Saving Sarawak

I see several Sarawak-related pages claiming that no one, including the mainstream media, cares or has given coverage to the flood situation in Sarawak.

Comparing the response both the government and non-governmental organisations gave to the floods on Kelantan and Pahang to the ones now in Sarawak, the Sarawak-related pages say that there is very little that is being done by the Federal Government.

Government Assistance

All Federal Government agencies in Sarawak have been put on flood watch standby as early as December 2017. This includes, but not limited to, the Army 1st Division, the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), and the Fire and Rescue Services Department (FRSD).

The FRSD has been evacuating people from flooded areas, and in one particular instance, evacuated Suriah Bakar, 35, of Kampung Parong, Kota Marudu, who was in labour.

Prime Minister Najib Razak himself is constantly monitoring the flood situation in Sarawak and has promised to ensure that relief reaches all flood victims.

As at noon today (Thursday 8 Feb 2018), only five areas in three divisions in Sarawak have recorded water level above the Alert level. They are in the Miri, Bintulu and Kapit districts.

Only the Bintulu-Belaga road in Bintulu, and Long Jegan and Long Panai in Miri have water levels that are above the Danger level, while Ng Merurung in Kapit and Kuala Binyo in Bintulu have water levels that are above the Alert level.

The areas that are affected by the floods are Samarahan. Sarikei, Sibu, Serian, Bintulu, Mukah and Limbang.

Malaya-Biased Media?

While the Borneo Post has been actively updating the flood situations in Sarawak, Sarawakians complain that the Peninsular-based media, especially the electronic media, have not been giving ample coverage.

This is absolutely not true. Just yesterday I pointed to a Sarawakian friend URLs of mainstream media reports on the flood situations there, including the ones by NST, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia.

BERNAMA and RTM have been airing the plight of Sarawak flood victims. Even the station most hated by the Opposition, TV3, has been consistently reporting on the flood situations in Sarawak, covering flood relief centers as well as the latest evacuation operation this morning by the Civil Defence Force (APM) involving a woman in labour at Klinik Entabai, in Julau, Sarikei.

Social Media and Floods Fever

As far as social media is concerned, there is very little that the ordinary Semenanjung folks can do. While we can start collection centers here, sending stuff over there would not be economical at all.

Whilst there have been many flooding in the Peninsular, I made myself available for three – the Johor floods of 2006-2007, the Pahang floods of 2013, and the Kelantan floods of 2014. Those were the flood disasters that Peninsular people got together and helped government agencies to provide assistance to flood victims.

In Johor, I provided assistance between Parit Botak and Rengit. In Pahang, I assisted Her Highness the Tengku Puan Pahang in the Kuantan and Pekan areas. In Kelantan, my former classmates and I brought supplies from Putrajaya to the hospitals in Gua Musang, Kuala Krai and Jeli.

In Johor back in 2006-2007, two waves of floods hit the state. In the first wave, 90,000 people were evacuated. Just when they thought it was safe to return home, a second wave struck and caused 109,831 people to evacuate.

In 2013 Pahang, 40,819 people were evacuated.

In 2014 Kelantan, more than 170,000 had to be evacuated. The scale of destruction that I saw with my own eyes in Gua Musang, Manek Urai and Kuala Krai was just beyond comprehension. Even Kuala Muda in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami did not look as bad. Yes, I was there too in 2004 with a Malaysia Airlines aircraft captain friend (he now flies for Air Asia).

I took the above photo at Kampung Bukit Tebuk near Chiku while on the way from Kuala Krai to Gua Musang on 31 December 2014 because I saw this man at the Manek Urai relief center queuing for food for his family earlier in the morning. At this point he had walked 14 kilometres to get home.

Pulau Pinang in November 2017 saw 71,294 people evacuated. This was when Lim Guan Eng was seen crying for help…literally.

In comparison, the total number of evacuees in Sarawak as of last night was 4,859 people. It is a number that is still very manageable by the state government and its NGOs.

I have not seen any NGO in Sarawak running a donation campaign to collect cash and kind for flood victims there. If there is such a fund I am sure people in Malaya (a term fondly used by Sarawakians for Peninsular people which isn’t a nice term) would be glad to chip in. After all, I have relatives in Samarahan, Kuching, Miri, and friends working on the Pan Borneo Highway project that are affected by the floods.

Nor do I see throngs of 4X4 vehicles (which happens to be in abundance in Sarawak) carrying relief items to affected areas like it was done in the Peninsular.

How can anyone start anything if the Sarawakians themselves don’t do anything for fellow Sarawakians? I promise not to ask how many Sarawakians actually donated to flood victims and relief missions in Kelantan, Pulau Pinang, Johor and Pahang. To where should we Malayans send our donations to?

So, the feverish pace you saw in the Peninsular was because of the magnitude of the floods and the destruction they caused. The absence of any social media hype by socmed practitioners in Sarawak on the flood situation says all that.

I am not saying that the flood situation in Sarawak is not bad. Any flood is bad. But it doesn’t do justice when people sit and complain about it on social media expecting to be spoon fed. Just start something instead of whining. There are many here on this side of the South China Sea who would want to help.

And An Apology Is Enough?

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Anak emak bersemangat dah nak ke sekolah tapi kena harungi jambatan yang canggih ini. Dah setahun tak ada perubahan langsung. Jambatan gantung di Pamah Aur, Bukit Betong, Kuala Lipis,” wrote Siti Zaharah Othman as the caption of the video she took of her husband Abdul Jalil Sulaiman, leading their five-year old son Lutfil Hadi, across a dangerously broken bridge to attend pre-school.

This video collected 1.2 million views and 33,000 shares within eight hours of being posted, with many venting their anger at the government for their inaction over the matter.

Jalil said that this was the only way to send his son to school as it takes 10 minutes to get to the other side of the river versus 40 minutes by road, which is now being submerged by flood waters.

This was refuted by the local assemblyman Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail who said that the JKKK provides boats for people to cross the submerged road.

Wan Rosdy also clarified that the construction of the new bridge is to commence on Jan  8 2018.  The Department of Works had already allocated a sum of RM462,414.40 on the Dec 12 2017 but had to wait for better weather before construction can be commenced.

In a reply to comments, Siti Zaharah said that it has been a year that her husband has had to use the broken bridge to get to work, but critics pointed out that the family owns a Proton Exora, a compact 1.6L MPV.

The husband could have driven the son to the point where the JKKK provides boats for people to cross over to the other side.  And as the flooding only recently occurred, Jalil could have driven himself to work instead of using the broken bridge to cross the river.

It is not that both Jalil and Siti Zaharah were desperate enough and left without any option, they blatantly endangered the life of their five-year old son.

To top that off, Siti Zaharah brazenly mislead the public that that was the only option her family had.

Siti Zaharah has since apologised to the assemblyman but never offered any explanation to the public for her behaviour.

In my opinion, the Ministry for Women, Family and Community Development ought to take legal action against both Jalil and Siti Zaharah under Section 31(1)(a) of the Child Act, 2001 for knowingly exposing the child in a manner likely to cause him physical injury or even death, by using the broken bridge when there is an alternative route with the means to take the route.

But as usual, as in the case of the use of children for begging by “religious schools”, or bringing children to street protests, not one authority seems to care and enforcement of the Child Act would be a bonanza if any action is actually taken.

If it does happen, I would think that many would run to the nearest Magnum or Da Ma Cai outlet and spend their savings there.

(This posting was featured on The Mole)

How The RUU355 Is Unconstitutional

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 quote:

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?

He added:

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.

Kelantan: The 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong

Daulat Tuanku - Sultan Muhammad V has been elected as the 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong
Daulat Tuanku – Sultan Muhammad V has been elected as the 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong

Sultan Muhammad V, the 29th Sultan of Kelantan, has been elected to become the 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong by the Council of Rulers today.  His Royal Highness shall be replacing Tuanku Al-Haj Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, the Sultan of Kedah whose tenure will end on the 12th December 2016.

For months whispers have been flying around that HRH Sultan Muhammad V would not be eligible be elected as the YDP Agong as he is not married.  However, there are only three reasons for a nominated Sultan to be disqualified;

  1. He is not an adult,
  2. He has made known to the Council of Rulers that he wishes not to be nominated, or,
  3. Five of the Rulers vote against his nomination for reasons such as being mentally or physically challenged, or for some other reason.

The second and third reasons were used during the discussion to elect the First Yang DiPertuan Agong where Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang was the most senior Ruler after Sultan Sir Ibrahim of Johor who had declined the nomination due to old age (Sultan Sir Ibrahim passed away on the 8th May 1959). He became the Sultan of Pahang on the 24th June 1932. However, Sultan Abu Bakar’s nomination was rejected FIVE TIMES by the Rulers because he was a controversial figure – he had financial difficulties and had wanted to marry a perempuan ronggeng (Abdullah Ahmad, 2016 p.141).  Tunku Abdul Rahman, who was then the Chief Minister of Malaya advised Sultan Abu Bakar against marrying this woman named Hathifah binte Abdul Rashid if he wanted to become the Yang DiPertuan Agong. Sultan Abu Bakar agreed.

However, Sultan Abu Bakar married Hathifah anyway and Tunku only discovered so when they were honeymooning in Hong Kong (Straits Times, 21st April 1957).

Being single is not a prerequisite for a Sultan or Raja to be elected to the throne of the Yang DiPertuan Agong.

Early this morning, the infamous portal Malaysiakini and the Malaysiakini-wanna-be Malay Mail Online both reported that the Sultan of Johor had declined the offer to become the next Yang DiPertuan Agong, quoting a Facebook page and not official sources.

It has been a norm that the Raja or Sultan with the most seniority would be considered as the candidate for the post of the Yang DiPertuan Agong.  All the nine states have since provided a Yang DiPertuan Agong and the list of seniority is as follows:

  1. The Yam DiPertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan,
  2. The Sultan of Selangor,
  3. The Raja of Perlis,
  4. The Sultan of Terengganu,
  5. The Sultan of Kedah,
  6. The Sultan of Kelantan,
  7. The Sultan of Pahang,
  8. The Sultan of Johor,
  9. The Sultan of Perak.

With the ascension of the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, as the ninth Yang DiPertuan Agong, a new official list was made based on the seniority of the states that have provided a Yang DiPertuan Agong previously.  Whether or not Johor was offered is not known but such offer could only be made had the Sultans of Kelantan and Pahang declined the nomination.  It would seem impossible for the Sultan of Kelantan to reject such offer only to accept it later when the one that should have been offered next is the Sultan of Perak.

Such is the uniqueness of the office of the Yang DiPertuan Agong that was institutionalised on the 31st August 1957.  It was first to be called the Yang DiPertuan Besar but was rejected by the Rulers Council in favour of Yang DiPertuan Agong.  Every five years the Rulers would meet to elect the next Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Timbalan Yang DiPertuan Agong.  Although some say that this is similar to that practised in the United Arab Emirates, the office of the President of the UAE is a hereditary office of absolute monarchies.  They are the government whereas in Malaysia the government is elected by the people and is dismissed by the people through general elections.  And unlike in the UAE, the Rulers council cannot dismiss a Prime Minister or anyone else without the advise of the Prime Minister.  Therefore, a recent attempt by Parti Pribumi member named Mahathir to get the Rulers Council to intervene and dismiss the Prime Minister is just a futile and cheap attempt to lie to the people of Malaysia.  Of course, there would be those mentally-challenged people who would believe that he is right.

With the election of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang DiPertuan Agong it is hoped that this would bring about a much better cooperation between the PAS-led Kelantan state government and the Barisan Nasional-led Federal government. Such cooperation would be very beneficial to not only the development and people of the state of Kelantan, but also to the Malays and Islam in Malaysia that are coming under constant attacks by Malay liberalistas, evangelists and chauvinistic politicians opposed to Malay unity and the position of Islam as the Religion of the Federation.

DAULAT TUANKU!

Kenapa Tidak Isytihar Darurat Bencana?

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Di atas adalah petikan takrif “Darurat Bencana” yang menjadi tajuk perbualan ramai terutamanya apabila keadaan banjir di lima negeri terutamanya negeri-negeri pantai timur Semenanjung menjadi lebih teruk. Dari takrif tersebut yang diberikan melalui Arahan Majlis Keselamatan Negara No.20, jelas bencana banjir yang melanda kita sekarang masih tidak menepati kehendak maksud “Darurat Bencana.”

Namun, masih ramai yang merasakan bahawa Perdana Menteri harus mengisytiharkan Darurat Bencana tanpa mengetahui akibat pengisytiharaan keadaan tersebut.

Untuk yang  tanya kenapa tiada pengisytiharaan darurat bencana, berikut adalah jawapannya: Sekiranya diisytiharkan darurat, mana-mana perkara yang boleh dituntut melalui insurans, tidak akan boleh dituntut termasuklah insurans bangunan dan kenderaan yang diambil untuk premium bencana. Untuk masa ini, di Kelantan, keseluruhan pembiayaan kos banjir telah diambil alih oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan sepenuhnya melalui agensi-agensi Kerajaan. Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana pun telah diambil alih oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan semalam hasil persertujuan pihak Kerajaan Negeri.

Ini adalah kerjasama Kerajaan Persekutuan dan Negeri di mana YAB MB Kelantan juga telah keluarkan kenyataan bahawa buat masa ini tiada keperluan untuk isytiharkan darurat dan semua pengisytiharan juga akan dibincangkan bersama dengan Kerajaan Persekutuan.

Pengisytiharan Darurat juga akan menyebabkan Kerajaan tidak boleh lagi menahan keluar pelabur yang telah membuat pelaburan sebelum ini di kawasan banjir tanpa apa-apa pampasan kepada pihak Kerajaan dan pekerja sekiranya tertakluk kepada perjanjian pelaburan.

Ia secara langsung beri impak kepada negeri tersebut.

Harap maklum.