Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Pulau Pisang measuring 178.4 hectares is situated about 15km off the Johor coastline in the Straits of Malacca.

In 1885, an agreement was reached between the Sultan of Johor and the Govenor of the Straits Settlement in Singapore pursuant to which the Sultan granted to the government of the Straits Settlement a plot of land on which to build and maintain a lighthouse and a roadway access to the lighthouse.

In 1886 a lighthouse was erected and in accordance with 1885 agreement, the lighthouse was managed and maintained by the government of the Straits Settlement and later by Singapore which continues to do so to the present.

The 1885 grant by the Sultan was not reduced to writing at the time but it was subsequently recorded in an express written indenture signed on the 6.10.1900 between the Sultan of Johor and the Governor of the Colony of the Straits Settlement after the Sultan of Johor had sent a reminder to this effect to the Governor of the Straits Settlement.

According to the Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman as reported in the Harian Metro May 27, 2008, Singapore has been granted 0.4 hectares of land which includes the lighthouse, the access road and the jetty. Further, since 2002 the Malaysian government has made it a condition that those working at the Lighthouse must register with the Marine Department, Immigration Department and also with the Royal Customs at Kukup. Every forthnight, when there is a changeover of personels, both personnels goes through the procedure. The Menteri Besar seems to paints a rosy picture that local villagers in Pontian are allowed to go to the island to cultivate and harvest fruits. However the letter by a reader to www.bloglimkitsiang.com seems to suggest otherwise. (see letter below).

In contrast to Singapore’s continuous assertion to ownership and sovereignity of Pedra Branca, Singapore has not asserted soveregnity of Pulau Pisang.

Singapore’s (then) Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. S. Jayakumar in 2003 in his parliamentary reply is quoted as saying “ Let me say upfront Pulau Pisang belongs to Malaysia. We have never disputed Malaysia’s sovereignity over Pulau Pisang but our MPA however has a right to operate the lighthouse there and the plot of land as well as the road leading to the lighthouse has been granted in perpertuity so long as Singapore operates that lighthouse. It is an indenture between the Johor Sultanate and the Straits Settlement,”

Note the key words “ granted in perpeituity”. In the light of Pedra Branca, the government should urgently clarify clearly the status of Pulau Pisang and confirm if any right in perpertuity actually exist and the actual extent of that rights. Numerous letters have been written about Malaysians not allowed entry or shooed away from Pulau Pisang. Has the right to maintain and manage the lighthouse and the road leading to the lighthouse been extended to Singapore maintaining security of the island and making the island a restricted zone and thereby arbitrarily preventing Malaysian from the shores of Pulau Pisang or landing at the Jetty at Pulau Pisang. There seems to be an unwritten no trespass zone rule in operation. Here is a letter “Kedaulatan Pulau Pisang” as appeared in www.bloglimkitsiang.com where the writer raises concern that Pulau Pisang may someday face the same fate as Pulau Batu Putih (now Pedra Branca).

Kedaulatan Pulau Pisang
Letters by Azmi
Salam sejahtera YB, saya adalah seorang anggota TLDM yang pernah ditugaskan untuk memantau kehadiran petugas rumah api warga Singapura di Pulau Pisang. YB, Pulau Pisang adalah pulau yang tidak dihuni, dimana penduduk asalnya telah berpindah ketanah besar di Pontian, yang tinggal hanya dusun dan perkuburan yang tidak terjaga, Ia terletak di perairan Pontian Johor dan jauh daripada Singapura.
Persoalannya mengapa kita yang telah 50 tahun merdeka masih memerlukan bantuan Singapura untuk mengawal selia rumah api tersebut, adakah Jabatan Laut tidak berupaya untuk mengawal selianya. Disini saya ingin memaklumkan kepada YB, selama penugasan saya di pulau tersebut, kami tidak dibenarkan memasuki persekitaran rumah api, malah menggunakan jetinya juga dilarang apatah lagi memasuki kedalam rumah api. Maka sepanjang penugasan kami di sana, kami hanya memerhatikan dari jauh warga Singapura keluar masuk, tidak lebih dari itu.
Merujuk kepada kemenangan Malaysia keatas kedaulatan Pulau Ligitan dan Sipadan adalah atas dasar pembangunan dan kawal selia Malaysia di pulau tersebut, begitu juga kehilangan kedaulatan Pulau Batu Puteh kepada Singapura juga atas alasan yang sama.
Tidakkah kerajaan Malaysia berasa risau dengan kedudukan Pulau Pisang yang mungkin akan dituntut haknya oleh Singapura pada masa akan datang (tidak sekarang, mungkin 50 tahun akan datang. Tuntutan ke atas Pulau Batu Puteh pun dilakukan setelah puluhan tahun ia mengawal selia pulau tersebut). Ada atau tidak perjanjian antara Malaysia dan Singapura yang jelas menyatakan bahawa kehadiran Singapura di Pulau Pisang hanya mengawal selia rumah api sahaja.
Apakah para penasihat Kementerian Pertahanan atau Panglima Angkatan Tentera tidak sedar akan perkara ini. Tidakkah PAT terfikir, sekiranya berlaku konflik antara Malaysia dan Singapura, dengan mudah mereka boleh menempatkan pasukan elitnya di pulau ini. Mahukah kita buah pisang berbuah dua kali? kehilangan kedaulatan wilayah kepada pihak yang berada jauh dua kali ganda jaraknya daripada kita.
Saya amat berharap YB dapat memanjangkan persoalan ini kepada Menteri Pertahanan semasa persidangan parlimen. “

Siti Nurhaliza in a ghazal tempo, waxes lyrical about Pulau Pisang.

Pulau Pisang
Pulaulah Pisang
Pulau Pisang rumahlah api sayang
Pedoman kapal belayar malam (x2)

Sebelum ajal
berpantang mati
walaupun tercampak dalam lautan dalam (x2)

Pedoman kapal
Pedoman kapal belayar malam sayang
Sarat bermuat buah keranji
Walaupun tercampak lautan yang dalam
Tidakkan lupa segala janji.

The loss of Pulau Batu Putih (now Pedra Branca) though it may only be a granite outpost is already painful for Malaysians and Johoreans. The loss is felt even deeply by the Johor Malays. May the government learn the lessons from the loss of Pulau Batu Putih and ensure generations to come will never have to reminisce the loss of Pulau Pisang by singing the song.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Di Syurga Kita Tanya NYA

Kita tidak perlu bersengketa
kamu dan saya
tentang empunya nama NYA.
bila kamu dan saya
sampai di syurga
kita tanya pada pemilik nama
siapa antara kita
layak menggunakan nama NYA
kerana hanya empunya nama
boleh menjawab
boleh menentukan.

Hasil Nukilan, Norman Fernandez


The Mufti of Perak is the latest to wade into the controversy surounding Karpal Singh’s statement regarding the extent of the powers of His Majesty Sultan of Perak. My personal view on this saga has already been made known. In brief, I am of the opinion that although Karpal Singh may be right in law, nevertheless it would have been politically prudent to leave it to others to make their observation or at the very least Karpal Singh ought to have put his views in temperate language.
Yesterday when I purchased a packet of nasi lemak for breakfast, the wrapper was from a page of Harian Metro and lo and behold! The page carried a statement of the Mufti of Perak.
Briefly this is what the Mufti said rebuking Karpal Singh. “Jangan menyakiti perasaan orang lain. Jangan menimbulkan kebencian dan kemarahan rakyat.” Fair comment I suppose.
Now, that’s strange when the rebuke and warning comes from someone who had a hand in the controversy surrounding the siege at Church Of Our lady Of Lourdes on November 6, 2006. At that time no one including the Mufti thought of prudence. No one bothered about “menyakiti perasaan orang lain” or even was concerned that the mobsters could “menimbulkan kebencian dan kemarahan orang lain.” In fact, in the aftermath, there was not even a ounce of decency from anyone to apologise to the Catholics. The Mufti did not rebuke anyone or condemn the mob that gathered outside the church. Worst of all, until today no one knows whatever has happened to the police investigation. Till today no one has been charged although a prime suspect was indeed arrested.
But in Karpal Singh’s case there has been a bee line to the police station to lodge police reports against Karpal Singh. The police has super efficiently and in meteorite speed wrapped up the investigation and papers sent to the Attorney General’s Office.
The long and short of it, is that, its time people stopped this SELECTIVE “menyakiti perasaan and jangan menimbulkan kebencian dan kemarahan” claptrap. Being hurt or being angry is not the exclusive domain of any one community or religion.


All right thinking Malaysians and particularly Catholics are outraged at the intimidating actions of ill informed groups of Muslims who on November 5, 2006 pursuant to an SMS came in droves and gathered outside Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Silibin, Ipoh Perak causing fear and anxiety to the worshippers.
(Read The Herald November 12, 2006)
The SMS message said:-A number of Malays will be baptized by Dato Azhar Mansor this Sunday at the Slibin Church, Ipoh. Recently 600 students from Ungku Omar Polytechnic have converted to Christianity. Revealed by the Perak Mufti this afternoon at the state masjid. Please forward to all who stand for Islam.
The original SMS in Malay (and unedited) said:-Sejumlah Melayu akn dibaptiskan oleh Dato Azhar Mansor Ahad ini di Gereja Selibin IPO. Seramai 600 plajar Poli teknik Unku Omr Ipoh telah msuk Kristian baru2 ini. Pendedahan oleh Mufti Perak ptg ini di masjid Negeri. Sampaikan SMS kpd orang-2 yang mahukan ISLAM .(sic)

That malicious SMS ( which had indeed been circulating for almost three days before the incident ), on November 5, 2006 was enough to mobalise Muslim protestors ranging from individuals to political parties-read PAS and Muslim NGO’s to gather outside the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. In truth what was to take place and did indeed take place in the Church was the First Holy Communion celebration for 98 children.
In the aftermath and in the days following the incident, the Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria began to shed some light on the issue. He first revealed that a woman from Selangor whom he later named as Raja Sherina as the originator of the text message. The woman had apparently on October 21, 2006 at 9.33 am sent the said SMS to him.

According to the Mufti, this woman had claimed that she had studied at the International Islamic University and the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. On her return from Egypt she was doing social work with missionaries when she converted. However, she claimed that she later returned to Islam.

The Mufti further claimed that the woman and her husband had come back to his house on October 22, 2006 to confirm the substance of the message.

According to the Mufti, the Perak Mufti Department then decided to record his meeting with Raja Sherina and copies of the VCD were later handed over to Special Branch, Perak Menteri Besar, the Prime Minister’s Department and the Islamic Development Department for further action.(read NST pg.12).

Thereafter on November 2, during a meeting at the conference room of the state mosque with members of non-governmental organization the Mufti once again brought up the issue of the SMS. The Mufti then claimed that on November 3, 2006 he was informed that a number of NGO’s who attended the meeting would hold a peaceful protest against the alleged baptism. As the highest religious official of the state, the Mufti could have and should have in no uncertain terms stopped the proposed protest. Instead he made some sheepish attempt by discouraging the protestors before leaving town for Syria.

What all this means is that as early as October 22, 2006 and some 12 days before the alleged baptism ceremony, the Mufti and many others already had knowledge of the SMS and the impending “baptism “. Thus the Mufti as a religious leader could and should have acted with greater responsibility first preventing the protest and secondly and more importantly verifying the authenticity of the SMS. Neither of this was done. Instead time was spent doing a VCD recording!. The 12 days was a period long enough for the Mufti and all concerned to do among others number of thing:-

a. Investigate further about Raja Sherina background and verify the truth of her claim;
b. Since the national mariner Azhar Mansor was said to be going to perform the baptism rites, why did the Mufti or other authorities not contact and obtain confirmation from him. After all he was in Langkawi. A denial by Azhar Mansor could have expeditiously resolved and concluded that the SMS was false;
c. Find out the procedure how one is baptized into Catholism. For the uninitiated, in Catholism only a priest can conduct the baptism rites. Thus no lay Catholic and worst of all a recent convert would not be allowed to perform the baptism rites and that includes Azhar Mansor even if he had converted;
d. In the spirit to ensure religious harmony, the Mufti could have verified the authenticity of the SMS with the Church. Naturally this would have been easier had there been open channels of communication;
e. Investigate and verify if there was any truth that 600 students of Ungku Omar Polytechnic had indeed converted to Christianity.

Perhaps it may not be wrong to assume that what was hoped for, was to catch the Church in the act. That would have been sensational news and Azhar Mansor would have been the icing. Instead and thankfully the SMS and the alleged event has turned out to be one big hoax and now the Mufti is scurrying away and hoisting the blame solely on the messenger. The SMS turned out to be not only malicious but also mischievous, irresponsible and has without any doubt has damaged inter-religious relationship. Now the authorities are searching for Raja Sherina and Raja Sherina (if caught) could be charged under the Sedition Act or under the Multimedia and Communication act.

Strangely, the Mufti now advises that should anyone receives similar text message on such issues, he should forward them to the police and the authorities instead spreading them. Fair advice, Then why did he without first verifying the authenticity of the SMS, on November 2, 2006 made the SMS known to others particularly to the NGO’s .? As a religious leader, does he not know that his exalted position requires him to act with prudence and a greater responsibility is required from him.

This is what Johan Jaafar writing in his column NST Point Blank on November 18, 2006 (about the Mufti) had to say:-
“Now this person have been known to make ridiculous statements on almost everything-banishing AIDS sufferers to an island, giving out fatwa (decrees) that smoking is haram and even stating frightening figures about Muslims who have become apostates”.

Incidentally, in February 2006 the Mufti made a sensational revelation claiming that 250,000 Muslims (of which 100,000 were Malays) had apostised themselves while 100,000 more had submitted their application to do so. Never mind that he was never able to substantiate his claim save for stating that these figures were obtained from “reliable sources”. Still it was enough for some NGO’s and political parties read PAS to go on the overdrive. In the end on November 11, 2006 Malaysiakini reported the findings by Dr Mohd Azam Mohd Ali, professor of law at University Technology Mara who basing on official data obtained from the state syariah court, religious departments and the National Registration Department recorded that from 1999 to 2003 there were 750 applications. Of these, only 220 were granted throughout the five years and most of these were applicants who were converts to Islam. Clearly the figures bandied around by the Mufti has been debunked.

The Catholics and Non Muslims are most relieved at the swift reaction and response by the police and the government. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that firm action must be taken against those who had spread the SMS message because the “SMS message is dangerous as it can lead to racial disputes and create a tense situation”.

The Prime Minister according to a report in the NST is reported to have told his cabinet that this was a matter which could not be treated lightly. The Prime Minister also wants those responsible be severely punished because “they did with the intent to provoke anger”. The good Prime Minister could not be more correct. Catholics and Non Muslims are most comforted by the Prime Minister when he returned to the issue of the said SMS during the UMNO General Assembly when the Prime Minister when addressing the issue of intolerance said:-

“It is this same group who makes such proclamation that are conjuring imaginary threats aimed at inciting Muslims, hoping that they (Muslims) will become more intolerant of others.Their agenda is to see Malaysia torn apart, for us to fail as a multi racial, multi religious nation. This is not Islam.For example, so many SMSes have been sent, claiming mass baptisms of Muslims and the purported formation of a Malay Christian Association. There are even those who claim- without proof-that hundreds of Malay Muslims have become apostates.This kind of incitement whips many Malays into a frenzy because we do not have a culture of seeking to verify what we hear, preferring to believe everything we are told.It is such unfounded claims which lead to many becoming angry and even militant.But when the lies are exposed, those who create them scurry into hiding, nowhere to be seen and not even attempting to rectify the situation or to calm things down.”

The good Prime Minister could not have said any better. He has soothed the pain and anguish of the Catholics. However the authorities must show courage and take this matter seriously and not only investigate but also apprehend and prosecute the individuals and groups that have deliberately tried to sow hatred and racial ill-will in this country.
If the perpetrators and those involved are not apprehended and prosecuted, then there is every danger that an ill-informed group could merely being suspicious of the language and skin-tone may on a Sunday appear at the church doorstep to inspect and verify if the Indonesians migrants, Sabahan and Sarawakian or even Filipinos attending praise and worship are indeed Christians.
Never again should the Catholics and Non Muslims be subjected to such trepidation and that the legitimate exercise of their faith including religious and holy ceremonies in peace should be respected and protected.
Surah al Hujraat 49 : 6 - O you who believe ! if a sinner comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done.
Surah al Hujraat 49 : 12 – O ye who believe ! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible) for suspicion in some cases is a sin.Fr Bernard Paul : “ A sad state of affairs.. because it shows how gullible people are and how quickly they believe in lies rather then checking first before responding. They are disrupting our religious service.
This is our Sunday celebration ! Its unjust…