Friday, December 30, 2005

What's at stake in the Moorthy case

Before we go on let me pause for a moment and recognize that perhaps we have lots of bloggers writing about the Moorthy case. Can we all take one step back and take a deep breath. Perhaps the issue here is not whether Moorthy was a Muslim or a Hindu. The issue here is that we have someone who is dead and two parties claim him. As far as I know his wife, yes the lady who was by his side till the day he died, claims he died a Hindu. The religious authorities claim he was Muslim.

The wife has nothing to gain by claiming that Moorthy died Hindu and the religious authorities stand to gain by claiming he was Muslim. After all they gain the corpse of a nationally renowned climber and they stand to disinherit his wife from his legacy, both financially and culturally.

So why do the rest of us take issue in this case of Islamo fascists versus Moorthy's next of kin? Well here's why.

1) The courts have no place deciding the religion of a person. The secular courts exist to enforce the secular laws of a country. A religious court exists to rule over Muslims. The secular courts must judge with the consent of the judged or else they must compel using force, which is why we have a police force and so on. Yet their jurisdiction is over Malaysians only or those who fall under the sway of Malaysian rule such as foreign drug dealers. the religious courts similarly rule over those of the religion. In determining whether Moorthy was Hindu or Muslim the religious court would have had no sway if Moorthy was Hindu and that was a question not for the court (even the secular) to decide. The court has, at best, the role of determining what his religion was. In this determination they should study the evidence as they best can to see what it was that occured. The courts have clearly usurped the right of every free man to decide for himself what his conscience will permit in the way of believe, be it whether he chooses to worship the moon, a cow or a stone .

2) That the man was clearly a Hindu at one time is self apparent. The religious authorities claimed he converted. Claims require proof and claims of such magnitude require proof of such magnitude. That no proof was produced before the court in the way of documentation and so on is appalling. That any lawyer can stand before a court and state that the syariah court has decided on something so no evidence is necessary is not compelling enough. The syariah court is neither responsible to us nor are we responsible to the syariah court. It's an internal Muslim club and what your club has decided stays in your little sector of society. The rest of us don't really give a damm. That a man could be robbed of his heritage without any evidence shows that the courts have lost their way. A judge cannot say it's like this because I feel it, the evidence has to be there to support it.

3) That our national religion would tussle over a dead man is troubling. If a national religion cannot act with dignity and treat the weakest in the society with magnamity then perhaps its time for it to retire and let someone else take a turn, assuming we need a national religion.

4) That a Muslim judge could be allowed to ehar a case like this is equally troubling. A judge should have been found who was neither Muslim nor Hindu. After all the role of any court in any land is to be an impartial arbiter in any situation. Was justice done?

All the issues together are very troubling. What's msot troubling is that the majority in Malaysia who claim the name of Muslim are not outraged that, on their behalf, the Islamic authorities have taken to body snatching. Is there no more space in Islam Hadhari for a sense of shame at doing wrong or are we supposed to consider this as an inshala (will of god) moment?

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Google News Pressure

When you visit a doctor, they take your blood pressure and that number helps to say something. Google News has an automagical way of telling you how much news pressure a story has.

So looking at Google News today we can see (screen shot)

That the Iraqi Elections have immense News Pressure. 2,716 is a lot of related articles for one news story. Being a news junkie I will usually click on a story I lack interest in if it has a news pressure of around 1,500. 1,500 is a level which already shouts that this story is circling the world. 2,716 is probably something like a tsunami type article or maybe if the leader of a major nation takes a bullet to the head.

That Google did not make it a leading story is already suspicious. Next we go to CNN:

CNN would like to tell us about a snow storm. Makes sense since a snow job would quite obscure the biggest news event of the day...News pressure? 331

Ok ok, maybe I'm reading too much into this. After all, CNN has a 'CNN International' (sounds like something from the ex-USSR...internationale) - News pressure? 694

Come on guys. News junkies need a fix of whats really in the news. Start giving us the news and stop trying to tell us what the news is....

Even Aljazeera puts it on the front page (with a suitable anti-US spin)

Monday, December 12, 2005


Now this is what I call sportsmanship. There are some weblog award things going on. Funny thing is for the humour/comics caterogy Cox&Forkum and Day by Day both featured a vote for the other guy comic. It's a tough category to vote since lots of the entries there are so deserving. The sportsmanship is surprising.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Cover up going strong

14 days (2 weeks) ago the Prime Minister stood before the Malaysian people and clearly stated 'there will be no cover ups' in the investigation of the prison case where a girl, whom we presume is a China national, is forced to do squats for no reason by a tudung clad poliecowman.

In the last 14 days I sum up what has been done to ensure there are no cover ups.

So far we have had a lot of excuses made and his deputy minister has taken a lot of heat by being a buffoon.

Till today we still know nothing more than the first day except that now we know the police are incapable of policing themselves. Tragically enough, apparently neither are those who are supposedly in control of the police force.

Let me repeat what a no cover up situation is:

1) Who was the blue tudung woman?

2) Who authorised this form of treatment of prisoners?

3) Who was in charge of the blue tudung woman all the way to the top?

4) Where does the buck stop?

5) How widespread is this practice

6) What's going to be done to ensure it doesn't happen again?

Until now there has been a defeaning silence. When the present prime minister came to office I was optimisitic that it wasn't a case of same shit different day. Apparently it is. It's the worse form of business as usual where the rights of the little man are trampled so that those at the top don't have to get their hands dirty with such things as accountability and hard work.

It's end of the year and one of the things we do is evaluations of the previous year. There is a Malay saying which states that the son is a lot like the father. In this case if those who are in charge of the police refuse to be accountable then how the hell can you expect the last cop down the line, the guy taking bribes from motorists, to show any accountability?


When you have nothing left to say in your defence then start doing random attacks since hopefully you'll create enough noise to confuse the issue.

BARISAN Nasional MPs questioned the rationale behind DAP making public a video clip showing a woman doing ear squats in the nude at a police station.

Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar said the police had already been probing the case before the DAP showed the clip to parliamentarians.

So much for 'no cover ups'. Clearly this is a cover up of the worst kind.

Noh Omar, spend your time finding out the answers to the questions the public has rather than being a buffoon in parliament.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Right vs Legal

I am very troubled. A girl was stripped naked and made to do ear squats. She had to do this where someone could see her. This is apparent since a video was made of the process and transmitted via cellphone. It shook the country.

Now those who are trying to make excuses are out in full force.

The first excuse was that the one guilty was the person who took the shots since its illegal to make such videos. Beside the point. Whether the person taking the video was guilty or not has no bearing on the horror of what was done.

Then they tried to say that this is standard practice in order to reveal concealed items. Yet we need to think very hard on that.

This is what Canada has to say about such searches.

14. Where a staff member believes on reasonable grounds that an inmate is carrying contraband in a body cavity, the staff member may not seize or attempt to seize that contraband, but will inform the Institutional Head.

15. Where the Institutional Head is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an inmate is carrying contraband in a body cavity and that a body cavity search is necessary in order to find or seize the contraband, the Institutional Head may authorize in writing a body cavity search to be conducted by a qualified medical practitioner, if the inmate's consent is obtained.

Why the heck do they need a qualified practitioner? Here's a good experiment. Shove some contraband up your butt and then do ten squats. Chances are unless you are trying to smuggle a grand piano into the lock-up it will not fall out. Well it could possibly fall out if you are aggresively gay with a very aggresive partner but this is not the kind of blog where we discuss that kind of thing.

After that, they told those who were unhappy that they could go home. Incidentally the deputy minister who uttered this has since been censured by the prime minister. He then said he accepted the verbal smackdown with an 'open heart'. Yeah an open heart like the dude in Indiana Jones who was sacrificed. Remember the guy who chants and then rips the guys heart out? Yeah an 'open heart' indeed.

Anyway that excuse doesn't hold. It's not about whether the victim was foreign or local. It's about how a public servant who earns public funds carried out their job or abused their position.

So the media tried to cast doubt on whether she was a foreigner and said she was a local arrested for a drug offence. Here's the news fools, it doesn't matter if she was local or foreign, and it sure doesn't matter what she was arrested for. The act was wrong.

Now apparently the discussion is heading to whether it was 'legal'. Without putting too fine a point on it let's just say that killing Jews in Nazi Germany and slavery were perfectly 'legal' at various points in history.

Why is it that we refuse to answer the fundamental questions:

1) Was this act right?

2) If it wasn't then what the heck are we as a nation going to do about it?

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