Friday, October 24, 2014

Limb amputations for offenders in Malaysia

This has resurfaced again. It made the news several month ago and now it looks like it will go ahead.

This report was in the NST ,   23 October 2014

Trained professionals to cut off limbs under hudud

KOTA BARU: Limb amputations for offenders under the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment or hudud will not be carried out by medical doctors but by trained professionals appointed by the Sultan of Kelantan.
The sentence will not be carried out at hospitals but at a fully-equipped venue to be set up by the state government.
 these were among the recommendations made by muftis, academicians and professionals......

....doctors should not be involved in the task as they were bound by their professional body’s code of ethics and regulations.
“It was recommended that the job be carried out by trained professionals appointed by the sultan. Their duty will be to carry out the amputations and nothing else.
“It was also suggested that the sentence be carried out at a place other than hospitals as hospitals are a place for healing, not to carry out sentences.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dogs and Muslims in Malaysia

A good piece on BBC World TV about Muslims and dogs in Malalysia. Malaysian Muslims are forbidden from owning or touching dogs. They are told dogs are unclean and if they do touch one, they have to go through a ritual washing. Muslims can only own dogs for hunting or security, and can only touch them in exceptional circumstances such as rescue.

A Muslim in KL organised a "pet a dog" programme. Dog lovers and owners wore xxx Tshirts and Muslims wore yellow ones. Click on this link to watch the BBC video

"Is it sinful to be in contact with dogs?

Playing with dogs is a common sight in many countries, but not in Malaysia.
Many people in the Muslim-majority nation believe it's sinful to be in contact with a dog.
One man tried to help Muslims overcome their fear of the animal but Malaysia's Islamic authorities said it was irresponsible and have launched an investigation.
The BBC's Jennifer Pak explains from Selangor state."

Now Jakim, The Islamic Development Dept will investigate this programme.

This report in The Sun 21 Oct 2014 -

Islamic authorities probe 'dog patting' event

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deepavali 2014

The Hindu festival of Deepavali in Malaysia is held on 22 Oct 2014. The rest of the world seems to celebrate Diwali on 23 Oct. I don't know why Malaysia is different. Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights, to celebrate when Rama returned to his people after 14 years in exile. It marks the beginning of the Hindu new year. The Islamic new year is 2 day later, on 25 Oct.

These are the kolam decorations in Mid Valley and The Gardens in KL. They are made of colored powder, rice, or sand, and decorate the entrance of a home (shopping centre) as a greeting.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Corruption in Malaysia & at KL Sentral taxis

There was a piece in the Malay Mail in early Oct 2014 on corruption, stating how Malaysia ranks so high on the world list of corrupt countries.

Some excerpts from the article -

The Penang chief minister pointed out that Malaysia is still ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world, having bled over one trillion ringgit though backchannels over the past decade or so.

Malaysia has been ranked the most corrupt country in the world, along with China, in a recent report by the Asia-Pacific Fraud Survey Report Series 2013,”

The Penang lawmaker also expressed surprise at last night’s fuel price hike announcement, noting that it had come at a time when other nations have either maintained their rates or even reduced them.

“If we look at other countries, India is cutting their petrol price by 65 paise (four cents) and in England, they are cutting by five pence (27 cents) and yet in Malaysia, we are increasing petrol price by 20 cents,” he said.

Last December, international anti-corruption group Global Financial Integrity (GFI) revealed in a report that Malaysia had lost over US$370 billion (RM1.2 trillion) to illicit outflows in 10 years since 2002 and US$54 billion in 2011 alone.

The massive loss of capital via illegal channels put Malaysia at fourth in a list of countries worldwide haemorraging funds to crime, corruption and misreporting, behind only China, Russia and Mexico in terms of severity. Malaysia was fifth in the previous edition.

“Anonymous shell companies, tax haven secrecy, and trade-based money laundering techniques drained nearly a trillion dollars from the world’s poorest in 2011, at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth,” GFI chief Raymond Barker said in a release accompanying the report.

“This study should serve as a wake-up call to world leaders: The time to act is now.”

In its report titled “Illicit Financial Outflows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011”, GFI categorised such activity as all unrecorded private financial outflows involving capital that is illegally earned, transferred, or utilised, generally used by residents to accumulate foreign assets in contravention of applicable capital controls and regulatory frameworks.

It explained that this included funds earned legitimately, such as the profits of a legitimate business, as their transfer abroad in violation of exchange control regulations or corporate tax laws would render the capital illicit.

Asia as a whole were the largest “exporters” of illicit wealth, accounting for 39.6 per cent of the US$946.7 billion that GFI recorded in 2011. The total figure also represented a 13.7-per cent growth from the previous year, and an average of 10.2 per cent annually since 2002.

The worsening was also reflected in Malaysia, which has seen illicit outflows climb gradually from US$19.7 billion in 2002 to a peak of US$64.5 billion in 2010 before dipping to US$54 billion the year after. On average, US$37 billion left the country unrecorded for every year of the decade.


I experienced a different form of corruption the other day, trying to get a taxi from KL Sentral. I was at the coupon counter by the airport train exit. As usual, there were no taxis and the usual '45 minutes wait' sign was displayed. The staff were rude and uncaring.

Outside there was a whole row of taxis parked at the far side. The drivers were waiting for a passenger who would pay 'big money'. One driver offered to take me for RM15 which was reasonable as the coupon fare is RM12. But before I could say anything, the leader of the "taxi mafia" asked the driver in Malay where I was going and how much. When the driver told him, the big boss told him to charge at least RM30, thinking I would not understand. The driver walked off. I told the 'leader' he was corrupt and everyone else was corrupt and what about the signs

and of course he just laughed and walked off. I watched him approaching other passengers to try and get expensive custom for the drivers. 

All this time there was a policeman sitting on a bench but of course he did nothing. The staff at the coupon counter just shrugged, I suppose they accept this corrupt mafia is operating outside the door.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Haze continues, Oct 2014

The haze continued into October 2014. Seems to be never ending this year.

Oct 5 was beautifully clear, but by the 7th the haze was back - thick and smelly.



From The Star, 8 Oct -

Port Dickson and Nilai in Negri Sembilan, Bukit Rambai (Malacca), Malacca town and Muar (Johor) have exceeded 85 on the Air Pollutant Index, with the level rising closer to the 100 mark which indicates unhealthy air, according to the Department of Environment website.

The Meteorological Department said the current haze is caused by the open burning detected in Sumatra, Indonesia.
“Southern winds heading towards peninsular Malaysia have caused the current haze here and the situation is expected to persist for the next few days,”

Clear as soup: The ERL emerging from the hazy gloom in Kuala Lumpur near Bangsar at around 12.30pm yesterday.  

Meanwhile other parts of the country were having floods, including Kelantan, Langkawi and parts of Sabah's west coast.


The Star on Fri 10 Oct  "admitted" the unhealthy air quality in some places -
"Six areas in Peninsula Malaysia recorded unhealthy air pollutant index (API) readings as of 9am, Friday.
Nilai notched the highest API reading at 129 followed by Port Klang (119), Seremban (112), Putrajaya (106), Batu Muda (105), and Banting (103).
Several other areas recorded high moderate readings, such as, Shah Alam (99), Petaling Jaya (97), Port Dickson (95), and Cheras (93).


There was torrential rain in the 2nd half of October and yet the haze didn't clear. It was still hazy at the end of Oct.

Singapore, 27 October 2014 – Singapore and the surrounding region can expect more rain in the coming weeks, as the Southwest Monsoon has transitioned to Inter-Monsoon conditions over the past week. This signals the end of the traditional dry season in the region, and the likelihood of transboundary haze affecting Singapore for the rest of the year will thus be low, according to the Meteorological Service Singapore.

The Inter-Monsoon period normally lasts from October to November, and is characterised by more
rainfall and light winds that are variable in direction. The increased rainfall will help alleviate the
hotspot and haze situation in Sumatra and Kalimantan. During this period Singapore may experience occasional slight haze, mainly in the morning, on some days due to the accumulation of particulate matter in the air under light wind conditions. The haze situation is expected to improve further with the onset of the rainy season brought by the Northeast Monsoon in early December.

The haze persisted into Nov. Then there was prolonged rain on Nov 7 and 8, and by 8th afternoon the haze had gone and it was beautifully clear. 9th was really clear, sunny and the sky was partly blue.

8th afternoon
  9th -

 The haze came back though wasn't too bad, and by the middle of Nov it had gone. The views were so clear again. Yippee !!!

Monday, October 6, 2014

sunset over Kuala Lumpur

There were some gorgeous colours on the clouds just before sunset this evening, 6 Oct 2014. The haze had finally cleared quite a lot.

But the next day the haze was back, thick and smelly.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Krabi Nine Emperor Gods Festival

Somehow I often find myself in south Thailand at the time of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, which is the end of September till early Oct. In 2014, the festival dates are23 September - 3 October.

Also known as Kow Wong Yeh in Cantonese, it is a nine-day Taoist celebration beginning on the eve of 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, observed in Southeast Asian countries like Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand.

I have written about it before,; in the Brunei Times, and 'Godly Acts', when I saw the festival in Phuket. In 2014 I was in Ao Nang, Krabi, and managed to catch the celebration on 29 Sept. It was quite low key compared to that at Phuket, but the fire crackers were just as noisy!

The festival is slightly similar to the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, in that many religious devotees perform mutilation upon themselves and one another (with consent) whilst in a trance-like state. They impale their cheeks, arms, face, legs, back, with objects such as skewers, spanners, etc, and may also slash their limbs, chest, stomach and tongue with swords, axes and knives, and maybe climb ladders with blades on the rungs. They stand near fire crackers as they are lit.

The 'gods' visit tables of offerings set up by devotees and bless them. These 'gods' are people who invite the spirits to possess their bodies. They are in a trance and don't seem to feel pain and shake their heads constantly and are watched by people to help them.
people (and dog) waiting to be blessed

The procession of 'gods' -

 This girl is in a trance and was constantly shaking her head -

They paint Chinese characters for good luck, on paper and even on cars -

See more on Wikipedia.