If you can recall I wrote that Georgetown in Pulau Pinang, and the City of Melaka in Melaka, were bestowed UNESCO Heritage Site status on 7 July 2008.
The application for the status was first made sometime in 1998 but failed to achieve the status as the documentation was not proper.
If I recall correctly, the Federal government had to step in through its Jabatan Warisan Negara (National Heritage Department) to properly structure the application to UNESCO.
In January 2007 the Nomination Dossier was submitted. In July, the official acknowledgment from UNESCO was received.
This followed a visit by officials from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to Georgetown and Melaka between 24 to 31 August 2007. They include Professor Yukio Nishimura who is from the Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo.
Since being bestowed the status, Melaka took the necessary steps to ensure that the descendants of the historical Melaka people, its customs and sites remain preserved with very little restoration modifications done.
Both Melaka and Georgetown are similar in many ways. Some parts of both cities are time capsules of eras that have passed, eras that played a huge role in shaping the two cities. But that is where the similarities end.
In Georgetown you can hardly find the original people. Although the clans still have their presence there, only the richer ones remain on the island while poorer ones have moved to the mainland.
Gone are the sundry shops, the second-hand bookstores I used to frequent along Armenian Street, the old Chinese man weaving rattan baskets and the Malabari newsagents.
While the facade of their shops remain, inside are rows upon rows of boutique hotels and hipster cafes that are owned by foreigners and by that I mean non-citizens.
Pulau Pinang’s adamant stand to fulfill its Transportation Master Plan as wel as the selling of heritage buildings to foreigners also contribute to Georgetown losing its heritage status. Changing the landscape by the reclamation works to build three man-made islands would also destroy Pulau Pinang’s heritage.
Other than having to maintain and preserve historical buildings and sites, multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life must also continue to be preserved.
Under the guise of development the DAP-led state government of Pulau Pinang is only interested in making as much money as it possibly could. After all, land is money? Why worry about 40 buildings that nobody could live in when you have preserved five?
But what I am about to tell you will make many become apoplectic with rage – if Georgetown loses its UNESCO Heritage Site status, SO WILL MELAKA.
Yes, the UNESCO Heritage Site status was jointly awarded to both Georgetown and Melaka on 7 July 2008, and the Jabatan Warisan Negara is the body to preserve the sites as per the status. There was one joint-application to UNESCO for both cities.
But with land being a state prerogative, what chances does the department or all Pulau Pinang’s heritage NGOs have? The innocent victim here would be the people of Melaka. If robbed of its status because of the callous behaviour of the Pulau Pinang state government, the romance of showcasing historical sites to tourists in Melaka would be forever gone. So would be the businesses, the trishaw riders, and possibly some of the archaeological excavation sites.
Yes, Tokong’s greed and selfishness will not only destroy Pulau Pinang, they will destroy Melaka too. Does he care? I doubt. The people of Melaka are not going to vote for him next year.
What everyone fears most is for the Malays to unite. I wrote this a few months back. All the lawmakers know that the RUU355 amendments have no impact whatsoever to the non-Muslims, and even if all the Muslims MPs from both PAS and UMNO were to vote for the amendments, they will never attain the 2/3rd majority required to pass the bill for it to go to the next stage.
Which is why the Malays in the DAP, PAN, PKR and Pribumi are the tools for the DAP leadership to use, as in the words of Superman Hew, “to screw the Malays using the Malays.”
Objections are raised using mainly the Malay tools. The screen-capture of a Twitter conversation between a BERNAMA journalist and a PAN MP is the evidence to that.
In the run up to its tabling, the RUU355 has met with lots of resistance. I don’t believe that the lawmakers don’t know that it is the right of each religious group to manage and administer its own affairs. I also don’t believe that the lawmakers do not know that Islam is the religion of the Federation.
But the resistance towards it is mainly to avoid the provision of an opportunity for Muslims and Malays to unite just before the next general elections. They oppose just for the sake of opposing.
And then in comes the individuals who do not see or understand that in Islam, protecting the rights of a community supercedes the rights to protect an individual’s rights, nor understand the separation of jurisdiction between the civil law and Syariah law.
This dual system of law first existed in the Malay states in Perak in 1807 with the introduction of the Royal Charter of Justice of 1807 in Pulau Pinang. Prior to that, laws based on the Syariah has been the lex loci of this land.
Islam first came to this land in the ninth century A.D and flourished in the 13th century, 200 years before the kingdom of Melaka was founded. The first evidence of a coded Syariah law was from the Terengganu’s Batu Bersurat, written in 1303, a full century before Melaka.
The kingdom of Melaka produced two major legal digests, which formed the main source of written law in Melaka – the Hukum Kanun Melaka , and the Undang-Undang Laut Melaka . The Hukum Kanun consists of 44 chapters, which touched upon matters such as the duties and responsibilities of the Ruler, prohibitions amongst members of society and penalties for civil and criminal wrongs and family law. The Undang-Undang Laut consists of 25 chapters, which covered maritime matters, such as the duties and responsibilities of ships’ crew, laws pertaining to voyages and trade. The law contained in the above written codes are said to be based on Islamic law of the Shafie School, together with elements of local custom.
Melaka’s written codes were responsible for the growth of other written codes in other states of the Peninsula: Pahang Legal Digest 1595, the laws of Kedah 1605, the Laws of Johore 1789, and the 99 Laws of Perak, 1878.
Therefore, the question of the Syariah creeping into the lives of the Muslims of the land does not hold true. The reverse however is. The RUU355 is not about amending the offences but merely seeking the agreement to enhance the punishments to be meted out for the offences. And as explained in previous writings as per clickable links above, the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and therefore offences already covered in the Penal Code as well as in other civil laws made canoot be tried under the Syariah laws of Malaysia.
Furthermore, the separation of jurisdiction of the legal systems provided by the Constitution also ensures that the rights of non-Muslims are protected – only Muslims can be subjected to the Syariah law.
On the question of the Muslims being subjected to dual laws, this is not a problem. If a Muslim commits theft, he will not get his hand amputated in Malaysia. Theft is an offence under the Penal Code and therefore the Muslim offender gets punished according to what is provided for by the Penal Code. The punishments that the Syariah court can mete out cannot go beyond the Second List of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
DAP Emperor Lim Kit Siang was against the introduction of Section 298A of the Penal Code of Malaysia. In a Parliament debate on the 9th December 1982 on the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 1982 he said the following:
I was aware that the new Section 298A of the Penal Code has also been drafted in order to punish the non-Muslim partner in a khalwat offence until I read a Bernama write-up on the amendment the other day. The Bernama report exulted that now both the Muslim and non-Muslim parties to a khalwat offence would be punishable, the non-Muslim under the Penal Code amendment.
A Muslim found guilty of khalwat is usually fined $200 or $250 under the Muslim enactments of the various States. I have caused a check of the penalties for khalwat, offences in the various states, which vary from State to State but they all range from the lightest penalty of $100 or one month’s jail in Kelantan to the heaviest penalty of $1,000 or six months’ jail, as is to be found in Johore. However, the non-Muslim partner charged under the Penal Code Section 298A for khalwat activity which causes or attempts to cause or is likely to cause disharmony, disunity on feelings of ill-will would be exposed to an offence which is punishable with three years’ jail, or fine, or both.
This is most objectionable and unjust where for the same act, different persons are charged under different laws where one of them imposes much heavier penalties. Or is the Muslim partner in a khalwat charge going to be charged under the Penal Code in the Criminal courts? I am sure that the Shariah Courts in the various States would vehemently oppose this as a serious erosion of the jurisdiction and powers of the Shariah Courts.
So, in 1982 Lim Kit Siang opposed the introduction of Section 298A because a similar offence tried under the Syariah law would only provide for a much lesser sentence. Why is he complaining now about Hadi wanting to introduce higher punishments for the same? Wouldn’t it be fair for the non-Muslims?
As the purpose of the 2M government is to uphold the sanctity of Islam, defend true Islamic values and Muslim unity in the country so as to be able to deal with the problems of kafir mengafir, two imam issue, separate prayers and burials, in the Muslim community, the government should confine its legislative efforts to the Muslims only, and not draft a Bill with such far-reaching consequences in allowing for State interference in the practice, profession and propagation of non-Muslim faiths.
35 years later, he backtracks on the need for Muslims to make better its laws for the Muslims only. Which is why I say Lim Kit Siang is opposing for the sake of opposing so that the Muslims do not rally behind this bill months before the general election is due.
Even PKR’s Wong Chen acknowledged back on 29th Aril 2013, six days before the 13th General Elections that in order to gain support from the Malays, PAS, which was a partner in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, needed to play up the Hudhd issue and had the full support from the parties in the Pakatan Harapan.
Hannah Yeoh, who is the Speaker of the Selangor State Assembly even allowed the Hudud motion to be brought into the assembly. So why oppose the same motion when it is brought into Parliament? Why the double standard?
And why must Lim Guan Eng ask the BN components such as MCA, MIC and others to bear responsibility for the tabling of the RUU355? Why don’t he ask his party’s Anthony Loke and Hannah Yeoh instead? They both supported Hudud and the tabling of Hudud in the Selangor State Assembly (as in the case of Hannah Yeoh).
Anthony Loke even went to town with his support for Hudud telling his Chinese audience not to be aafraid of Hudud:
Yet, the RUU355 is not even about Hudud. So, what is unconstitutional about the RUU355?
Only the objections by the vapid non-Muslims against the RUU355 is unconstitutional, as it is a right given to all religious groups, not just the Muslims, to manage its own affairs. I don’t have to agree with the amendments proposed by the RUU355, but it is my religion and therefore it should be left to the Muslims to manage its own affairs – as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
And as for the atheists, just stay off my social media accounts. You don’t have the locus standi to participate in this debate.
Since then, the Tokong has been proven to lie about many things including abusing his power to satisfy his self-interest in the purchase of the infamous swimming-pool-less bungalow at Jalan Pinhorn. He has been charged in court for corruption over a similar offence committed by former Selangor Menteri Besar, Khir Toyo.
I am sure Emperor Kit Siang realises that Teh Yee Cheu is a Malay and has always been an UMNO member and is part of the “Black Ops” against DAP.
Another “Black Ops” was during the 2013 DAP party elections when UMNO’s company Microsoft, planted a doctored Excel spreadsheet program to sabotage the party elections. Even the Registrar of Societies have yet to come with a decision on the outcome of the elections AFTER FOUR YEARS.
But what Emperor Kit Siang will soon realise when his son the Tokong goes to jail for corruption is that his wife Neo Yoke Tee has always been a closet UMNO member and was instructed to give birth to a dumb son. The good thing is that Lim Kit Siang will still have a scapegoat for that.
Of late there have been calls for the return of Pulau Pinang to the sovereign Ruler of Kedah. This is because since being governed by the DAP, Pulau Pinang (Penang) has been behaving like an autonomous state while chasing out Malays, Indians as well as marginalised Chinese from the island state.
If I were to follow my heart, I would wish for Kedah to reassert its sovereignty over Penang. However, legally that would be disastrous for Malaysia.
The History of the
The proponents for the return of Penang to Kedah base their arguments on the agreement made in 1786 between the British East India Company and the Ruler of Kedah at the time, Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah. During that time, Kedah was already under the Rattanakosin Kingdom established by King Taksin. Kedah was already paying tributes in the form of Gold Flowers to the Kingdom of Siam in 1781 and had accepted the Siamese sovereignty.
In the 1786 agreement, Francis Light was supposed to assist the Kedah ruler in the event that Kedah comes under attack by another power; the British East India Company (BEIC) was not to protect enemies of Kedah (namely the Burmese and Siamese); and BEIC was to pay the Kedah government an annual repariation of 30,000 Spanish Dollars for the lease of Penang.
Tension grew when Francis Light did not inform his superiors in India of the full details of what he had promised to Sultan Abdullah. In the end, Light was asked to provide Sultan Abdullah with less than what had been requested. The EIC decided to to provide the Sultan with any form of protection and nothing was said of financial repariation.
Light was forced to use the island’s revenue to pay the Sultan but offered only $10,000 Straits Dollars a year for eight years for the island, or $4,000 Straits Dollars a year for so long as the Company occupied the island.
The unamused Sultan then gathered his forces in Prai in late 1790 to take Penang back by force which was defeated by Light. Sultan Abdullah sent his emmissaries Tunku Sharif Muhammad, Tunku Alang Ibrahim and Datuk Penggawa Telibun to negotiate a treaty with Light.
In 1791 a treaty called the Treaty of Friendship and Peace was signed between the BEIC and the Sultan of Kedah and the annual payment of a sum of 6,000 Spanish Dollars was promised to the Sultan for the rights to Penang and the two countries promised “to live in peace by sea and land, to continue as long as the Sun and Moon give light.” BEIC was to no longer provide protection to Kedah against its enemies. This treaty supercedes the treaty of 1786. (Dr Cheah Boon Kheng, former lecturer, History Department of the Universiti Sains Malaysia)
In 1800, another treaty was signed between BEIC and Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II, the successor of Sultan Abdullah for the lease of Seberang Prai (called Province Wellesley then) for an annual sum of 4,000 Spanish Dollars that is to continue “as long as the Sun and Moon give light.”
From 1826, the BEIC placed Penang under the Straits Settlements. Subsequently, in 1874 the BEIC was dissolved and as a result of the 1873 East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act the Straits Settlements came under direct British Crown rule via its government in India.
The Brtish Government became the rightful owner of Penang as successor of the BEIC.
Towards The Independence of Malaya
Each state in what was called Malaya were sovereign states up until 31st August 1957 when the Federation of Malaya that existed following the breakdown of the Malayan Union in 1948 ceased to exist.
“Malaya” as it was known then was made up of the Federated Malay States (Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang), the Unfederated Malay States (Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Johor), and the Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore).
The discussions leading to the formation of the 1957 Federation of Malaya excluded Singapore in the equation.
During these discussions, both Melaka and Penang were referred to as the Crown Colonies whose people are citizens of Britain. The discussions involved Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Government, the Nine Malay Rulers, and the Alliance government the people had elected to represent them.
In an early stage, it was agreed by both Her Majesty’s Government and the Nine Rulers that the office and person of the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Queen would jointly administer the Settlements as “equal partners.” According to this arrangement, the Queen would delegate her sovereign authority to the Yang DiPertuan Agong as the representative of the Queen and the Nine Rulers and that the Melaka and Penang would have a Governor appointed in consultation with the Straits Settlements’ office (CO1030/132(28) dated 16 August 1956).
This would be in line with protecting the Straits Chinese who were British subjects whose representation to the British government expressed fears that if Penang is administered by the independent Malayan government, they would be subjected to discrimination.
The British High Commissioner to Malaya, Sir Donald MacGillivray had already expressed grave doubts as to whether that arrangement would be accepted by the Alliance Party as the latter had wanted all the Settlements involved to be part of the newly independent and self-governing Malaya (CO1030/135 (2) dated 19 July 1956).
UMNO as represented by Tunku Abdul Rahman had also proposed that the provisions for Malay reservations in the proposed Constitution should be applied to Penang and Melaka. However, this was met with stiff resistance by the British government. The Secretary of State said the proposal could “aggravate racial feeling”, adding that during the 180 years of British rule in the Settlements there had been no racial discrimination (CO1030/496 (8) dated 14 May 1957).
A compromise was proposed by the Rulers’ legal adviser, Neil Lawson, who suggested that one of the clauses on land reservations to include a provision to allow the State governments to set up a trust to buy land for the settlement of the Malays. This compromise was accepted by the meeting. This proposal was contained in Article 88 of the Federal Constitution allowing Parliament to modify the articles on land (Articles 83 – 87) for application in Penang and Melaka (Constitutional Proposals for Malaya, Cmnd, 210, op.cit).
If you noticed in all the above meetings not once did the Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Sir Badlishah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, discussed the return of Penang to Kedah as well as asserting His Royal Highness’s sovereign authority over Penang.
This demonstrates that Pulau Pinang and Seberang Perai were no longer legally part of the Kedah Sultanate.
However, what also almost happened was the return of Melaka to the Dutch.
On 16 May 1957, a newspaper Straits Budget reported that the Malayan Party under Tan Kee Gak had planned to ask the British Secretary of State about the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in respect of Melaka. According to Tan Kee Gak, Britain was planning to abandon Melaka to Malaya and as a contracting party was in breach of the said contract. Therefore, Melaka should be returned to the Dutch instead of be part of an independent Malaya.
The Colonial Office viewed the report seriously and sought the advice of the Foreign Office which in turn sought the help of the government of the Netherlands to renounce such a claim explicitly (CO1030/439 (79) dated 20 June 1957).
I have no reservation whatsoever in expressing my disgust at the way Lim Guan Eng runs Penang and uses it in a very unMalaysian way. But I doubt there is any legal avenue that would allow for the return of Penang to Kedah that would be undamaging to the country in its present legal form. It would allow for parties in Melaka perhaps to ask Netherlands to reconsider claiming the state as its own based on the 1824 treaty, and Manila would have a legal precedence to follow in its claim on Sabah.
Not once did the Sultan Of Kedah from the days of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II through Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah have ever staked a claim on Penang. This is simply because the treaties of 1791 and 1800 have superceded the one made in 1786.
And Penang’s current form is because of the 1957 Federal Constitution, cemented further by the 1963 Federal Constitution, agreed upon by all including by the Nine Malay Rulers without a single objection to its sovereign status. So how is it that Penang should be taken back by Kedah?
If the current claim is about the maruah (face/pride) of the Kedah Sultanate or about the pride of the Malays, that is just the mouth talking before the brain could think.
It would be nice to live dreaming about the day Penang becomes another district of Kedah but that is what the heart wishes. It is the legal and constitutional implications that have to be thought of thoroughly.
I find it amusing that some people think that Catholicism was borne out of politics. It wasn’t. Catholicism is the earliest form of Christianity that predates the First Council of Nicaea by 325 years! Followers of Jesus of Nazareth believes that Jesus is the son of God which is part if the Trinity concept. After Jesus was crucified and rose from the date, he appointed Peter as the leader, hence the very first Pope.
Joseph Sta Maria is the head of the Melaka Portuguese Community and was appointed as a representative of minority ethnic communities under the state Barisan Nasional’s social service unit (Pembela), an effort by Malacca Chief Minister Idris Haron to address the needs, and include the views, of minority communities.
Mixing religion with politics started when Anthony Bernard Paul, the Bishop for Melaka and Johor, openly made a statement in support of BERSIH.
As a Bishop, said Huan, Bernard should focus more on church matters rather than meddling into political matters that were irrelevant to religion.
“Don’t bring religion into politics. It’s unwarranted. I think this is a half past six Bishop. Why urge the people to participate in Bersih rally?”
“A religious figure like him should not encourage the public to go for demonstration or rally. A highly respected religious figure, but he talks like an idiot,” blasted Huan.
I personally find Bernard Paul’s calling as an invitation to anarchy. He gave his reasons for his support of BERSIH which goes along the thinking of Christian supporters if gun rights in the US and Christians might wrongly twist these into excuses for disrespect and disobedience to authorities which is forbidden by God as given in the Bible.
“Every person is to be in the subjection of the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those in exist are eatablished by God.” (Romans 13:1)
The commandment is addressed to all mankind, without exception. Every person is included in this instruction—both believers and unbelievers. Every person is required to be in subjection to the governing authorities. Subjection certainly includes obedience, but it implies even more. Subjection focuses on the spirit or attitude of the individual, which leads to obedience. It recognizes an authority over us to which we are obliged to give not only our obedience but our respect. Whether democratic or autocratic, heathen or God-fearing, every government which has the power to rule over its people has been granted that power and authority by God.
Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
Of course there would still be thise Christians who would believe in Bernard Paul’s calling to the BERSIH rally more than God’s Bible. Given that Christians like Tony Pua, Hannah Yeoh and a few others who continue to lie despite calling themselves Christians, how many Christians actually believe in the Bible?
And how many would remember 2Corinthians 11:14?
“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
It is a Ramadan and a bleak Syawal for the former workers of JVC Kenwood at Section 22 Shah Alam as the factory ceases its operations as reported by The Rakyat Post above. I am sure the decision to cease operations must have been made much earlier than just a few months or a year ago as any plant closure affects production as well as support services.
Many were too quick to blame the Federal Government as according to them investments come under the purview of the Federal Government. Many however forget that investments in a state comes under the purview of the respective states’ economic development council or committee.
Does the seemingly bleak economy (despite the A- rating by Fitch) have any role in the closure of the plant? Let us examine:
Now it seems that TASCO had come into a sales and purchase agreement with JVC Manufacturing Malaysia Sdm Bhd for the purchase of the said property in 2009. This is a year after Pakatan Rakyat took over the state from Barisan Nasional. Six years on, it seems as if the Selangor SEDC had done nothing to persuade JVC to maintain a plant in Selangor. Why so?
It is easy to put the blame on the Federal Government. However, JVC has been cutting back its workforce not just in Malaysia but worldwide.
“They told us that the factory operations were moving to Thailand,” said a worker.
It was reported last year that JVC had cut its workforce globally by 14% to just under 20,000 people and about 90% of production now took place mostly in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Checks on jobstreet.com have shown that JVC is still hiring staff for its Tampoi plant in Johor.
Similarly, a few metres away from the JVC plant, Ansell Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s operations have also ceased and its workers were retrenched yesterday. The Australian company made healthcare protective gear.
A worker on site said: “They are moving their operations to Melaka. They have already told us about this six months ago and compensation was also paid out.”
Therefore, we are seeing a move out of Selangor not just by JVC but also by other foreign companies as well, unless Melaka and Johor are not in Malaysia, or that these states are not affected by the “slowdown” in the Malaysian economy.
Maybe it is the hard work that Johor’s and Melaka’s SEDC have put in to ensure that foreign companies do not divest, unlike Selangor’s that was not able to or did not talk to JVC when the sales and purchase agreement was made six years ago.
Maybe Selangor has lost the edge it once had when it was still governed by Barisan Nasional.