Insincerity of PAS

Hudud is a very good barometer to gauge the sincerity of the loose coalition of adverse ideologies, policies, aspirations and goals between PAS, DAP and PKR. Hedging on this single item would translate the inconsistency and deep distrust amongst the leaders, without even mentioning the grass-root.

Never-mind the Non Muslims, especially the Chinese Chauvinists and racists within the Democratic Action Party (PAS). For Parti Islam SeMalaysia’s (PAS), lets just focus on the Muslims in DAP and PKR with regards to re-exercise of PAS’s policy and desire to enact Hudud in Kelantan, now at play.

DAP is very consistent about Hudud. All the while, it had been the call to reject Hudud by Non Muslims within DAP. Now, even aspirant DAP MP for P76 Teluk Intan by-election who is a Malay and Muslim is vehemently rejecting Hudud.

When cornered the spirit of coalition within the loose unholy-marriage-of-(ijn)cpnvenience-between-backstabbing-strange-bedfellows, DAP even to a point insulted PAS with the lame excuse of “Hudud is not in PR agenda”.

The sincerity of PAS forging the coalition with Chinese Chauvinist DAP is being put to a very good test in the current Teluk Intan Parliamentary by-election. Despite being a Muslim, DAP’s candidate Dyana Sofea Mohd. Daud clearly upheld party lines of the enactment and implementation of Hudud.

Candidate of DAP for Teluk Intan is invariably trapped on the Hudud issue, when her own faith is being tested. However, PAS should affirm its real position on Hudud in all clarity, to stop all this ridiculing back and forth.

The Malay Mail story:

PAS stood firm on ‘Allah’, leader reminds hudud critics

MAY 20, 2014

 

Director of PAS Research Centre Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (standing) speaks during the ‘Hudud in Malaysia, Can We? Should We?’ forum at the KLSCAH in Kuala Lumpur, on May 11, 2014. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — PAS remains committed in rejecting religious extremism, a party leader told allies today whom he said has “demonised” the Islamist party over its plan to enforce hudud in Kelantan.

In an open letter on hudud today, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad insisted that the proposal to start applying the Islamic penal code has not suddenly turned the party away from the path of moderation and that it remained the same PAS that is true to its motto of “justice for all”.

“Overnight, the Hudud Bill has again demonised PAS. PAS has instantaneously become a punching bag and received unending blows from all quarters.

“It is most baffling to witness the sudden change of attitude towards PAS, which a while ago was praised for all the correct things we stood for in defending the right of others to practice the religions and faiths of their choice,” the former Kuala Selangor MP wrote today.

Dzulkefly expressed sadness over the tone with which critics have used in the debate over the Islamic penal code, which he said indicated a prejudice born out of sheer hatred for anything religious.

But despite the torrent of criticism, he maintained that the PAS is steadfast in its opposition to “a rigid and seemingly intolerant Islam that is a sure fodder for more intense religious bigotry and conflict.”

“We will be unwavering in our partnership with the rakyat to go against any sacrilegious acts on places of worship, the like of cow head intimidation and the debilitating polemic of Kalimah Allah, that have all deepened the religious divide,” he continued.

Earlier in his letter, the executive director of PAS’s research centre denied that the Islamist party was falling into a trap laid by rival Umno to rend apart the Pakatan Rakyat pact, saying his missive was indicative of the party’s “political acumen” towards “Umno’s purported decoy”.

Dzulkefly then repeated previous arguments that hudud would not extend beyond Muslims and that its enforcement was “an integral part of the Islamic legal system, albeit a small one.”

In 1993, the PAS state government passed the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code Enactment II, allowing it to impose the strict Islamic penal code in the state. But the laws have not been implemented.

PAS is now looking for parliamentary approval to implement hudud. It plans to put forward two private members’ bills in Parliament. One seeks approval for unconventional punishments, some of which are for offences already covered in the Penal Code. The other seeks to empower shariah courts to mete out the unconventional punishments.

According to the Syariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965, the Islamic court cannot sentence offenders to more than three years in jail or fine them more than RM5,000. It also cannot sentence offenders to be whipped more than six times.

The bid has again brought up the fundamental differences between secularist DAP and Islamist PAS, both allies in PR, which previously led to the abandonment of a precursor co-operation.

PAS has taken a stance supporting the Christian right to use “Allah”, the Arabic word for God that some Muslims insist is exclusive to Islam, although the Islamist party’s clergy wing has openly opposed the position.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pas-stood-firm-on-allah-leader-reminds-hudud-critics#sthash.WhlASU3w.dpuf

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The insincerity of PAS is glaring. DAP’s puppet-play trying to position itself away from the Chinese Chauvinism and lame attempt to portray Malays into centre political game, is pathetic.

 

Published in: on May 20, 2014 at 22:00  Comments (2)  

Lessons from Paracels Pt XII: Nusantara’s rejection of Panda-nomics

China's military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China should back off from its aggressive maneuvers in South China Sea and stick to commitment of the Document of Conduct (DOC)  signed with ASEAN in November 2002, which agreed to resolve issues which include multiple claims on disputed territories via multilateral discourses based on United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) dated 1982.

The Wall Street Journal story:

China Must Exit Disputed Waters, Asean Leader Says

By BEN OTTO CONNECT
Updated May 16, 2014 7:17 a.m. ET
Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel on the South China Sea, about 210 kilometers off the coast of Vietnam, on Thursday. Reuters
JAKARTA, Indonesia—China needs to leave disputed waters of the South China Sea, the Asean secretary-general said Friday.

The “next step now, we have to get China out of the territorial waters of” Vietnam, Secretary-General Le Luong Minh told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s the first thing.”

Doing that “will be conducive to restoring confidence” in talks to resolve disputed claims by several countries in the resource-rich waters, Mr. Minh said.

Mr. Minh, a Vietnamese national, was speaking amid an outburst of violence this week outside Ho Chi Minh City and in central Vietnam in response to a tense standoff over an oil rig China recently placed in contested parts of the South China Sea.

Vietnam says the Chinese oil rig is 241 kilometers from Vietnam’s shore, well within its “exclusive economic zone,” defined by the United Nations as areas extending 370 km from a country’s coast. China, however, claims jurisdiction over the waters, off the Paracel Islands, which are controlled by China but also claimed by Hanoi.

Mr. Minh’s statement was the strongest yet by a spokesman for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Four Asean members—Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei—have territorial disputes with China in the waters.

The statement also marked a shift for Mr. Minh, who during an Asean summit last weekend pointed to a joint statement that expressed “serious concern” over the Vietnam-China confrontation but stopped shy of criticizing Beijing.

On Friday, Mr. Minh said China’s move was a setback to regional talks and showed again that a declaration of conduct signed by China and Asean in 2002 “has not been effective enough in preventing these incidents.”

A lack of progress with China in resolving territorial claims has been “disappointing,” he said, and the latest incident made it all the “more important that we try to engage in substantive consultations and negotiations.”

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that he shared Mr. Minh’s view that “this is a very dangerous situation” and that he was calling on Asean members to “renew their thoughts on the South China Sea.”

Mr. Natalegawa stopped short of supporting Mr. Minh’s calls for China to leave the region, but said “China must deliver on its officially stated commitment to implement” the 2002 declaration and push forward with talks in earnest.

Currently, he said, there is “almost an attempt to deny there is an issue in the first place.”

Sek Wannamethee, spokesman for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, declined to comment on Mr. Minh’s statement, saying the conflict was a bilateral issue between Vietnam and China.

The islands, reefs and atolls of the South China Sea, and the waters around them, are claimed in whole or in part by six governments. Though the disputes have prevented thorough exploration, energy analysts believe significant reserves of oil and gas lie beneath its seabed.

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ASEAN EEZ Vs China's claims over South China Sea with the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line

ASEAN EEZ Vs China’s claims over South China Sea with the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line

ASEAN Head of Government Summit in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar last week upheld the call for all disputing parties in the region to exercise maxmum restraint and opt for multilateral discourses to resolve issues, as per the DOC inked in Phnom Penh tweleve years ago.

The Channel News Asia story:

ASEAN leaders adopt “Nay Pyi Taw Declaration” on cooperation

Added by admin on May 12, 2014.
Saved under Far East, Politics
Tags: featured
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have adopted the “Nay Pyi Taw Declaration” at the 24th ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar.

The declaration identified broad areas on how the leaders are committed to further enhancing cooperation among the 10 member nations and on how to better promote economic development.

It also included calls for all parties to exercise self-restraint and the non-use of force to handle confrontations in the South China Sea.

The leaders have all agreed to refrain from taking actions that would further escalate tension.

They aim to work towards an early conclusion of the code of conduct in the South China Sea.

The code will act as an instrument to prevent and help manage future incidents from happening in the disputed waters.

Another point which the leaders agreed on is to further promote ASEAN’s efforts in peace and reconciliation in the region through relevant mechanisms and entities associated with the grouping.

They also want to expedite the implementation of the remaining action plans to achieve an ASEAN community by end next year.

Myanmar’s President and ASEAN chair Thein Sein said: “It is also important to have unity among the ASEAN member countries to maintain credibility. We also set out our goals of peace and stability for ASEAN.”

This set of declaration is seen as a positive achievement for Myanmar, who is chairing ASEAN for the first time in 17 years since they joined the grouping.

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This is seen as very positive and the strong stand by ASEAN, Especially towards China’s arrogance to uphold its claim of the imaginary and unsubstantiated ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ in the South China Sea and increased in commitment of Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy assets and military units as projection of force.

The News Straits Time story:

16 May 2014| last updated at 11:29PM

Asean’s step in the right direction

By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

1 2 Google +0 0 0 comments

THE Nay Pyi Taw Declaration adopted by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) at the end of the 24th Asean Summit at Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, on the 11th of May 2014, may turn out to be one of the regional grouping’s most significant documents.
The declaration spells out, albeit in general terms, a unified position on the contentious issue of the territorial disputes between China, on the one hand, and various Asean states, on the other, pertaining to the South China Sea (SCS).
It calls upon all parties involved in competing claims on the SCS to exercise self-restraint and to refrain from using force or taking action that will escalate tension. At the same time, the declaration urges both China and Asean to implement effectively the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the SCS (DOC) in accordance with international law. It seeks an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the SCS which is what the DOC is supposed to lead to.
A unified position might not have emerged if Vietnam and the Philippines were not incensed by what they perceived as provocative Chinese behaviour in the SCS.
China had moved an oil-drilling rig in early May into waters also claimed by Hanoi, off the Paracel Islands. It is alleged that Chinese vessels had then attacked Vietnamese boats. The Philippines had accused China of poaching in waters that are also claimed by the former. Eleven crew members of the poaching boat were subsequently arrested by Philippine maritime authorities.
Both the Vietnamese and Philippine delegations at the Nay Pyi Taw Summit lobbied hard for a united stand. It will be recalled that in the 2012 Summit held in Phnom Penh, Asean leaders failed to come up with a consensus on the maritime issue.
It is critically important for China to understand Asean’s unified stand this time. Asean is a region that China cannot afford to antagonise. The friendship and respect of its neighbour is vital for China’s emergence as a major global player. It should never give the impression to any of the Asean states that it seeks to dominate and control any individual state or the region.
It is partly because the Soviet Union dominated Eastern Europe, part of its neighbourhood, during the Soviet era that the states in that region and even those within the Soviet Union eventually threw off the yoke and asserted their independence.
Likewise, it is because of the United States’ relentless drive for hegemony over Latin America to the south of its border that a significant number of states in the region have revolted against US power and are now carving out their own collective path to the future.
It would be in China’s own interest, therefore, to show greater empathy for the position of various Asean states in disputes over the SCS and to abide by international law.
Just as China needs to empathise with Asean, so should Asean develop a genuine bond of fraternity with its huge neighbour to the north. It is a bond that should go beyond trade, investment and tourism.
Through education, culture and science, Asean should endeavour to add depth and breadth to its relationship with China. Malaysia which commemorates the 40th year of its diplomatic ties with China this May, and assumes the Chair of Asean next year, should be in the forefront of this mission.
While the Asean-China bond is crucial, the Nay Pyi Taw Declaration also signals an opportunity to strengthen unity and solidarity within Asean itself. Achieving political consensus on controversial and divisive issues facing the grouping has always been a challenge. It has now taken a small but significant step. It should build up on this minor accomplishment.
In more concrete language, Asean should try to develop a common policy position on its relations with China on the one hand and the US on the other. This is admittedly an arduous task given the differences in attitudes towards the two powers among Asean states.
Nonetheless, it is imperative that we make the effort. There is no guarantee that the relationship between China and the US will not take a turn for the worse in the future.
When the US feels that China’s ascendancy — not just in the economic sphere — is a direct threat to its desire for global hegemony, it may seek to confront China.
This may see the Asean region which is vital to both China and the US in terms of the assertion of their geopolitical and geo-economic power, transformed into a cockpit of conflict. And Asean states may be forced to choose between the antagonists.
This is why evolving a shared perspective on the role of the US and China in the region which may prevent Asean from being torn asunder is of paramount significance. Through sincere dialogue among not only political leaders and government officials but also between other sectors of society in Asean we may be able to craft a common position vis-a-vis the US and China.
This is a better path to take than to forge quasi-military alliances and security pacts with one side or the other which will only expedite the very conflict that we want to avoid.
Read more: Asean’s step in the right direction – Columnist – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnist/asean-s-step-in-the-right-direction-1.598040#ixzz31ud0mIdF

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The military stand off China is exerting to the Philippines and Vietnam is getting very serious and chronic. China as a permanent member of UN Security Council blatantly expressed its arrogance for non compliance of UNCLOS, which include to settle multiple claims on disputed territories through arbitration when the Philippines referred the case of Scarborough Shoal and Spratlys to the International Court of Justice.

China has made it clear that ASEAN nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines have been very reactive to China’s aggressive military maneuvres in the region, building and compounded since 2008. The PLA Navy (PLAN) has been making ‘provocative exercises’ well deep in the EEZ territories such as in Beting Serupai aka James Shoal, which is 50 nautical miles off the coast of Sarawak March last year.

Forty years ago, China invaded Paracel Islands which were part of South Vietnam. South Vietnam at the time was weakened, after a prolong war with North Vietnam and was unable to fend or make any substantial military reciprocity to the invasion.

Recently, evidence demonstrated that China under the protection of PLAN is building an airstrip at Johnson South Reef, that is deep in the Philippines territories.

China's imaginary and unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line

China’s imaginary and unsubstantiated Nine-Dash-Line

These have been seen as ‘potential aggression’ where United States expressed their commitment to check on China from becoming the regional neighbourhood bully from then US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s announcement of “US Navy’s commitment half of the Pacific fleet to South East Asia” at the Shangri-La Forum in Singapore. June 2012.

President Barack H. Obama’s week long tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines two weeks ago, renewed this commitment. United States would be committing more  presence of military instrument as a projection of force and power.

The over lapping claims between the Phillippines and China in the South China Sea

The over lapping claims between the Phillippines and China in the South China Sea

China’s gluttony  reflective in the gross apetite for the vast yet to be tapped oil and gas fields within the disputed areas in South China Sea is very apparent, with the mobilisation of CNOOC USD1 billion platform to a disputed area which should be within Vietnamese EEZ earlier in the month.

United States would also actively act against PLAN’s projection of force and power to exert ‘control’ in the safe passage of maritime waterways in South China Sea, the world’s second most important trade route.

What would be interesting is Russia President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Beijing 20-21 May 2014 and the agreement that would be forged with President Xi Jinping. Especially, in the wake of Russia’s stubborn involvement in Ukrainian domestic instability and re-annexation of Crimea.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Hj Abdul Razak Hussein historic call on Chairman Mao Zedong

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Hj Abdul Razak Hussein historic call on Chairman Mao Zedong, 30 May 1974

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak would be in Beijing at the end of May, to commemorate and renew the friendship forged by his late father, Second Prime Minister Tun Hj Abdul Razak Hussein forty years ago.

Striking the balance of Malaysia’s close and valuable friendship and trade with China against the strong message in the desire to ward off PLAN’s aggresive maneuvres as a projection of force, is a very delicate balancing act. Malaysia values PLAN’s involvement in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines B777-200ER with tail number 9M-MRO with the flight number MH370 on a scheduled flight from KUL to PEK on 8 March 2014.

Never the less, China’s current Panda-nomics in the South China Sea for new hydrocarbon resources isn’t welcomed in its current form and exercise. Neither does the majority of ASEAN members. It is very much reflective in the recent riots in Ho Chi Minh City and demonstration in Manila.

Published in: on May 17, 2014 at 04:00  Comments (12)  

Lessons from Paracels Pt XI: The Panda Strip in Nine-Dash-Line

China is apparently building a military installation in disputed island of multi-claimants Spratlys, which is supposed to be deep in the Philippines EEZ as defined under United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

The Independent story (taken from Associated Press)

What is China building on this tiny island? Philippines government releases image of reclamation in the South China Sea

Government not clear what China would build on the reclaimed land, with an airstrip a possibility
OLIVER TEVES MANILA Thursday 15 May 2014

China PLA N building an air strip on the atolls which is clearly deep within the philippines' EEZ, as defined by UNCLOS

China PLA N building an air strip on the atolls which is clearly deep within the philippines’ EEZ, as defined by UNCLOS

The Philippine government on Thursday released military surveillance photos of Chinese land reclamation on a reef claimed by Manila in the South China Sea that it said showed Beijing violated a regional agreement not to escalate territorial disputes.

Foreign Affairs Department spokesman Charles Jose said the pictures show Chinese aggressiveness in asserting its claims over the entire South China Sea.

The aerial photographs were accompanied by a caption stating that they were obtained from “Philippine intelligence sources.” The caption said the “extensive reclamation” by China on the Johnson South Reef, called Mabini by Manila and Chigua by Beijing, was “destabilizing.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila had no immediate comment, but a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing has said that the area is part of China’s territory, and that any Chinese activities at the reef should be of no concern to Manila.

Jose noted that a 2002 nonbinding agreement between China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations calls for restraint in conducting activities in the region that would “complicate or escalate disputes” and to not inhabit uninhabited areas

“We want to show people that (China’s) actions are part of its aggressive behavior to assert its claim in violation of the DOC,” or Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which was signed by China, Philippines and nine other ASEAN members, Jose said.

Chinese-made structures stand on the Johnson Reef, called Mabini by the Philippines and Chigua by China, in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea (AP) Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said a stronger accord and international arbitration would offer more lasting solutions to the territorial conflicts. A proposed legally binding “code of conduct” between China and Southeast Asian countries is seen as a mechanism to prevent a major armed conflict in the disputed waters. Manila sought international arbitration against Beijing in January 2013 after Chinese government ships took control of a shoal claimed by the Philippines off its main island of Luzon.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Wednesday that it was not clear what China would build on the reclaimed land, but that an airstrip was a possibility.

A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the issue, said it could also be used as a military base and a resupply and refueling hub. The official said the reclamation was first detected by air force planes six months ago.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippine military has been monitoring Chinese activities at the reef for several months. “For whatever purpose (the reclamation was done) we still do not know, but we are almost sure that there will be a base,” he told reporters Thursday.

An airstrip or a military base on the reef would boost the mobility of Beijing’s naval and air forces in the South China Sea region, far from the Chinese mainland.

Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Charles Jose accused China of ‘aggressive behaviour’ (AP) The pictures showed “before-and-after” images — from an untouched reef in 2012, followed by another showing a concrete building jutting out of the water, and the reclaimed land two years later. Philippine aircraft helping search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane in March reported reclamation work was continuing, Jose said.

Del Rosario said Manila lodged a protest against China last month, but that Beijing has ignored it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing on Wednesday that the reef was part of China’s territory and any construction there is covered by its “sovereignty rights.”

The Philippine government estimates that the Chinese have reclaimed a land mass of at least 30 hectares (74 acres) from the reef, which Manila says is part of its western Palawan province. What has emerged from the coral outcrop appears like a vast tree-less island of white sand in the middle of turquoise blue waters.

One of the released pictures shows a long pipe connected to a large dredging vessel on the northwestern edge of the reef. A concrete building, likely to be China’s outpost on the reef, stands on the southern edge of the emerging islet. A ship is anchored close by.

The reef, part of the Spratly Islands chain, is also claimed by Vietnam, which fought a deadly naval battle against China in the area in 1988.

AP

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It is very obvious that China is on empire expanding mode and they are really to take by force without having any shred decency to observe and reapect the UNCLOS and the DOC signed with ASEAN in November 2002 in Phnom Penh.

They were adamant to stake their claim, based on the unsubstantiated imaginary ‘Nine-Dash-Line’ and their strategy is get the aggrieved ASEAN member to go face-to-face bilateral talks to resolve China’s aggression, China is not interested to have a group dialogues for the multilateral claims and even go to UN ICJ.

Published in: on May 16, 2014 at 04:00  Comments (10)  

The Repeat of the Flip-Flopping

It is appalling that political rogue very recently dismissed Menteri Besar of Terengganu Dato’ Seri Ahmad Said who has been reported as to have returned back into UMNO fold and promise to support Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership.

The Star story:

Published: Wednesday May 14, 2014 MYT 5:48:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 14, 2014 MYT 5:51:29 PM

Ahmad Said returns to Umno and pledges support to Najib

BY RAHIMY RAHIM

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KEMAMAN: Former Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said (pic) has vowed to give his full backing to Umno and party president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak after retracting his resignation.

Announcing his return to Umno, the Kijal assemblyman said he apologised to Najib over his outburst and Najib in turn apologised to him over the misunderstanding over the wedding date of his daughter.

He told a press conference at his official residence here that he had met the Prime Minister in Putrajaya earlier in the day.

“At the meeting, we agreed that it was a minor misunderstanding. We both apologised and agreed that the matter has been resolved,” he said.

On Monday, Ahmad quit Umno hours after he was replaced by Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

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It is wrong for Ahmad to be re-admitted into UMNO. On Monday, Ahmad announced his departure from UMNO and becoming an independent ADUN for Kijal which was a few hours after the report of his dismissal as the Menteri Besar of Terengganu was made public and Exco for Green Technology Dato’ Ahmad Razif is to take over.

Ahmad brought ADUN for Ajil Ghazali Talib also to quit UMNO, which brought BN on the brink of losing the majority of Terengganu State Assembly and State Government.

That is nothing but treachery to UMNO.

This is not the first time Ahmad has been out of UMNO. In March 2008, he was sacked from UMNO for accepting the instrument for appointment as Menteri Besar Terengganu from Chairman of Royal Advisory Council Tengku Seri Panglima DiRaja Badrulzaman Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud from breaking party lines.

At the time, BN Chairman PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi nominated Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh to continue as Menteri Besar and 22 BN ADUNs were behind the latter.

Ahmad was accepted back into UMNO fold and was appointed Deputy Chief of Terengganu UMNO Liaison, as he continued as Menteri Besar Terengganu.

PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah made the cardinal mistake then for bending against principle of Constitutional Monarchy. What UMNO should have done then was to challenge Ahmad legitimacy as the Menteri Besar since he did not command majority support in Terengganu State Assembly.

It was seen that BN was hard up to retain Terengganu in its stable since unprecedented losing 5 seats on the 12GE concluded on 8 March 2008.

The fact is that Ahmad was successfully made to change his mind and revoke his expressed intention of leaving UMNO after being dismissed as the Menteri Besar Terengganu and becoming an independent ADUN, there is no assurance that he would not repeat this political stunt and hold UMNO to ransom again.

UMNO should uphold principle of toeing party lines and adhere to instructions and be very tough about it. The nationalist party would gain more goodwill and confidence, especially from the younger and educated and professional Malays who presently are fence sitters.

It is actually good riddance to let selfish leaders like Ahmad go. It is a purge that UMNO really needed. Needless to say, it is an opportunity wasted for being ‘Penny wise, pound foolish’.

Published in: on May 14, 2014 at 18:00  Comments (8)  

The Seri Iman Gambit

The Terengganu State Assembly building and State Government Complex

The political impasse in Terengganu is getting chronic. Upon the resignation of Menteri Besar Terengganu Dato’ Seri Ahmad Hj. Said resulted from the ‘agreement’ with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak soon after 13GE was concluded exactly a year ago, the former announced to Astro Awani via e mail that he left UMNO and became an independent ADUN.

As Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib was presenting the GTP report card for 2013 where PEMANDU calculated of 104% improvement and 23% growth. another ADUN joined Ahmad and created a serious conundrum in Kuala Terengganu.

Riong Kali dot com story:

Najib to meet with Barisan reps tonight in light of state political impasse, says report

MAY 13, 2014

Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) will be meeting all Barisan Nasional (BN) Terengganu assemblymen tonight in Putrajaya, following the state’s political impasse, The Star Online reported.

A source told the English-language daily all state representatives were making their way to Putrajaya for the meeting with Najib, who is Umno president and BN chairman.

“All assemblymen have been summoned for the meeting tonight. The meeting is set to discuss the current political turmoil,” the source said.
The Star Online also reported that the source said the assemblymen would also discuss numerous possibilities, including dissolving the state assembly.

The dissolving of the state assembly and rumours of fresh elections were abuzz in social media when Datuk Seri Ahmad Said was replaced by Datuk Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman as Terengganu Menteri Besar yesterday.

These rumours were triggered when three Umno assemblymen – Ahmad Said, Ajil assemblyman Ghazali Taib, and Bukit Besi assemblyman Roslee Daud – quit the party and turned independent representatives today, in reaction to the removal of Ahmad Said.

This latest development leaves Barisan Nasional with 14 state seats, one fewer than Pakatan Rakyat’s 15 in the 32-seat assembly.

State legal adviser Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, however, told The Star Online that the state assembly Speaker was counted as a representative of the ruling state government, giving a seat ratio of 15:15:3.

It was reported earlier that Umno deputy president and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was also on his way to Kuala Terengganu to meet Ahmad Said to find a solution to the crisis. – May 13, 2014.

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This political impasse which was announced yesterday evening which started last night had its root when HRH Sultan of Terengganu, then sitting as His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong XIII got involved in politics. When BN retained more than 2/3rd majority in Terengganu State Assembly on the 12GE 8 March 2008, HRH through the Chairman of the Royal Advisory Council (acting on behalf of the Regent) refused to accept BN nominated UMNO Terengganu Chairman Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh.

Ahmad Said accepting the instrument of the appointment as Menteri Besar Terengganu, from the Chairman of the Royal Advisory Council (acting on behalf of Regent of Terengganu) Tengku Seri Panglima DiRaja Tengku Badrulzaman Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud  (circa March 2008)

Instead, HRH was adamant that Ahmad should be made Menteri Besar instead, despite the latter did not command the confidence and majority support of the elected representatives and party. 22 BN ADUNs were backing party’s nominated Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh as the Menteri Besar.

Ahmad was sacked from UMNO for going against party lines the day he swore in as the Menteri Besar Terengganu. That was the original political impasse. Then PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s poor leadership had to succumb to HRH Sultan Terengganu’s insistence and accepted Ahmad back into UMNO fold.

Six years later, it has been proven that Ahmad had been a lousy leader and cannot carry out his duties and deliverables, as the Menteri Besar Terengganu. Even HRH Sultan Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Mahmud sounded out to Ahmad in HRH’s titah.

Bernama.com story:

Sultan Mizan Tegur Ahmad Said, “Minta Terengganu Tumpu Prinsip Tadbir Urus Baik”

Sultan Mizan Minta Terengganu Tumpu Prinsip Tadbir Urus Baik
Sultan Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin meminta Terengganu menekankan kepentingan dasar prinsip tadbir urus baik dalam semua dimensi pengurusan, pematuhan peraturan undang-undang serta ketelusan maklumat sebagai agenda utama kerajaan negeri.

Baginda bertitah sebagai negeri menuju ke arah pembangunan dan berdaya saing, kerajaan negeri di bawah pimpinan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said perlu menambahbaik prosedur kerja dan mengurang karenah birokrasi untuk memperkaya pengurusan dalam memberi perkhidmatan kepada rakyat.

“Ini termasuklah nilai integriti dan akauntabiliti yang sedia wujud dalam kepimpinan negeri ini dan Beta harap sistem ini terus diamalkan dan ditingkatkan,” titah baginda pada Istiadat Pembukaan Penggal Sidang Kedua Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Ke-13 di Wisma Darul Iman di sini Ahad.

Baginda juga bertitah supaya suara rakyat diutamakan dalam memacu kemajuan negeri agar selari dengan slogan ‘Merakyatkan Pentadbiran dan Pembangunan’.

“Rakyat merupakan elemen penting pembangunan malah kemajuan yang dikecapi tertakluk kepada kesepaduan rakyat.

Sekiranya jika tiada persefahaman, kerjasama dan perpaduan di antara kerajaan dan rakyat negeri ini, pembangunan yang nikmati selama ini akan terbatas,” titah baginda.

Justeru itu, Sultan Mizan meminta kerajaan negeri memberi penekanan lebih dalam mengenal pasti strategi, kelemahan, peluang dan halangan khususnya dari aspek urus tadbir ekonomi ke arah ekonomi berpendapatan tinggi.

Dalam perkembangan lain, Tuanku Mizan meminta Kerajaan Persekutuan menambah peruntukan kepada Terengganu sebanyak RM50 juta bagi menggantikan paip-paip pecah dan bermasalah secara berkala untuk mengurangkan kadar kehilangan air tidak terakaun supaya rakyat dapat menikmati bekalan air bersih.

“Beta bersyukur kerana Syarikat Air Terengganu (SATU) berusaha menurunkan kadar kehilangan air tidak terakaun sekurang-kurangnya 30 peratus dalam tempoh 5 tahun akan datang wajar diberi pujian,” titah baginda.

Dalam pada itu, Sultan Mizan turut berpuas hati dengan hasil pelaksanaan program pembangunan yang menyaksikan ekonomi Terengganu berkembang pada tahap positif selain berjaya menarik ramai pelabur dalam negara dan asing dengan projek pelaburan bernilai berbilion ringgit.

“Beta puas hati dengan pertumbuhan ekonomi negeri yang berdaya tahan pada 2013 telah memberi sumbangan kepada Keluaran Dalam Negeri Kasar (KDNK) negeri sebanyak RM20.2 bilion.

“Dengan pengekalan kukuh melalui asas ekonomi domestik dan pelaburan swasta serta pasaran tenaga kerja yang stabil, pertumbuhan ekonomi negeri dijangka terus positif tahun ini,” titah baginda.

Antara projek pelaburan nilai berimpak tinggi itu ialah pembinaan loji bersepadu bio-metionina dan tiokimia pertama di dunia oleh pelabur CheilJedang (CJ) dari Korea Selatan dan pelabur Arkema dari Perancis di Taman Bio Polimer di Kerteh yang merupakan di bawah kendalian pembangunan Wilayah Ekonomi Pantai Timur (ECER).

Pelabur dari Amerika Syarikat, Cevo Inc pula dijangka memberi komitmen pelaburan sebanyak RM1.65 bilion untuk membangunkan loji pembuatan isobutanol dan biojisim selulosa.

Pembangunan fizikal dalam Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, pembinaan ‘drawbridge’, menaik taraf semua jalan raya utama negeri kepada empat lorong, pembangunan kawasan Bandar Baharu Bukit Besar dan daerah baharu Kuala Nerus adalah antara projek yang dipuji Sultan Mizan dalam usaha kerajaan negeri menyelesaikan masalah rakyat seperti perumahan, infrastruktur dan kemudahan asas lain.

“Beta juga gembira apabila bandar raya Kuala Terenggganu mula meyaingi bandar raya maju di negara ini dengan adanya pembangunan Muara Selatan dan Muara Utara serta mengukuhkan imej Kuala Terengganu sebagai ‘Bandar Raya Warisan Pesisir Air’,” titah baginda.

Sultan Terengganu turut menyarankan kerajaan negeri supaya memberi fokus berterusan terhadap sektor industri kecil dan sederhana (IKS), kesihatan awam, industri pelancongan terutama pembangunan Tasik Kenyir, pembinaan rumah mampu milik, sektor pertanian yang lebih komersil dan isu kemiskinan dalam kalangan rakyat Terengganu.

“Beta berpuas hati dengan berkat usaha yang dilaksanakan kerajaan negeri di mana 31,120 rakyat negeri ini telah terkeluar daripada senarai Pendapatan Garis Kemiskinan berdasarkan data dikumpul dan disahkan oleh Unit Penyelarasan Pelaksanaan, Jabatan Perdana Menteri pada 12 Mac tahun lepas,” titah baginda.

– BERNAMA

*****************

There are some speculations that rife from Ahmad’s dismissal as Menteri Besar Terengganu and it is bent about something to do with abuse of power. The rumour is believed to be centred around an asset worth a few RM million being transferred to a nominee, at the sum of RM 1.00.

Never the less, there are lessons to be learned from the Seri Iman Gambit. Ahmad’s tenure in executive position as an UMNO politician is at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. More over when he did not get overwhelming support as at the 13GE, where BN only managed to pathetically retain 17 out of 32 seats contested for the State Assembly and 4 out of 8 Parliamentary seats in Terengganu.

UMNO was right all along that Ahmad was never a Menteri Besar material. Regardless what his personal reasons are, the childish behaviour is clearly demonstrated here for leaving the party which provided him the platform and support system that enabled him to ascend to the Chief Executive post of a state.

It is up to Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib to provide the testimony if not the proof of the ‘agreement’ made with Ahmad exactly a year ago. This provide ample evidence that Ahmad is a man of defective integrity.

The most important lesson of all is that HRH Rulers should go with the decision of the people after a GE has been concluded and respect party’s nomination for the Menteri Besar post.

Published in: on May 13, 2014 at 20:01  Comments (13)  

Will China allow Sarawak the 20% oil royalty?

China's military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

It is amazing Sarawakian elected representatives are focused on getting the 20% oil royalty from Federal Government but completely overlooked more pertinent issues relating to the source of these hydrocarbon black gold.

The Star story:

Published: Tuesday May 6, 2014 MYT 7:33:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 6, 2014 MYT 7:47:04 PM

Sarawak Assembly passes resolution calling for 20 percent oil royalty

BY SHARON LING

 

KUCHING: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly has unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to request the Federal Government for an increase in the oil royalty from 5% to 20%.

A motion on the increase was originally tabled by Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) but an amended motion, which included seeking more development grants from the Federal Government aside from the royalty, was subsequently tabled by Abdullah Saidol (BN-Semop) and approved.

Abdullah said his motion was in line with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s recent statement in support of an increased royalty.

“We plan to invite the Federal Government to revisit the royalty arrangement, which includes reviewing the relevant legislation. The Chief Minister’s statement was not mere political rhetoric but a representation of the genuine sentiment of all Sarawakians.

“This motion is about our desire to review the royalty rate to a quantum more favourable to us. It can be also construed as a request for more development funds which we can channel to rural areas where basic needs like electricity, clean water and roads are still needed,” he told the House on Tuesday.

Abdullah added that the state wished to mutually negotiate a revision of the royalty with the aim of achieving a better deal in order to accelerate development.

“We don’t want the Federal government to accommodate our request on humanitarian grounds but must be able to impress upon them that we have the right to be treated equally as a partner when we jointly formed Malaysia,” he said.

However, he said the pursuit of a higher royalty rate must not affect the close working relationship, mutual respect and cordiality between the state and Federal governments.

Meanwhile, Chong said he did not mind that his motion had been amended by a Barisan backbencher.

“Once a motion is passed, it is the House motion. It does not matter who originates the motion. This day we will make a unanimous decision and give our full support even if the motion comes from Barisan.

“What is important is that our state gets this money,” he said.

**************

The more pressing issue that Sarawak politicians should pay attention is China’s more aggressive maneuvres based on their claim of the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line in the South China Sea.

ASEAN EEZ Vs China's imaginary 'Nine Dash Line' claims over South China Sea

ASEAN EEZ Vs China’s imaginary ‘Nine Dash Line’ claims over South China Sea

These maneuvres include Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China deploying a fully armed task force and ‘staked the claim’ of James Shoal (Beting Serupai), which is 50 nautical miles off the coast of Saarwak.

Areas within this Nine-Dash-Line are where the untapped oil and gas fields are.

Make no mistake about what China’s primary wish on the quest to stake the claim in the South China Sea, on the undefined Nine-Dash-Line. It is about hydrocarbon.

China already started to erect an oil exploration platform 120 miles off the coast of Vietnam, which is deep in Vietnamese EEZ area (as defined under UNCLOS).It is a point of grave controversy, which would reflect China’s oil interests elsewhere.

Forbes story:

ENERGY | 5/08/2014 @ 8:00AM |1,803 views

China Thwarts U.S. ‘Containment’ With Vietnam Oil Rig Standoff

Comment Now Follow Comments
Two weeks ago on his trip to Asia, President Obama drew another red line, declaring that a group of islands, claimed by both Japan and China, were covered by America’s security treaty with Japan. In the Philippines, Obama inked a 10-year agreement to increase U.S. forces there.

Though the president made a point of not visiting China on what some dubbed a “China containment tour,” he insisted “We’re not interested in containing China.”

The Chinese don’t appear to believe him. This week Beijing decided to assert its aggression in the region.
On May 3, China’s state-controlled oil giant Cnooc moved a deepwater drilling rig to a spot just 120 miles off the coast of Vietnam, smack dab in the middle of oil and gas exploration blocks that Vietnam claims as its own and where PetroVietnam and ExxonMobil have discovered big oil and gas reserves.

Vietnam has demanded that Beijing call it off. In the past day Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have been in a standoff near the rig, with Chinese ships reportedly spraying water at the Vietnamese. On May 4, Chinese ships reportedly rammed Vietnamese vessels.

Chinese media quoted a government spokeswoman as insisting that not only had the rig been positioned in Chinese waters near the Paracel Islands, but that Beijing urged Vietnam to stop interfering.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Cnooc’s actions were “provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”

China’s spokeswoman said, according to Xinhua news service, that the U.S. is in no position to make irresponsible remarks on China’s affairs.
The $1 billion Cnooc 981 rig was the first advanced drillship built in China. ((AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai, File)

Indeed how could anyone seriously believe that the Obama Administration would do anything to thwart the Cnooc rig’s operations. Obama failed to take action when his own red line was crossed in Syria. Vladimir Putin’s cronies laugh at U.S. sanctions imposed after the Crimea takeover. Iraq is hurtling toward civil war. Iran is ever closer to the bomb.

Ernest Bower and Gregory Polling of the Center For Strategic & International Studies summed it up in their analysis yesterday (see their entire piece, with maps, here):

The implications of these developments are significant. The fact that the Chinese moved ahead in placing their rig immediately after President Obama’s visit to four Asian countries in late April underlines Beijing’s commitment to test the resolve of Vietnam, its ASEAN neighbors and Washington. Beijing may also be attempting to substantially change the facts on the seas by moving while it perceives Washington to be distracted by Russian aggression inUkraine, developments in Nigeria, and Syria. If China believes Washington is distracted, in an increasingly insular and isolationist mood and unwilling to back up relatively strong security assertions made to Japan and the Philippines and repeated during President Obama’s trip, these developments south of the Paracel Islands could have long term regional and global consequences.

Analysts in China see it pretty much the same way. In an op-ed in China Daily, Liu Weidong wrote:

Although Obama claimed the U.S. was not trying to contain China, what he has done shows clearly it is. …

The U.S.’ intention of returning to the Asian-Pacific region is to achieve a balance in favor of the US, and that was the main goal of Obama’s Asia trip this time. But this is an unbalanced approach because it is in favor of the countries that have disputes with China, so China is forced to seek a counterbalance. Obama’s unprecedented promise to support Japan in the territorial dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea is enough to show the US’ concern over China’s new legally established Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Also facing frustrations in Syria and Crimea, the US is becoming unreasonably tough with China in a bid to maintain its image as the undisputed global leader.

Objectively speaking, the U.S.’ rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is aimed at achieving a strategic balance between China and Japan that will prevent war between them but also prevent their reconciliation. It will also make both countries woo the US, which will help reinforce the U.S.’ dominant position as an “offshore balancer”.

It’s not the first time China has invaded the Paracel Islands with a drilling rig. It did the same thing back in 2012, at which time Cnooc Chairman Wang Yilin said, “Large deepwater drilling rigs are our mobile national territory and strategic weapon for promoting the development of the country’s offshore oil industry.” Taking him literally, it means that Cnooc’s drilling rigs are akin to ships in the Chinese Navy.

No one expects the Obama administration to respond to China’s aggression. But it’s worth keeping in mind that in its $19 billion acquisition of Canada-based Nexen last year, Cnooc acquired some 200 exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Those leases were altered as a condition of U.S. approval of the deal, with Cnooc forced to give up operatorship of the blocks. But if Cnooc really considers its drilling rigs “mobile national territory” then perhaps the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should apply some special scrutiny when Cnooc and its partners request permits to drill off U.S. shores.

**************

Probably Sarawak elected representatives should be more concerned in providing the Federal Government the full support to ward of China’s claim on what is clearly part of Malaysia’s EEZ as defined by the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). Rather than trying to gain political mileage of being champion against the formula which Sarawak already proven to immensely benefitted.

Kelantan, which is under PAS control, is reaffirming their stake for the 20% oil royalty after the Sarawak State Assembly resolution.

Sin Chew Jit Poh story:

After Sarawak, Kelantan now seeks 20% oil royalty

News 2014-05-08 13:47

The country’s first inland oil well on Canada Hill, Miri, Sarawak. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

May 7, Sin Chew Daily — The Sarawak state legislative assembly passed a resolution to seek to increase the current oil royalty from the federal government from 5% to 20%, and this has set a precedent for other oil-producing states which are seeking to do the same.

Kelantan state assemblyman Datuk Husam Musa said the Sarawak motion was a courageous landmark move and he believed other states would soon follow suit, asking the federal government to increase their oil royalties to 20%.

“There are four oil-producing states in the country, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak. These four states have helped create tremendous wealth annually for the federal government, collectively contributing some 48% of the government’s revenue. However, these four states remain the poorest, which is ironical.”

The Salor state assemblyman cum PAS vice president told Sin Chew Daily it is time for the federal government and Petronas to review the oil revenue distribution structure. Besides higher oil royalties, Husam said these four states should also be entitled to shares in Petronas.

“Currently Petronas is 100% controlled by the federal government. We want the federal government to distribute the company’s shares to the state governments.”

Petronas stopped disbursing oil royalty to the Kelantan state government since 2005, owing the state government some RM1.7 billion of oil royalty every year.

Husam said there are several oil producing areas in Kelantan, and based on the state government’s estimates four years ago, the Kelantan/Thailand offshore area alone generates some US$8.5 billion (RM25.1 billion) in oil revenue annually. If the state government is entitled to 5% of oil royalty, that would be approximately RM1.7 billion every year.

On August 30. 2010, the state government filed a suit at the High Court against Petronas and the federal government for breaching the contract while pursuing the unpaid royalties owed by the federal government since 1998. Petronas signed the agreements in 1974 with all state governments to pay 5% oil royalties to the state governments annually.

“I believe the number of MPs from these four states is enough to get the Parliament to amend the relevant act,” Husam said.

*************

 

The irony is that unlike Sarawak’s oil and gas fields, areas where oil being extracted off the coast of Kelantan, is not part of China’s claim on the Nine-Dash-Line.

In the final analysis, no one in Malaysia would benefit from Sarawak politicians’ insistence for the seemingly ‘Penny wise, pound foolish’ on the controversial oil royalty issue when where this reside which is part of Malaysia’s EEZ would be taken away lock, stock and barrel by China through the means of deadly force.

Published in: on May 8, 2014 at 22:30  Comments (20)  

Lessons from Paracels X: Panda Protagonist Pt II

China's military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

China’s military maneurvres affecting neighbouring nations and region the past 40 years are centred on hydro-carbon deposits

Trouble is brewing in the South China Sea. The tension arisen from border dispute and China’s invasion of Paracel Islands forty years ago is heightened as China registered vessel is believed to has intentionally  rammed into Vietnamese Coast Guard patrol boats.

Reuters story:

Tensions mount between Vietnam and China in South China Sea

BY NGUYEN PHUONG LINH AND MICHAEL MARTINA
HANOI/BEIJING Wed May 7, 2014 7:35am EDT

China »
(Reuters) – Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.

The foreign ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships. Six people sustained minor injuries, it said.

“On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam’s national border committee.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used,” he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, other officials said, but not as badly.

Dozens of navy and coastguard vessels from both countries are in the area where China has deployed the giant rig, Vietnamese officials have said.

“No shots have been fired yet,” said a Vietnamese navy official, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. “Vietnam won’t fire unless China fires first.”

The tensions between the two Communist nations come as both are trying to put aside border disputes and the memories of a brief but bloody border war in 1979. Vietnam is usually careful about public comments against China, with which it had bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2013.

However, Hanoi has strongly condemned the operation of the drilling rig in what it says are its waters in the South China Sea, and told China’s state-run oil company CNOOC to remove it.

The United States has also criticized the move.

The row comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies there, including Japan and the Philippines, both locked in territorial disputes with China.

Obama, promoting a strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China.

China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier on Wednesday that the deployment of the rig had nothing to do with the United States, or Vietnam.

“The United States has no right to complain about China’s activities within the scope of its own sovereignty,” she said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

TENSIONS WITH PHILIPPINES

Tensions are also brewing in another part of the South China Sea where Beijing has demanded the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday.

Chief Superintendent Noel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The boat has 11 crew and police found about 350 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, a police report said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 70 turtles on board. Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.

Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.

China said the Philippines had to release the boat and the fishermen.

“China’s Foreign Ministry and China’s ambassador to the Philippines have made representations to the Philippines side, demanding that it provide a rational explanation and immediately release the people and the vessel”, ministry spokeswoman Hua said.

“We once again warn the Philippines not to take any provocative actions,” she said, adding that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands.

There are frequent tensions in the South China Sea between China and the other claimant nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which say Beijing has harassed their ships in the waters there.

While there are frequent stand-offs between fishermen and the various claimant states in the South China Sea, the actual detention of Chinese fishermen or the seizure of a boat is rare.

NOT COMMERCIALLY DRIVEN

An oil industry official in China said the deployment of the rig owned by China’s CNOOC oil company to waters near Vietnam appeared to be a political decision rather than a commercial one.

“This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“It is not commercially driven. It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

However, Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government think-tank in the southern province of Hainan, said China was unlikely to pay much heed to Vietnamese concerns.

“If we stop our work there as soon as Vietnam shouts, China will not be able to achieve anything in the South China Sea,” Wu said.

“We have lost a precious opportunity to drill for oil and gas in the Spratlys. Also this time we are drilling in Xisha (Paracel Islands), not Nansha (Spratlys), there is no territorial dispute there. I think China will keep moving ahead with its plan (in Xisha), no matter what Vietnam says and does.”

Tran Duy Hai, the Vietnamese foreign ministry official, raised the possibility of Hanoi taking the dispute to international arbitration.

“We cannot exclude any measures, including international legal action, as long as it is peaceful.

“We are a peace-loving nation that has experienced many wars,” he said. “If this situation goes too far, we will use all measures in line with international law to protect our territory. We have limitations, but we will stand up to any Chinese aggression.”

The Philippines has already taken its dispute with China to an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Manuel Mogato in Manila and Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

**********************

and BBC’s story:

7 May 2014 Last updated at 11:57

Vietnam and China ships ‘collide in South China Sea’

The Vietnamese navy says China used water cannons on their vessels in the South China Sea

Continue reading the main story

Vietnamese maritime police official Ngo Ngoc Thu told media in Hanoi on Wednesday that Chinese boats had collided with Vietnamese vessels three times since 3 May.

Continue reading the main story
Analysis

Nga Pham
BBC News
Details are sketchy, but there is no doubt that this is one of the highest escalations of tension in many years between the two neighbours.

China wants to establish an oil rig and start drilling soon in the area only 120 miles (193km) from Vietnam’s coast. This is the first time China has tried to explore the disputed waters between the two countries using its own rig and Vietnam does not want China to set a precedent.

Hanoi said it would do everything possible to protect its rights and does not rule out taking legal action against China at an international tribunal.

The US called China’s plan “provocative” and urged restraint from both sides. But with dozens of ships from both sides confronting each other in the area, any careless move could ignite a bigger and potentially much more damaging conflict.

Chinese officials said during a regular briefing on Wednesday that the oil rig was within China’s territorial waters.

“The disruptive activities by the Vietnamese side are in violation of China’s sovereign rights,” Hua Chunying said.

The incident came as Philippine police seized a Chinese fishing boat and detained its 11 crew in another disputed part of the South China Sea on Wednesday.

The boat carrying “large numbers of endangered species” was seized “to enforce maritime laws and to uphold Philippine sovereign rights”, the Philippine foreign ministry said in a statement.

‘Armed men’
China’s foreign ministry called the action provocative and demanded the immediate release of the fishermen, who have been taken to a Philippine port.

The Chinese fishing boat was being towed to shore and charges would be brought against the crew members, a Philippine maritime official told Reuters news agency.

China’s Xinhua state news agency said the fishing boat – named as Qiongqionghai 09063 – had been seized by an “unidentified armed vessel”.

“Several armed men forced themselves on to the boat and fired four or five shots in the air. They then took control of the boat,” Xinhua said.

China claims ownership of large parts of the South China Sea, including shoals and reefs, located off the coast of the Philippines.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, China and Taiwan all have competing claims in the region.

***********

Apparently, China tried to erect an oil rig in disputed area between China and Vietnam and Vietnamese authorities were in the area to stop them.

Associated Press story:

 

Vietnam Tries to Stop China Oil Rig Deployment

HANOI, Vietnam May 6, 2014 (AP)
By CHRIS BRUMMITT Associated Press

Chinese ships are ramming and spraying water cannons at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from setting up an oil rig in the South China Sea, according to Vietnamese officials and video evidence Wednesday, a dangerous escalation of tensions in disputed waters considered a global flashpoint.

 

With neither side showing any sign of stepping down, the standoff raises the possibility that more serious clashes could break out. Vietnam said several boats have been damaged and six people on the vessels have been injured by broken glass.

 

Vietnam, which has no hope of standing up to China militarily, said it wants a peaceful solution and — unlike China — hadn’t sent any navy ships to areas close to the $1 billion deep sea rig. But a top official warned that “all restraint had a limit.”

 

“Our maritime police and fishing protection forces have practiced extreme restraint, we will continue to hold on there,” Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commander of Vietnam’s coast guard, told a specially arranged news conference in Hanoi. “But if (the Chinese ships) continue to ram into us, we will respond with similar self-defense.”

 

China’s stationing of the oil rig, which was accompanied by a flotilla of military and civilian ships, on May 1 has been seen as one of its most provocative steps in a gradual campaign of asserting its sovereignty in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations.

 

Vietnam immediately dispatched marine police and fishery protection vessels to the area, but they were harassed as they approached, Thu said.

 

Video was shown at the news conference of Chinese ships ramming into Vietnamese ones and firing high-powered water cannons at them. Thu said such incidents had occurred repeatedly over the last three days. He said Vietnam had not carried out any offensive actions of its own in waters close to the rig, around 220 kilometers (140 miles) off the Vietnamese coast.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing Wednesday that the oil rig was in China’s territorial waters and therefore drilling is “normal and legal.” The country previously announced that no foreign ships would be allowed within a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) radius of the rig.

 

“The disruptive activities by the Vietnamese side are in violation of China’s sovereign rights,” she said.

 

A Vietnamese official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity said earlier that Vietnam’s ships were outnumbered by the Chinese flotilla escorting the rig. He said the ships were trying to stop the rig from “establishing a fixed position” at the spot where it wanted to drill.

 

China’s assertiveness along with its growing military and economic might is alarming many smaller countries in the region even as they are aware they need to keep relations open with a vital trading partner. The United States, which is undertaking a military and economic “pivot” toward Asia in part to counter Chinese influence, shares the concerns of the smaller nations.

 

In a strongly worded statement in Washington on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called China’s action “provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”

 

Asked about the U.S. statement, Hua said, “we want to tell the U.S. that the U.S. has no right to make irresponsible and unwarranted remarks on China’s sovereign rights.”

*************

This latest aggression by China is an extension of its projection of power, in the region. This could also be seen as China’s ‘Panda Gambit‘, to rest the reaction of international community, especially United States of America.

The report about the Philippines authorities boarded and arrested Chinese fishermen for ‘illegal fishing’ in territorial waters, defined as Pinoy’s EEZ under United Nations Convention Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS).

Meanwhile, analysts opined that China would not heed any calls by Vietnam nor the Philippines for aggression in disputed areas which under UNCLOS are EEZ territories of the two ASEAN nation, and back of.

Reuters story:

Vietnam and China face off in South China Sea

BY NGUYEN PHUONG LINH AND MICHAEL MARTINA
HANOI/BEIJING Wed May 7, 2014 8:18am EDT

China »
(Reuters) – Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.

The foreign ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships. Six people sustained minor injuries, it said.

“On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam’s national border committee.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used,” he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, other officials said, but not as badly.

Dozens of navy and coastguard vessels from both countries are in the area where China has deployed the giant rig, Vietnamese officials have said.

“No shots have been fired yet,” said a Vietnamese navy official, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. “Vietnam won’t fire unless China fires first.”

The tensions between the two Communist nations come as both are trying to put aside border disputes and the memories of a brief but bloody border war in 1979. Vietnam is usually careful about public comments against China, with which it had bilateral trade surpassing $50 billion in 2013.

However, Hanoi has strongly condemned the operation of the drilling rig in what it says are its waters in the South China Sea, and told China’s state-run oil company CNOOC to remove it.

The United States has also criticized the move.

The row comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies there, including Japan and the Philippines, both locked in territorial disputes with China.

Obama, promoting a strategic “pivot” toward the Asia-Pacific region, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China.

China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier on Wednesday that the deployment of the rig had nothing to do with the United States, or Vietnam.

“The United States has no right to complain about China’s activities within the scope of its own sovereignty,” she said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, rejecting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.

TENSIONS WITH PHILIPPINES

Tensions are also brewing in another part of the South China Sea where Beijing has demanded the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday.

Chief Superintendent Noel Vargas of the Philippine National Police Maritime Group said a maritime police patrol apprehended a Chinese fishing boat around 7 a.m. on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

The boat has 11 crew and police found about 350 turtles in the vessel, some of which were already dead, a police report said, adding that a Philippine boat with crew was also seized, and found to have 70 turtles on board. Several species of sea turtles are protected under Philippine law.

Maritime police are now towing the boats to Puerto Princesa town on the island of Palawan where appropriate charges will be filed against them, Vargas said.

China said the Philippines had to release the boat and the fishermen.

“China’s Foreign Ministry and China’s ambassador to the Philippines have made representations to the Philippines side, demanding that it provide a rational explanation and immediately release the people and the vessel”, ministry spokeswoman Hua said.

“We once again warn the Philippines not to take any provocative actions,” she said, adding that China had “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly Islands.

There are frequent tensions in the South China Sea between China and the other claimant nations, particularly Vietnam and the Philippines, both of which say Beijing has harassed their ships in the waters there.

While there are frequent stand-offs between fishermen and the various claimant states in the South China Sea, the actual detention of Chinese fishermen or the seizure of a boat is rare.

NOT COMMERCIALLY DRIVEN

An oil industry official in China said the deployment of the rig owned by China’s CNOOC oil company to waters near Vietnam appeared to be a political decision rather than a commercial one.

“This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“It is not commercially driven. It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region.”

However, Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, a government think-tank in the southern province of Hainan, said China was unlikely to pay much heed to Vietnamese concerns.

“If we stop our work there as soon as Vietnam shouts, China will not be able to achieve anything in the South China Sea,” Wu said.

“We have lost a precious opportunity to drill for oil and gas in the Spratlys. Also this time we are drilling in Xisha (Paracel Islands), not Nansha (Spratlys), there is no territorial dispute there. I think China will keep moving ahead with its plan (in Xisha), no matter what Vietnam says and does.”

Tran Duy Hai, the Vietnamese foreign ministry official, raised the possibility of Hanoi taking the dispute to international arbitration.

“We cannot exclude any measures, including international legal action, as long as it is peaceful.

“We are a peace-loving nation that has experienced many wars,” he said. “If this situation goes too far, we will use all measures in line with international law to protect our territory. We have limitations, but we will stand up to any Chinese aggression.”

The Philippines has already taken its dispute with China to an international arbitration tribunal in The Hague.

(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Manuel Mogato in Manila and Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

*****************

This blatant disregard for international diplomacy, disrespect of UNCLOS and utter arrogance of China, which growingly being seen as the ‘neighborhood bully’ by international community would just escalate the matter further. This is a precursor of United States military presence in the region at the level during the height of the Vietnam War 45 years ago.

*Updated 2200hrs

Published in: on May 7, 2014 at 19:30  Comments (17)  

The Stand-Up Comedian cum President

Americans must really enjoy stand up comedy gigs. It is reflective when President of the United States of America Barack H. Obama did a very good comedy gig the day before at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner 2014, in wit and sarcasm.

It is the annual dinner where the White House honour the press corp, via the White House Correspondent Association. It is also to mark the press association’s 100 years anniversary.

His light side is the Obama-signature, where he warms people up with the minimal-protocol as shown during the State Visit to Malaysia last weekend.

Published in: on May 4, 2014 at 23:59  Comments (22)  

Slap own chest, what do you fancy?

The minority pretending to be obtuse, is actually very aloud taking on against the Malay-Muslim majority without providing the proper basis, context and intonation and most importantly, cited in the stand-alone perspective not withstanding its lengthy history and mitigating circumstances of origin reflected in the provisions that became the basis when this nation was found.

Commonly known as Federation of Malaysia Constitution and the ‘Social Contract’ between HRH Rulers and the rakyat, prior to getting the Whitehall approval in  achieving Kemerdekaan.

Yet, of late the minority in sundry came up with all sorts of complaints and raising controversies which some of them tantamount to provocation and making grouses when the Malay-Muslim majority respond, if not reciprocate.

Riong Kali dot com story:

Malaysia, a nation of strangers

BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
MAY 02, 2014

The raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia by Jais means all places of worship are subject to monitoring by Jais. That excessive authority bothers law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 2, 2014.
Around the world, the walls of racial and religious separation are being dismantled, but in Malaysia, they are fortified by overzealous people, a constitutional law expert told a forum today.

Noting that racial and religious polarisation in Malaysia has reached alarming levels since the 90s, Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi said the country has become a “nation of strangers”.

“Our children are being taught not to say ‘Rest in Peace’ to people of different faiths, they are told not to go houses of those of other religions, otherwise their faith will be threatened.
“Extremism has become mainstream and moderation is seen as capitulation to other races and religions, and as a betrayal of one’s own community,” he told some 20 law students at the forum organised by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) in Kuala Lumpur.

The forum was held to consult the youths on whether the replacement of the Sedition Act with the Harmony Act was the answer to restore unity in the country.

It was mooted by NUCC member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic), who is also Global Movement of Moderates chief executive officer.

Other speakers included Lim Chee Wee, the deputy chairman of NUCC’s working committee on law and policy, and political secretary to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Vincent Wong.

In his speech, Shad pointed out that the Constitution, even in its ethnic provisions, sought to avoid extreme measures and provided for a balance between the interests of the Bumiputera and non-Bumi communities.

“Article 153 was about affirmative action for the weak and not about racial exclusiveness or racial superiority or ketuanan Melayu,” he added.

“If we read about the making of the Constitution, we will see that our forefathers were animated by a remarkable vision and optimism of a shared destiny among the various people of the peninsula. They gave every community a stake in the nation. No group received an absolute monopoly of power or wealth.”

However, in reality, the law professor said overzealousness prevailed and in some areas, racism has been institutionalised.

“Affirmative action under Article 153 has metamorphosed into something else that is not easily possible to defend under constitutional theory,” said Shad, who is also Universiti Teknologi Mara’s legal adviser.

“It is a selfish attempt to secure advantages for oneself under the guise of Article 153.”

He said in the current situation, an incident that bothered him the most was the January 2 raid of the Bible Society of Malaysia by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), and seizure of 321 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban languages which contained the word ‘Allah’.

“What bothers is me is this – it means that all places of worship are subject to monitoring by Jais. No one should be given this authority.

“As if fighting with other religions is not enough, we have to fight among ourselves,” he said referring to hate campaigns against Muslims who are labelled liberals, deviationists and Shias.

On the Sedition Act, the law professor said the definition of the act was broad and does not distinguish between government and nation.

“Unconstitutional laws are the order of the day, but I think this law has to go. We need a new law to bring parties together through reconciliation,” he added.

He, however, expressed optimism that the recent slew of racial and religious intolerance will pass.

“History never moves in a straight line. I am optimistic that this madness will not last. Whether or not it will sadly take an explosion for us to learn, I don’t know, but it will pass,” he said, citing a revamp to the educational system and criminalising hate speeches as suggestions to restore unity.

Meanwhile, Lim, a former Bar Council president, said the new law should encompass elements of intention to commit crimes motivated by race, religion and ethnicity.

He also stressed that equality was one of the most important themes of the new law, adding that the scale of public discourse is narrowing because of selective prosecution.

“There is, then, a need for a new law to address this,” he added. – May 2, 2014.

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In the right perspective, all of these issues and controversies raised directly against the Malay-Muslim majority or indirectly via systematic and sometimes structural attack against Federation of Malaysia Constitution and HRH Malay Rulers, have been intensified the past six or seven years.

Simply summarise, apostasy cases (in the likes of Lina Joy), provocations against Articles 152, 153, 3(1) and 11(4), prosetlysation of Malay-Muslim, prohibition of kalimah Allah by Non Muslim entities and many more, have been grossly overbearing.

Non Malay Malaysians,demonstrating gross disrespect of the nation's symbol  the Jalur Gemilang

Non Malay Malaysians,demonstrating gross disrespect of the nation’s symbol the Jalur Gemilang

On  top of that, all of these have been manipulated into political overtone. Any attempts for the authorities and/or Malay-Muslim majority trying to act or even rationalise using the Federation of Malaysia Constitution, have been grossly and graphically illustrated as ‘racism’ and ‘the majority victimising and oppressing the minority’.

There is no need to go into great details. The article itself is shamefully imbalanced as the opinion and perspective of the Malay-Muslim majority have not been sought at all.

In the realism of nation-building and community development in the first have century of nationhood, all of these instances highlighted by these selective individuals were not really a problem. The minority actually abused advancement of technology in their sordid attempt to portray that they are ‘Being oppressed by the majority and their rights have systematically been denied’.

84% of the eligible voters in the 1955 Federal Consultative Council general election are the Malays, who were 'Subjects of HRH Rulers'.

84% of the eligible voters in the 1955 Federal Consultative Council general election are the Malays, who were ‘Subjects of HRH Rulers’.

It is the rights of the majority who have been denied. They are the ones who provided the thumping majority voice of democracy which enabled Kemerdekaan been achieved and a Westminster-styled constitutional monarchy has been adopted.

A large portion of the majority of those serving in the armed forces and security agencies have always been from the majority. Thus, the number of those killed and died in the line of duty correspond directly with the composition of ethnicity in these high risk services.

It is no surprise that the majority who holds minority control of the economy have been systematically and categorically subjected to unfair practices and multiple barriers to entry when they sought opportunities in the open market. Particularly in certain sectors of the commerce.

Perjanjian Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, 21 January 1948

Perjanjian Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, 21 January 1948

Yet, they are subjected to the suffering resulted from the openness and liberty of market economy which provided all the space for speculative trading. In this instance, the ability to own decent property in urban areas.

Dwelling is a component of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

It is very naive to expect the Malay-Muslim majority to not reciprocate accordingly when things they hold on very close to their hearts, have also been challenged. Accommodation have its limits.

Published in: on May 2, 2014 at 23:50  Comments (17)