Friday, May 02, 2008


Last Saturday, Chelsea played Manchester United. Manchester United would have clinched and retained the premiership title had they beaten Chelsea. Instead my team, Manchester United lost 2-1.

I watched the game at Hamiid Restoran, a popular eatery in Tampoi Indah which on match days is filled with English Premier League fans. That Saturday, it no different and with the typical multiracial crowd. Among them there were a sizeable number of Malay youths. When Chelsea scored they clapped and cheared. When Manchester United equalized they groaned and when Chelsea stole it at the end up went the roars and the high fives. It did not matter that Chelsea’s manager was an Israeli and that the Chelsea team also has an Israeli international Tal Bal Haim.

I cannot be wrong when I say that Chelsea is a popular team worldwide and that includes muslim middle east. To date no mullah’s has issued any fatwas against supporting Chelsea or for the matter against Avram Grant or Tan Bal Haim. Infact Chelsea is scheduled to play in the middle east.

So it comes as a surprise when a group of wet blanket decide to protest the visit by Chelsea to Malaysia. Maybe they are not against Chelsea per se but their bone of objection is rather against Avram Grant and Tal Ben Haim. According to the coalition of 21 muslim groups’ spokesperson Muhamad Azmi Abdul Hamid, Israel is a rogue state and therefore this duo should be prevented entry. He further claims that the coalition intend to hold a massive protest at the tour match if the government did not bar the Israeli duo. He then pronounces an edict that Malaysians should boycott the match. My ass ! who is he to tell Malaysians to boycott the match or have the audacity to claim that his group represents Malaysians.

Let me ask this small minded person. How come he did not organise a massive protest when two young Malays footballers left for a brief training stint with Chelsea. None of them protested outside KLIA, threatened them with bodily injury or labelled them friend of the Jew. So lesson one is that if benefit is to be gained then it is all right to befriend a Jew. If the reason for their objection is that Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with the State of Israel, then the objection once again holds no water. Pray, tell me how come this group never objected when the government invited imminent Jews to participate and speak in conferences on Palestinian and Israeli conflict? So lesson two is that any Jew who is prepared to condemn the Jews may be welcomed to Malaysia. He is kosher. Just the other week, the Second Finance Minister Md Nor Yakcob urged the Malays to copy the Jews. No one kicked the Minister’s kaboosh and no group behaved like bats out of hell. The conclussion is that, there is only a small minority who wish to be vocal with their shifting principles. The majority of the Malaysians, thankfully, common sense still prevails.

Thus, credit must be given to Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Ahmad Albar for his courageous and wise decision to allow the Israeli duo to come to Malaysia. It may not have been an easy decision for him, considering that Malaysia do not have diplomatic ties with Israel and also not want to offend or incur the wrath of Malaysian Muslims. Rationality prevailed over emotions. Syabas and terima kasih, Datuk !.

No one is denying that the Israel- Palestinian conflict has gone on too long. The fault lies with both sides and deep rooted. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are equally to be blamed for perpetuating the conflict for so long but must we bring religion and politics to sports? It is worth remembering that sports is the best way to foster good relationship. Sportsmen and genuine fans forget about colour and creed of the sportsmen. To them it does not matter if the footballer is an Israeli or a Jew or for the matter an Afgan Taleban. Sports transcend all and genuine fans just want to enjoy the beautiful game and wish to keep it free from politics, zealotory, and racist bigots. Syed Hamid Albar rightly epitomizes forward thinking Muslims when he said “we do not look at the aspects of politics”. Well said.

So to this group my advice is protest if you wish to but disrupt you shall not do. Please do not to shove your politics and religious zealotory on us, genuine football fans. Selamat datang to Malaysia, Chelsea. I will be supporting Malaysia.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Graftbusters Formed

A few of the leaders at DAP Selangor has decided to form a 'Graftbusters' team to assist in the process of identifying and weeding out corruption. The team is currently led by the DAP MP for Segambut, Lim Lip Eng and comprises of Gobind Singh, MP for Puchong, Lau Weng San, ADUN for Kg Tunku as well as other DAP Selangor Legal Bureau lawyers.

And they need your help. Read more here.

Zahid suggests family be told after conversion to Islam


Non-Muslims who are converting to Islam may only have to inform their family after their conversion and not before, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said although he respected the decision of the 18th Syarak (Islamic)/Civil Law Coordination Conference on Monday, the government was still studying the issue before making a decision.
The conference participants unanimously agreed that a non-Muslim does not need to inform the family first of his/her wish to convert to Islam.

"The proposal (by the prime minister that a non-Muslim must inform his/her family before converting to Islam) was acceptable and not rejected by the conference. But the announcement on conversion requires a suitable formula," he explained after presenting certificates to trainees of the Baitulmal Skills Training Institute at the International Youth Centre in Cheras, here yesterday.

Zahid said this was important to avoid suspicions among non-Muslims, and therefore required careful study so that the conversion would not affect the convert's relations with his or her family.

Top Islamic authorities, including legal and spiritual advisers, were also against Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's "inform the family" proposal, Malaysian Islamic Development Department's director-general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said in a statement received yesterday.

The department's approval is needed to implement any rule relating to Islam. But the government can still get Parliament to pass a law which would override the department's objections.

Wan Mohamad said it was up to converts to decide whether to inform family members.
He said it should be "left to the discretion of the person who wishes to embrace Islam to determine how and when it is appropriate to inform family members. ... The existing laws for conversion to Islam and related matters are sufficient."

The failure by many converts to inform their families has led to disputes relating to funerals. In several instances, Islamic officials seized bodies for Muslim funerals, while non-Muslim family members disputed that the deceased had ever converted.

Islam is Malaysia's official religion. Non-Muslims are free to practise their religions but often lose out in interfaith disputes involving Islam. Malays are Muslim by law, and it is difficult for them to leave Islam. — Bernama, AP

Tuesday, April 29, 2008




Minggu lalu, satu artikel Bahasa Inggeris yang membandingkan agama Islam dengan agama-agama bukan Islam dan secara khusus agama Kristian, Buddha dan Hindu telah dimuat papar dalam laman web PAS Johor Bahru.

Saya telah menerima aduan daripada pihak awam berkenaan dengan artikel tersebut. Melayari laman web tersebut, saya mendapati bahawa aduan pihak awam adalah benar. Saya percaya tidak salah untuk pihak PAS meletakkan apa-apa artikel yang mengagungkan agama Islam ataupun bertujuan menegakkan syiar Islam tetapi adalah tidak sesuai untuk memuat pamer artikel yang rata-rata bertujuan dan berniat meremehkan, merendahkan dan menghina agama-agama lain.

Saya telah terus memaklumkan kepada pimpinan PAS rasa ketidakpuasan saya terhadap tindakan pihak PAS memuat pamer artikel yang menghina agama-agama lain. Saya juga telah meminta agar artikel tersebut yang jelas telah di muat turun dari laman lain di keluarkan. Ini tidak dilakukan sehingga kontroversi mesej ‘darah Karpal halal dibunuh’.

Sebelum saya beredar kepada isu seterusnya, saya ingin menyedari sahabat-sahabat dari PAS bahawa jika orang Islam mendapati filem kartun-kartun dalam suratkhbar Denmark ataupun filem Fitna dari Belanda menghina Islam dan mendemonstrasi menuntut maaf, pernahkah PAS berfikir bagaimana perasaan orang bukan Islam apabila PAS memuat artikel yang menghina agama orang bukan Islam. Orang bukan Islam juga mempunyai perasaan dan orang Islam tidak harus berfikir bahawa mereka mempunyai lesen bebas untuk menghina agama dan merendahkan agama orang lain. Allah telah menyatakan agama ku agamaku, agama mu agamamu. Bagi saya agamaku Kristian adalah agama yang cukup sempurna. Tetapi percayalah saya tidak akan merendahkan mana-mana agama yang lain. (Dalam weblog yang seterusnya saya akan menceritakan insiden penceramah yang menghina agama kristian dan lain-lain agama bukan Islam dikhayalak umum dan musibah yang melandanya diakhir hidupnya).

Belum isu ini reda, sekali lagi saya menerima panggilan talipon memaklumkan bahawa seorang lelaki telah meletakkan mesej dalam petilaung (shoutbox) laman web PAS Johor Bahru bahawa Karpal Singh telah menghina Islam serta darah Karpal halal dibunuh. Tergamak saya membaca mesej tersebut apatah lagi bila PAS-DAP-PKR kini bersama dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Sekali lagi saya telah memaklumkan kepada pimpinan PAS tentang mesej ini dan meminta untuk dikeluarkan serta merta. Namun mesej tersebut tidak dikeluarkan sehingga mesej tersebut mendapat perhatian umum dan media. Akhirnya Karpal Singh sendiri bertindak membuat lapuran polis.

Saya percaya kita harus berhati-hati agar laman web resmi parti tidak disalah gunakan dan wajar menyedari apa-apa kenyataan yang dimuatkan dalam laman web resmi parti harus lah disifatkan sebagai pendirian parti ataupun bersetuju dengan pendirian penulis. Kalau tidak kenapa dimuatkan. Jika ianya dimuatkan atas dasar kebebasan bersuara, setujukah jika ada orang mempersendakan Tuan Guru dalam laman resmi parti misal kata DAP ataupun PKR ?

Saya berhak mempertahankan pemimpin saya. Setakat ini apakah bukti kukuh yang Karpal Singh telah menghina Islam. Selama ini beliau hanya mempertahankan apa yang tersirat dalam perlembagaan. PAS sudah tentu sedar bagaimana tiga hari selepas pilihanraya saya bertikam lidah dan mempertahankan poster-poster Tuan Guru Nik Aziz daripada dikoyak rabakkan oleh pihak Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru. Saya tidak teragak-agak mempertahankan poster-poster Tuan Guru di koyak rabakkan kerana status Tuan Guru sebagai pemimpin dalam Pakatan Rakyat. Saya tidak kesal berbuat demikian dan tetap bersedia mempertahankan mana-mana pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat.

Semoga kedua-dua isu ini menjadi satu pengajaran untuk kita semua dan mengambil iktibar daripada apa yang berlaku.

Akhir sekali saya amat berterima kasih di atas kenyataan maaf daripada PAS dan tindakan susulan yang telah diambil.



Pada hari Isnin 28hb April 2008 jam 4 petang, lelaki yang telah memuatkan mesej ‘darah Karpal Singh halal dibunuh’ yang telah dimuat dalam kotaklaung (shoutbox) laman web PAS Johor Bahru telah datang ke pejabat saya bersama dengan bapanya dan diiringi beberapa wakil Dewan Pemuda PAS Johor Bahru yang diketuai YDP Pemuda PAS Johor Bahru Sdr Rosli Kemin.

Lelaki Melayu berusia 18 tahun yang menggunakan nama “Alif” (nama sebenar telah diberitahu dan dirahsiakan) dalam laman web tersebut mengakui bahawa beliau adalah orang yang telah memuat mesej dalam laman web PAS Johor Bahru.

Lelaki tersebut adalah seorang pelajar kolej tempatan dan di pejabat saya beliau menulis satu surat kepada Pengerusi DAP Kebangsaan Sdr Karpal Singh.

Didalam surat tersebut, beliau telah menyatakan rasa kesal terhadap apa yang dilakukannya dan meminta maaf daripada Sdr Karpal Singh. Beliau juga berjanji tidak akan meletakkan apa-apa mesej yang yang boleh menyinggung perasaan, ofensif serta menyalahi undang-undang dalam mana-mana laman web. Beliau meminta maaf daripada Sdr Karpal Singh dan merayu agar Sdr Karpal Singh berbesar hati dan bersedia untuk menarik balik repot polis yang telah dibuatnya terhadap lelaki yang memuatkan mesej dalam laman web PAS Johor Bahru.

Seperti yang sedia maklum susulan daripada pendedahan mesej menjemput membunuh Sdr Karpal Singh, satu lapuran polis telah dibuat oleh Sdr Karpal Singh di IPK Pulau Pinang. Siasatan kes tersebut telah di pindahkan ke Johor Bahru. Saya telah dimaklumkan bahawa lelaki tersebut telah menyerah diri kepada pihak polis dan pihak polis Johor Bahru telah merakam satu percakapan dalam siasatan daripadanya.

Saya akan menghantar surat minta maaf daripada lelaki tersebut kepada Sdr Karpal Singh untuk beliau memutuskan tindakan yang selanjutnya. Memandangkan usia mudanya dan kerana janjinya untuk tidak melakukan perbuatan sedemikian dimasa hadapan, saya akan mensyorkan agar Sdr Karpal Singh menerima mohon maaf lelaki tersebut seperti yang di tulis dalam surat tersebut. Saya juga harap Sdr Karpal Singh akan bersedia dan bermurah hati untuk menarik balik laporan polis yang telah dibuatnya.

Norman Fernandez
Johor Bahru