Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who's lying now?


TI-M’s President confirms no pact or pledge for Christianity as official religion or Christian Prime Minister

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) expresses grave concern concerning the recent allegations made by bloggers, Utusan Malaysia and Mohamed Razali Abdul Rahman that a
pledge or pact was made by Christian Pastors and the DAP to make Christianity the official religion of the country and to install a Christian as a Prime Minister.

Such allegations are not constructive to nation-building and have seriously affected the harmony and unity of the country.

As I was invited as TI-M’s President to speak on "Corruption in Malaysia and Instruments of Accountability" at the Unashamedly Ethical Conference (UEC) and was a guest at the privately-organised pre-conference dinner on the evening of 5th May 2011, I was an independent witness to the events.

UEC conferences are organised to promote ethical, good values and clean living especially amongst the Christian Community all over the world. Unashamedly Ethical (UE) is a movement ( that brings Christians to make a commitment to say “no” to bribery and corruption under the UE covenant campaign which Christians in many countries have adopted. Details of the commitment are as follows:

* To be entirely truthful in all I say

* To be faithful to my family relationships

* To do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but to look out for the interests of others

* To refuse to elicit, accept or pay bribes

* To be a diligent leader without being harsh and to pay my staff what is just and fair

* To do my work wholeheartedly

* To submit myself to just and ethical governing authorities

* To remember the poor by investing generously and sacrificially in the broader community

* To collaborate with my peers to impact our community and nation.

Other pledges that were presented at the conference included the Corporate Integrity pledge promoted by IIM (Institute of Integrity Malaysia), PEMANDU and TI-M. The pact that was discussed was the Integrity Pact, an anti-corruption tool developed by TI, and supported and adopted by the Government.

As TI-M stands for truth, transparency and integrity and this issue not only has not been resolved but is still escalating, it is necessary for me, as an independent witness, to clarify whether the alleged pact or pledge was made.

I categorically confirm that no pact or pledge for Christianity as official religion or for a Christian Prime Minister was made on the evening of 5th May or at any time during the conference. I have not been asked to give my statement to the Police doing the probe, but will gladly do so upon request.

Issued by:

Datuk Paul Low
Transparency International Malaysia

Contact No.: +6017 876 2550

Clinging on to the Malay vote?

Today, Utusan Malaysia was slapped with a warning letter from the Home Ministry for publishing an unsubstantiated front-page article alleging a Christian-DAP plot to usurp Islam as the religion of the federation, The Malaysian Insider reported.

On Saturday, Utusan Malaysia carried a front-page article headlined “Kristian agama rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?), claiming the DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to take over Putrajaya and abolish Islam as the religion of the federation.

The report, based entirely on unsubstantiated blog postings by two pro-Umno bloggers, charged DAP with sedition for allegedly trying to change the country’s laws to allow a Christian prime minister, The Malaysian Insider reported.

It is shameful that a leading national Malay newspaper like Utusan Malaysia published a false and fictional report which is inflammatory and alarmist.

The problem is that many of its Malay readers would believe the report without even bothering to question whether it is possible for DAP and the poor Christians to carry out such a 'coup'.

The fact is that the status of Islam in the federation is defined in the Constitution. The fact is it requires a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament - Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara - to change the Constitution. On top of that, it also requires the consent of the Conference of Rulers to change the status of Islam.

Will the readers of Utusan Malaysia bother to ask if it is possible for DAP (note that the report said 'DAP' and not 'Pakatan Rakyat') to win two-thirds of the Parliamentary seats? Even if DAP wins all the seats (the so-called 'urban Chinese constituencies') it contests in, the number will definitely not amount to two-thirds.

It is definitely Mission Impossible for DAP to win two-thirds of the Parliamentary seats and usurp Islam as the religion of the federation of Malaysia.

As for the poor Christians who have been cast as the bogeyman in this episode, can they ever make Christianity the religion of the federation?

Will the readers of Utusan Malaysia bother to note that only about 10 per cent of Malaysians are Christians while Muslims make up 60 per cent of the population? How can a minority religious group - that has already been trampled on in so many ways - ever have sufficient clout to change the Constitution?

Can 10 per cent of the voters ensure that DAP will win two-thirds of the Parliamentary seats? Bear in mind that the majority of the Parliamentary seats are Malay-dominated constituencies.

Thus if an Utusan Malaysia reader were to delve deeper into the issue, he/she would realise that the inflammatory and alarmist report was based on an impossibility.

If that is the case, why did Utusan Malaysia publish the report? Could it be possible that there is a hidden agenda, that it could be part of an elaborate and risky plan by certain strategists of a certain political party to cling on to the Malay vote?

Ibrahim Ali is indeed a clown

Looks like the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has answered the question I posed in an earlier post "Hero or court jester?" (read

From 25/5/11

KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali is a “clown” and his statements should not be taken seriously, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

Nazri said the independent MP could be arrested and charged if his statements caused a riot in the country.

“To me, he is a clown. I do not think people should take seriously what he said. It has been 10 days since his statement and there are no riots. It shows society has matured,” he said yesterday at a press conference on the Public Service Depart­ment (PSD) scholarships.

He noted that remarks uttered by Ibrahim Ali were no longer regarded as sensitive.

“If society feels that something uttered is no longer seditious, who are we to say it is?” he said when asked to comment on Ibrahim’s recent remarks on starting a crusade against Christians.

Petronas and petrol prices

I received this e-mail (see below) today and it is purportedly about how consumers can force Petronas to lower the price of petrol by boycotting it.

Want petrol prices to come down?

We need to take some intelligent, united action. The oil companies just laughed at last year’s action because they knew we would not continue to 'hurt' ourselves by refusing to buy petrol. It was more of an inconvenience to us than it was a problem for them. BUT whoever thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now, you're probably thinking petrol priced at about $1.50 is cheap. It is currently $2.15 for regular unleaded.

Now that the oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us to think that the cost of a liter of gas is CHEAP at $1.50, we need to take aggressive action to teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace...not sellers.

With the price of gasoline going up more each day, we consumers need to take action.

The only way we are going to see the price of petrol come down is if we hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their petrol! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

How? Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop buying petrol.

But we CAN have an impact on petrol prices if we all act together to force a price war.

Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T purchase ANY petrol from PETRONAS
the biggest price-up driver company.

If they are not selling any petrol, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.

But to have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of Petrol buyers. It's SO simple! Now, don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions and even BILLIONS of people!!

I am sending this note to 20 people. If each of you sends it on to at least twenty more that's (20 x 20 = 400) ...... And those 400 send it to at least twenty more (400 x 20 = 8000 .... and so on, by the time the message reaches the fifth group of people, we will have reached over SIXTY FOUR MILLION consumers!!!!!
20x20 = 400 400x20 = 8,000 8,000x20 = 160,000 160,000x20 = 3,200,000 3,200,000x20 = 64,000,000 64,000,000x20 = 12,800,000,000 That's 12.80 Billion people folks, who will have been contacted!!!!!

Unbelievable?? Do the math and see for yourself! Again, all you have to do is send this to 20 people. That's all!
I'll bet you didn't think we had that much potential, did you! Acting together we can make a difference..

If this message makes sense to you, then please pass it on. THEY will LOWER THEIR PRICES TO BELOW THE $1.50 RANGE AND KEEP THEM DOWN. THIS CAN REALLY WORK.

It’s simple – send the message along to others and choose to not buy petrol from Petronas. LET'S DO IT ! ! ! More power to you friend.

It all sounds attractive since consumers are empowered to change things for the better - in this case by forcing Petronas to lower the pump price of petrol.

But if you were to examine it logically and intelligently, it is flawed.

The author claims that if consumers were to stop buying petrol from Petronas it would be forced to lower its price.

However, consumers would still be pumping RON 95 petrol at the other petrol stations run by Shell, BHP or Esso/Mobil at the subsidised price.

Even if all Petronas stations sell zero litre of RON 95 petrol due to the purported boycott, Petronas would not suffer any loss because the station owners would have paid for the tanker-loads of oil. The station owners would be the ones who would bear the losses.

Even if Petronas stations sell zero litre of petrol, the excess capacity at Petronas tanks would easily be distributed to Shell, BHP or Esso/Mobil.

Bear in mind that even if the purported boycott takes place, there is no decrease in total demand because every motorist will still be pumping petrol - only not at Petronas stations. 

Shell, BHP and Esso/Mobil stations would enjoy higher turnover, but the total demand would remain the same.

" the time the message reaches the fifth group of people, we will have reached over SIXTY FOUR MILLION consumers!!!!!"

The author should get his/her facts right. Malaysia has perhaps 27.4 million people. Why is it necessary to reach 64 million consumers to boycott Petronas?

"That's 12.80 Billion people folks, who will have been contacted!!!!!"

The world's population is perhaps 6.92 billion. How does one contact the non-existent 5.88 billion folks?

Coming back to the price of petrol in Malaysia. The pump price of RON 95 petrol in Malaysia is subsidised by the Government and it is fixed according to a pricing mechanism which is based on the world prices of petroleum and the exchange rate of the US dollar.

The world prices of petroleum and the exchange rate of the US dollar are beyond the control of the Malaysian Government - or the government of any other country for that matter.

If the world price of Brent Crude Oil shoots up to US$150, is it the fault of the Malaysian Government? If the pump price of RON 95 at Malaysia petrol stations has to be raised because the world crude oil price shot up, is it the fault of the Malaysian Government?

If the author of the e-mail were to dig deeper, he/she would find out the world prices of crude oil are determined by the markets based on supply and demand factors - and speculation. Perhaps speculators influence the price fluctuations more these days.

And who are the speculators? They are the usual culprits - the fund managers of Goldman Sachs and other investment banks, the hedge funds, commodity funds and billionaire investors.

They are the ones who make billions of bucks for their rich investors (and the fund managers still get millions of dollars in bonuses).

And who are the losers? The billions (definitely not 12.8 billion) of consumers/motorists around the world and it's not the fault of the governments of the countries they live in.

Crude oil producers also make plenty of money when crude oil prices shoot up in world markets. These are mostly in the Middle-East.

However, Malaysia is still a net exporter of crude oil and Petronas will make lots of money when world prices of crude are high. And the profits end up in the Government's coffers.

So boycotting Petronas petrol stations will not force the pump price of RON95 to come down and it will also not affect Petronas financially.

The entire argument posited in the e-mail is flawed. 

If this message makes sense to you, then please pass it on.

This message actually makes no sense. People who have received it should just delete it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hero or court jester?

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali may think he is a hero among the Malay masses, but frankly he is seen as a court jester among the non-Malays and he is not being taken seriously by slightly less than half the population of Malaysia.

His latest claim that he believes communists are stirring up trouble and causing chaos by using local groups to take part in the alleged plot to replace Islam as the official religion of Malaysia has made him look comical and terribly ill-informed.

He said he suspected Communist Party of Malaya supporters had infiltrated political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious groups and business associations after the party laid down arms in 1989 in order to carry on their activities.

“I believe there are (former) Communist Party members who still hold communist beliefs and want to see the country descend into chaos,” he told The Malaysian Insider in Kampung Baru on May 8.

The "political parties" and "religious groups" he was referring to obviously meant DAP and Christian bodies since the entire issue of the unsubstantiated plot to have a Christian Prime Minister and replace Islam as the official religion started from the infamous Utusan Malaysia report about a meeting between Christian pastors and DAP leaders in Penang.

Ibrahim could improve his knowledge if he were to read this report that was published on May 11:

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese police have detained 49 leaders of an underground Protestant church in a central province, an advocacy group and local official said Wednesday.

The U.S.-based China Aid Association said all three floors of a church building in Henan province's Weishi county were searched and thousands of dollars worth of property were seized during the raid Tuesday on a religious education seminar.

Also detained were three Korean citizens, including a Bible instructor, the group said. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate information about the reported detentions, which reflect long-standing ties between South Korean church groups and Chinese believers.

An official with the Weishi county religious affairs bureau confirmed Wednesday the detentions but gave no details. Like many Chinese officials, he gave only his surname, Sun.

China requires all religious groups to register and accept Communist Party oversight, although millions of believers continue to worship in unregistered congregations that typically have an evangelistic, charismatic character.

That includes members of Beijing's unregistered Shouwang Church, who have recently repeatedly defied police demands and attempted to gather for banned outdoor services, leading dozens to be detained. The group, which includes numerous intellectuals, was evicted from its rented space under police pressure.

Rural congregations, drawn from poorer, less-educated communities, tend to be more vulnerable to coercion from authorities.

This month, a U.S. commission listed China as one of the worst violators of religious freedoms. Beijing denies the charge.

Tuesday's raid came on the second and final day of twice-annual high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials that were overshadowed by sharp U.S. criticism of China's human rights record.

In an interview published Tuesday on the website of The Atlantic magazine, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said China's human rights record was "deplorable" and that history was not on the side of governments that resist democracy.

Ibrahim ought to be taught that Communism and Christianity are anathema to each other. In Marxist theory, religion is said to be the opiate of the masses.

In Communist countries like China, Christians were forced to worship secretly especially during the Cultural Revolution. Priests and pastors were jailed or sent to rehabilitation camps. Christians were officially persecuted by the communists then - and even now.

To claim that communists have infiltrated Christian organisations in Malaysia and are creating chaos is at best laughable.

A veteran politician like Ibrahim should know better than to spin alarmist and ridiculous stories for the sake of being populist (among the Malays). If he thinks that by being racist, bigoted and, now, anti-communist can ensure that he is voted into a position of power again in the coming general election as an independent candidate or a member of some political party or even as president of Perkasa (which is more like an NGO), he is sadly mistaken.

There are plenty of younger, well-informed, well-read, more intelligent and more capable Malays out there who would make better next-generation leaders than an opportunistic has-been who has to play the race and religion card desperately in his comeback trail.