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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Zaid: ISA unacceptable


OTHER STORIES: Hisham told to show sincerity / Umno racism, PAS ideology need check and balance: Koh
Kong See Hoh

OTHER STORIES : Shahrir: Umno not solely t blame for defeats

PETALING JAYA (April 28, 2008): Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says he finds the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has been regarded as draconian by the Opposition and the legal fraternity, unacceptable.

"I am against any unjust and harsh law, and ISA and OSA (Official Secrets Act) are unacceptable to me," the de facto law minister said of his stand on the two Acts during an interview with Nanyang Siang Pau.

"In fact, I have stated my stand (on these laws) in my books," he said.

ISA, a preventive detention law, was enacted on Aug 1, 1960, to replace the Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 that was meant to curb communist activities. It was amended in 1972.

Any person may be detained by the police under ISA for up to 60 days without trial for an act which allegedly prejudices the security of the country or any part thereof.

After 60 days, one may be further detained for a period of two years each, to be approved by the Home Minister, thus providing indefinite detention without trial.

Last Saturday (April 26), Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said preventive laws, such as the ISA, will not be abolished as they were needed for the purpose of maintaining public order.

He said countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom too have introduced such preventive laws.

"It (ISA) is not for the purpose of carrying out injustice but to protect the public's right to live in comfort without fearing for their lives," Syed Hamid said in response to a claim by PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would abolish preventive laws should they rule the country.

On Islamic laws, Zaid stressed all laws should be able to address the dissatisfaction and problems of various races in the country.

He pointed out that in a multiracial country, the government should seek the views of the people, instead of acting unilaterally.

"For example, in formulating the Federal Territories Islamic Family Law, the government must make sure that it also takes care of the interest of the non-Muslim community.

"Any party which proposes to charge a non-Muslim with zinah for committing adultery with a Muslim should state clearly under which law and section can this be done.

"No one should be allowed to express their views without basis," he said.

He, however, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, "is the right man to answer any question regarding Islamic laws".

Zaid, who owned the country's largest law firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co, before he gave up his practice upon being appointed a cabinet minister, agreed to the view that had the Barisan Nasional (BN) not suffered a big setback in the March 8 general election, the government may not have agreed to institute judiciary reforms.

Since his appointment to take charge of law, he has, apart from pushing for the judiciary reforms, proposed that the federal government apologise to victims of the 1988 judicial crisis.

Although the government has stopped short of apologising to the former judges, it has agreed to compensate them.

Zaid said he accepted the government's decision, saying an apology can take many forms.

Hisham told to show sincerity
PETALING JAYA (April 27, 2008): Several Chinese community leaders want Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to show that he is sincere in apologising over the keris incidents.

They said if he is sincere, he should use his position as the education minister to demonstrate that he is not a racist but a leader for all Malaysians.

Hishammuddin can walk the talk by, for example, reopening the original SJK (C) Damansara, reverting back to the use of mother-tongue language in the teaching of science and maths, they said.

They said unlike the kissing of the keris, which is done solemnly and gently, by kings during coronation ceremonies, Hishammuddin's wielding of the keris at Umno Youth's annual assemblies had strong racial overtones.

On Friday (April 25), Hishammuddin admitted the raising of the keris during the wing's annual assemblies was among the causes of the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s poor performance in the general election and apologised to non-Malays over the incidents.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) president Datuk Bong Hon Liong told Oriental Daily News Hishmmuddin's apology is "a good beginning" but felt that if he wants the Chinese to change their view about him, he has to walk the talk and show that he can look after the interest of all races.

Bong said Hishammuddin had promised before the general election to reopen SJK (C) Damansara and hoped it can be done this year.

KLSCAH chief executive officer Tan Ah Chai told the daily he has reservations about Hishammuddin's sincerity, saying the latter's action looked more like a political gesture. He said Hishammuddin did not really understand why people were not happy with him over the keris incidents.

Apart from wielding the keris, the people are not happy with his arrogance and body language while raising the weapon.

He said Hishammuddin's actions carried strong racial overtones.

Hua Zong (Federation of Chinese Associations of Malaysia) president Tan Sri Lim Gait Tong said in a statement that "Hua Zong would accept Hishammuddin's apology if it is made because he realised that his wielding of the keris has hurt the feelings and sensitivity of non-Malays and not just because theBN has suffered a big setback in the general election".

Lim hoped that Hishammuddin would consider the views of the masses in handling educational issues, especially the use of mother-tongue language in the teaching of science and mathematics.

Umno racism, PAS ideology need check and balance: Koh
PETALING JAYA (April 27, 2008):
Acting Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon says Umno racism and PAS' stand on Islamic theological state, which were subdued before the general election, are rearing their ugly heads again.

"Had they won big, it would have been more apparent, this is not right," he said in an interview with Sin Chew Daily.

He said the trend towards the two-party system in Malaysia in the wake of the general election is a good sign, but two-party (Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR)) system faces two major problems – racism and Islamic ideology.

He said BN faces racism, which has persisted and is festering, and to counter it, the coalition's component parties, especially multiracial Gerakan, must play the check and balance role.
PR, he said, faces the problem of PAS' Islamic ideology and its ultimate aim of creating a theological state. In this respect, DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have to check and balance PAS from within PR, he said.

On Selangor's centralised pig farming project, Koh said Umno seems to be stoking racial sentiments. He said Gerakan did not agree with some of the remarks uttered by Umno leaders over the issue.

For more stories, click the headlines in OTHER STORIES

Updated: 06:07PM Mon, 28 Apr 2008


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