The "Allah" issue gets messier as the sultan of Johor has now waded into the issue, making his views on the matter very clear. And when the head of Islam of one of the country's largest states speaks, people gotta listen.

In other news, the nation's top cop cries out sabotage! He claims there's a gang of young whippersnappers in the force seeking to kick him out. Meanwhile, it's fisticuffs (verbal lah!) between our ex-prime minister and current vaccine minister!

His majesty pleases

Go forth and appeal!

The Sultan of Johor has weighed in on the High Court ruling that non-Muslims may use the word “Allah” for religious and educational purposes.  

If you need a refresher, the tl;dr version is that the court ruled that our gomen’s 1986 ban on the word for non-Muslims was irrational 🙊 (BTL has the CliffsNotes on last Wednesday’s court decision). Of course, PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s gomen later filed an appeal.

Yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar urged Putrajaya to continue with that appeal and told the Johor Islamic Religious Council to support the move. 

Among others, Sultan Ibrahim cited a 2009 state fatwa and 1991 state enactment (state law basically) that specified non-Muslims can’t use the word. 

Why is his majesty chiming in? Well, he’s the head of Islam in his state, so this falls within his scope. This is especially as the court ruling in the case, although initiated by an East Malaysian Christian, would impact the whole country.

Even so, it’s concerning, even if not surprising, how divisive this whole issue is once more becoming, with the federal gomen and now Johor ruler clearly at odds with East Malaysian leaders. After all, Christians there have been using Malay/Indonesian Bibles with the word “Allah” in them, for centuries. 

This divide has spilt over to religious hate online, with one woman now being investigated for threatening Christians. On the flip side, a coalition has asked everyone not to vilify Christians, especially over the unfounded fear the whole thing would lead to the widespread proselytisation of Muslims. 

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Islamic bodies will await the Conference of Rulers’ decision before they act.  

On another religious matter, Penang has completed the draft of its enactment to control the propagation of other religions to Muslims but is waiting for a federal level law on the matter before tabling it. 

This followed an announcement by Putrajaya –– after the “Allah” word ruling –– that it was drafting a bill to prevent the spread of other religions to Muslims and to strengthen syariah legislations. This also followed the Federal Court ruling last month that a Selangor syariah law criminalising “unnatural sex” was unconstitutional and void as it overlapped with a federal law on the same offence.

As we’ve mentioned, several other states already have similar anti-propagation enactments, so the new federal law would cover states that don’t and the FTs. Of course, all states with existing regulations could fine-tune their own enactments based on the shiny new Putrajaya bill (which can’t be tabled until and unless Parliament reconvenes).

Since we’re on the topic, Sultan Ibrahim also granted an audience to Illi Najwa Saddique after state investigation found she’s still a Muslim. Illi Najwa courted controversy last year when she married India’s hockey captain in a ceremony held at a temple in Punjab. We’ll keep our thoughts on this whole soap opera to ourselves. 

🎶🎶 I always feel like, somebody's watching me 🎶🎶

As if heading the country’s biggest enforcement agency wasn’t headache enough, IGP Abdul Hamid Bador is apparently the target of a conspiracy among younger cops to bring him down

The “cartel” of young police officers, he claimed, want to dominate the police force for their personal interests and “dirty work”.

It has to be said Hammy’s been doing quite a bit to clean up the force. Hundreds of cops have been arrested for being involved in drug activities and/or being in cahoots with people-smuggling syndicates. And Bukit Aman hasn’t stood in the MACC’s way either when the graft busters either arrested cops or recorded statements from them. 

Still, is there truth to poor itty-bitty IGP’s claims of a plot? We can’t say. Perhaps he should do what ex-top cop Musa Hassan suggested and expose these young punks

But this isn’t the first time we’ve been told of sabotage attempts (allegedly! allegedly!) within our enforcement bodies. Immigration officers have been investigated for trying to sabotage the Malaysian Immigration System before. 

Other orgs in the civil service are no better. Former glorious leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad had claimed the culture of sabotaging gomen policies was prevalent in civil service, while a legal eagle has decried alleged interference and sabotage in the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) (although then-AG Tommy Thomas denied this).

If true, all these claims point to a very deep-rooted lack of integrity and corruption that could take years and tremendous political will to sort out.

Anyhoo, one more thing concerning Hamid came up yesterday. That poor woman called M. Indira Gandhi, missing her youngest child kidnapped by her ex-husband in 2009, must have been irked by the IGP’s statement that one of his biggest regrets was not being able to bring Jho Low back to Malaysia. That long-suffering mother is asking whether finding her daughter was ever as much of a priority for Hamid. Sick burn, ma’am. 

Passive-aggressive much?

Our Covid-19 immunisation minister (not his official title) Khairy Jamaluddin, kept his promise to get jabbed with the next non-Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, to prove they are all safe. He became the first in the country to receive the China-made Sinovac shot. Good one sir!

The Beard then uploaded a vid of himself speaking Mandarin, saying “Zhe shi an quan de” or “this is safe”. Sadly, juuuust in case one habours any hope following this fun stunt by the minister, the ability to magically speak Mandarin is not a side effect of taking the vaccine.

But that wasn’t the only thing that happened to Tok Janggut yesterday. He got himself in a little online spat with inglorious former leader Najib Razak.

Jibby had taken the gomen to task for what he said was a slow start to the vax programme as we’ve only inoculated 0.99 doses per 100 peeps, super low compared to the UK, US, Singapore, India and Indonesia. Of course, the ex-PM failed to mention that all these countries started way ahead of us. 

KJ fired back, sarcastically thanking the Jibster for always offering advice via FB, but also pointed out Najib had cancelled his own appointment for the vaccination in Pekan. Whoopsie!

He “hoped” that the former PM would keep his new appointment so that he, as MP there, could encourage the elderly in the town to get vaccinated. You see, only 14.4 peeps per capita in Pekan had registered for vaccination. 

Jibby’s reply? He wants to get the Sinovac vaccine, too, instead of the Pfizer/BioNTech one, ostensibly to dispel accusations that he was anti-vax (not a great comeback there, bro). Oh, and that he cancelled his appointment to make way for frontliners. Dunno ’bout you guys, but we think the Jibster got his ass handed to him by KJ there. 

Anyways, Khairy also said the gomen would consider adding a third dose of vaccinations as a booster for next year as studies now show that there may be a need for it. 

Here are some other Covid-related picks from yesterday:

  • A nurse in Penang passed away a week after being vaccinated. The Health Ministry said she died of a heart attack unrelated to the jab
     
  • After allowing Ramadan bazaars, the gomen is now studying whether interstate travel can be allowed for Aidilfitri so people can start playing Sudirman’s Balik Kampung again. 
     
  • Sporting events with live audiences can resume from April 1. It’s a 10% attendance limit, or 2,000 people, whichever is lower for states in CMCO and 25%, or 8,000 souls, for RMCO states. 
     
  • Police are investigating several ministers for allegedly violating the interstate travel ban by attending a wedding in Negeri Sembilan. Investigate? Shouldn’t they be issued with an RM10k fine on the spot?
     
  • We registered 1,213 new Covid-19 cases and discharged 1,503 patients yesterday, meaning the number of active cases is down to 14,782. We also had 3 fatalities, bringing the death toll to 1,223

Money matters and more stuff

As expected, feedback is now rolling in following PM Moodin’s announcement of the Pemerkasa stimulus package on Wednesday (You can check out BTL yesterday for the deets!).

On the plus, cash assistance under Pemerkasa is expected to boost consumer sentiment, while analysts have said Pemerkasa would be slightly positive for the market and could impact tourism and real estate investment earnings, among others. Indeed Bursa Malaysia moved higher yesterday after le premier’s announcement.

However, the fiscal deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to stay at 6%. FYI, this is the largest deficit since the 2009 global financial crisis due to the lower GDP (thanks, Covid-19!) and all them shiny stimulus packages meant to pick the country up.

Of course, critics chimed in too. Ex-moneybags minister Lim Guan Eng has said the package fell short by RM34 billion to jump-start the economy, while a Sarawak federation said the Prihatin package was better

Stimulus packages aside, here are some other news from yesterday:

  • Five more opposition MPs + Johor PH chief have told Pakatan Harapan supremo Anwar Ibrahim they reject working with Umno.

    But in a briefing with his coalition allies, our PM-forever-in-waiting pinky swore he hadn’t made any commitments during discussions with his former party. But, Nuar, why would you even be having discussions with them??!?
     
  • Meanwhile, MACC has found there had been no offer of RM10 million made to Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail to induce her to leave PKR and support Perikatan Nasional, as she had claimed. So, does that mean she’ll be investigated for lodging a false report? 

     
  • The Securities Commission (SC) has completed its probe of Goldman Sachs for its involvement in defrauding our gomen and 1MDB. The SC said its investigation and input helped with the eventual US$3.9 bil settlement between the bank and Malaysia. 
     
  • Malaysia has its first female Chinese Commissioner of Police. Meet Dr Lee Bee Phang, the new IGP Secretariat (Research and Development) director in Bukit Aman. Huzzah!

“We are one nation under God, and we may call that God different names but we remain one nation.”

- Barack Obama -

IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • EU regulators have said the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine is safe and effective after investigations cleared it of a higher risk of causing blood clots in recipients. Countries like France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain are now set to resume their vaccine plan, while Sweden is still deciding.

    This has come as Paris is set to go into another lockdown over fears of a new wave of Covid-19 infections. 
     
  • Spain, meanwhile, has also legalised euthanasia or assisted suicide for those with serious/ incurable/ debilitating diseases. It joins three other countries in Europe to do so.
     
  • The US and China exchanged blows as the two countries began talks in Alaska, with the former saying Beijing must change its behaviour, and the latter replying that Washington was full of s̶h̶i̶t̶ illusions.
     
  • Police in Wales and England will soon experiment with recording misogyny as a hate crime in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder. 
     
  • The spate of hate crimes against Asians in America continued but in one case, the elderly victim managed to turn the tables on her attacker, sending him to hospital. Serves the f***er right!
     
  • Meanwhile, these are the poor souls who lost their lives at the Atlanta spa shooting. May they rest in peace.

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

This weekday newsletter is brought to you by Trident Media, a group of Malaysian journalists with 60 years of combined media experience in four countries across TV, print and digital media.

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Trident Media · Seksyen 35 · Shah Alam, Selangor 40470 · Malaysia

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