Pas' Conditions Unacceptable - Hishammuddin
He said among the conditions PAS set were that the ministry would only provide the funding for them but supervision would still be under PAS' control.
"This brings us back to square one. Accepting such a condition will be stupidity on our part," he told reporters after attending an Aidiladha celebration at the home of Semerak Assemblyman Datuk Kamaruddin Mohd Noor here today.
In the middle of this year, the PAS-run Kelantan government through its Yayasan Islam Kelantan (YIK) foundation submitted a memorandum to the ministry stipulating its conditions for the handing over of the schools, which have a total enrolment of some 35,000 pupils, mostly from rural areas.
Hishammuddin added that to date, only Kelantan refused to allow the ministry to run such schools.
Kelantan is the only opposition run state in the federation.
Imam Muslim adalah antara ulamak yang terkenal dengan pendapat tidak harus menggunakan hadis dhoif pada semua keadaan, sekalipun pada fadhail amalan. Bahkan beliau juga menganggap tidak harus meriwayatkan hadis yang dhoif. Ini dapat diketahui dengan tulisan beliau dalam muqaddimah kitab sohih beliau. Beliau juga menganggap meriwayatkan hadis daripada perawi yang dhoif adalah berdosa dan merupakan penipuan kepada kaum muslimin.
Beliau berkata: “Bila mana perawi hadis bukanlah orang yang benar dan amanah, dan orang yang mengetahuinya pula meriwayatkan daripadanya, dan dia pula tidak memberitahu orang lain (yang tidak mengetahui) tentang keadaan perawi tadi, maka dia berdosa dengan perbuatannya itu, dan menipu kaum muslimin. Ini kerana akan ada orang yang mendengar hadis tersebut menggunakannya atau menggunakan sebahagiannya. Dan boleh jadi hadis-hadis itu atau kebanyakan hadis itu adalah (palsu) tiada asasnya… Sebelum itu, beliau ada membawa satu hadis daripada Abu Hurairah bahawa Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda: “Akan ada di akhir zaman, dajal-dajal pendusta, yang akan membawa kepada kamu hadis yang mana kamu dan orang-orang tua kamu tidak pernah dengar. Berwaspadalah dengan mereka, janganlah (sampai) mereka menyesatkan kamu dan memfitnah kamu” .
Beliau juga membawa perkataan Imam Yahya bin Said al-Qattan: “Kami tidak melihat orang yang paling dusta dalam hadis berbanding para solihin”. Ertinya pendustaan berlaku di lidah-lidah mereka, padahal mereka bukannya sengaja berdusta. Imam Nawawi dalam memberikan komentar kepada perkara ini berkata: “Ini kerana mereka tidak memahami cara ahli hadis, lalu berlaku kesilapan dalam hadis-hadis (yang mereka riwayatkan), dan mereka tidak mengetahuinya, lalu mereka meriwayatkan pendustaan, sedangkan mereka tidak mengetahui bahawa ia adalah pendustaan .
Pandangan Imam Nawawi Terhadap Beramal Dengan Hadis Dhoif
Imam Nawawi adalah antara ulamak yang mengharuskan menggunakan hadis dhoif pada fadhail amalan. Namun beliau sebagaimana ulamak-ulamak yang lain tidak mengharuskan menggunakan hadis dhoif pada hokum halal dan haram. Berkata Imam Nawawi: "Berkata para ulamak daripada kalangan muhaddisin, fuqaha dan lain-lain bahawa harus dan disunatkan mengunakan hadis dhoif pada fadhail, targhib, tarhib selagi ia bukan hadis palsu. Adapun hukum-hakam seperti halal dan haram, jualan, nikah cerai dan sebagainya, maka tidak boleh diamalkan melainkan hadis yang sohih atau hasan" .
Antara contoh praktikal daripada beliau ialah, dalam menghuraikan hadis riwayat Imam Muslim dalam bab: “Suruhan Supaya Tenang Ketika Sembahyang Dan Larangan Mengisyaratkan Tangan Dan Mengangkatkannya Ketika Salam” beliau berkata: “Berdasarkan hadis ini, adalah sunnah ketika memberi salam sembahyang untuk mengucapkan “Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah” di sebelah kanan dan “Assalamualaikum Warahmatullah” di sebelah kiri. Dan tidak disunatkan menambah: “Wabarakatuh”, sekalipun ada hadis yang dhoif yang menunjukkan demikian, dan disaran
Contoh kedua, beliau menganggap bahawa yang sebenarnya tidak dikenakan kifarat kepada orang yang bersetubuh dengan isteri semasa haid, sekalipun terdapat hadis marfu' daripada Ibnu Abbas: "Sesiapa yang mendatangi isterinya semasa haid, maka bersedekahlah dengan satu dinat atau setengah dinar". Ini kerana hadis itu dhoif dengan sepakat ulamak hadis. Sohih Muslim, Imam Nawawi, juz 1, m/s 474.
Contoh ketiga, beliau menganggap pendapat yang mewajibkan mandi kepada orang yang memandikan mayat adalah pendapat yang syaz dan tidak kuat, sekalipun terdapat hadis daripada Abu Hurairah bahawa: "Sesiapa yang memandikan mayat, maka hendaklah dia mandi", kerana hadis itu adalah hadis yang dhoif dengan sepakat ulamak. Sohih Muslim, Imam Nawawi, juz 2, m/s 356.
Dan bila hadis itu terlalu dhoif, sekalipun banyak thoriqnya, maka Imam Nawawi tidak akan menggunakannya. Sebagai contoh, dalam muqaddimah kitab Matan Arbain, beliau membawa hadis yang menyatakan kelebihan menjaga empat puluh hadis kepada umat, dan kemudiannya beliau menyatakan bahawa sepakat ulamak menggunakan hadis dhoif pada fadhail amalan. Tetapi akhirnya beliau berkata: "walau bagaimana pun, aku tidaklah berpegang (dalam membuat buku hadis 40) kepada hadis ini, tetapi kepada hadis "Hendaklah yang hadir menyampaikan kepada yang tidak hadir"… Dan hadis ini adalah hadis yang sohih.
 Lihat: Muqaddimah Sohih Muslim, tahqiq Syeikh Khalil Ma'mun Syiha, Darul Ma'rifah,
 Ibid: m/s 37.
 Ibid: m/s 54.
 Lihat al-Azkar an-Nawawi, m/s 28.
Tuan Mohd Sapuan Tuan Ismail, http://tasekpauh.blogspot.com/ UPI, KIAS, 0136353463
My sympathies for the A-G - Rocky's Bru
Attempted murder charges against 'Hindraf 31' dropped
The Times of India, Dec 17 - Malaysian prosecutors on Monday dropped attempted murder charges against 31 ethnic Indians who took part in a massive anti-government demonstration, a step that might assuage the feelings of the community protesting their alleged marginalisation in the Muslim-majority country.
Amid cheers and applause from relatives and friends of the detainees, Attorney-General Gani Patail also dropped all charges against five students who were part of the group of 31 activists of the non-governmental organisation Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), arrested last month.
The charges of causing mischief and illegal assembly remain against 26 of the protesters, all of whom pleaded guilty at the Klang Sessions Court this morning.
All 26 were freed on bail, and will go on trial on December 27.
The so-called 'Hindraf 31' were slapped with the attempted murder charge, punishable by 20 years in jail, for allegedly injuring a policeman during the rally outside Batu Caves, which houses the temple of Lord Murugan.
Hindraf had given the call for the rally, declared as "illegal" by the government, which saw over 20,000 ethnic Indians assemble in front of the iconic Petronas twin towers and outside the Batu Caves on November 25 to protest alleged marginalisation of the community in the multi-racial country.
"I could be very strict but I don't think this is the time to be that strict," Gani Patail said adding that freeing them would be the "best course of action" in the public and national interest.
Agencies, Dec 15 - Ayman al-Zawahri, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, has purportedly condemned Arab leaders who attended the recent US-sponsored Middle East conference in the
Al-Zawahri said: "The
"The tsar of Washington, the crusader, brought together 16 Arab countries and their paralysed league [as well as] Amr Moussa, the secretary-general, to sit at a table with the Israelis."
He also denounced the government of Hosni Mubarak, the president of
The message was the 15th tape or video released by al-Zawahri this year, following an audiotape released in November in which he criticised Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, and announced that fighters in Libya were joining ranks with al-Qaeda.
However, the latest 20-minute statement has not been independently verified.
ISA dragnet: 'Gov't is desperate'
MalysiaKini - Dec 13, 07 -
-The government’s decision to invoke the Internal Security Act (ISA) against Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders is an act of desperation, said an opposition party today.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party “unreservedly condemns the arrests.”
"We urge the government to unconditionally release them and charge them in an open court if they've committed a crime. At least, we can use proofs and evidences," he added.
He was responding to the arrests of Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar, lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and organising secretary T Vasanthakumar.
The five were picked up from various locations in
According to Lim, who is a former ISA detainee himself, the government invoked the security law in desperation to silence dissent.
"We think the government is desperate to use the ISA,” he told a press conference in Parliament. “ Even though they claim they have proofs, they haven't made them public," he added.
The opposition leader also described the arrest and detention of the five, who have been sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre to be held for two years, as “purely evil mala fide.”
"They first need to go through 60 days in detention. If the authorities feel that they are still a threat to the nation, their detention can be extended for another two years," he said.
The five were detained under Section 8(1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi signed the detention orders.
Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he is suspected to have "acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."
After 60 days, the minister can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.
Citing DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran's suspension, Lim said: "We're also very sad that while preventive detention is used outside Parliament, an Indian MP has been also prevented from voicing out (inside Parliament)."
"The suspension, on flimsy and baseless grounds, shows the growing intolerance towards Indian voices," he added.
Explaining that he did not agree with Hindraf's allegations that "ethnic cleansing" and genocide had taken place in the country, Lim, however, said Hindraf's statement on the grievances of Indians "is real."
He said DAP will be calling for an emergency central committee working meeting to address the issue.
"As a first step, we want to take the legal step by filing a habeas corpus," he said, adding that the party has also planned to set up a support group to assist the families of the detainees.
He is not only weak, but..
Rakyat diajak segera ganti kerajaan tidak bertamadun
PutraJaya, Reuters, Dec 12 - Malaysia denied on Wednesday it was a police state, despite launching the biggest crackdown on anti-government activists in a decade.
Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told Reuters the government was merely trying to ensure public safety in enforcing a blanket ban on street protests that has prompted opposition groups to accuse it of political repression ahead of a possible early election.
"We have never been a police state," he said in an interview in his office in the sprawling the administrative capital of Putrajaya.
"To say Malaysia is heading into a police state is an untrue statement and is an exaggeration, especially under our current PM. He is very careful, open and transparent. I think there is a limit to everything."
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi raised the country's expectations for reform when he took office in 2003, vowing to fight corruption and usher in more transparent, open government.
Four years later, frustrations at the slow progress of his reform agenda, coupled with discontent over rising living costs, have boiled over into the biggest street protests in nine years.
More than 20,000 people defied riot police and took to the streets of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, in two separate protests over the past five weeks, on issues that chimed with the clamour for reform: fairer politics and more equal race relations.
The last major rally, staged by more than 10,000 ethnic Indians complaining of racial discrimination, drew world attention, particularly from India, whose prime minister voiced sympathy for the plight of the Indian diaspora in Malaysia.
Syed Hamid, who now has the job of explaining Malaysia's actions to the world, said the government tolerated criticism but street protests risked public security and stability.
"You have to distinguish between riotous behaviour and open and transparent discussion," he said. "There is no problem with open and transparent discussion."
He also showed irritation at a media report that the U.S. State Department had also expressed criticism of the crackdown.
"If you look at every developed country, they don't tolerate riotous behaviour," he said, citing the large deployments of riot police in Western capitals during international summits such as the Asia Pacific Economic Forum and the World Trade Organisation.
"During APEC or WTO meetings, they close up roads in order not to allow demonstrators. We are (doing) nothing more than that."
Washington said Kuala Lumpur should allow freedom of expression and peaceful assemblies.
"We have repeatedly raised with Malaysian authorities our belief that citizens of any country should be allowed to peacefully assemble and express their views," Nancy Beck, U.S. State Department spokeswoman said in a remark originally reported by AFP.
"We also stated in our human rights report our belief that the Malaysian government places significant restrictions on the right to assemble peacefully."
Opposition parties and non-governmental bodies issued a joint statement on Wednesday seeking an urgent meeting with Abdullah to discuss the "recent crises" and press for national unity.
"We intend to purse the agenda of national unity and reconciliation ..., press on with our demands for free and fair elections, and work towards resolving the serious national problems we face," said de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The risk of street protests turning into riots is a real fear among many Malaysians, particularly those who lived through the last major eruption of racial violence in Kuala Lumpur in 1969.
Hundreds died in those riots between ethnic Malays, who make up most of the population, and ethnic Chinese. The current prime minister played a leading role in the immediate aftermath of that crisis to find a political solution to the racial troubles.
But the opposition accuses Abdullah now of using public order and the memory of 1969 as an excuse to stifle peaceful dissent.
In seeking to protect public security, police moved last weekend in the early morning to halt an annual human-rights march by just 60 people in the near-deserted streets of Kuala Lumpur.
Syed Hamid accused Anwar, sacked and jailed after he fell out with the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998, of instigating and organising the protests.
"When you start to instigate and you start to throw aspersion that can cause people to get emotional ... to organise demonstrations is not good. We have been very tolerant of him."
Beliau menjelaskan penangkapan 'operasi padam' sedang dijalankan untuk menakut dan memadam semangat rakyat dari menuntut keadilan.
Ceramah dimulai dengan ulasan oleh Sdr Mahfuz Omar
Diikuti oleh Sdr Hanipa
Sdr Mohamad Sabu memberi taklimat dan penerangan
Diakhiri dengan doa munajat kepada Allah swt oleh Ust Ahmad Awang
Ketua Pemuda PAS, Salahuddin Ayub menyeru semua pihak supaya menghantar sebanyak-banyak mesej pesanan ringkas (SMS) kepada saudara-mara dan rakan-rakan bagi memastikan kehadiran masing-masing untuk mengiringi mereka yang akan didakwa itu.
"Kita penuhi sekitar mahkamah Jalan Duta pagi ini bagi mengiringi sahabat dan rakan kita yang akan didakwa," katanya.
Ketua Penerangan PAS, Haji Mahfuz Omar pula menyeru semua ahli dan penyokong berkumpul seawal mungkin di mahkamah Jalan Duta dengan memakai t-shirt Bersih atau sekurang-kurangnya baju kuning.
"Mohamad Sabu, Tia Chua dan lain-lain ditahan semata-mata kerana menuntut pilihan raya yang adil dan bersih. Hari ini, kita buktikan solidariti kita dengan mereka. Pastikan kehadiran kita untuk mengiringi mereka dengan memakai t-shirt Bersih atau sekurang-kurangnya baju kuning," tegas beliau.
Mohamad Sabu ditangkap pihak polis di Plaza Tol Bukit Tambun, Seberang Perai Selatan, kira-kira pukul 8.45 malam tadi.
Sebelum itu, beliau dikepung oleh kira-kira enam buah kereta peronda polis berdekatan Sunway City di Ipoh ketika dalam perjalanan membawa rombongan perkahwinan anak perempuannya menuju ke rumah pengantin lelaki.
Setelah peguam Asmuni Awi yang juga Ahli Jawatankuasa PAS Pusat berunding dengan polis yang mengepungnya, Pengarah Jawatankuasa Perhimpunan Aman Rakyat anjuran Bersih 10 November lalu itu telah dibenarkan pulang ke Butterworth dengan diiringi konvoi polis dan diminta menyerah diri di balai polis di sana.
Sebaik tiba di Plaza Tol Bukit Tambun, keluarga dan rakan-rakan yang mengiringi Mohamad Sabu berusaha menyekat polis dari menangkap beliau.
Bagaimanapun, dengan menggunakan kekerasan, polis pencegah rusuhan (FRU) berjaya memecahkan sekatan keluarga dan rakan-rakan Mohamad Sabu.
Oleh kerana beliau enggan turun dari keretanya, polis memecahkan cermin kereta Mohamad Sabu, merentap beliau bersama tiga yang lain di dalam kereta itu, digari seperti penjenayah lalu dipaksa ke IPD Seberang Perai Selatan.
Setelah mengetahui penangkapan itu, lebih seribu penyokong berhimpun di sekitar ibu pejabat polis daerah itu. Kira-kira separuh dari mereka ialah penyokong-penyokong berbangsa India.
Tidak lama selepas itu, Mohamad Sabu dipercayai dibawa ke Kuala Lumpur untuk dibicarakan pagi ini.
Tian Chua pula telah ditangkap oleh Ketua Inspektor Koh Fei Chew dari Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah, Bukit Aman di Pejabat Suaram di Johor Bahru, jam 5:15 petang semalam.
Kedua-dua mereka dipercayai ditangkap di bawah Seksyen 27(5)(a) Akta Polis.
KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Dis, 12:25 am (Hrkh) - Selepas melalui proses yang cukup mendebarkan sejak jam 3 petang semalam, akhirnya Naib Presiden PAS, Mohamad Sabu disahkan berjaya ditangkap pihak polis di Plaza Tol Bukit Tambun, Seberang Perai Selatan, kira-kira pukul 8.45 malam tadi.
Beliau kemudiannya dibawa ke Ibu Pejabat Polis Seberang Perai Selatan, di Jawi, Nibong Tebal, Pulau Pinang, untuk tindakan lanjut.
Difahamkan, semasa berhenti di plaza tol berkenaan, pihak keselamatan cuba melakukan kekerasan, dengan mengugut untuk memecahkan cermin kereta apabila Mohamad Sabu dan rombongannya yang diiringi polis dari Ipoh, Perak enggan "menyerah".
Ketika Mohamad Sabu dibawa ke IPD Nibong Tebal, hampir 1,000 orang penyokong dan pemimpin PAS sekitar Pulau Pinang, Perak dan Kedah sudah berkumpul di sana. Sepasukan FRU, membabitkan lebih 100 anggita juga dikerah untuk mengawal keadaan.
Tanpa menunggu lama, Naib Presiden PAS itu kemudiannya segera dibawa keluar dengan sebuah kereta Proton Wira, dipercayai ke Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur. Beliau yang duduk di kerusi belakang kereta itu, kelihatan diapit oleh dua anggota polis berpakaian preman, jam 10.30 malam.
Mohamad Sabu cuba ditahan polis dalam perjalanan pulang ke Pulau Pinang, berdekatan Sunway City, Tambun, Perak, sebaik sahaja selesai menghadiri kenduri kahwin anak perempuannya di rumah pengantin lelaki lebih kurang jam 3 petang semalam. Dipercayai beliau ditahan di bawah Akta Polis, Seksyen 27(5)(a), ekoran perhimpunan aman anjuran Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) di hadapan Istana Negara, 10 November lalu.
Harakah - 3 tragedi 9 Disember: Malaysia menuju sebuah Negara Polis - TG Hj Abdul Hadi
Secreenshots - Arrested: Bar Council Human Rights Chief & Deputy
Anwar Ibrahim - Sunday arrests render hollow Prime Minister's claims of a democratic Malaysia
Forum TKO - BERMULANYA OPERASI LALANG.. MAT SABU KENA TANGKAP
Update 9.15 pm: Mohamad Sabu akhirnya ditangkap, kata Ketua Penerangan PAS, Haji Mahfuz Omar yang menerima panggilan telefon dari peguam yang mengiringi Mohamad Sabu ke Butterworth, Asmuni Awi. Asmuni memberitahu, polis mahu memecahkan kereta Mohamad Sabu (Naza Ria) untuk menangkapnya di Tol Bukit Tambun.
Apabila saya menelefon Kassim, adik Mohamad Sabu, isterinya memberitahu, polis akhirnya menunda atau menarik (towing) kereta yang dinaiki Mohamad Sabu ke balai polis. Mohamad Sabu tetap enggan turun. Kassim tidak dapat menjawab panggilan telefon kerana sedang memandu. Beliau ditugaskan membawa balik saudara-mara perempuan ke Guar Petai.
Update 8.37 pm: Masih di Tol Bukit Tambun. Kak Normah menghantar SMS menyatakan saudara-mara dan rakan-rakan yang mengiringi mereka sedang berusaha membawa Mohamad Sabu balik Guar Petai. FRU sudah datang. Mohamad Sabu enggan keluar dari keretanya.
Kassim memberitahu, polis sedang berusaha untuk menarik atau menunda kereta yang dinaiki abangnya. Kak Normah pula menelefon dan menyatakan rasa tidak puas hatinya terhadap tindakan polis. "Polis apa ni? Akta apa ni?" katanya. Kedengaran suara Kak Timah (kakak Mohamad Sabu) mengamuk.
Update 8.25 pm: Walaupun polis mengepung Mohamad Sabu di Tol Bukit Tambun, tetapi masih belum dapat ditangkap. Lebih kurang 13 kereta (menurut Mohd Nasir Mustafa yang berada di sana) saudara-mara dalam rombongan pengantin perempuan ke Ipoh tadi dan juga rakan-rakan dari Ipoh mengepung kereta Mohamad Sabu dan menyukarkan polis bertindak untuk menangkap beliau. Kesemua adik-beradik Mohamad Sabu sedang bersama-samanya. Sementera itu di rumahnya di Guar Petai, para penyokong PAS mula berhimpun dan menanti arahan.
Update 7.50 pm: Baru menelefon Kak Normah, isteri Mohamad Sabu. Tidak seperti sepatutnya, konvoi polis yang mengiringi Mohamad Sabu dari Ipoh ke Butterworth tidak melalui Tol Juru, tetapi mengambil jalan yang melalui Tol Bukit Tambun. Menurut Mohd Nasir, besar kemungkinan polis mahu menangkap Mohamad Sabu di Butterworth. Mungkin salinan asal waran tangkap ada dengan polis Butterworth. Setakat ini, masih tersangkut di tol Bukit Tambun.
From AlJazeera - by Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst
"Dishonest", "misleading", "lying" and "spinning" are just some of the measured adjectives used in the mainstream US media to characterise George Bush, the president, and Stephen Hadley, his national security adviser, after they embraced the damning National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) summary report on Iran as proof of the effectiveness and success of the administration's Tehran policy.
The NIE judges "with high confidence that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons programme", and that "Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear weapons programme suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005".
It further said that "...Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs". And that "this NIE does not assume that Iran intends to acquire nuclear weapons".
The White House seems to have known of much of this and more for some time, but chose to escalate the war rhetoric against Tehran.
Depending on which version of the story one believes, the White House knew about the "discovery" any time between last spring and summer.
Even when new intelligence compelled the National Intelligence Board (NIB) to make a 180-degree change in its estimate, rendering the Iranian threat anything but imminent, administration officials continued to speak of the threat of Iran's nuclear weapons programme until hours before its publication.
The White House sent its third carrier into the Gulf transforming its "crisis management" mode with Iran into direct "confrontation management" and sealing the war scenario against Tehran when the decision comes down.
President Bush also warned during a news conference on October 17 that an Iranian nuclear bomb could lead to "world war three" and asked Congress to pass the highest defence budget in the history of the country, mostly under the guise of an imminent Iranian threat that he knew did not exist.
In a repeat of the dreadful and misleading escalation against Iraq prior to its 2003 invasion, the Bush administration escalated the war rhetoric against Tehran even though it knew with high confidence that it had no programme, no capability and, with moderate confidence, no intention of developing a nuclear weapons programme.
The leading presidential candidates followed suit.
Rudy Giuliani claimed: "As we all know, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and they're threatening to use them."
Likewise, Senator John McCain insisted: "There's no doubt that [Iran is] moving forward with the acquisition of a nuclear weapon."
And Hillary Clinton, before giving the president another vote of confidence to go to war, insisted that "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is in the forefront of that, as they are in the sponsorship of terrorism."
To the surprise of many Western observers, it turns out that the policies of the Iranian and Iraqi leaders were based on realistic "cost and benefit" grounds, not the irrational behaviour Washington accused them of as dangerous and unpredictable crazies.
On the other hand, the Bush administration's war policies towards Iraq and Iran have proven to be hardly cost and benefit driven even when calculating the oil and strategic interests.
Worse, the Bush administration lost all credibility when it went on to intimidate its allies and foes alike to punish Iran. It also attacked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Mohamed ElBaradai, its director, for being soft on Iran, knowing all too well that they have been right all along.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of sate, told ElBaradei that his body was not "in the business of diplomacy".
ElBaradei, to his credit, has long believed Iran possessed no nuclear weapons programme and made a deal under which it would answer long-standing questions about its nuclear activities.
According to Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bush knew about the new information regarding Iran's nuclear programme, because he and his deputy on the committee were also informed, albeit in a more general manner, by the intelligence community.
Gary Sick, a US-based Iran expert, estimates that the president might have known some nine months ago, when according to him the Iranian deputy defence minister defected to the West.
On November 14, Mike McConnell, NIE director, told the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars that he was not going to make his report public. Which begs the question, why has the White House allowed the publication of this embarrassing report?
Two possible scenarios have surfaced since the publication:
First, Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, insisted on it. The Pentagon finances most of the programmes and departments that contribute to the NIE database.
Unlike the 2005 pro-war Rumsfeld, Gates does not want another Middle Eastern war as he told Congress recently, especially in light of the debacle in Iraq.
Second, it seems that congressional leaders who oppose Bush's Iran policy insisted that it be publicised after hearing or reading some of its preliminary conclusions.
In an election year, any such news is good news for the Democrats.
By default or by design?
Some believe that the Bush administration, famous for its political discipline, is none the less using the NIE in a clever, even if desperate, attempt to climb down from the hysterical "Carthage must be destroyed" line.
After all, how many times can you mention world war three without eventually having to start it?
Now that it is out, the new estimate could neutralise the neo-conservative fringe, and let the administration out of a rhetorical corner.
The White House announcement of the president's Middle East trip at the beginning of next year, following the attendance this week by Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the Iranian president, at the Gulf co-operation summit, underlines the desire to relax tensions in the region following Annapolis and the relative "improvements" of the Iraq situation.
Today and in light of the NIE findings, some observers believe the central issue for the US and Iran is no longer the nuclear question but rather the future of Iraq.
The US understands that it "needs Iran for the endgame in Iraq", while for Iran, the recent developments in Iraq encourage it to make a deal with Washington before the latter strikes a deal with its adversaries.
Now that the new estimate is out, something has got to give.
First, international and domestic pressure will build up against a pre-emptive strike and, my guess, at least two permanent members will stand against another UN Security Council resolution punishing Iran, despite its civilian programme that contradicts past resolutions.
Second, the NIE publication might pave the way to bilateral negotiations between the US and Iran without stiff preconditions in order to relax the tensions in the Gulf with the participation of Iran's Arab neighbours, as well as its European allies.
Now that the nuclear roadblock is out of the way, Washington will find it ever more necessary and ever more enticing to talk to Iran about a "helpful" and perhaps beneficial role for itself and Iraq in the Gulf.
Either way, the White House will certainly face more questions and inquiries regarding the discrepancies of timings and policies; as more insiders come clean on US policy towards Iran. Americans would want to know what Bush and Co knew, when did they know it and what have they done or not done about it?
As so many commentators have said the morning after Bush and Hadley embraced the NIE report, the central question begging for an answer revolves around how corrupt politics have lead to dangerous policies.
Oleh SALHAN K. AHMAD
PETALING JAYA, mStarOnline, 6 Dis - Program 'Festival Of Rights' anjuran Majlis Peguam yang dijadualkan untuk diadakan di Pasar Seni pada Ahad ini, telah ditukar ke bangunan penganjur itu sendiri di Leboh Pasar Besar, Kuala Lumpur.
mStar Online difahamkan, pihak berkuasa telah memaklumkan Majlis Peguam bahawa program itu memerlukan permit, sepertimana perarakan sempena Hari Hak Asasi Manusia yang telah dibatalkan.
Pengerusi jawatankuasa hak asasi badan itu Edmund Bon berkata keputusan itu diambil sebagai satu tanda "protes" terhadap keperluan memohon permit dari pihak polis bagi mengadakan program kebudayaan itu.
"Kami telah memaklumkan polis mengenai program Festival of Rights. Kami telah diminta untuk memohon permit.
"Ia akan menjadi satu ironi dan sangat tidak adil kepada kami untuk membuat permohonan itu. Jadi kami dengan itu memindahkan perayaan kita (yang akan bermula pada 9 pagi) ke bangunan Majlis Peguam," katanya ketika dihubungi hari ini.
Katanya lagi, beliau kesal kerana pengajur terpaksa memprotes, sedangkan Hari Hak Asasi Manusia perlu dirayakan di seluruh dunia.
"Hak kebebasan bersuara secara praktikal hanyalah satu ilusi di Malaysia. Hak bersuara yang dilesenkan bukan satu suara. Kita perlu menukar (situasi) ini," katanya lagi.
Beliau juga turut menyeru masyarakat supaya memberi perhatian ke atas tekanan ke atas hak masyarakat di negara ini "terutama terhadap kawalan ke atas kebebasan bersuara dengan syarat perlesenan."
Program bertemakan "As I Believe: Freedom of Expression through Art, Music, Culture and Conscience" itu antara lain akan memuatkan acara membaca puisi, persembahan kebudayaan Orang Asli, serta diskusi antara agama daripada wakil-wakil badan keagamaan.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) Dec 06 - Malaysia's government has appointed a former ruling party lawyer as the No. 2 judge in the country, provoking sharp concerns among the Bar Council and the opposition at his meteoric rise through the ranks.
Zaki Azmi raised eyebrows when he became the first lawyer to be directly appointed as a judge in the Federal Court three months ago. He was named president of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday night by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
As president of the Court of Appeal, he is second only to the country's chief justice, a post he could assume next year.
Zaki's appointment was surprising, «given that there were other suitable candidates in terms of seniority and service in the judiciary,» Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan said in a statement late Wednesday.
His appointment comes amid questions about the integrity of Malaysia's judiciary, which many say has been compromised following allegations that top judicial appointments were manipulated.
The allegations surfaced after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim released in September a 2002 video clip showing a prominent lawyer allegedly brokering judicial appointments while talking on the phone. The lawyer is heard identifying the person at the other end as Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, who later became the country's chief justice.
Ahmad Fairuz retired in November. His post was filled Wednesday by Abdul Hamid Mohamad, who is due to retire next year. Zaki is the front runner to replace Abdul Hamid.
Lim Kit Siang, head of the opposition Democratic Action Party, said Zaki's quick rise was a shock. "His appointment as Court of Appeal president has confirmed he is only half a beat away from the top post," he said.
Zaki previously served as the legal adviser to the United Malays National Organization, the dominant party in the ruling coalition. He also chaired the party's disciplinary committee, and was on the board of several companies.
"There are reservations given his very active role as UMNO lawyer in the past two decades, which may compromise the integrity and independence needed of judges," Lim said.
Ambiga, the Bar Council president, said concerns about Zaki's links must be dispelled by a display of integrity and exemplary performance on the bench.
"Society must be left with no doubt that the judiciary is free from any allegiances or alliances and that it is above reproach in all respects," she added.
In Malaysia, the prime minister recommends candidates for top judicial posts. The hereditary rulers of the country's nine states endorse the candidates, but they usually accept the government's list.
PAS to pay travel costs for detained woman's dad
KOTA BARU, Dec 5 - Kelantan PAS plans to pay travel costs and legal expenses for Mohamad Lazim, 50, father of Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim who is now detained in Guangzhou, China after she was sentenced to death by the High Court there for smuggling heroin.
Its committee member Datuk Husam Musa said Mohamad, a mechanic, met party officials Wednesday.
"We will also foot the legal expenses and engage a defence lawyer in China to handle the legal issues surrounding Umi," Husam said after attending the state exco meeting here.
Umi's mother Umi Slaia Ibrahim, 45, who sells "goreng pisang" near the family home in Kampung Tok Kamis, Pasir Puteh said she wanted to meet her daughter and find out how she ended up in jail, awaiting the death sentence.
She said her daughter travelled to China on a company errand to deliver equipment for foot massaging, adding that she was searched at the airport where among her possessions was a package containing heroin.
Pasir Puteh Umno division head Datuk Kamaruddin Md Noor is also taking an interest in the case and has sent officers to interview the family.
"Of course, we are concerned for any Malaysian citizen to be facing the gallows overseas. We would study where we can accord help," he said.
She was charged in May and sentenced to death in June. Under China's laws, she will be given two years to appeal. theStar
Mustafa yang juga Ketua Pengarah Pilihan Raya PAS mengulas dakwaan Hindraf (Hindu Action Force) yang mendakwa berlakunya etnik cleansing di negara ini sebagaimana yang berlaku dalam Peristiwa Kampung Medan tahun 2002 lalu.
Tuduhan Hindraf itu terkandung dalam memorandum yang diserahkan mereka kepada kerajaan Britain.
"Tuduhan bahawa berlakunya etnik cleansing sebagaimana yang didakwa Hindraf adalah melampau kerana ia tidak berlaku," kata Mustafa mengulas dakwaan Hindraf itu. Siasah
Chan Kwong Loy, 44, adik kepada Menteri Pengangkutan, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, didakwa bersama-sama Liang Tat Cheong, 40, memiliki satu paket plastik berisi serbuk berwarna putih disyaki ketamin seberat satu gram, di sebuah rumah di Kampung Perting, Bentong, pada 1 tengah hari Isnin lepas.
Kwong Loy, pengurus operasi sebuah syarikat di Kuala Lumpur, dan Tat Cheong, seorang pendandan rambut, didakwa mengikut Seksyen 12 (2) Akta Dadah Berbahaya dan boleh dihukum mengikut Seksyen 12 (3) Akta yang sama yang membawa hukuman denda sehingga RM100,000 atau penjara sehingga lima tahun atau kedua-duanya.
Bagi tuduhan itu, Tat Cheong turut mengaku tidak bersalah.
Bagi pertuduhan kedua, Kwong Loy, dari Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands, didakwa memiliki dua paket plastik berisi serbuk/ketulan kristal jernih disyaki syabu seberat kasar dua gram, yang dijumpai dalam sebuah beg di bilik rumah terbabit ketika pemeriksaan dilakukan oleh polis, pada hari yang sama.
Majistret Mohd Rosly Mohamed Nawi menetapkan jaminan RM2,000 setiap seorang bagi pertuduhan pertama dan RM3,000 bagi tuduhan kedua. Kedua-dua tertuduh membayar wang ikat jamin tersebut.
Kes itu akan disebut semula pada 22 Februari tahun depan. UtusanOnline
Malaysian ruling party to suffer poll losses: experts
WASHINGTON, AFP - Malaysia’s ruling party is expected to suffer losses in elections expected early next year as it grapples with rare street protests and racial and ethnic tensions, experts told a forum here.
But Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s National Front coalition government should maintain its two-thirds majority in parliament unbeaten since independence in 1957, they said.
Unprecedented street protests demanding electoral reforms and highlighting racial discrimination erupted in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur this month, posing one of the biggest challenges to Abdullah since he took over from the largely authoritarian and abrasive Mahathir Mohamad in 2003.
“I think that even with the parameters shifting at this particular juncture, it is extremely difficult for the opposition to break the barrier of the two thirds. Period,” said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asian expert at John Hopkins University.
Opposition parties in Malaysia, she said, did not provide a viable alternative electorally as they were still very personality driven and ideologically divided with limited capacity in terms of “real representation and aspect of governance.”
The National Front secured the largest majority in about three decades, sweeping 198 parliamentary seats to the combined opposition parties’ 20 seats, in the last elections held in 2004.
But Welsh predicted Abdullah’s United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Front’s lynchpin, could lose up to 15 parliamentary seats in upcoming polls and its senior coalition partner the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) could drop about six seats.
“The reality is electorally, the only place he has to go is down because he has 91% of the seats and it is very hard to go much higher,” she said.
The fundamentalist Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS), which rules Malaysia’s northeastern state of Kelantan, also has a “good chance” of losing the only opposition held state to UMNO amid an influx of new voters, she said.
Aside from rising prices and other economic issues, race, religion and ethnic concerns are going to matter considerably in the next elections, she said.
Pek Koon Heng, an expert on Chinese politics in Malaysia from American University, highlighted dissatisfaction over an affirmative action policy favoring majority Muslim Malays over other races.
Many ethnic Chinese and Indians feel the time has come for a review of the New Economic Policy, framed after bloody race riots in 1969, after studies showed that Malays have already achieved the target of 30% corporate ownership.
But the government last year introduced another benchmark - household income—to measure Malay progress in an indication that the controversial policy would remain at least up to 2020, Pek said.
“There is a lot of unease about how the New Economic Policy is measured. With the uncertainty—the moving targets—it (the policy) can go on forever,” Pek said.
“Although they accept the policy ... because we need political stability but then to subject generations and generations of Malaysians to the policy, they say, ‘sometimes we need to do something about this.’”
The ethnic Indians are also discontented. At least 8,000 of them defied police warnings and held rare protests in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week against what they see as racial discrimination.
Police beat them with batons and used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the rally.
Welsh said the protests were a critical “test” for Abdullah’s coalition government.
A key problem in the government is “the rising dominance of UMNO and Malay chauvinism of UMNO (which) do not listen to the other voices within the coalition,” she said. – published by GulfTimes on 2nd Dec 07.
"This is tradition and there is no reason why they should not be continued," he said in reply to a question by Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) today.
Lim had repeatedly asked Noh why there was no explanation from Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the matter, raised by Syed Hood Syed Edros (BN-Parit Sulong) more than a month ago.
Syed Hood had, on Oct 29, said the board of directors of mission run schools were partially administered by churches in foreign countries.
"I was also made to understand that the application to build suraus in some of these schools had to go through the approval of these boards of directors since they are partially administered by the church. It shames me that the school administrations are still controlled by the church," he had said.
Syed Hood said he was made to understand that many Muslim parents sent their children to these schools and complained that sometimes the school started the morning with "church songs".
Datuk Mohamad Aziz (Sri Gading) interjected and declared: "I am not shocked at all. During the last Hari Raya, I was told by a father, when Aidilfitri was celebrated, these types of schools were not closed."
Later, in the Parliament lobby, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz , asked on the matter, said the public could lodge a police report if they are upset over the remarks.
"They can't make seditious remarks even though they have immunity as MPs. MPs are not above the Sedition Act. I am not going to condone any seditious statements made by anybody," he said.
Nazri said no one from the BN had complained about Syed Hood's call on the mission schools.
EC Chairman Slams Defeated Electoral Candidates Who Blame EC
He asked them to take a good look at themselves, to ask themselves what went wrong -- "was it because they were not good looking or was it because their programmes were inattractive; make an evaluation".
"Stop blaming the Election Commission every time that you lose in the elections," he said, reiterating that the EC was ready to act if any of them had proof of irregularities associated with it.
"Our system is transparent. No cheating has ever happened in the elections. I have served the EC for 25 years. I have been looking for candidates who have been cheated. There are none," he told reporters after briefing Kelantan returning officers, assistant returning officers and other EC staff in preparation for the 12th general election. more
He said the minorities in the country -- whether Indians, Chinese or people of other races - would have a place in the nation as guaranteed in the Constitution.
"The minorities will get protection under the law, enjoy the development that the nation experiences and continue to progress. We are a country which practises the sharing of power and in the government, there are representatives from all races. We sit down together and decide what is best for the country and the people.
"We do not sideline any race or religion. There is no such thing as ethnic cleansing... this is for sure."
"I have to be fair to all and this is something which is a must in Islam. One day, I will die and according to Islam, Allah will judge me.
"Allah will evaluate me and question me if I have been just and fair. Have you done this or not? I cannot lie. Allah knows if I lie. As a Muslim, I cannot be enemies with others, I cannot hate any race, I cannot hate any group."
Speaking at the launch of the Hadhari Village in Kampung Tanjung Bidara, Abdullah, who was accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, said the implementation of Islam Hadhari or "civilisational Islam" was aimed at enhancing the quality of life of Malaysians, regardless of race and religion. more
Don't Hold Any Form Of Street Protests Now, Says Zam
He said street rallies, regardless of whatever reasons given, should not be permitted.
The Minister was responding to the Bar Council's plan to organise a "People's Freedom Walk on Dec 9 in conjunction with the World Human Rights Day.
Bar Council president Ambiga Sreneevasan had said they met the police on Friday to discuss how best to organise the Human Rights Day march.
Zainuddin questioned the Bar Council's real motive to organise the walk, which according to him was "only a front under the guise of human rights."
"Any form of street rallies for whatever reasons should not be allowed now as they will only tarnish the nation's image in the eyes of the international community.
"I believe the Bar Council's intention to hold the People's Freedom Walk is to condemn the government under the guise of human rights," he told Bernama.
Zainnuddin said for whatever reason or excuse the Bar Council wants to hold the walk, the people knew the hidden agenda behind the move.
"Solutions cannot be found to human rights issues merely by staging street protests. Moreover, such protests will only worsen the current situation in the country," he said.
Zainuddin said two street rallies held in Kuala Lumpur last month by two non-governmental organisations calling themselves "BERSIH" and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) had only created adverse effects and aroused the people's anger.
The minister also chastised an English daily for publishing reports promoting the Bar Council's plan to organise the "People's Freedom Walk".
He said the daily was not bothered about racial unity in the country.
The newspaper had given details on the time to gather for the walk and also encouraged the people to bring along posters.
Katanya walaupun sesetengah aduan itu cukup memeritkan, beliau tetap akan bertindak menanganinya.
"Ada beberapa aduan, mengenai ekonomi kita, mengenai apa yang sedang berlaku dalam negara..., saya dengar semua ni, saya dengar..., tapi pedihlah," katanya dalam ucapan beliau semasa merasmikan SJKC Ladang Harcroft di Bandar Puchong Jaya, di sini.
Perdana Menteri berkata tanggungjawab kerajaan adalah untuk bertindak terhadap semua aduan dan sungutan itu, jika tidak, kepedihan yang dirasakan rakyat akan berterusan.
Bagaimanapun Abdullah berkata orang ramai perlu bersabar kerana ada tindakan-tindakan ini mengambil masa yang agak lama untuk dilaksanakan.
"Jika anda tidak sabar, saya lebih tidak sabar. Ada benda yang boleh dibuat dengan cepat, tapi ada selainnya yang memerlukan sedikit masa, dan ada juga yang memerlukan masa yang panjang," katanya. lagi.