You need to register to vote; asap! Anda perlu mendaftar untuk mengundi; secepat mungkin!

18 01 2010

Register to vote!

History has seen many people struggling even to the point of sacrificing their lives for the right to vote. The strength of our democracy depends us exercising our duty to make well-informed choices (this means knowing the facts, taking the trouble to understand the issues properly) and to vote for those who will govern Malaysians with truth, justice and integrity for all, in line with the values of the Gospel.

Vatican Council II speaks of “the right and duty to vote freely in the interest of advancing the common good” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 75).

The recent article of Bernama revealed that 4.39 million eligible Malaysians have not registered to exercise their right to vote. Sarawak ranks 4th in terms of the total number of those unregistered. In view of the relatively small population of Sarawak, it may be 1st in terms of percentage of over 21 years old and unregistered to vote.

If you are not yet registered, please do the responsible thing and take immediate steps to rectify it. If you know of friends who have yet to register, help them to register too. The public can register at any of the 700 post offices nation wide.

The reporter quoted the Election Commission deputy Chairman, Wan Ahmad as saying, “The people should be aware that our election system practices a simple majority victory. A candidate can win even by a margin of one vote; so the voters have a huge responsibility in determining the future of our country.”

For the rest of the article, click here.

Don’t procrastinate. Take action today.

Cast your vote during elections

Dalam sejarah dunia, ramai orang berjuang dan berkorban untuk mendapat hak mengundi. Kekuatan demokrasi negara kita bergantung kepada rakyat yang menunaikian tanggungjawab mereka untuk membuat pilihan betul berdasarkan fakta-fakta (ini bererti maklumat betul dan seimbang dari semua pihak, dan mungkin memerlukan usaha kita untuk mencarinya), dan mengundi untuk mereka yang akan mentadbir Malaysia dalam kebenaran, dengan keadilan dan ketulusan untuk semua, selaras dengan nilai-nilai Injil.

Vatican Council II menyatakan kepada kita tentang  “hak dan kewajipan untuk mengundi bebas demi memajukan apa yang baik untuk semua” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 75).

Laporan dari Bernama akhir-akhir ini, menyatakan bahawa 4.39 juta rakyat Malaysia yang layak belum mendaftar sebagai pemilih. Sarawak mencatat jumlah yang keempat tertinggi di antara negeri-negeri Malaysia. Memandangkan populasi Sarawak yang tidak besar, ini mungkin beerti Sarawak mempunyai peratusan tertinggi rakyat yang berumur 21 ke atas dan yang belum mendaftar sebagai pemilih.

Jika anda belum mendaftar, sila bertindak dengan bertanggungjawab dan ambil langkah-langkah yang wajar supaya anda dapat mengundi di masa hadapan. Sekiranya kamu ada kawan-kawan yang belum mendaftar, bantulah mereka mendaftar. Anda boleh pergi ke satu dari 700 pejabat pos di seluruh Malaysia mempunyai kemudahan untuk mendaftar pemilih.

Timbalan pengerusi Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar berkata, “Rakyat perlu sedar bahawa pilihan raya negara kita mengamalkan sistem majoriti mudah, kalau menang satu undi pun dikira menang, jadi rakyat perlu tahu tanggungjawab mengundi merupakan tanggungjawab besar dalam menentukan masa depan negara dan kita sebagai rakyatnya, bukan hanya bersemangat bercakap tentang masa depan negara sahaja tetapi tidak mendaftar sebagai pemilih.”

Untuk laporan lengkap dari Bernama sila, clik sini.

Jangan tangguh lagi. Bertindak hari ini juga.

Fr Felix Au

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2 out of 3 people can’t practice their religion

10 01 2010

January 5, 2009. About 70 percent of the world’s population is not able to practice their religion freely and one of out every 5 countries impose severe restrictions to those who practice their faith.

(article from Romereports.com)

<Read more>





Three churches fire-bombed

8 01 2010

Malaysiakini

Jan 8, 10 6:49am

A church has been fire-bombed in an attack that gutted its ground floor, church officials said, escalating a dispute over the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims.

Al least two other churches are also believed to have been attacked in the last 12 hours in the Klang Valley – the Assumption Church in Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya and the Life Chapel in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.

A fire department official said all stations were on alert for more blazes at religious buildings, ahead of planned nationwide protests today by Muslim groups angry over the use of the word as a translation for ‘God’ by Christians.

NONEThe three-storey Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, part of the Assemblies of God movement, was set ablaze in the attack which took place around midnight, said church leader Peter Yeow, 62.

“Witnesses saw four people smash the glass and throw incendiaries into the church building. They came on two motorcycles,” he told AFP at the scene as fire department forensic officers picked through the wreckage.

There were no casualties in the attack on the church, which occupies the corner lot of a row of shop houses and which Yeow said draws some 1,500 people weekly.

NONE“The fire destroyed the administrative part of the church. We do not know if the prayer hall on the third floor suffered any damage,” he said, warning all other churches to “double their guard” against any attacks.

Anuar Harun, who headed the fire department operation, said that forensic experts were working with the police and a canine unit to probe the blaze.

“We are investigating the cause of fire. We cannot provide any more details. It is a sensitive issue,” he said when asked if it was a case of arson.

“We have asked all our fire stations to be on alert for such fires on religious premises,” he told AFP.

Meanwhile Kuala Lumpur police chief Sabtu Othman said the police found one spanner and a kerosene container at the scene, along with two scorched helmets.

He said that the police were investigating the matter under Section 436 of the Penal Code which can punish an offender to 20 years’ jail and a fine.

Meanwhile the Assumption church, which is located next to the Assunta Hospital, is believed to have come under attack at about 4am today.

Church officials said that homemade firebombs were thrown into the Catholic church but fortunately they did not explode.

A third church, in Section 17, Petaling Jaya, was also attacked last night, causing some damage to the outer building of the Life Chapel.

Building erupted into flames

The High Court last week ruled in favour of the Catholic weekly, The Herald newspaper, which has used ‘Allah’ as a translation for “God” in its Malay-language section. The government has said the word should be used only by Muslims.

The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal, after the government argued the decision could cause racial conflict in multicultural Malaysia, where Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of the population.

NONEThe security guard at the Metro Tabernacle church, 65-year-old V Mariappan, said he had just walked away from the main entrance of the building to use the bathroom when the building erupted in flames.

“When I came back, there was a huge fire inside the church building. There was a few loud explosions like bombs exploding,” he said, adding he saw two motorcycle helmets lying on the road in flames.

Church officials said that losses were estimated between RM1.5 million to RM2 million. The fire had damaged the administration centre, a conference room and some classrooms.

The church had been functioning at the building for the past 12 years.

NONEThe Herald’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew has warned of a campaign of intimidation including hacker attacks against the weekly’s website, protest plans and widespread criticism in the media over last week’s ruling.

“We believe these actions (are designed) to create a climate of fear and a perceived threat to national security so as to pressure the court in reversing its decision,” he said this week.

The Herald, which is printed in four languages, has been using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’ in its Malay-language section, but the government argued ‘Allah’ should be used only by Muslims.

More than half of Malaysia’s Catholics are from indigenous groups, most of whom live in Sabah and Sarawak and who mainly speak Bahasa Malaysia.





KDN berjaya tangguh guna nama Allah

6 01 2010

Hafiz Yatim
Jan 6, 10
3:31pm

Mahkamah Tinggi hari ini membenarkan permohonan Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) untuk menangguhkan keputusan membenarkan mingguan Katholik – Herald – menggunakan kalimah Allah.

Hakim Lau Bee Lan membenarkan permohonan tersebut sementara menunggu perbicaraan rayuan KDN terhadap keputusan yang dibuat oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Khamis lalu.

Peguam bagi pihak mingguan berkenaan tidak membantah permohonan tersebut atas kepentingan negara.

Permohonan tersebut didengar dalam kamar hakim. Peguam Negara Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail mewakili KDN manakala Derek Fernandez dan Benjamin Dawson mewakili Herald.

“Kami membuat permohonan dan peguam yang mewakili Gereja Katholik bersetuju dengan penangguhan tersebut, atas kepentingan negara,” kata Abdul Gani.

Fernandez bersetuju bahawa pihak gereja bersetuju dengan pemohonan peguam negara itu.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, orang ramai hendaklah berhenti daripada terus membuat komen mengenai keputusan berkenaan.

“Kami (Roman Katholik) adalah orang yang cintakan keamanan dan komen (yang tidak baik) adalah tidak wajar,” katanya.

“Kami mahu peguam negara mengambil tindakan terhadap individu-individiu yang membuat kenyataan yang tidak bertanggungjawab,” katanya.

Turut hadir ialah editor Herald Father Lawrence Andrew yang bertemu dengan Abdul Gani dalam bilik saksi sebelum permohonan itu didengar.

Pada 31 Disember, Hakim Lau memutuskan bahawa lanjutan kepada Artikel 11 dan 12 Perlembagaan Persekutuan, Herald mempunyai hak berperlembagaan untuk menggunakan kalimah itu dari segi ajaran dan pendidikan kepada penganut agama Kristian.

Katanya, lanjutan daripada Artikel 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan, adalah satu kesalahan bagi bukan Islam menggunakan kalimah “Allah” kepada orang Islam untuk menyebarluaskan agama tetapi ia bukan satu kesalahan bagi bukan Islam menggunakan kalimah itu kepada bukan Islam bagi tujuan agama.

Pada 16 Februari, Ketua Paderi Roman Katolik Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam memfailkan semakan kehakiman berhubung penggunaan perkataan “Allah” dalam penerbitan gereja, dengan menamakan Kementerian Dalam Negeri dan kerajaan sebagai responden.

Beliau mendakwa perkataan ‘Allah’ bukanlah eksklusif kepada agama Islam.

Majalah itu, yang dicetak dalam empat bahasa, telah menggunakan kalimah “Allah” sebagai terjemahan untuk “God” dalam seksyen bahasa Melayu.

Kalimah ‘Allah’ digunakan dengan meluas di kalangan penduduk asli Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak, kebanyakannya bertutur dalam Bahasa Malaysia.

Kementerian Dalam Negeri telah mewajarkan larangan itu atas alasan keselamatan negara dan bagi mengelak salah faham serta kekeliruan dalam kalangan umat Islam.

Sementara itu, Hakim Lau juga memutuskan dalam kamar hari ini untuk menolak permohonan enam Majlis Agama Islam dan Persatuan Cina Muslim Malaysia (Magma) untuk berhujah dalam permohonan KDN itu.

Enam Majlis Agama Islam itu adalah dari Wilayah Persekutuan, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Melaka dan Johor.

Dalam perbicaraan sebelum ini, Hakim Lau telahpun menolak permohonan mereka untuk menjadi pencelah dalam kes berkenaan.

Enam majlis tersebut dan Magma juga turut memfailkan ratyuan terhadap keputusan Hakim Lau menolak permohonan mereka menjadi pencelah serta keputusannya yang memihak kepada Herald.

Sementara itu, menurut Bernama, Abdul Gani bersyukur kerana ada perjanjian bagi penangguhan itu.

“Bagi saya, ia melibatkan kepentingan negara, tiada keperluan untuk terbabit dalam hujah untuk penangguhan,” katanya.

“Saya amat bersyukur dengan rakan saya yang bijaksana yang telah bersetuju untuk penangguhan dan kami akan cuba agar perkara ini didengar secepat mungkin dalam Mahkamah Rayuan, saya percaya ia akan diadakan secepat mungkin,” katanya.

Semalam, Kementerian Dalam Negeri memfailkan permohonan untuk penangguhan perintah mahkamah sebelum ini selepas mengemukakan rayuan dengan Mahkamah Rayuan sehari sebelum itu.

Abdul Gani berkata proses segera itu tidak sepatutnya disalah tafirkan kerana isu itu perlu diselesaikan secepat mungkin.

“Saya perlu menyatakannya sekali lagi, tidak perlu ada sebarang persepsi berhubung perkara ini memandangkan adalah lebih baik perkara ini didengar dengan segera. Ia tidak bermakna ada sesuatu yang tidak kena, jangan biar persepsi seperti ini.

“Apa yang penting ialah supaya perkara ini diselesaikan secepat mungkin. Kita semua perlu menghormati keputusan mahkamah,” katanya.

Ketika ditanya jika terdapat tekanan dalam kes ini, beliau menjawab:” Anda tidak boleh kata ada tekanan dalam kes ini memandangkan terdapat tekanan dalam semua kes. Saya tidak mahu memberikan sebarang persepsi sekarang, biar perkara itu selesai.”

Peguam Fernandez berkata pihaknya bersetuju dengan permintaan Peguam Negara untuk penangguhan berikutan kepentingan kepentingan negara sebelum tindakan selanjutnya di Mahkamah Rayuan.

“Kami bimbang dengan pelanggaran peraturan sub judis oleh banyak pihak yang tidak menghormati mahkamah. Tan Sri memberi jaminan kepada kami beliau akan meneliti perkara itu,” katanya.

Herald yang dicetak dalam empat bahasa, telah menggunakan kalimah “Allah” sebagai terjemahan untuk “God” dalam seksyen bahasa Melayu.

Kalimah ‘Allah’ digunakan dengan meluas di kalangan penduduk asli Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak, kebanyakannya bertutur dalam Bahasa Malaysia.

Kementerian Dalam Negeri telah mewajarkan larangan itu atas alasan keselamatan negara dan bagi mengelak salah faham serta kekeliruan dalam kalangan umat Islam.

———————————————————-

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today granted a stay in favour of the Home Ministry to stop Catholic weekly magazine Herald, from using the word ‘Allah’ pending an appeal.

Lawyers acting for the magazine did not object to the application, citing the ground of national interest.

The application was heard in chambers by High Court judge Lau Bee Lan. Attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail appeared for the ministry, while Derek Fernandez and Benjamin Dawson appeared for Herald.

“We have asked for – and the lawyers representing the Catholic church have agreed to – the stay, out of national interest,” said Abdul Gani.

“We do not want to be caught in an argument for a stay – that may cause further tensions and misconception with the matter.

“I am grateful that my learned friend agreed to the stay and we will try to have the matter heard as soon as possible at the Court of Appeal. I believe it can be very, very soon.”

Fernandez agreed that the church has consented to the AG’s request.

However, he said the public should now refrain from commenting further on the decision to avoid sub-judice.

“We want the AG to take action against those individuals who have made such irresponsible statements. We are seeking his assurance on this to uphold the law,” said Fernandez.

Responding, Abdul Gani said action would be taken against anyone who breaks the law, following proper investigation.

“Everything has to be proven before I take (the decision to prosecute). This applies to every single case but definitely any prosecutor wants to see this. The law must be respected – it is as simple as that.”

Representing the Home Ministry were senior federal counsel Kamaluddin Md Said and Suzana Atan.

‘Nothing is wrong’

Also present at the hearing was Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew who met with Abdul Gani in the witness room before the application was heard.

Lawrence, commenting on the decision today, said the church has agreed to the AG’s request “for the good of people and also out of goodwill”.

“We are not here to create any trouble, we love Malaysia. We are Malaysians and therefore we want to live in peace and harmony.

“We are not here to disturb (the situation). The main emphasis in our religion is love. It is very important we love everyone.”

Abdul Gani cautioned the public against perceiving that “something must be wrong”, just because the stay application was heard so quickly.

“There is nothing wrong. I can refer you to a case in Australia where a stay matter was heard within a few days after the decision. This matter has to be dealt with as soon as possible as both sides agreed with it.”

Asked to comment on former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s view that the matter cannot be resolved through the court, Abdul Gani said he is not a politician, “just the attorney-general, a small little fry who wants to settle the problem”.

As to whether the government is succumbing to public pressure by appealing the High Court’s decision, Abdul Gani said the media should not paint such a picture.

“You cannot say pressure or no pressure. There is pressure in all cases. Try sitting in my office, then you will know how we feel, as pressure can come in any form.

“I do not want to give (any) such perception. What is more important is the matter is settled properly.”

Application to intervene rejected

Earlier in chambers today, Justice Lau rejected a joint application by six state Islamic bodies and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) to submit in the Home Ministry’s stay application.

Lau ruled that the seven parties could not intervene in the ministry’s application.

During the trial proper, Lau had rejected the application by the same seven parties to be included as interveners.

The six religious councils are from Federal Territory, Selangor, Kedah, Terengganu, Malacca and Johor.

The six councils and the Macma have filed an appeal against Lau’s decision to dismiss them as interveners as well as against her decision in favour of Herald.

The six councils were represented by lawyers Mohd Hanif Khatri, Zainur Rijal Kamaruddin and Abdul Rahim Yasin.

On Dec 31, Lau ruled that pursuant to Articles 11 and 12 of the federal constitution, Herald has the constitutional right to use the word in respect of instruction and education of the congregation in the Christian religion.

She also said that, pursuant to Article11(4) of the federal constitution, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’ to Muslims to propagate the religion, but it is not an offence for non-Muslims to use the word to non-Muslims for the purpose of religion.

On Monday, the Home Ministry lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the decision, and followed up with an application for the stay yesterday.

The Herald, which is printed in four languages, has been using the word ‘Allah’ as a translation for ‘God’ in its Malay-language section, but the government argued ‘Allah’ should be used only by Muslims.

The term ‘Allah’ is widely used among indigenous Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak, most of whom speak Bahasa Malaysia.





Backlash feared from politics over ‘Allah’

6 01 2010

Negative comments and reactions on use of the term ‘Allah’ will be a severe setback to relations among the various races and faiths, and could poison ties between both halves of Malaysia.

This is the stark warning from United KadazanDusunMurut Organisation president and federal minister Bernard Giluk Dompok.

“Soon after the issue was brought to court, I appealed to all quarters to respect and give the court full freedom to carry out its responsibility,” said Dompok.

He reiterated that the perspective of Malaysian Borneo must be taken into consideration and that there is no running away from history on the matter.

merdeka statement launch 020807 bernard dompok“(Kuala Lumpur) High Court Judge Lau Bee Lian, in the decision on Dec 31 last year, had taken into consideration all historical aspects and constitutional rights on the issue,” said Dompok (left).

“Everyone in Malaysia has been given the right and freedom to practise the religion of their choice in a peaceful situation.”

Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have been using the term ‘Allah’ from the 19th century, long before the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963.

In Sabah, for example, the term ‘God’ is used in English, ‘Allah’ in Malay and ‘Kinoingan’ in Kadazandusun, as religious services are conducted in the three languages to cater to the respective congregations.

Dompok opined that the new generation is more comfortable with mass being said in Malay, having been educated in the language. The practice was carried over when Christians from Sabah and Sarawak transmigrated to Peninsular Malaysia to study and work.

“They are requesting that mass in Peninsular Malaysia be conducted in Malay for them. The use of Malay as the medium of instruction in the education system has further expanded the influence of the language among the communities in Sabah.”

He said the role of the church in promoting and preserving the national language must be recognised and given due importance.

Traditionally, churches have played a pioneering role in keeping alive the various languages and dialects used by Christian Malaysians.

Dompok’s statement has struck a unanimous chord in sections of society in Sabah. They fear that the Court of Appeal will sit on the appeal and “jam the process”, citing the Goddess of the Sea (Mazu) case which is still to be heard by the Court of Appeal after several months.

Umno endangering national security’

PKR vice-president Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan said he wants Umno to “stop playing politics with the ‘Allah’ issue and endangering national security”.

He urged Umno to take a leaf from PAS which practises ‘Islam the Faith’ instead of ‘Islam the Politics’.

Former Sabah PKR secretary-general Kanul Gindol said more effort should be made in Peninsular Malaysia to explain the historical rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak as the controversy over the use ‘Allah’ by Christians as just the tip of the iceberg.

“There are many other issues which have been swept under the carpet and are just waiting to explode,” he claimed, without elaborating.

Sabah PKR deputy head Christina Liew (below) described the use of ‘Allah’ as a non-issue in Sabah and Sarawak.

NONE“If the Home Ministry has any doubt, they should have referred to the federal attorney-general for the interpretation of the relevant law under sections 10, 11(4) and 12 of the federal constitution,” said Liew, a senior lawyer.

She said Malaysia must be the only country that is trying to outlaw the use of ‘Allah’ among non-Muslims. Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation, has never made it an issue.

She went on to blast the BN government for its “hypocrisy and high-handed tactics” and questioned the relevance of the 1Malaysia theme propagated by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Sabah Council of Churches chairperson Rev Jerry Dusing noted that the High Court ruling has taken cognizance of provisions in the federal constitution on freedom of religion, and rights in respect of education and freedom of speech.

“We are a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. This has found expression in the 1Malaysia theme,” he said, highlighting the danger of ignoring the rights of any individual.

In Tenom, the Catholic church pastoral council deputy head, Jimmy Jawatah, said he hoped the High Court ruling will be accepted by all with an open heart.

“The decision proves that justice and democracy exists, as enshrined in the federal constitution,” said Jawatah who is also Sabah Progressive Party vice-president.

The use of the Malay language by the church, without interference by the authorities, will help Christians increase their religious knowledge and understanding, he said.

“This is in line with the country’s mission of instilling religious values for the creation of a caring society.”

Malaysiakini
Joe Fernandez
Jan 6, 10
4:52pm





TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE TRUTH: Catholic Missionaries Martyred in 2009

2 01 2010

December 31, 2009. The Vatican has published the names of all the missionaries who died violently in 2009. In all 37 people were killed on active duty, the highest number in the past decade. Among them, is a lay person, 2 seminarians, 2 nuns and 30 priests.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.” In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known.
All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. “Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God.”

2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood:
Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age will be of any use to me. It is better for me to die [in order to unite myself] to Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching. . . I bless you for having judged me worthy from this day and this hour to be counted among your martyrs…. You have kept your promise, God of faithfulness and truth. For this reason and for everything, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal and heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him, who is with you and the Holy Spirit, may glory be given to you, now and in the ages to come. Amen.

Posted by Fr Felix Au