Saturday, December 25, 2010

Centre to "Rehabilitate" Faith

A Malaysiakini reports says that the Sabah Government will enforce anti-apostasy laws aimed at curbing conversions out of Islam once a "faith rehabilitation" centre is completed in Kinarut.

This is a worrying trend that is aimed at curbing a fundamental freedom guaranteed to Sabahans in the Malaysia Agreement. It is no doubt that there is political weight behind the above decision. And the political party in charge of Sabah today is Malayan-based, so we could expect it to copy laws from Malaya without regard for the freedoms guaranteed to Sabah in 1963.

Sabahans of all races should speak out against this. This is where the voice of non-Muslim leaders is most needed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The North Borneo Herald would like to wish all its readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Malaysia, Only Money Does Not Need To Have Halal Certificate

What is becoming of Malaysia? The nightmare is evolving and those caught in it are mainly the non-Muslims, and perhaps multinational corporations with operations in Malaysia.

Its so sad and what a terrible economic and commercial tragedy that a hard working, honest, dedicated entrepreneur like your goodself has to face such kind of rulings in the food business.

It must also been horrific and financially disastrous that Dato Jackson 's 'Sliverbird' factory is forced to close down under such heart breaking circumstances.

I know about the IKEA's restaurant's shut down because of the so-called question on the alleged foodstuff halal certification.

May the mercy and compassion of God Almighty be upon 1Malayasia!!
God help this country!!

The Halal Hype that is going on in our country will force many SMIs involved in food production and distribution to close shop. JAKIM has muscled its way to make itself the Monopoly of the Halal certificate. In April 2011 the Halal Act will be passed by Parliament where only Jakim has the monopoly to issue the certificate.

Each certificate cost about RM1000 and with 2000 line items in my company I will have to foot out RM2,000,000 and that is if I am lucky to get all those approved. I might as well close down my business and retrench all the 60 staff with some 100 odd dependents.

The Government will be deprived of some RM800,000 worth of taxes and duties. The Food standard will definitely decline as chefs will have less ingredients to work with. The Halal procedures will increase the food cost by 10%. JAKIM does not care for the economy of the country. All it cares for is its rice bowl to ensure that it is relevant and seen to be working hard.

Look at the way it closed down IKEA for two weeks. Look at the way it closed down Silverbird in Nilai. It does not care for the business environment in this country.

Even mineral water has halal logo. Eventually all vegetable, fish, grains, rice, etc., will need halal logo. Eventually all Muslims will not touch all non Muslims if the Halal fever is allowed to spread. Even Saudi Arabia is not as strict as Jakim. I have suppliers who could sell their products into Saudi Arabia but not in Malaysia.

80% of the food industry is run by Non Malays. One of the criteria to obtain the Halal Certificate for restaurants is to employ Malaysian Muslim. If you do not have any Malaysian Muslim in your restaurant you will not be issued with a Halal certificate.
Where are we heading????

Editor's Note:

The above piece was originally circulated via e-mail. The North Borneo Herald is not the author of the above, however we decided that this e-mail is worth sharing with our readers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rejection of Pluralism. Islam or IKIM?

According to the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), the Director-General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia, Datuk Nik Mustapha Hassan has issued a statement saying that Islam rejects religious pluralism which espouses that all religions are equally good and true.

This statement seem to have been issued in the wake of the recent statement by several Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders' rejecting the concept of Malay supremacy.

According to the Quran, Those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Christians and Sabaeans- whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does right- surely their reward is with God, and there shall nor fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (Quran 2:62)*

Religious pluralism was promoted by several Muslim rulers in the past such as Emperor Akbar Jalaluddin Mohamed of India, and also Muslims saints such as Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi of Persia (Iran).

In a country where Muslims make up slightly over 50% of the population, it is mind-boggling when there are groups out there who do not accept religious pluralism.

However, IKIM's stand that all religions are not equal can be true in a way. For example Buddhism, Christianity and Islam for example should never be seen as equal because they each have their own concepts, doctrine, theology and theosophy. It would also be wrong to view one religion by comparing it with another as this would be akin to comparing spaghetti to stir-fried noodles.

But to totally reject pluralism? No wonder then, groups like Al-Qaeda have no qualms about killing other human beings, because they feel those human beings are less than equal than them (Al-Qaeda). This is the kind of thinking Sabahans and Malaysians in general should be up against.

*see Mohammed Abdul Malek and Sajeda Malek's study of this verse in

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

China Shows True Colours

The communist People's Republic of China has shown its true colours when it pressured 16 countries not to attend the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a human rights activist who is currently in jail in China.

It is also saddening to note that one of Southeast Asia's prominent democracy, the Philippines has also yielded to China's pressure. It is understood that the Philippines is in the process of acquiring arms and other military equipment from China. But the Philippines has denied that it is not attending the award ceremony because of China, but says that its envoy has another function in Denmark.

Western countries who have all this while opened up to China and invested in that country should think twice about their China ties. Today China has pressured several countries from attending the Nobel Peace Prize award, we do not know what will China pressure other countries to do in future. China is acting like a gangster who would not have anything that is not its way, and will use any pressure on others to toe its line.

The world must not forget the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 where thousands of unarmed Chinese people were mercilessly massacred by the communist regime. And also the world should not forget the plight of the Tibetans and Uighurs who continue to suffer under the communist regime of China.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Perkasa A Biased Organization

Perkasa, a non-governmental organization (NGO) supposedly representing Malay rights has proven that it is very biased. The Malayan-based English language daily, The Star reported that Perkasa, through its Secretary-General has made a police report against the newspaper.

Syed Hassan Syed Ali in his report claimed that The Star has insulted a court decision through one of its articles which questioned a recent court decision.

In January this year, Perkasa staged a demonstration outside the Federal Territory Mosque in Kuala Lumpur to protest a court decision allowing the Roman Catholic Church to use the term "Allah" in its newsletter, The Herald.

Was that not an insult to a court decision?? Which is more insulting? To hold a demonstration in front of a place of worship carrying placards or writing an article in the newspaper?

Perkasa has proven that it is nothing but an empty garbage can!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boy Caned By Teacher, But Father Investigated

The Daily Express today reports that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz has asked the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) to ascertain the religious status of a Sarawakian man.

This is because the man's 10-year old son was recently caned ten times by a teacher for consuming pork sausages in school. The boy's mother had packed him the lunch for school. Now, what is interesting is instead of concentrating on action against the teacher and ensuring that this incident does not recur, Datuk Nazri has asked JAKIM to investigate the status of the boy's father.

This was due to allegations by an independent Member of Parliament, Zulkifli Nordin that the boy's father Baginda Minda is a Muslim. Baginda has since refuted Zulkifli's claim.

Now, even if the boy's father was a Muslim, the teacher has no right to cane the boy. Sarawak like Sabah is a secular state according to the Malaysia Agreement. And even if the teacher concerned wanted to impose Sharia law on the boy, he should have reported the matter to the relevant religious authorities. The teacher has no right to impose punishment on any student. And eating pork in schools is not a crime.

What is most saddening is that this has happened in Borneo which is known for its religious tolerance. And even more saddening is the establishment where the incident occured; a Christian missionary school!

Friday, November 5, 2010

BN Wins Batu Sapi

The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has won the Batu Sapi by-election through Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). Its candidate Datin Linda Tsen garnered 9,773 votes while Ansari Abdullah of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) polled 3,414 votes. The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) gained 2031 votes through its candidate Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

It is no wonder the BN won as North Borneo Herald had earlier stated that the percentage of illegal citizens in Batu Sapi is high. These illegal citizens have no sense of patriotism to the country as they are actually foreigners. And fearing they may get deported if the government party loses, it is only natural that they voted overwhelmingly for BN.

North Borneo Herald wishes BN a hearty congratulations and hopes Datin Linda Tsen would do her best for her constituency. As for PKR and SAPP they are only dreaming if they think they can win areas with foreigner-majority unless they come up with an extremely brilliant strategy, which is highly unlikely.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Of Interfering In Other Religions

Mohd Hisamudin Yahaya, a representative of the United Malays National Organization's (UMNO) youth wing from its Putrajaya* division has lodged a police report against Lim Kit Siang, the advisor of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) for supposedly labelling UMNO members as infidels. This was reported by Bernama.

Lim Kit Siang has since denied the allegations, and has many credible alibis and witnesses to prove that he was not at the place where such words were uttered.

However what is interesting here is what Mohd Hisamudin said to the press regarding his police report against Lim Kit Siang according to Bernama. He said "It was clearly an act of provocation and against the constitution, which states that people of other religions cannot interfere with a community's religious faith".

In that case this Mohd Hisamudin should ask, why then did the Home Ministry interfered in the affairs of the Christian faith when it decided to ban the usage of "Allah" by The Herald, a Catholic weekly which is circulated only among Catholics? And why did the Home Ministry confiscate Christian books containing that same word, which were intended for use within the church?

Now, where was Mohd Hisamudin when all these interferences took place? There are also some states which issued decrees against usage of many terms by non-Islamic religions. One of the word which was prohibited in these decrees was "iman" which means faith. It is rather strange to ban that word from religious usage. It is as though as non-Muslims have no faith in their religion.

Why did Mohd Hisamudin not speak against those decrees? This blog is not asking him to speak against those decrees, but should we not be wondering where is his principle of being against interference of other religions? More so, when those interfering belong to the same faith as him.

It is hoped that Mohd Hisamudin will do unto others what he expects others to do unto him and his community.

*Malaysia's administrative capital located in Malaya

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Batu Sapi by Election

The Batu Sapi by-election will be held on November 4 following the death of Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah in a traffic accident recently.

The contesting parties are Ansari Abdullah of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datin Linda Tsen of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) representing the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and Datuk Yong Teck Lee of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

The results are difficult to predict. First of all the PBS candidate seem to be despised by many Muslim voters if news reports of what transpired during nomination day is true. Reports say crowds appeared demonstrating against Datin Linda's candidacy through PBS.

And when nominations were announced many newspapers showed Datin Linda Tsen being carried by members of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO)'s female youth wing.There were no PBS flags to be seen nor did PBS supporters turn up in huge numbers carrying flags and wearing party shirts. This is if photographs appearing in local newspapers and footage on television captured every detail correctly.

This is a sharp contrast to the PKR and SAPP candidates, both of who were carried around and celebrated by their respective party members draped in party colours and carrying their respective party flags.

But then again the prospects might not be too bright for both PKR and SAPP as both are in the opposition. And both parties contesting in the same battle would probably split the opposition votes and give a win to PBS. Furthermore both Ansari of PKR and Datuk Yong of SAPP are not locals of Batu Sapi.

Then there are also those who are superstitious who say that SAPP might win. This is because a jetty built in a strong BN area collapsed while the PKR candidate was making his rounds and caused him to fall in the sea. They say that this means PBS contesting under the BN symbol would fall because a jetty in an area it it is strong has collapsed. And these superstitious lot also say that PKR would fall as their candidate had taken an early fall.

There is also the question of the possibility of illegal citizens having big role in giving PBS and BN a win. AS we all know, Batu Sapi has become a Muslim-majority constituency over the years thanks to the influx of illegal immigrants who have since obtained citizenship through the back door.

Therefore the Batu Sapi fight is an equal battle for all three parties. May the best man (or woman) win.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mee Goreng Basah

It might never occur to us that food in Malaya with the same name as that in Sabah could be very different. However what is interesting is that though some of the food in Malaya and Sabah might share the same name, they may actually be different.

For example, a reader told the North Borneo Herald that he had visited Lahad Datu a few years ago and ordered his favourite Mee Goreng Basah. Now, in Malaya Mee Goreng Basah means stir-fried noodles with extra soy sauce, giving the noodles a wet look. However when this reader had the Mee Goreng Basah sent to his table, he was surprised to see pale looking noodles soaked in thick gravy.

This serves as a lesson to us all, that the next time we are in Malaya, Sarawak or anywhere else and order our favourite food, make sure we ask what it is. Anyway the North Borneo Herald believes such diversity adds more colour to the already colourful cuisine of Malaysia.

As for the reader who sent his story to the North Borneo Herald, he said that the Sabah version of Mee Goreng basah was very tasty indeed.

Send your stories to:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Malaysia Wins Gold Medal Through Sabah

Sabahan weighlifter Arrico Jumitih from Manggatal won the gold medal in the 62kg category of the weightlifting competition at 19th Commonwealth Games currently being held in India.

The best thing about his winning is that Arrico was wearing a shirt with the Sabah flag! This should not be an issue as everyone knows that Sabah is part of Malaysia. When English athletes wear their England shirts, it does not make them less British. So what is the fuss. Kudos to Arrico and kudos to Sabah!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mathurin Daim Dies

Mathurin Daim, former District Officer of Sipitang, former member of the United National Kadazan Organization (UNKO), former secretary to Chief Minister Peter Lo and a former USNO man has today left us all to return to his Creator.

The North Borneo Herald offers its deepest condolences to all his family members. It is hoped that his vision to see the creation of the Borneo National Party (BNP) will one day be realized.

His remains will be buried at the Limbahau Catholic Cemetery in Papar on Friday at 1pm.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

The North Borneo Herald wishes all its readers a Happy Independence Day. It was on this date in 1963 that Sabah gained its independence from the United Kingdom!

LDP Confronts UMNO!

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has publicly stated that it cannot work with the Sabah chapter of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). Its Deputy President Datuk Chin Shu Pin has publicly criticized Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, who is also chief of Sabah UMNO.

Datuk Chin has said that LDP can no longer work with UMNO in Sabah. He has also called for the investigation into several businessmen who may have links with Datuk Musa in some sort of financial scandal which he (Datuk Chin) did not reveal.

LDP's open attack against the state UMNO came after a meeting of the parties within the ruling coalition in which Datuk Musa refused to entertain requests for the resumption of construction of a Chinese Buddhist statue initiated by former LDP president, Datuk Chong Kah Kiat.

No matter what the outcome of this spat between LDP and UMNO, it is hoped that a solution would be forthcoming. If not, LDP might as well leave the ruling coalition.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PBS Also Speaks Up!

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Secretary-General, Datuk Henrynus Amin has also spoken up on the issue of the need to change in the ruling coalition.

Datuk Henrynus says that the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) should lead the way for change. With both PBS and the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun-Murut Organization (UPKO) speaking up it is hoped that UMNO would react positively.

Earlier, even the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) had spoken up against certain UMNO people over the sacking of LDP-appointed officers in Kudat. Even the president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), Datuk Chua Soi Lek has defended his party's stand for calling on UMNO to rescind the ban on the use of the word "Allah" by Christians.

With so many fellow coalition partners speaking up, it is hoped that UMNO would truly listen and change instead of continuing to endear itself to extremist circles.

Monday, August 16, 2010

UPKO Speaks Up!

The Borneo Post and the Daily Express today reports that the United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun-Murut Organization (UPKO) has spoken out against many unresolved issues affecting the country. This includes the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, opposition to Christian use of the term "Allah", the proposed coal power plant in Sabah and the Sabah gas pipeline project to Bintulu in Sarawak.

UPKO president Tan Sri Bernard Giluk Dompok said that the party was merely voicing out the people's unhappiness and is not giving an ultimatum. Putatan Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Marcus Mojigoh meanwhile slammed those in the United Malays National Organization(UMNO) who demanded to contest the Putatan seat currently being held by UPKO. Datuk Mojigoh had also rapped UMNO for stepping on fellow coalition partners like UPKO. Datuk Mojigoh's courage is lauded and it is hoped that he would not stop here.

It is heartening to note that UPKO is finally speaking up. Meanwhile Penampang division UMNO head, Datuk John Ambrose has termed UPKO's outspokenness as a veiled threat to UMNO. What he failed to understand is that whether or not this is a threat, the issues being raised are genuine and directly affects the people. Datuk Ambrose should know his position in UMNO.

UPKO should continue speaking up. There should be nothing to fear. Even if UPKO is kicked out of the ruling coalition, it can easily win at least 30 state seats including some currently held by UMNO.

Kudos to UPKO!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Borneo Dayak Forum

The North Borneo Herald hails the formation of the Borneo Dayak Forum (BDF). For the first time we have an organization that would represent all Dayaks. The inaugural president of the BDF, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan should be commended for his effort in bringing all the Dayaks together.

This a milestone towards the realization of a Dayak nation and the unification of Borneo. No matter how far in the future this can be realized, the formation of BDF will be a cornerstone. And the North Borneo Herald shall willingly be used as a publicity agent for the BDF.

(Dayaks refer to all the indigenous peoples of Borneo including Iban, Bidayuh, Kadazandusun, Murut, Ngaju among others).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Are We Better Than the Penans?

It seems certain people are not sensitive enough to different cultures and lifestyles. A very senior Sarawakian politician has rapped certain NGOs for "wanting the Penans to continue to live like orangutans".

Such a statement is uncalled for. If any government wants to bring progress to nomadic peoples, it should not be by force. The government concerned too should not encroach or allow outsiders to encroach traditional hunting and farming grounds.

Progress will come to the Penans through education. For that to happen, there should be easy access to schools, learning materials and other related infrastructures.

We don't just bulldoze through a forest, tell the people they are backward and then build houses as we like and ask the people to live there and be thankful. What about their age old lifestyles? It should be up to them to change them or transform them to fit into a more modern world.

By indirectly implying that their lifestyle is like orangutans, we are not only insulting them but ourselves too. Are our lifestyles, practices and cultures better than the Penans?

If yes, why are there babies being dumped, people being detained for having different beliefs, atomic bombs being thrown over cities and so on.

Those who look down upon the Penans should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Common Stand With The DAP Not Allowed?

The Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) reported the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as saying " I don't understand why the DAP and MCA are taking a common stand on such matters" (August 3, 2010). He was referring to a Malaysiakini report in which the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) called for the Federal Government to rescind the ban on the use of the word "Allah"in Christian publications.

The question we should ask is, is it wrong for the DAP, an opposition party and the MCA, a member of the ruling coalition to take a common stand on issues which concern the rights of citizens?

When Israel raided a Turkish flotilla on May 31st this year, the ruling coalition took a common stand with the DAP and other opposition parties in condemning the attack. Why nobody questioned the ruling coalition for taking a common stand with the DAP then?

Does this mean the MCA and other ruling parties can only take a common stand with the DAP when it comes to speaking up for people in foreign lands, but not for speaking up for Malaysians? This is indeed very bizarre!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Out Of Court Settlement The Best Solution

The Malaysian Insider on August the 1st reports:


Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today that his predecessor should not have banned the word “Allah” from being used by the Catholic Church.

The decision, he added, will continue to haunt his ministry “for a very long time.”

“In this ministry, it is a zero-sum game. We are [now] in an uncharted landscape which will haunt us for a very long time.

“We should have let the sleeping dogs lie. It was triggered by those that believed that the word ‘Allah’ should not be used in Sabah and Sarawak.”

This shows the wisdom and maturity of the Home Minister. Datuk Seri Hishamuddin has made a wise reflection. It is a pity that someone smart like him was not appointed as Home Minister earlier. Instead we had a minister who could not decide whether he should or should not ban the word "Allah", which was a non-issue in the first place.

It is hoped that Datuk Seri Hishamuddin's wisdom would outweigh views from narrow-minded politicians like Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Maj-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom who seem to be hell-bent on banning Malay-speaking Christians from using a name they have used for a very long time in worship.

It is therefore hoped that the Home Ministry would do something to allow Malay-speaking Christians to continue using the word "Allah" and at the same time keep the bigots happy. A good way to do this would be to announce an out-of-court settlement with the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church too should refrain from using the word "Allah" in its publication for a certain period until things calm down.

The government need not announce the outcome of the out-of-court settlement decision. This way the rights of Christians would continue to be protected while the wishes of the extremists would seem to be fulfilled.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mazu Case: Datuk Chong Kah Kiat Loses

The Federal Court in Kuala Lumpur has rejected the appeal by Datuk Chong Kah Kiat against the Sabah government's decision to reverse the approval for the 108-foot high Mazu* statue.

The Kudat Town Board had in February 2006 approved the construction of the Mazu statue. Just as the Mazu construction was in progress, the state government cancelled its approval in November 2007. The reason given was that the Mazu statue would be too close to a mosque. In actual fact, the said mosque was 600 metres away from the site of the statue.

In fact the only voices against the construction of the statue were from several branches and divisions of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). This therefore cannot be translated as a Muslim opposition against the statue.

The Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman by the way had said that the government is offering an alternative site for the sake of upholding peace and harmony in Sabah. This is ironic, since if the government really wanted to uphold peace and harmony in Sabah, it would not have reversed its approval of the Mazu project in the first place.

Now, the state government has made an issue out of a non-issue. Sabahans are generally peace-loving and having mosques, churches and temples next to each other has never been a problem. However, things are slowly changing perhaps because UMNO which rules Sabah is not a Sabah-based party.

UMNO is slowly changing the way Sabahans think and interact with each other. First, they will say religious statues should not be built less than a thousand metres from a mosque. What guarantee is there then that they will not say non-Muslims should not worship less than a thousand metres from where Muslims live?

After all just 15 years ago, conversions from Islam to other religions were a non-issue in Sabah. But now it has become a very sensitive subject.

The sad thing is that the Sabah-based parties that are in alliance with UMNO prefer to keep quiet. Chong Kah Kiat is now seeing where his loyalty to the UMNO-led coalition has landed him. The rest will also will feel the pain when it bites them.

UMNO can be good for Sabah if it embraces the Sabahan qualities of harmony, tolerance and acceptance. But if it is importing Malayan standards of racial and religious division, then it will destroy the very fabric of Sabahan society.

*Mazu or Matsu is a Sea Goddess worshipped by Taoists and Chinese Buddhists

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time To Upgrade Natives Court

The recent call by Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum for Sabah to have a Native Judicial Department is lauded.

It is high time that the Native Courts be given appropriate recognition in Sabah. And having a Native Judicial Department is one way of safeguarding the position of the Native Court.

The Native Court is the oldest justice system in Sabah, preceding even the Syariah court. Unfortunately, today the native court is seen as an inferior court, in fact Section 9 of the Natives Court Enactment 1992 gives the impression that the Native Court is inferior to the Syariah court.

Also the decision by certain government departments not to recognize marriages authorized by the Native Court is also an insult to the court.

It is also high time that the Director of the Native Affairs Council be appointed from among the non-Muslim natives as Muslims already have the Syariah court. In fact many of the matters being dealt with in the Natives Court are already within Syariah jurisdiction. Furthermore Syariah law is based on Islam, therefore it is complete and there is no reason why Muslims should go to the Natives Court except in cases where it involves both Muslims and non-Muslims, such as marriage between a Muslim native and non-Muslim native.

And the native court should be accorded a similar position to that of the Syariah court in the Federal Constitution.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sabah in the World Cup?

With the World Cup fever running high, have any of us ever thought what if Sabah had separate membership from the Football Association of Malaysia(FAM) in the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).

It would mean that Sabah could compete for the World Cup qualifying rounds and have a shot at joining the World Cup finals. This is the same with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who are all part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain yet have separate memberships in FIFA. These countries compete separately in international tournaments.

The same also goes for the Faroe Islands, which is part of Denmark. Faroe Islands also have separate membership and therefore compete as a separate team.

Prior to the formation of Malaysia, Sabah or North Borneo as it was once known sent its own team to international athletic competitions. North Borneo even participated in the 1956 Olympics in Australia.

There may be those who think that such an arrangement would be harmful to unity. However on the contrary, such an arrangement would give Malaysian sports fans the luxury of cheering three teams, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya. For example if Sabah qualified for the World Cup, Malayans too would be cheering for Sabah and vice versa.

It also gives the opportunity for more athletes to compete internationally. However this is not so, but imagine if it is so. It would be very colourful indeed for Southeast Asian football, or Southeast Asian sports for that matter.

This is just a thought that the North Borneo Herald would like to share with readers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

UMNO's Growing Strength

It was reported recently that Sabah's Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin hoped the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) will be able to contest the Putatan parliamentary constituency in the next parliamentary elections.

All the recent developments, from the request for the Merotai state constituency to be given to UMNO, the sacking of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) community leaders in Kudat, the call for UMNO to increase members in Sepanggar to contest the constituency and the recent expression by Datuk Yahya all seem to suggest one thing; the flexing of UMNO's muscle in Sabah and the gradual loss of influence of other parties within the ruling coalition.

By the the next elections, perhaps less than 5 parliametary seats will be contested by the other coalition members, while less than 15 state seats will be left for them. These seats are probably;

Parliament: Keningau, Kota Kinabalu, Kota Marudu, Penampang

State: Api Api, Bingkor, Kadamaian, Karamunting, Kiulu, Labuk, Luyang, Matunggong, Moyog, Sri Tanjung,Tambunan, Tamparuli, Tandek, Tanjung Papat

This conclusion is based on several calls lately by certain UMNO leaders to contest seats held by other component parties of the coalition. For example, statements made by the UMNO divisions of Kalabakan, Putatan and Sepanggar and the actions by certain UMNO people in Kudat seem to suggest that the other coalition members are not worthy of consideration.

Secondly, the increase in the number of project IC* holders in urban constituencies will help increase support for UMNO. More of these people are now able to purchase houses in new housing estates in urban areas. Most of the project IC holders are UMNO supporters as reflected by the high number of votes gained by UMNO wherever these foreigners constitute a majority.

Thirdly, the increase in the number of Muslim converts in Kadazandusun-Murut majority areas will also increase UMNO's support in these areas. UMNO usually makes its presence felt in Muslim-majority areas. A tour of Muslim-majority villages in Keningau and Ranau will confirm this.

Fourthly, as demonstrated by the cancellation of the rotation system for the Chief Minister's post after the 2004 elections , UMNO is here to make its presence felt and is here to be the boss. This way, no other party can helm the chief ministership. Like the rotation system, there is no guarantee the other component parties' hold on their constituencies will last forever.

The other members in the coalition better voice out their dissatisfaction now or forever hold their peace. Another option would be leaving the coalition like what the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) did. There are already voices of discontent from LDP, but not directly from its president.

There is also a probability that once the Huguan Siou*, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan retires, there will no longer be a Kadazandusun deputy chief minister, at least not a non-Muslim one.

Whether UMNO or whatever party helms the state government should not be a cause of concern to us. However the real worry is the infiltration of illegal immigrants through the project IC into the ranks of UMNO. What if one day these people dominate UMNO in Sabah? Secondly, is the worry that the state's autonomy would be quickly decreased since UMNO is a Malayan-based party.

Already there have been calls to extend the Aboriginal Affairs Department (JHEOA) and the Rural Development Agency (RDA) to Sabah.

These are the real concerns. Members of other component parties in the ruling coalition might as well dissolve their parties and join UMNO en bloc to prevent foreigners and anti-autonomy elements to dominate the party in Sabah.

Project IC: Citizenship cards issued through fraudulent means to foreigners
Huguan Siou: Paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If UMNO Gets Merotai, UPKO Should Get KDM Seats!

On May 21st, the Daily Express published a report saying that the Kalabakan MP, Datuk Ghapur Salleh had said the Merotai seat being held by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) should be returned to the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since Merotai he claims is a Muslim majority seat.

And on June 16th, the Daily Express reported that Datuk Ghapur claimed that 191 UMNO branches within the Kalabakan division had unanimously supported a motion calling for the Merotai seat to be given back to UMNO.

It is very clear here that Datuk Ghapur's reasoning for wanting UMNO to stand in Merotai is because as he claims, Merotai is a Muslim-majority seat. It seems then that UMNO is a party representing the Muslims of Sabah and that UMNO should contest wherever there is a Muslim majority.

In this sense, why then is UMNO clinging to the Karanaan, Kemabong, Liawan, Pitas and Sugut constituencies. These are Kadazandusun-Murut(KDM)-majority constituencies. If UMNO's representation is based on religion, then the United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun-Murut Organization (UPKO) is a party which is based on ethnicity, in this case the KDM ethnic.

So, it would only be fair that UPKO be allowed to stand in these five KDM-majority constituencies. It would be welcoming if UPKO claims these seats from UMNO. In the event that the Merotai seat is given back to LDP, UPKO must have the five KDM-majority seats currently being held by UMNO.

This is because it would be illogical for UMNO to stand in all Muslim-majority seats on the basis of being a Muslim party while at the same time denying a KDM party from standing in all KDM-majority seats!

UMNO as the name itself suggest is a Malay-based party, not a KDM party. Even if all the KDM seats are not given to UPKO, they should be shared between UPKO and parties that are headed by KDM leaders like Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

If we are to go by Datuk Ghapur's logic, then UMNO as a Malay party has no basis to contest for KDM-majority seats.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Uzbeks Are Also Humans!

The recent silence against the massacre of Uzbek civillians, including women and children is indeed strange. This is because when Israel attacked a Turkish aid ship and killed 9 people on board, the entire world seemed to be up in arms.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad, as usual the most vocal Malaysian to speak against Israel seemed to be not so vocal in the Kyrgyzstan tragedy.

According to the BBC report, on May 31st this year, Israeli troops boarded the Turkish-registered Mavi Marmara ship carrying aid for Palestinians. There was resistance from pro-Palestinian activists and at least nine of these activists were killed.

This incident immediately drew angry responses from people all over the world. The Malaysian parliament even passed a resolution condemning the attack on the Turkish ship. On June 4th, thousands of Malaysians led by opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur burning Israeli flags (source:World News Network).

Please also bear in mind that prior to the Israeli raid, the Mavi Marmara was ordered to dock at Ashdod by Israeli authorities, but the aid organizers refused and wanted to proceed to Gaza, prompting the Israelis to make the raid. The Israeli raid cannot be justified however, but then so are the excessive reactions to it when compared to reactions to the Kyrgyz tragedy.

Now let us look at the situation in Kyrgyzstan. The riots in Kyrgyzstan all stemmed from the failure of its president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev to resign when he should have. By the time Bakiyev realized his support was dwindling and things were getting out of control, he decided to resign and leave. But it was too late. Ethnic Kyrgyz rioters went on a rampage, and releasing their fury on the country's ethnic Uzbeks who account for about 15% of the country's population.

CBC News reports that Kyrgyz interim minister, Roza Otunbayeva as saying the death toll from the riots could be as high as 2,000. Those displaced was somewhere around 400,000.

Now, compare this to the nine killed on the Mavi Marmara! Where are the angry responses to these deaths in Kyrgyzstan? Is there anyone running berserk burning Kyrgyz flags?

If we want to show our sympathies, there should not be double standards. The Uzbeks of Kyrgyzstan are humans just like Palestinians and pro-Palestinian activists.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Huguan Siou Now a Tan Sri

It is indeed heartening that the Honourable Huguan Siou, Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan has been bestowed with the title Tan Sri by the king of Malaysia in conjunction with the latter's official birthday.

The Huguan Siou who is the paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community in Sabah is now Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan. Tan Sri is the second most senior title conferred upon by the Federal king after Tun. The former Huguan Siou, the late Donald Stephens died as a Tun. It is hoped that the current Huguan Siou too would get his Tun in the near future.

Anyway, the awarding of Tan Sri to the Huguan Siou is a great recognition to the Kadazandusun people in Sabah. It is hoped that with this title, the Huguan Siou would continue to fight for the rights of the Kadazandusun people.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fake Citizens Smear Good Name of Sabah

The following title on the front page of the Daily Express on Thursday (June 3rd) was certainly eye-catching:

"Order To Probe 25 Sabahan Snatch Thieves"

THE State Government wants police to conduct a thorough investigation on the 25 snatch thieves believed from Sabah that were caught during TV3 Jom Heboh Carnival in Kangar, Perlis on Sunday.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the Government viewed the matter very seriously and wants the authority concerned to ascertain the true identities of the snatch thieves. This is because in the past, many "Sabahans" caught by the police for committing crimes in West Malaysia have been identified as foreigners holding Malaysian identification documents

Now even the state government is beginning to feel the effects of having foreigners as fake citizens. Certain political parties which in the past may have helped illegal immigrants to acquire citizenship might have felt a sense of triumph then, since these immigrants helped them to win elections.

But when it comes to the time when these ungrateful immigrants smear the good name of Sabah abroad, then perhaps these political parties and their leaders would come to their senses. If they come to their senses!

It is better to win the support of your own people then expecting foreigners to vote for you. Foreigners have their loyalty placed elsewhere.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kotobian Tadau Kaamatan

The North Borneo Herald would like to wish all its readers a very Happy and Joyous Harvest Festival. Kotobian Tadau Tagayo Kaamatan, Kopivosian Tadau Tagazo Kaamatan, Kansayan Orou Kaamatan, Salamat Runat Kalapadan and Salamat Tou Betas Bagani.

And also a reminder, please do not drive while under the influence of alcohol. If you must drive, then take a short nap before you drive. Or better, control the amount of alcohol you drink. If it is rice wine, then a very small amount is sufficient.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sarawak Tribune Suspension Lifted

The Malaysian National News agency (Bernama) reported that the Sarawak's oldest newspaper will hit news stands again (May 19th 2010). The Sarawak Tribune, established in 1945 was suspended in 2006 when it published caricatures of the Muslim prophet, Mohamed which was considered offensive to Muslims.

The North Borneo Herald is happy that a part of Borneo's heritage is being revived. When the Sarawak Tribune was suspended even the Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud expressed disappointment since the newspaper is part and parcel of Sarawak's history.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Death of a Leopard Cat

The above image was captured in Lahad Datu on Thursday (6th May 2010).

The Leopard Cat is a very shy animal and human encounters with it in the wild are quite rare. This is not the first time a leopard cat ended up as roadkill.

The leopard cat in the picture above disappeared soon after the photographer returned to the scene to take another picture.

The increasing number of leopard cats dying on our roads show that their habitat is rapidly decreasing, mostly as a result of land clearing for oil palm plantations.

For more information on the clouded leopard please read

Editor's Note:This article had originally named the above animal as a Clouded Leopard, but after verifying with staff of the Wildlife Department and wildlife tour operators, it was confirmed that the animal was actually a leopard cat. Error is regretted

Friday, April 30, 2010

Non-Halal Meat Unhygienic?

The President of the Malay Chamber of Commerce of Malaysia (MCCM), Datuk Yussof Mohammad has said that "halal* products are slightly higher in quality because of hygienic aspects" (Daily Express 1/5/2010).

Though generally non-Muslims respect Muslim view of what is lawful for consumption, it is downright unfair to compare what is lawful for Muslims with what is lawful for non-Muslims. As much as Muslim consumers would want meat which is prepared in hygienic conditions, non-Muslims also feel the same way.

There is no evidence to show that meat which is not prepared according to halal rites are unhygienic. In fact as one reader of the Daily Express commented in the newspaper's readers column, hygiene standards in the West are more stringent.

Just because an animal is slaughtered according to halal rites does not necessarily mean the meat is clean. It all depends on how the meat is processed and the cleanliness considerations.

To simply say that non-halal meat are unhygienic or inferior in quality is an insult to non-Muslims. The MCCM must remember that meat slaughtered according to halal rites are forbidden to followers of some religions and so are some animal meats that are lawful in Islam.

The MCCM has the right to fight for Muslim consumer rights, but it has no right to insult the consumer rights of non-Muslims.

*lawfully permissible according to the religion of Islam

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Select Committee or Selective Committee?

The state government has decided to form a select committee to investigate the native certificate of Sri Tanjung assemblyman, Jimmy Wong. Wong has a native certificate which qualifies him as a native. The issuance of native certificates were abolished during Berjaya rule in 1982.
However it is strange why the government is hell bent on forming a committe to investigate Wong's certificate. There have been countless reports of illegal immigrants holding Malaysian citizenship in Sabah, yet nothing has been done.
This is making a mockery of the people. By forming the committee they are making the people look stupid. By doing this, it is the government which is looking stupid.
The state government has never made efforts to rid Sabah of illegals nor completely eradicate foreign squatters. Yet here we have a select committee formed to look into an assemblyman's native certificate.
This is certainly a selective committee!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

NRD Doing Something Right!

In the past there were a lot of complaints against the National Registration Department (NRD)'s practice of registering a child as belonging to the race of its father.

This complicated things when the marriage is between a native and non-native, for example between a Chinese and Kadazandusun. If the father is a Chinese the child would be registered as Chinese and this would make the child unable to inherit native land from the mother, should the mother have one.

However, it seems that the NRD has finally changed the way things are done. Now, parents who are not of the same race can choose the race of the child. For example if the father is a Chinese and the mother is a Murut, they can choose to declare their child as a Chinese or a Murut.

This is indeed a step in the right direction by the NRD. It seems the NRD is finally doing something right. Kudos to the NRD!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Does JAKIM Have Authority?

The Raja Muda* of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah had on December 9, 2008 said that the Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) did not have the legal power to give administrative directives to any state Islamic religious administration (see The Star December 10,2008).

On April 6 this year, Bernama reported that Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim said the amendment to the Trade Description Act would enable Jakim to flex its muscle in taking action against restaurants which flouted halal ruling.

Going back to the Federal Constitution, it clearly says that matters of Islamic administration and Sharia laws are within the jurisdiction of state governments. This can be found in List II of the Ninth Schedule.

Now, we have the State Islamic Religious Council to administer Islam in the states, the State Islamic Affairs Department to enforce Islamic laws and finally we also have this JAKIM.

What legal jurisdiction does the Federal Government has through Jakim to enforce syariah compliant regulations? The money the Federal Govenrment is showering on JAKIM, could better be utilised if channeled directly to the respective state religious departments and councils.

By having this JAKIM, is the Federal Government not usurping the state government's authority?

As it is, the Malaysian civil service is already bloated. Therefore is JAKIM a necessary government department? We can see JAKIM offices all over Sabah and we can see their four-wheel drive vehicles and air-conditioned buses. And then we could also see that many of JAKIM staff are Malayans, which means the Federal government would also have to pay their housing allowances as well as their annual return ticket to Malaya.

Why is the Federal government wasting so much money on JAKIM when JAKIM's work is already being done by the state Islamic affairs department and state Islamic council? It would be understandable if JAKIM's jurisdiction is confined to the Federal Territories since these areas are under direct Federal rule.

Is it even constitutional for the Federal government to have jurisdiction in matters already assigned to state governments in the Federal Constitution? In fact, is JAKIM in itself constitutional?

It is time state leaders speak out against this unnecessary wastage! It would be better if the Federal Government's expenditure and allocations for JAKIM be channeled directly to state governments.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

The North Borneo Herald would like to wish all its readers a very Happy and Blessed Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Valid Reasons to Fight for Borneo Rights in UK Parliament

Recently, Sabahan politician, Daniel John Jambun took Sabah's grouses to the parliament of the United Kingdom. And then Sarawak's Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu rubbished Jambun and his entourage as nobodies.

First of all, many Malaysians would ask what is the point of taking Sabah's grouses to the UK parliament?

Many especially the younger generation might not be aware that the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 which was ratified by the states of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and the UK is an international treaty between five nations.

And the Malaysia Agreement was passed as the Malaysia Act in the UK parliament. Therefore it is only natural that Daniel John Jambun takes Sabah's grouses to the UK parliament.

Secondly, many Malaysians would also say that according to the Malaysia Agreement a member state cannot pull out of the Federation. But please note that many provisions in the Malaysia Agreement have been violated. So, surely to argue against Sabah and Sarawak's separation by using the Malaysia Agreement is futile.

Thirdly, please note that the expulsion of Singapore in 1965 by itself has made the Malaysia Agreement invalid as the agreement requires Singapore to be part of the Federation.

As for those who might argue that the constitutional amendments made in 1973 had made some of the provisions in the Malaysia Agreement irrelevant, please also remember the nature in which the opposition were silenced in the 1970s.

There were definitely strong-arm tactics used in the amendments of 1973 in which many important provisions for Sabah were revoked. That was a dark period for many Sabahans as the then Chief Minister Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun ruled as dictator.

Finally, as for Tan Sri Alfred Jabu's statement that those who took Sabah and Sarawak's grouses to the UK parliament are nobodies, please note that not all somebodies were born somebodies. Many were born nobodies. It was indeed an extremely arrogant comment coming from Jabu.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Malaysia and Its Indigenous People

A Bernama report today stated that Putatan Member of Parliament, Datuk Marcus Mojigoh claimed Malaysia as the best example when it comes to handling indigenous peoples' rights. This is some of what he said according to Bernama:

"We care for them from womb to grave. We have a lot of programmes for them. For example, housing, schools and healthcare facilities are built close to the villages of indigenous people so that they are not forced to move to urban areas."As a result, mortality rates have dropped and poverty is being alleviated, and through education, they have greater control of their lives," he said.

Since Datuk Marcus himself is from an indigenous community, what he said must be right. However, those of you who feel otherwise are welcome to share your comments.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rural Posting For Teachers: Why Double Standards?

Recently there was a suggestion that all new school teachers should first be given posting in rural areas. This is a good idea, but only if it applies to all civil servants.

Firstly, why must teachers the only ones be given rural postings? Some teachers might originate from rural areas and they might want to get a feel of the urban life, so why send them back where they come from if they do not want it?

Secondly, some teachers from urban areas may simply be not cut out for life in rural areas. Must we force them to go to rural areas and then let the situation affect their quality of teaching?

Thirdly, if the Ministry of Education is so concerned about lack of teachers in rural areas, maybe they can explain why there are many applicants from rural areas in Sabah who have had their applications rejected.

There are many qualified school-leavers who have applied for teacher training and had their applications rejected here. While there are many graduates in Sabah who have applied for post-graduate teacher training and also have their applications rejected.

So, to understand problems in rural areas better, it would be better for ministers to be first posted in rural areas before they can actually perform duties as ministers in air-conditioned rooms and chauffeur-driven cars. Let the works minister walk across dangerous suspension bridges and wade in knee-deep rivers to reach villages.

And let the health minister open up a clinic in villages where the only transport arrives once a week. Let the education minister teach in a school where there is no electricity, water, proper accomodation and where the minister would have to do all clerical work on his or her own.

Maybe then they could understand the plight of rural folks better and help to solve it instead of making knee-jerk reactions like asking all teachers to be given mandatory rural posting. And let us not forget nurses, policemen, magistrates, postmen, doctors, commisioners of oaths and other civil servants whose service could be valuable to rural folks.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lim Kit Siang Says KDMs Biggest Losers

Recently, Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) commented that the Kadazandusun-Murut (KDM) community in Sabah are the biggest losers in Sabah.

President of the Sabah Justices of Peace Council (MAJAPS), Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun was quick to brush the accusation aside. Datuk Clarence also said that there are four KDM permanent secretaries in state ministeries.

The North Borneo Herald wonders if Malakun is serious! To the layman, it is very obvious what the KDMs are experiencing. Not all of the KDMs are "Datuks" or presidents of important councils.

How many KDMs are District Officers in Sabah? And how many of them are non-Muslim? How many Federal departments or agencies in the state are headed by the KDM? What are the percentage of KDMs in university and teacher training college intakes in Sabah? What are percentage of KDM staff in government offices?

The most saddening part here is not that Malakun denies the KDMs are being sidelined, but the fact that the issue of KDMs being the biggest loser is brought up by a non-KDM, Lim Kit Siang.

Datuk= a honorary title conferred upon important people in Malaysia

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Drought and Haze in Sabah

The on-going drought in Sabah is contributing to many bushfires in the state. The Fire Department too it seems is short of men and equipment to fight these daily fires. Worst of all is that all these bushfires have contributed to haze in the state. Anyone taking a plane to land in Kota Kinabalu could see the entire West Coast covered in thick smog.

The North Borneo Herald has also received reports that thick smog can be seen from the air in Tawau. However it is worrying that no schools have instructed its students to cease all outdoor activities.

It is hoped that all Sabahans take necessary precautions and not venture out unnecessarily. It is also hoped that all forms of open burning could be ceased. As for smokers, it would be advisable to temporarily cease the habit. Or if they cannot cease smoking, at least make sure their cigarettes are properly put out after smoking.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pairin Says 10 Subjects More Than Enough!

Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Huguan Siou (paramount leader) of the Kadazandusun-Murut community was quoted by the Daily Express on February 28th as saying that 10 subjects is more than enough for candidates of the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM).

It is extremely dissapointing that the leader of the Kadazandusun community has made this statement since he is supposed to champion the usage of the Kadazandusun language. Secondly being a Christian and a leader of a community who are predominantly Christians, he should have been more careful in making the statement.

Does the honourable Huguan Siou know what he is implying? For the SPM examinations, Science-stream students have to sit for five obligatory subjects, namely Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, History and Moral Education. Science stream subjects usually include Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Additional Mathematics. So, altogether Science-stream students would sit for 9 subjects.

As for Arts Stream students, the obligatory subjects are Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics, History, Moral Education and General Science plus three optional subjects which are usually Arts, Literature (Malay or English) and Geography which mean Arts students would also sit for 9 subjects.Similarly, students from other streams too would usually be sitting for 9 subjects.

But what about students who want to sit for Bible Knowledge and Kadazandusun Language in the SPM. Kadazandusun Language has been made an examination subject for Form Three since last year, and by next year it would be available as an SPM subject. When added with the 9 existing subjects, there would be 11 subjects for students who want to sit for Kadazandusun and Bible Knowledge.

By making this statement, Datuk Pairin is unknowingly discouraging Kadazandusun students from sitting for Bible Knowledge and Kadazandusun.This is most regrettable since being the leader of Kadazandusuns, he should be encouraging Kadazandusuns to master their language and religion.

It is indeed sad, that Kadazandusuns who are indigenous to this country are being discouraged to study their language and religion by none other than their own leader.

It is not known what triggered Datuk Pairin to make that statement, but it appeared to be a statement that was made with little prior research. Perhaps his advisors gave him the wrong advice.

The North Borneo Herald believes that Datuk Pairin has no intentions against Kadazandusun students wanting to sit for Kadazandusun Language and Bible Knowledge. But it is hoped that future statements take into account the situation on the ground.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sabah Transferred to the Philippines?

Many Sabahans are unaware that the Sultanate of Sulu's claim to Sabah is not merely the Sultanate's claim. Some argue that since the Sultanate of Sulu no longer exists, then there is nothing to worry about.

But what many do not know is that the Sultanate of Sulu had officially signed a document surrendering sovereignity over Sabah to the Republic of the Philippines prior to the formation of Malaysia.

The treaty signed by the Sultanate of Sulu transferring Sabah to the government of the Philippines can be read here. And since the Federal Constitution of Malaysia also does not define the Federation of Malaysia as including Sabah and Sarawak (see Article 160), the status of Sabah is very worrying. It is high time the Sabah issue is explained once and for all.

For those who cannot access the link, just go directly to this

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Daily Express Proven Right

The Daily Express today ran a story headlined We Are Proven Right which told the story of Sabahan youths being stranded and homeless in Kuala Lumpur.

According to the report, there are dozens of Sabahan youths who are homeless and unemployed. Most of them depend on charity for food. Some of them sleep on sidewalks.

Every year hundreds of Sabahan youths go to Malaya expecting lucrative jobs. Unfortunately many are cheated by their so-called employers while others find underpaid jobs where they have to work like dogs.

This is not a new issue and thankfully the Daily Express has brought it to light. This leaves us wondering where are the so-called National Economic Policy (NEP) which is supposed to help natives.

Every year we see many Malayans being posted to Sabah to fill in various vacancies in the government sector while many Sabahans are turned away. You will find Malayans being employed as drivers, post office clerks and other positions which could easily be filled up by Sabahans.

Even the Borneonisation policy which was espoused by the late Datuk Donald Stephens (who later became Tun Fuad Stephens) has never materialised despite Sabah having many different governments since 1963.

It is high time the state government seriously engages itself with the Federal government in this aspect.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Lunar New Year

The North Borneo Herald wishes all readers a very Happy and Prosperous Lunar New Year. Let us hope the year of the Tiger would bring positive changes to our country. Just do not indulge in too much Tiger-beer drinking!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beware The Voting Refugee

The New Straits Times reported on February the 3rd that the Home Ministry would be issuing identity cards to foreign refugees registered under the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Its Secretary-General, Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said this is to help the authorities keep track of the refugees' whereabouts.

This is a good move, but these refugees should not end up with Malaysian citizenship like many of the so-called refugees from the Philippines in Sabah. The danger that these refugees once issued identity cards, would end up as voters in elections is real, as been proven in Sabah.

It is hoped that our politicians on both sides of the divide check up on the procedures involved in the issuance of identity cards to these refugees. Let us hope that these new batch of refugees would not be competing with us for scholarships, land titles, government jobs, government aid and political posts. We have too many foreigners to compete with as it is. We don't need another batch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Traffic Offenders Better Pay Up

The Sabah Times reported today that the police will hunt all traffic offenders who have not paid their traffic fines past the due dates and arrest them.

Therefore those who have been fined by the police or the Road Transport Department better pay their fines quickly. For those of you who did not receive any tickets but are worried that you might have flouted traffic laws, you could go and check with the nearest police station by simply giving your licence plate numbers.

Those who have bought used cars especially cars with Malayan-registered licence plates, better go and check if their cars have outstanding fines. This is because there were cases in the past where people have bought used cars without realising that these cars have outstanding fines. Many of such cases involved Malayan-registered vehicles.

The North Borneo Herald believes that it is better to pay up now rather than facing embarrassment with a police arrest.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Woman Shares Citizenship Number With Two Others

Recently (26th January), the Daily Express reported that the National Registration Department (NRD) had made a slip-up which caused a lady to have MyKad numbers that are identical to two other Malaysians.

The MyKad which is officially known as the National Registration Identification Card is a citizenship card issued to all Malaysians. The NRD director Jainisah Mohd Noor has since apologised and assured that the woman in question will get her replacement MyKad.

The woman Tiangor Lensau, 73 of Kota Belud had initially brought her case to Kadamaian state assemblyman, Datuk Herbert Timbon Lagadan. Herbert of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has sinced hailed NRD's promptness in rectifying the matter.

But what is worrying here is the existence of two other so-called "Malaysians" with the same MyKad numbers as Tiangor. How did this happen? Are they truly Malaysians, or are they actually illegal immigrants who were issued dubious MyKads through the infamous IC Project*?

The North Borneo Herald foresees more such scenarios in future since neither the NRD nor the Home Ministry has acted on police reports against the illegal issuance of citizenship cards through the IC Project.

The Kadamaian assemblyman might have praised the NRD for their quick action in rectifying the mistake, but did he ask what are they going to do about the two other "Malaysians"? PBS during its heyday was the frontrunner when it came to raising the illegal immigrant issue, but of late have become muted to the point of one anti-illegal immigrant activist within its ranks ditching the party. The activist is none other than Dr. Chong Eng Leong who has written numerous books and articles regarding the IC Project menace.

It is hoped that PBS would continue its efforst of ridding Sabah of the illegal citizens. It is not yet too late.

*an illegal project in which foreigners were issued citizenship cards between 1980 and 1999.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

1Malaysia or 2Malaysia?

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Nazri Abdul Aziz, has made an announcement that the use of the word "Allah" among Christians would be allowed in the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Surely Sabahans and Sarawakians would be glad to hear this announcement as it would prevent any unnecessary communal tension in these two states. Christians too would be very glad that their way of practising Christianity would be unhindered by the Federal government.

However this begs the question, what has happened to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia? It seems we have two standards here, one for Malaya, and another for Sabah and Sarawak.

It would also be awkward that Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians working and studying in Malaya would have to temporarily discard the use of "Allah" as it would confuse Malayan Muslims, in case Malayan Muslims happen to be in church during services! Or Malayan Muslims would be confused when a Sabahan or Sarawakian Christian is reading the Bible, in case the Malayan Muslims happen to be in a Bible Class and "accidentally" look into the Bible!

It is very preposterous. Christians from Sabah and Sarawak are denied their right as soon as they land in Malaya. But here in Sabah we even have a public holiday for the celebration of a religion where the adherents number less than 0.5% of the state population.

We should be wondering now what has happened to the 1Malaysia espoused by our Prime Minister? All this money spent on 1Malaysia campaigns should better be used elsewhere. To create a truly 1Malaysia, what we need is acceptance.

If all Malaysians can accept each other, then we would have a truly united Malaysia. Acceptance is better than tolerance. Some of those in the ruling coalition too should practise acceptance.

If we can accept other people's differences, there would greater harmony. And it does not even cost a cent.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How Many National Languages Do We Need?

The whole controversy on the use of "Allah" has unearthed an important question for us. Is the Malay language for Muslims only?

It seems that those who are against Christians using the term are suggesting that the Malay language are not for non-Muslims. In some Malayan states, laws have been enacted to bar non-Muslims from using "Allah" and other religious terms while in Sabah a fatwa* has been issued banning Muslims from using "Allah" and many other religious terms.

When even a word like "iman" (faith) is barred from being used by non-Muslims, what does this say about the position of non-Muslims with regard to the Malay language?

It seems that those who are against Christian use of the word "Allah" would prefer another national language for non-Muslims. If this is true, then we would have one national language for the Muslims, which is Malay, and another national language for the non-Muslims which could be English.

Then we would need to have English stream schools, where non-Muslim students must attend, and Malay-medium schools where Muslims must attend.

Is this what we want? It seems as though there are those out there who would want this. If true, then why not make their voices be heard now, so that the Government can give in to their demands.

This way we would have two national languages, one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims, and those bigots out there would be very pleased that non-Muslims no longer speak Malay and therefore the possibility of them uttering certain words is eliminated.

*religious decree issued by clerics

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Home Ministry Can Make Wise Decision

For those of you who might have missed the entire story, you may read the following article which appeared in the Star, a Malayan daily last year and this other one from Associated Press, also from last year. As you may see, the Home Ministry had allowed Herald to use the word Allah, only to change its position due to demands made by certain ignorant groups. It is hoped that the Home Ministry would go back to its earlier wise decision. All hope is not yet lost.

Friday February 27, 2009
By Lourdes Charles and Loong Meng Yee

KUALA LUMPUR: The Catholic Herald magazine is permitted to use the word Allah provided the publication clearly states the words “For Christians only” in its masthead.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said this was stated in the recently gazetted Internal Security Act signed by the Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Feb 16.

“The next edition of the Herald will contain the word Allah, and we will print the words “For Christians only” on the masthead so as not to contravene the Act,” he said.

It is learnt the Act also forbids the use of the words Kaabah, solat and baitullah.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry’s Quran Publication Control and Text Division secretary Che Din Yusoh confirmed the content of the gazetted Act.

The High Court will today hear the mention of the case about the use of the word Allah in the Herald.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, who is the plaintiff, had applied for a judicial review of a Home Ministry directive last year forbidding the Herald publisher from using the word Allah as a synonym for “God.”

The plaintiff’s counsel Porres Royan had argued that the directive was unlawful and that the word was not exclusive to Islam.

On Dec 5, the publisher filed a writ of summons in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to seek a declaration on the use of the word.

The other respondents were the Home Ministry, the Government and the state Islamic Councils of the Federal Territory, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Malacca and the Malaysia Chinese Muslim Association.

February 28, 2009
By Eileen Ng

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Malaysian government will issue a new decree restoring a ban on Christian publications using the word “Allah” to refer to God, officials said Sunday.

Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar said a Feb. 16 decree that let Christian publications use the word as long as they specified the material was not for Muslims was a mistake, the national Bernama news agency reported.

The about-turn came after Islamic groups slammed the government and warned that even conditional use of the word by Christians would anger Muslims in the largely Islamic country.

A senior ministry official confirmed Syed Hamid’s comments, saying there were “interpretation mistakes” in the Feb. 16 decree that led to the confusion.

“‘Allah’ cannot be used for other religions except Islam because it might confuse Muslims. This is the ministry’s stand and it hasn’t changed,” the official, who declined to be named citing protocol, told The Associated Press.

The dispute has become symbolic of increasing religious tensions in Malaysia, where 60 percent of the 27 million people are Muslim Malays. A third of the population is ethnic Chinese and Indian, and many of them practice Christianity.
Malaysia’s minorities have often complained that their constitutional right to practice their religions freely has come under threat from the Malay Muslim-dominated government. They cite destruction of Hindu temples and conversion disputes as examples. The government denies any discrimination.

The Herald, the Roman Catholic Church’s main newspaper in the country, had filed a legal suit to challenge the government ban on the word.The Herald argued that the Arabic word is a common reference for God that predates Islam and has been used for centuries as a translation in Malay.

Officials from the Herald could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

How Many Compromises?

The President of the Council of Justices of the Peace, Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun has urged Christians in Sabah to make a compromise for the sake of national peace.

He is urging Christians to drop the word "Allah" in Malay-language services and Malay-language Bibles. He said that though this has been the practise for so long in Sabah, for the sake of peace, Sabahan Christians should abandon it, as this has caused anger to a cerain section of extremist Muslims in Malaya.

It is so easy to call for compromise. Sabahans have compromised on far too many things since the country was merged with Malaya to form Malaysia. We had to compromise on language, education, natural resources. Finally we have someone who is asking us to compromise on the way our Christians practise the religion.

Why is that Sabahans are the one who have to compromise all the time? When was the last time Malayans had to make a compromise? We had to compromise on petroleum,letting Petronas dig the oil here and giving us back only 5% of the earnings.

We had to compromise on government departments like the Fire Department and Road Transport Department, giving them to Federal control, only to see many Malayans filling the posts there, while many Sabahan youths remained jobless.

We had to compromise on having our time changed, going back one hour behind, only to have our civil servants work the same hours as those in Malaya. We had to compromise on having religious education being taught during school hours despite our founding fathers objecting to it, only to have other religions sidelined in school.

We had to compromise on religious freedom, even though the founding fathers of Malaysia guaranteed it for us. We had to compromise on having to surrender education matters to Federal authorities, only to have many Malayans filling posts in education here, while many of our qualified youths fail to get a teaching job.

There have been just too many compromises. The problem is that Sabahans make the compromise, but the Malayans demand more and more. When does it ever stop? Today, Christians in Sabah might have to drop the usage of Allah because they burned churches. What about tomorrow? What if they demand Sabahan Christians to stop displaying crucifixes outside churches?

What if they demand that churches stop ringing bells? What if they demand more and more things which would altogether wipe out Christian faith and identity? Are we going to compromise?

During the times of Moses and Jesus in the Bibles, persecuted peoples could always migrate as borders were less controlled. Those who faced persecution in Egypt went to Israel and started a new country. Those who ran from Palestine ran away to Rome and Syria.

But where would Christians today run away to? Where could they start their own country? Perhaps Clarence Bongkos Malakun can answer this for us?

The North Borneo Herald strongly believes that dropping the word "Allah" would not be the last demand to be made by extremist groups who also seem to have found their way to Sabah. They would demand more and more as history has shown us.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Church is Burned!

A fire bomb was hurled at an Assembly of God church in Desa Melawati, Selangor according to a Reuters report. The incident caused the ground floor of the church to be gutted. No one was hurt in the incident.

It seems that certain people in power have managed to fan the evil sentiments among the people which has caused this incident. This arose out of the controversy to use the word "Allah" among Christians.

Christians however are expected to react peacefully as violent reactions are not part of the Christian culture. But it leaves us wondering, what about the culture of those who perpetrated this action. Perhaps they have gods who use little of their brains. The North Borneo Herald therefore asks readers to pray for the perpetrators so that God shall touch their hearts.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Allah Issue Could Be Resolved If Opportunities Given to Sabahans/Sarawakians

As expected, the Home Ministry has decided to appeal against the decision by the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur which allowed Christians to use the word "Allah" in their religious publication.

This episode is also showing us some of the zealots in the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO). One of them is the Ministry of Defence, Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who has said that Muslims might be confused by Christian usage of the word "Allah". There is an imagined fear among certain groups that this could lead Muslims to convert to Christianity.

Then there is also former Prime Minister Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamad who said something that made little sense.

Dr.Mahathir said that though Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have used the word "Allah" since before independence, it was something new in the Peninsula (Malaya). What this forgetful ex-prime minister forgot was that many Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians are now working and studying in "his" Peninsula.

Well, if Dr.Mahathir is unhappy that there are non-Muslims in Malaya using the word "Allah", then why not suggest all Federal-government posts in Sabah and Sarawak be filled with the natives of these two states. And he should also suggest that places in all public universities in the two states also be filled with Sabahans and Sarawakians only!

That way there would be no need for Sabahan and Sarawakian Christians to go to Malaya and "influence" Muslims with their version of Allah! It seems that this old ex-prime minister is very much forgetful or "mudah lupa" in Malay! He was the one after all who refused to even allow the Sabah government to reinstate the TV Sabah broadcast back in 1990. Did many Sabahsns get to head Federal departments during his time? He even refused to accede to Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan's demand to establish a university in Sabah, only to do it after Pairin left the Mahathir government.

And Malayan Muslims too should not be allowed to work and study in Sabah and Sarawak as they might be "confused" with Allah!

This "Allah" issue has shown us some of the extremists and zealots within the ruling UMNO! It is high time that our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak got rid of them in line with his 1Malaysia policy!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

High Pass Rate for Kadazandusun Subject

The Kadazandusun language paper which was offered for the first time in the 2009 Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR) recorded a 94% pass rate.

This augurs well for the subject. In 2011, the Kadazandusun language would for the first time be offered in the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) examination.

It is also heartening to note that the Federal government has decided to allow Bible Knowledge and Kadazandusun grades to count in the SPM examinations!