Jumaat, 23 Mei 2008

Call to ‘teach’ women on polygamy raises heckles

The Star, Friday May 23, 2008

THE discussion on problems afflicting the Syariah Courts caused a ruckus after Ibrahim Ali (Ind – Pasir Mas) called for a campaign on the concept of polygamy to be taught to all women to end such problems.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Affairs, Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, fielded questions from the Opposition on delays in settling Syariah cases with Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR – Ampang) saying it was “very painful” for a woman to have to go to court three separate times to settle a case.

“A woman has to go once for the divorce, once again for custody and again for property division. It is extremely painful for them.”

Fuziah Salleh (PKR – Kuantan) then asked if Syariah Court counsellors were qualified, pointing out that she had received numerous complaints about how the woman was always blamed for everything.

“They are not counselled but given 'advice.' And every time, they are told that the woman is to be blamed. If it is a family problem, they must be patient. If they are beaten up, they must also be patient,” she said.

As Ahmad Zahid was about to answer, Ibrahim stood up to say that such cases would not stop happening as the population was increasing and divorces were taking place daily.

“Such problems happen because women cannot accept polygamy. From a preventive point of view, what about doing a big campaign so that women can accept polygamy?” he asked.

Ibrahim said women did not understand that when they were pregnant for nine months, or had “problems” when they hit their 50s, their men still wanted to “have fun”.

“So the man wants to marry again, and the wife gets jealous and asks for a divorce.”

This caused Zuraida to stand up and say that a gender approach was very demeaning.

Ahmad Zahid agreed, saying: “That man is a male chauvinist.” To this, Ibrahim giggled.

When Ibrahim said that it was allowed from the Islamic point of view, Zuraida hit back and said men must be held to blame, too.

When the House finally calmed down, Ahmad Zahid said although prevention could also be looked into, what was important was to take care of the family.

Isnin, 19 Mei 2008

Zahid: No politicking in religious schools

The Star, Monday May 19, 2008


PUTRAJAYA: Religious teachers should leave their political differences outside the school compound and not sully the minds of their students with elements of politicking.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that while Muslims were allowed to differ on certain issues, religion should be a platform of unity, not division.

“We notice that there have been some activities in religious schools or kindergartens, which were planned with an inclination towards certain political parties.

“This should not be the case. Leave your differences outside the school gate.

“Differences among ourselves will only make us look weaker to third parties, who then take the opportunity to dispute the institution of the Malay sultanate and their jurisdiction over Islamic matters in the states,” he told reporters after launching a Teachers’ Day celebration for religious teachers here on Saturday.

Ahmad Zahid said as it was, there were already attempts in some Opposition-led states to replace certain imams in mosque and surau committees due to political differences.

“However, this should not be the case,” he said, referring to the transfer of Datuk Jamry Sury from the Perak Religious Department in particular after Pakatan Rakyat took over the state.

Jumaat, 9 Mei 2008

MCA hails court decision; Siti Fatimah Renounce Islam

The Star, Friday May 9, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA has welcomed the Penang Syariah High Court’s decision to allow Muslim convert Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to renounce Islam and revert to her original faith.

“This is a historic decision. It is a major step for a progressive, multi-racial and multi-cultural Malaysia. The MCA has always emphasised that religion is a personal matter and that it is the right of every Malaysian to choose his or her religion, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“It was Siti Fatimah’s right to embrace Islam and likewise, it is also her right to return to her original faith. This is a matter for her to decide and no one else,” MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said in a statement.

He added that the Penang Syariah High Court’s decision should be emulated by the other states to ease the predicament faced by other Malaysians for decades.

“It is hoped that with this decision, the cases of affected Malaysians would be resolved,” he added. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysians of all races and religions should accept the decision.

Zahid, who is in charge of religious affairs, said there was no law at the federal level to bar a convert from renouncing Islam. “Only one state, Negri Sembilan, has such law, and Penang does not have it,” he said.

Opposition Leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said it was Siti Fatimah’s right to return to her original religion. (But) the council should have more concern over the welfare of Muslim converts like her,” she added.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng described the judgment as a welcome move. He said freedom of religion was provided for under the Federal Constitution and, as such, a right accorded to every Malaysian.

PAS vice-president Nasharudin Mat Isa said renouncing Islam was forbidden, unless one had been forced to embrace Islam under duress.

“If one has embraced Islam out of one’s own free will, then one must be subject to Islamic law, and the law forbids the renouncing of Islam because it touches on one’s faith in the religion,” he said.

Sisters In Islam programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi said unresolved conversion issues have been going on for a long time and people had hoped that the judiciary and the authorities involved would resolve them.

“Our position is – once a person does not wish to remain in the religion, there is no point for the authorities to stop the person from opting out. This landmark case complies with the Islamic principles and the Federal Constitution, which guarantee the freedom of religion,” she said.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism said religious freedom was something dear to all.

Its president Datuk A. Vaithilingam said: “A person should have the freedom to profess and practise his or her religion without these administrative hurdles, enforced counselling and having to wait years for her own faith to be officially recognised.”

Bishop Dr Paul Tan, the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s chairman maintained that a person could go to the civil court, when he was not professing the religion, to get a similar decision. “We strongly believe that every individual has a moral right which is guaranteed by our Federal Constitution to choose a religion,” he said.

Khamis, 8 Mei 2008

Zahid: Accept Syariah Court's decision on convert

The Star, Thursday May 8, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians of all races and religions should accept the Penang Syariah High Court's decision to allow Muslim convert Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to renounce Islam and officially revert to her original faith.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is in charge of religious affairs, said there was no law at the federal level to bar a convert from renouncing Islam.

"Only one state, Negeri Sembilan, has such law; Penang does not have it," he said when asked to comment on Siti Fatimah's case.

Zahid also said Siti Fatimah had underwent counselling and the advisory council had also asked her to reconsider her decision, but to no avail.

"She has not practiced Islam since 1999," he said.

In a landmark ruling, the Penang Syariah High Court here allowed an application by Muslim convert Siti Fatimah, 39, to renounce Islam and officially revert to her original faith.

The decision by Perlis Syariah Court chief judge Othman Ibrahim, who presided over the case when he was based in Penang earlier, makes this the first case of its kind in the country whereby a living Muslim convert was allowed to renounce Islam since the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (State of Penang) Enactment 2004 came into force on Jan 1, 2006.

He granted Siti Fatimah a declaration that she was no longer a Muslim, and ordered the defendant, the state Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP), to cancel her certificate of conversion to Islam.

Opposition Leader Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said that a person's faith was something that was accorded to every individual.

"It is her right to return to her original religion.

"The state islamic religious council should show more concern over the welfare of Muslim converts like Siti Fatimah," she said.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng described it as "a welcomed move".

He said that the freedom of religion was provided under the Federal Constitution and as such, was the right accorded to every Malaysian.

"This is a judicial decision and should be respected.

"But then again some quarters, especially if they are non-Muslims, are bound to ask if the Syariah Court should pursue such cases," he said.

He said it was more important, however, to ensure justice for all Malaysians regardless of their faith.

Isnin, 5 Mei 2008

Zahid: Ngeh should be stripped of datukship

The Star, Monday May 5, 2008

KUALA LUMUR: It is wajib (compulsory) for Perak senior executive councillor Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham to be stripped of his datukship for going against the Perak Sultan’s call for the reinstatement of Datuk Jamry Sury, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said that Ngeh, in his statement on Saturday, seemed to have gone against the Sultan’s wishes for Jamry, the Perak Religious Department director, to be reinstated.

He likened Ngeh’s act to that of treason.

“This strong anti-Sultan sentiment is the real trait of the DAP, and it can no longer hide its true self.

“The DPMP award received by Ngeh should be withdrawn because of his attitude in challenging the Sultan’s call,” he said.

On Saturday, Ngeh reportedly said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin had reason to transfer Jamry.

Ngeh, who is the Perak DAP chief, said the state government had encountered several civil servants who were not co-operating with the Pakatan Rakyat administration and that such civil servants should resign.

He had said the state government would act against those who sabotaged the state policies.

Ahad, 4 Mei 2008

Ada yang nak ‘tembak’ Zahid Hamidi dengan buku dan VCD…

Agendadaily Mei 03 2008

Pendedahan Jenayah Ahmad Zahidi Hamidi itulah tajuk buku yang dikesan sedang diedarkan secara percuma kebelakangan ini.

Buku yang diterbitkan atas nama Anak Kelantan Prihatin itu memuatkan dakwaan seorang lelaki bernama Amir Bazli Abdullah yang didakwa dipukul oleh Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri itu sehingga menyebabkan kecederaan kekal di wajahnya.

Kejadian itu berlaku di Country Height,Kajang pada 16 Januari 2006. Laporan mengenainya pernah keluar dalam beberapa buah akhbar dan internet.

Waktu kejadian itu Zahid ialah Timbalan Menteri Penerangan.

Selain Zahid semasa kejadian itu ada beberapa orang lain termasuk anak lelaki dan menantu beliau.

Wartawan Agendadaily mendapat satu naskah buku itu pada malam berlangsung mesyuarat Dewan Tertinggi Barisan Nasional di tingkat 38 PWTC Selasa lalu.

Sewaktu berjalan menuju ke menara Dato Onn di mana terletaknya ibupejabat UMNO seorang rakan menunjukkan sampul surat berisi sebuah buku kecil dan sekeping VCD.

Katanya ada orang yang letak sebilangan naskah buku dan VCD dekat sebuah tangga di bangunan itu.

Ikut ceritanya ia ditemui pada hari berlangsung mesyuarat Majlis Tertinggi UMNO di situ petang Isnin.

Ini adalah taktik biasa mereka yang nak sebarkan bahan-bahan seperti itu.

Berdasarkan dakwaan Amir Bazli dalam rakaman yang dipaparkan dalam VCD itu insiden dia dipukul itu berpunca daripada hubungan cintanya dengan anak Zahid bernama Nuruhidayah yang tidak direstui.

Difahamkan waktu itu Nuruhidayah masih bersuami.Namun rumahtangga mereka dikatakan menjadi tegang ekoran hubungan itu.

Berdasarkan cerita yang dipaparkan, Amir Bazli memberikan perincian peristiwa yang berlaku bermula dengan perkenalannya dengan Nurulhidayah sehinggalah kepada insiden beliau didakwa menculik Nurulhidayah dan anaknya.

Untuk rekod, Amir Bazli pernah menjadi anggota konvoi motosikal besar yang diketuai oleh Zahid dan gambar mereka berdua dimuatkan dalam buku berkenaan.

Bagi menguatkan dakwaannya, Amir Bazli memuatkan beberapa dokumen seperti laporan polis, laporan perubatan Hospital USM Kubang Kerian, surat menyurat dengan pihak polis dan pejabat Peguam Negara, afidavit penafian Zahid, serta bukti penyewaan rumah tempat beliau didakwa mengurung Nurulhidayah yang dokumen penyewaan itu ditandatangani oleh Nurulhidayah sendiri sebagai saksi.

Selain itu, buku tersebut turut memuatkan gambar-gambar Amir Bazali dengan Nurulhidayah dan anaknya (cucu Zahid) semasa mereka berada di Kelantan sebagai menguatkan hujahnya menafikan Nurulhidayah diculik olehnya dan dilarikan ke Kelantan.

Antara gambarnya menunjukkan Amir Bazli sedang bermain dalam kolam renang dengan anak Nurulhidayah.

Gambar yang disiarkan dalam buku berkenaan agak berkualiti kerana cetakan buku itu dan VCD berkenaan adalah berkualiti tinggi. Ia bukan jenis cetakan fotokopi yang kebiasaannya oleh mereka yang mengedar surat layang.

Secara keseluruhannya, buku tersebut selain penuh dengan dakwaan tentang apa yang berlaku ialah untuk meminta pihak yang berkuasa untuk memberikan keadilan kepada Amir Bazli.

Kesimpulan yang boleh dibuat ia satu usaha terancang dan sasarannya ialah Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri itu.

Malah sebelum pilihanraya umum baru ini timbul cakap-cakap karier politik Zahid mungkin terjejas kerana insiden berkenaan.

Namun ia meleset.Beliau bertanding semula di kerusi parlimen Bagan Datoh dan kemudiannya dilantik pula sebagai menteri.

Soalnya kenapa sekarang tiba-tiba ada usaha pihak tertentu untuk ' tembak' Zahid mengunakan buku dan VCD insiden itu?

Zahid nampak tenang saja ketika Agendadaily kebetulan bersua dengannya dekat pintu masuk bangunan Parlimen pagi Rabu sebelum sidang Dewan Rakyat hari pertama bermula.

"Apa cerita ni?,"katanya secara berjenaka ketika merujuk kepada laporan ringkas Agendadaily bertajuk "Buku Jenayah Menteri" yang disiarkan hari itu yang telah dibacanya.

Lepas itu dengan nada yang lebih serius menteri itu mengakui beliau sudah tahu mengenai pengedaran buku dan VCD itu.

"Ini semua cerita lama… polis dah siasat …tujuh orang anggota polis datang ambil keterangan dari saya.Dalam parlimen pun pernah dibangkitkan.Ada suratkhabar yang dah laporkannya.

"Sekarang dah tak ada apa…. bagi saya ia bermotif politik.Saya dilantik menteri dan kemudiannya ada orang cakap saya nak bertanding Naib Presiden UMNO…mulanya semua ini keluar balik,"katanya.

Menjawab satu soalan Zahid berkata Perdana Menteri dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri tahu mengenai kes itu.

Kepada soalan lain beliau mengakui berada di tempat kejadian dimana Ahmad Bazli mendakwa dia dipukul.

Zahid menjelaskan kes itu melibatkan banyak hal-hal tidak dapat diceritakannya kerana ia terlalu peribadi.

"Bagaimana saya nak ceritakan supaya semua orang faham sedangkan banyak yang tidak dapat saya ceritakan kepada umum,"katanya.

Beliau seterusnya bertanya, "cuba bayangkan saudara ada anak perempuan yang berdepan dengan keadaan itu.Ada hal yang kita boleh ceritakan kepada umum dan ada yang memang kita tak boleh.Masalahnya bila gambaran sebenar tidak dapat diberi orang boleh putarbelitkan macam-macam cara."

Menurut Zahid sebelum ini ada kalangan rakan politik termasuk ahli parlimen yang bertanya sendiri kepada beliau mengenai kes itu.

"Selepas saya jelaskan keadaan sebenarnya… mereka baru faham,"katanya.

Zahid juga beritahu kepada Agendadaily secara off the record beberapa hal mengenainya untuk menjelaskan apa yang dimaksudkannya sebagai terlalu peribadi itu.-