Friday, June 04, 2010


Malaysia and most Malaysians has been robust in their condemnation of Israel for its lethal seizure the Turkish flagged ship the Mavi Marmara which was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to blockaded Gaza and for the tragic death of nine civilians onboard who were killed when Israeli commandos stormed the ship. As usual, we witness the all too common demonstration, burning of the Israeli and United States flags and which culminates with a march to the United States embassy to handover memorandum and protest.

While we rightly condemn Israel for its latest act and denounce Israel for continuing with its blockade of Gaza, the Malaysian government, Malaysians, political parties and Muslim NGO fail to condemn Egypt which has enjoined Israel in blockading Gaza. Never are there, demonstrations and denunciations against the Egyptian government, burning of the Egyptian flag or the march to handover memorandum and protest note to the Egyptian embassy.

Following Hamas’ military coup in 2007, Israel has since then imposed a full blockade of Gaza, turning the coastal territory of 45 km long by 5-12 km into an open air prison. However, those vociferous in condemning Israel conveniently ignore and fail to denounce Egypt’s role and its complicit in Israel’s blockade of Gaza. If Israel maintains a complete siege and blockade of Gaza, Egypt further tightens the blockade by constructing a 14km- long wall made of super strength steel and which extends 18 metres underground.

For Gazans’, the movement of people and goods (unless through the illegal smuggling tunnels) to and from Gaza into Egypt is through Rafah- which does not pass through Israel. Even then this entry point is policed, secured and kept closed by Egypt, only to be opened intermittently.

Thus, it is high time those demonstrating in the streets of Kuala Lumpur and other towns in Malaysia and condemning Israel and the United States, reroute instead their anger, protest against the Egyptians. Egypt too is guilty for causing Gaza and Gazans’ to suffer. Malaysians for a change must condemn and denounce Egypt.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Not to be outdone and outshined by PAS, DAP is planning to move a motion in Parliament to ban sports betting. Earlier, PAS had also expressed its objection to the government’s decision to allow sports betting. PAS launched a signature campaign, handed over memorandum to the state muftis, pleaded for the Sultans' intervention, held demonstrations and a leaflet blitz and not to mention the stationing of PAS members outside gambling outlets.

Next came the Pakatan Rakyat states which said that sports betting will not be allowed in their states and that no sports betting licence will be allowed. The Penang Chief Minister, a strong proponent of ‘Amar Makruf Nahi Mungkar’ referred to s.101(v) of the Local Government Act which apparently empowers the local council to deal with issues concerning the municipal’s safety health and convenience. Note the reasoning – municipal’s safety, health and convenience !. What a codswallop !

What Pakatan Rakyat should do is to be honest and admit that its objection to sports betting is because the sports betting licence has been granted to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd, a Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s company. To Pakatan Rakyat, Tan Sri Vincent Tan is a BN crony and a beneficiary of BN ( and maybe one of BN’s benefactor).

If Pakatan Rakyat is so concerned for its citizen’s safety, health and convenience, then why not also ban gambling and betting totally, why don’t they gazette and enforce the 1995 national Fatwa on smoking, why not ban the sale of alcohol and liquor from convenience and provision stores. Oh yes, what about condoms? Yeah, that too ought to be banned. Perhaps, Pakatan Rakyat state governments can also reveal the number of massage parlours, health centres and pusat urutan traditional in their respective states and how many new licences have been issued and how many outlets have opened since taking over. Maybe, Pakatan Rakyat’s state governments can also reveal the number of pubs and bars in their respective states and the how many new licences have been issued. Should not these establishments be closed down.

If Pakatan Rakyat states are so concerned about their citizen’s safety, health, why the half measure of focusing only sports betting ? Go the full monthy and ban all other activities which can effect the safety, health and convenience of its citizens.

When all these ‘vice’ activities are still available, Pakatan Rakyat and Pakatan Rakyat states focuses only on banning sports betting. What hypocrisy and what hypocrites !

What is worst is that DAP puts on the worst grandstanding crusade simply to pander to PAS and Malay voters. A political brinkmanship against the Federal government and Barisan Nasional. Now that, DAP is a strong proponent of Amal Makruf Nahi Mungkar and also is deeply concerned for the well being of its citizens safety, health and convenience, surely DAP should not object if the Federal government or for the matter their fellow partners PAS and PKR were to propose banning of gambling outlets and other ‘vice’ activities.


Norman Fernandez *
Lest I be accused to be a proponent for gambling and vice, let it be known that I am not a gambler and agree that the number of draws be reduced.