa Leaf, Vietnamese Mint/Coriander, Cambodian Mint, Hot Mint, Smartweed, Water Pepper, Marsh Pepper

Vernacular names: Daun Kesum, Daun Laksa (Malay), Rau Ram (Vietnam), Phak Phai (Thailand)

Family: Polygonaceae

The genus Persicaria is made up of about 100 species of flowering plants from the Polygonum family of knotweeds and smartweeds, including herbs, shrubs, small trees and vines.

Polygonum is probably derived from the Greek word “poly” meaning many and “gonu” meaning knot or knee, referring to the stem structure with many nodes and joints. Persicaria is derived from the scientific name for peach, Prunus persica, as their leaves are quite similar in shape.



Kesum stem cuttings can be rooted in water before planting in soil.

Hydropiper is derived from the Greek word “hydor” for water and “peperi” for pepper. This plant is adapted to live in aquatic environment and has an acrid peppery taste, hence its common name, the water pepper.

The plant is native to Southeast Asia where it grows wild in the cool highlands, and the warm and damp areas of the lowlands along the banks of streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. It is also found in other tropical, subtropical and temperate countries around the world.

THE PLANT

Persica hydropiper is a creeping perennial herb that can grow to a small bush of about 50cm tall and 45cm wide. In the cooler highlands, it can reach a height of 1.5m tall. The stems are slender, cylindrical and light green in colour with a tinge of pink. There are numerous nodes at 1cm intervals along the stems which can root easily when it touches soil.

The leaves are about 5-7cm long and 2cm wide, lance-shaped, alternately arranged and dark green in colour with brown markings. The pinkish-white flowers are tiny and borne in racemes. All parts of the plant are fragrant.

CULINARY AND MEDICINAL USES

The fresh leaves of this edible herb is widely used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly spicy hot and sour dishes like asam laksa, asam fish and tom yam. The young leaf shoots can be eaten raw as ulam or kerabu.

The leaves contains antioxidants, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, niacin and C. It is used as a traditional remedy for indigestion, dandruff and post-natal tonic.

HOW TO GROW

It is best planted in a container. You can place it outdoors or indoors near a bright kitchen window, use it in landscaping as a ground cover or as border plant near ponds, bogs and water gardens.

Propagation You can buy a potted young plant from nurseries specialising in local herbs. If the plant is big enough, separate it into two pots of plants. Another way is to take 15-20cm long stem cuttings with 5-7 nodes. Place the cuttings in a container of water for 1-2 weeks to root them before planting in soil. You can also use stem cuttings from store bought ones.

Sunlight Partial sun.

Medium Rich, moist but well drained soil is preferred.

Water Require lots of watering. Do not let the soil dry out.

Fertilise Compost, foliar spray or balanced compound fertiliser (NPK 15:15:15) once a fortnight.

Prune Pinch off the tips to encourage branching and bushiness.

Harvest It is a fast grower. You should be able to harvest the leaves in about one to two months’ time.

Pest and diseases. May be attacked by thrips and aphids.

TIP

Remember to water the plant as it is not drought-tolerant. Do not over-feed the plant with fertiliser as this will result in more leaves but reduced flavour and aroma.

Whatsapp benar tanda biru dibuang, tapi...

Seluruh dunia digemparkan seketika dalam seminggu yang lepas, apabila kemaskini terbaru aplikasi popular permesejan, iaitu Whatsapp memperkenalkan tanda tick berwarna biru.

Selama ini, Whatsapp menggunakan tanda 1 tick berwarna kelabu untuk menandakan mesej telah dihantar ke server, dan tanda 2 tick kelabu untuk mesej telah diterima kepada penerima mesej. Terbaru, Whatsapp menambah tanda 2 tick berwarna biru bagi menandakan mesej telah dibuka yang sekaligus membawa makna telah dibaca oleh penerima.

Ia menggemparkan dunia kerana tanda mesej telah dibaca bakal mengantoikan orang yang selalu memberi alasan tidak membaca mesej. Terutama sekali kepada pasangan yang terlalu mengongkong atau bos yang mahukan pekerja menyiapkan tugasan yang diberi.

Tetapi semalam, Whatsapp telah melepaskan aplikasi BETA di lamanwebnya, yang memberi pilihan kepada pengguna untuk menghantar notifikasi telah dibaca kepada rakan. Ini bermakna, tetapan ini membolehkan tanda 2 tick kekal kelabu, walaupun ia telah dibaca. jadi penghantar mesej akan kekal di dalam kesamaran samada penerima mesej telah membaca mesej yang dihantar atau belum.

Dalam aplikasi BETA itu, pengguna boleh memadamkan tanda 2 tick kelabu dengan pergi ke Setting > Account > Privacy > dan di bawah Messaging, untick Read Receipts. Maka mesej yang telah dibaca tidak lagi bertukar ke warna biru.

Cuma perlu diingatkan, ciri ini hanya boleh didapati untuk Android, pengguna lain kena tunggu ya!

A right royal resolution

The return of the seized Bibles has proven that rational Malaysians are still the majority, and there is no place for extremists who call for the burning of Bibles, or any holy book for that matter.

COMMON sense has finally prevailed with the return of the Bibles to the church, the rightful owner of the Holy Book.

It may have taken a longer time than it should, and there are still questions as to whether the Bible should have been seized in the first place. But that’s a moot point now.

The pertinent point is that the issue has been resolved through reasoning, compromise, patience and tolerance – which are surely the values of both Islam and Christianity.


All ironed out: Mais chairman Datuk Mohammad Adzib Mohd Isa (second from right) returning copies of the Bibles to Association of Churches in Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok at Istana Alam Shah in Klang. Looking on are Sultan Sharafuddin and Mentri Besar Azmin Ali.


The announcement is certainly timely as the world marks International Day for Tolerance today. It is a significant day, more so for a country like Malaysia.

The 351 copies of Al Kitab and Bup Kudus, the Bahasa Malaysia and Iban Bibles, were seized by the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) office in Damansara on Jan 2.

More than 10 months later, on Friday, these Bibles were returned to Christians in Sarawak through the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) in a formal ceremony at the Selangor palace.

As part of a compromise deal, the Bibles were handed directly to Sarawak (where the Bibles were meant for in the first place) and not to the peninsula-based BSM, and with the understanding that such material were not to be distributed in Selangor, especially among Muslims.

The public debate over the issue was intense as everyone – politicians, religious authorities, lawyers and the common practitioners of both faiths – wanted to have a say.

Unknown to most people, there were plenty of behind-the-scenes steps being worked out to ensure that the parties involved were amicable and able to accept the final solution.

As in most organisations, there would always be those who were more prepared to compromise while there would be strong personalities who would insist on holding to what they perceived as their rights and principles.

Months earlier, even when Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was still the Selangor Mentri Besar, various approaches were made to the BSM, Jais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).

The most trusted aides and friends of His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah worked, without the glare of publicity, to prepare the ground to end the impasse.

No politicians were involved, for sure. It was the wisdom of His Royal Highness who initiated the reconciliation process.

The proposal to return the Bibles was made known to the stakeholders but they were also told that a third party should come into the picture – in this case, the Sarawak Christians.

The Malaysian Bible Society, it was learnt, did not have a branch in Sarawak or Sabah. If there was one, the return could have been expedited.

There was scepticism and even signs of hostility towards those who moved quietly to work out the solution. So much anger had surfaced publicly that it would be difficult for those who were vocal to make the necessary compromise.

There were doubts over the clout of the “emissaries” and whether they represented the palace.

Understandably, there was also the question of wounded pride involving all sides.

But they had to be impressed upon that the prolonged crisis needed to end. Rightly or wrongly, the fact remains that in the state of Selangor, the distribution as well as the printing of Bibles that contain the word “Allah” is an offence under the Non-Islamic Religious Enactment (Control Development Among Muslims), 1988.

But the Attorney-General had also said there was no basis to charge BSM as the Bibles were not a threat to national security.

It made little sense for Jais to defy the orders and not return the Bibles. The two religious bodies, Jais and Mais, may be able to ignore the state government and the former mentri besar but when the palace came into the picture, the mood changed dramatically – or to put it in a better perspective, more positively.

The church groups were also advised about the futility of pursuing any form of legal action, which would not help resolve the issue.

The BSM and the Association of Churches in Sarawak chairman, Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok, worked hard to ensure the formula worked.

The Archbishop is a highly respected church leader. He is the acting president of the Council of Churches in Malaysia and a member of the Anglican Community’s Team to the Christian Muslim Dialogue at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University.

Jais and Mais, too, understood the significance of the compromise.
In the meantime, the Chief Minister’s office in Sarawak was kept informed of the matter so that the return of the Bibles could be smoothly carried out.

It has taken almost a year to close this chapter but it is important that the controversy has come to a harmonious end.

There is a lesson to be learnt here – moderation works. This episode has proven that rational Malaysians are still the majority, and there is no place for extremists who call for the burning of Bibles, or any holy book for that matter.

The role of the palace, especially the wisdom of the Sultan of Selangor, must be recorded. Without his intervention, all this would not be possible.

And it should also be put on record that the support of Mentri Besar Azmin Ali made this whole endeavour a real success. Azmin had earlier made clear his administration’s stand that the Bibles belong to the Christians.

At the same time, we must not forget the role of Khalid as it was during his tenure that he made the decision to let the Sultan decide.

There are issues that we still need to resolve, of course, such as the huge number of Sabahans and Sarawakians who work or study in the peninsula, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

They attend church service in Bahasa Malaysia, where the word “Allah” is used, and they cannot be expected to use the English Bibles. For them, it would still be the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia or in Iban.

In fact, the Al Kitab is available online, so how does one ban the Internet version?

These are realities which all sides must learn to accept as Malaysia evolves. The growing use of Bahasa Malaysia is also the result of the education system where most people, especially the young, prefer and are more comfortable with the national language.

We cannot now tell them that when it comes to the Bible, they have to read it in another language.

What is important is the respect and sensitivity we must have for one another, so that in fully practising our faith, which is a right extended to all citizens under the Constitution, we do not intrude or cause consternation among our fellow citizens of different faiths. This has always worked well in our country where places of worship can co-exist side by side without any problems.

All Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, have a stake in this beautiful country. Let moderation prevail.

Treasure diversity

SLIGHTLY over three months ago, on Aug 10, we launched our campaign to remind Malaysians about the need to be open to Brave Views and Bold Ideas – but tempered by moderation.

The campaign was a resounding success. Many could identify with our clarion call for the silent majority to stand up and speak out.

They understood that the voices of moderation had to rise many notches to drown out the voices of extremism.



Readers are encouraged to share their views on #moderateMY or thestar.com.my/moderatemalaysia.


But what we learnt, as the campaign progressed, was that the voices of moderation extended through all generations. It was not just about the older citizens reminiscing about the time when Malaysians interacted with one another freely – celebrating our diversity instead of accentuating our differences. We found that the younger citizens too felt strongly about a united Malaysia. They too want their voices to be heard.

Which is why we embark today on the next stage of our campaign where the primary focus will be on the young ones – especially those in colleges or entering the working world for the first time.

And we are glad to work with the Global Movement of Moderates to reach out to as many students as possible in 60 universities and colleges throughout the country.

We want to encourage more Malaysians to stand up for this cause – to respect and recognise the rights and beliefs of others.

Today is also the International Day for Tolerance. It was on Nov 16, 1995 that Unesco member states adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance.

Among other things, the declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.

Along with injustice and violence, discrimination and marginalisation are common forms of intolerance.

Education for tolerance should aim at countering influences that lead to fear and exclusion of others, and should help young people develop capacities for independent judgement, critical thinking and ethical reasoning.

The diversity of our world’s many religions, languages, cultures and ethnicities is not a pretext for conflict, but is a treasure that enriches us all.

We in Malaysia, being such a rich and diverse nation, can and must live up to such principles.

In fact, for us, it is not just about tolerance, but acceptance.

And even as we continue with our moderation campaign, we also hope for the day when there is no longer a need to remind one another to be moderate.

If we accept and embrace one another, extreme views and thoughts, in whatever form, will surely fade away.

Lessons from rainbow

Even in the midst of an impending storm, something beautiful and colourful can emerge.

IT had been a long tiring day. One of those days when you just wonder what life is all about. I was waiting to pick up someone on the way back from work when it started to drizzle.
After a heavy rain



Pic taken from Segambut 13/11/2014 Using GT-N7000 Samsung


But the sun was still shining on the other side – just the perfect formula for a rainbow to show up. And it did. It was such a beautiful sight, and I quickly whipped up my smartphone to take a few images.

It was also a poignant reminder of how something beautiful can emerge in the midst of an impending storm.

Earlier in the day, I had been deeply moved by a reflection on Facebook posted by my nephew, a talented copywriter based in one of the top advertising agencies in Hong Kong.

He had titled his reflection, “I don’t feel like giving thanks,” and my immediate reaction was, “Hey, that’s not like him.”

He wrote, “Why should I when we had to watch my son cry the moment he wakes up? Why should I when he’s had to have his third surgery before reaching one? Why should I when he’s had to go through more general anaesthesia than I have in my 41 years?”

That sounded like dark clouds looming on the horizon.

And he continued, “In spitting out the whys, I realised why I should. In giving thanks, we realise how much there is to be grateful for, and then realise God has been present all this while.”

My nephew then shared about perfect timing, about the excellent but affordable healthcare in Hongkong, and about his son being attended to by one of the top eye specialists there, a professor who hailed from Seremban, his hometown.

What joy to be able to see the silver lining behind the dark clouds.
No one wants to go through trials and tribulations, but when we can see through the pain and the circumstances, we can, even in the toughest of journeys, be thankful.

I was lamenting about a tough day at the office, and also feeling a sense of despair that the long-term side effects of my treatment had become more pronounced of late.

But the rainbow reminded me that I should be thankful that I could still see, unlike a friend who lost his sight after treatment.

My nephew and his dear wife are going through a lot but it is admirable that they are able to give thanks in all circumstances.

What about you? Are you fuming that someone is diminishing your worth because of the colour of your skin? Or that you are not able to live out your faith fully because of some legal battle going on?

Don’t be. You just have to drop by a centre for children with disabilities, or the paediatric cancer ward. They come in all shapes and colours and you just have to be among them and their loved ones, as well as the doctors and nurses, to appreciate what true love is all about.

Our nation is also like that. You can choose to look at the searing sun on one side, or the dark clouds on the other. Or you can choose to look out for the rainbow in their midst.

Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin recommends that you read the reflections of two young Malaysians, Dina Murad and Hannah Kam to have your hope in this blessed land renewed.

What’s it like having a child with Down syndrome?

A father writes about his own imperfect reaction to having a child with Down syndrome, as well as humanity’s often awful treatment of people with disabilities.

Paul Austin’s daughter, Sarah, is thoughtful and helpful, though she goes about it her own way.

He recalls an awful day, years ago, when he went for an angry walk after getting in a fight with his brother over the phone. Paul had a broken arm, his wife, Sally, was out of town, and there were people working on the house.“I walked up and down the block about five or six times, and when I came up the porch, Sarah was on that swing,” the Durham author and ER doctor recalls with a smile. “And she goes, ‘No problems here, dad!’.”

Lesson from a dad ......



Sarah has Down syndrome, and Paul’s book is an unflinching look at
his own parenting experience.

Another time, Paul came home from work and told a nine- or 10-year-old Sarah he’d had a terrible day. “Not me, dad!” she declared, and slapped him on the arm. Both times, it was exactly what he needed to hear.

Be Inspired logoSarah is now in her early 20s and living in a group home in Chapel Hill. Her dad’s second book, Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed, was published recently by Norton.

Sarah has Down syndrome, and Paul’s book is an unflinching look at his own parenting experience.

In the book, he’s not reluctant to admit his faults and failures. Over 278 pages, Paul documents the rocky path from the shocked new dad he was in 1987 – one who couldn’t see through his daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis – to the parent he is in 2014, who simply sees a daughter, no qualifier needed.

“We are pretty transparent about our initial reactions, and my reaction took years to get past,” Paul says.

Sally, sitting across the family’s airy living room, nods. “I’m a psychiatric nurse and believe strongly in putting things on the table,” she says. “Mental health has been hidden, and mental illness has been hidden for so long in our society.”

In the same way that other parents’ honest feedback was helpful when Sarah was born, Sally feels Paul’s book can help families in similar situations feel less isolated.

Sally and Paul had an agreement: He could write anything he wanted, and she could come back through with a red pen and cut out anything she wanted. But she removed nothing: “I think the more you hide, the less service that is for other people,” she says.

Paul admits he’s nervous that some in the disabilities community may take offence at his blunt honesty, but his most important reader, Sarah, has already OK’d the book.

“She had some problems with the book... and she felt free and able to verbalise the problems she had with it and what she disagreed with,” Paul says. “In terms of meeting that standard, I’m straight.”

Paul doesn’t just delve into his own imperfect reaction to having a child with Down syndrome, but humanity’s often awful treatment of people with disabilities right up through recent history.

With a University of North Carolina history professor guiding his reading, he discovered that ancient Babylonians read birth defects as omens, while Greeks and Romans simply sacrificed these children to their gods.

There was the United States’ eugenics movement, and the Holocaust; Paul travelled to Austria and stood by the Danube, where a monument marks the spot where Nazis unceremoniously dumped the cremated remains of people with disabilities into the water.

And then there’s Peter Singer, a modern philosopher and Princeton instructor whose opinion that parents of disabled children should be allowed to euthanize their kids continues to alarm and offend Paul.

“It was history I didn’t quite believe,” he says.

It’s bleak stuff, one possible reason Sarah declared an early draft of the book “too sad”. Shortly after, an editor at Norton echoed that.

Sarah wanted it to be a happier book. And now that it’s finished, she wonders if it’ll become a movie. After all, Sarah loves movies and musicals – she knows them inside out, and has dreams of screenwriting and acting.

One day, when she was talking to her dad about who would play whom in a “Beautiful Eyes” film, she said she wanted to play herself. Paul said he wasn’t sure it would become a movie.

“Is it because I have Down syndrome?” Sarah asked. No, Paul said, it would have nothing to do with that, but her question stung. Shortly after, they went out to dinner and Sarah said, “It’s hard, Dad.”

“What?” Paul said.

“Having Down syndrome.”

As he recounts the story, Paul covers his face with his hand: “I think it’s so easy for us to know the version of Sarah we know. It is easy for us to fail to register what carrying that means,” he says. “When she said, ‘It’s hard, Dad’ – I’ll bet it is.”

Yet he and Sally are proud that she has the confidence and self-awareness to express both her struggles and her dreams. And recently at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, Sarah sat beside her father and signed his latest book.

It may not be a movie role, but she was still its star. – The News & Observer/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Instil high principles in children

THE advice of the chief invigilator to all candidates when I was sitting for my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia exam a long time ago is still fresh in my mind.

He said: “You may be happy now for cheating without being caught but, is it going to be worth making a lot of money from the tainted results you achieved in the past?”

Among the 455,839 candidates sitting for SPM this year, some may fail to maintain their integrity in producing results with high validity.

Cheating in public examinations can be as serious as smuggling notes into the exam hall or as common as glancing at another candidates’ question papers to copy answers.

Those displaying suspicious or eccentric behaviour will be identified as potential cheaters, who may be charged for violating examination rules.

Students cheat for various reasons.

Some want to impress their parents, teachers and friends with their outstanding results. Others are desperate for a maximum number of As to qualify for a place in university. Yet others study at the 11th hour and experience mental block when reading the questions.

Regardless of their reasons, there is no excuse for cheating.

Invigilators need to keep an eye on candidates for any attempt to break exam rules. A zero-tolerance policy must be applied on cheaters who are caught red-handed during the examinations.

The action against the culprits should serve as a warning and a lesson to others. It is also to remind everyone that cheating is not a trivial matter.

This moral principle should be instilled in students early. When they start college or pursue a career, some unethical friends may offer them shortcuts to score an easy A or make easy money, and it will cost their integrity to achieve their goals. When they get used to the habit, they will start enjoying their “fast-track” life without considering the negative implications of their actions.

Corruption, which is the result of low integrity, is a heinous crime that has been in the limelight for too long. This fraudulent conduct invites chaos into society and affects a country’s economic growth.

Individuals involved in this conspiracy enjoy their ill-gotten gains while sacrificing business ethics.

Before teenagers leave school, we need to plant integrity in their hearts and minds, for they are the ones who will either make or break our country’s future.

Muhamad Solahudin Ramli, Marang, Terengganu NST Letters 15 NOVEMBER 2014 @ 8:09 AM

Respect Federal Constitution

RETURNING the Bibles confiscated by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) last April to its owners, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), took months because the matter was delayed by the infighting within PKR. Given the threat of instability caused by the intention that initially would have placed the party’s de facto head as replacement to the then menteri besar of Selangor, every other issue seemed insignificant by comparison. And the Malay Bibles containing the word “Allah” was one of these. Ultimately, the final decision, which was left to the sultan as head of Islam by virtue of being Selangor’s monarch, was arrived at based on the 10-point solution endorsed by the cabinet in 2011. This agreement between the government and Christian groups allowed for Bibles in all languages, including the Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesian translations, to be imported.

Reports immediately credited the achievement to Selangor’s new MB, Mohamed Azmin Ali, who seemed happy to play along with the misperception. The reporters must bear the blame because if the story was followed as it unfolded over the months, this equation would not have arisen. Firstly, when the raid occurred the MB was Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. He had advised the sultan that the decision was the latter’s to make. On that cue, His Highness instructed the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) to refer the matter to the Attorney-General. The A-G, in turn, returned with the decision that no laws were broken and advised Mais to not take the matter to court. This is the history culminating in the recent return of the Bibles to the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS). The incumbent MB was only in attendance and had nothing to do with the final resolution to the impasse. In fact, according to a palace insider, the Selangor ruler made it a point not to involve any politician so as to prevent the possibility of endless bickering.

Why anyone would jump to such a hasty conclusion is anyone’s guess given that the raid by Jais on the BSM occurred well before Azmin replaced Khalid. Maybe the fault was Khalid’s. Accused of not being politically savvy — one of the excuses harnessed by his party to oust him — he felt no need to keep the public informed. The facts are clear and actually reported in the press, the only omission being the state government’s intervention, which is to not intervene. Indeed, the sultan is head of only Islam. But he is monarch to all residents of Selangor, which makes his mediation appropriate. Mais, in its effort to secure the faith of its flock, has one caveat. These Bibles cannot be distributed in Selangor, especially not to Muslims, as it is its right to assert. After all, even in Indonesia proselytising to those already of the faiths recognised by the state constitution is forbidden. Enlisting respect from all is, therefore, the key.
NST Editorial 17 NOVEMBER 2014 @ 8:07 AM

Drafting of the Constitution

IN drafting the Constitution we have had to consider a very large number of questions. Many of these questions have been the subject of representations, formal and informal, from various organisations and individuals. In reaching our decisions, we have tried to give full weight to the various views expressed to us and we shall give our reasons for making these decisions.

Almarhum Sultan Azlan Shah succinctly narrated this historical background to the social contract in his opening speech at the 12th Malaysian Law Conference in 2003 as follows:

“We embarked on a journey as a constitutional democracy with the full realisation that we were a multi-racial people with different languages, cultures and religions. Our inherent differences had to be accommodated into a constitutional framework that recognised the traditional features of Malay society with the Sultanate system at the apex as a distinct feature of the Malaysian Constitution.

Do you understand all this .... ?



The Rukun Negara was proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Aug 31 1970 (13th Independence Day) to be a national ideology and philosophy.

“Thus, there was produced in August 1957 a unique document without any parallel anywhere. It adopted the essential features of the Westminster model and built it into the traditional features of Malay society.

“This Constitution reflected a social contract between the multi-racial peoples of our country. Thus, matters of citizenship for the non-Malays, the Malay language, and the special privileges for the Malays and the indigenous peoples of Malaysia were safeguarded and given the added protection of requiring the consent of the Conference of Rulers before change could be effected to them.

“It is fundamental in this regard that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and constitutes the grundnorm (basic norm) to which all the other laws are subject. This essential feature of the Federal Constitution ensures that the social contract between the various races of our country embodied in the independence Constitution of 1957 is safeguarded and forever enures to the Malaysian people as a whole, for their benefit.”

In this regard, the value of the “social contract” elements we have inherited should never be underestimated or undermined. It must be appreciated that these elements in the Federal Constitution were engineered by the Alliance in consultation with the Malay Rulers as the best solution to protect the interest of the groups concerned.

This, in particular, includes the trade-off between the granting of citizenship for the Chinese and Indian migrants for recognition of the special Malay rights. Similarly, the protections for the customary aboriginal rights of the indigenous peoples consciously entrenched in the Federal Constitution.

For the states, the sacrifice of their sovereignty was set-off by retention of certain economic rights. Thus, the relevant provisions of the Federal Constitution reflect the difficult compromises and sacrifices made by the component states as well as the various peoples of Malaysia.

As in the Australian constitutional approach, it should also be recognised that there are two sides to the coin — the guarantees afforded to one group would be seen from the other groups’ perspective as a restriction or prohibition on their rights, even though there may be no actual detriment or loss; merely the perception of deprivation. In other words, affirmative action is recognised and is being implemented in other countries as well. It also acknowledges that what is given to one group is often seen as deprivation to another side even if it may not be so. In most cases it is actually more a matter of imagination.

May 13, 1969 and its aftermath

In Nation Before Self and Values That Do Not Die, at page 417, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng captured post-independence multiracialism as follows:

“The emotions and practice of Malayan multiracialism were striking in the jubilation of our early independence years and without any obvious prejudice to the emotions or sensitivity of any community.

… Then sometime and somewhere along the course of further national, economic and social development and for various reasons, we have taken a turn towards graduating racial and religious polarisation. I had sometimes even asked myself if it was because we had solved the threat of communism too fast and this had made some politicians and the country to forget it so fast and so soon. …”

In The Colour of Inequality – Ethnicity, Class, Income and Wealth in Malaysia, at pages 7-8, Muhammed Abdul Khalid summarised the events leading up to the communal riots in 1969 as follows:

“The mutual resentment of Malays and Chinese on the disparity of economic and political representations reached its peak in 1969 after the third general election. The Malays felt that they were not enjoying the fruits of Independence, especially in terms of economic uplifting. The socio-economic status of the Malays had not changed; poverty among the Malays was still rampant …

“Not unexpectedly, in the third general election in 1969, almost half of the Malays voted for the opposition, … and a majority of the non-Malays voted for the Chinese opposition parties. … After the election, the city of Kuala Lumpur was engulfed in racial riots – primarily due to culturally offensive behaviour by jubilant opposition party supporters, according to official records.”

Immediate measures were taken by the National Operations Council, an ad hoc Cabinet, set up to govern the country while Parliament was suspended. This included the drafting of the five principles of the Rukun Negara (Articles of Faith of the State) and the introduction of the New Economic Policy.

The Rukun Negara was proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Aug 31 1970 (13th Independence Day) to be a national ideology and philosophy. The five principles of the Rukun Negara were supposed to be the key to national harmony and unity, for the success and stability of Malaysia’s multicultural society.