LawMan introduces himself...

Former Lawyer in Private Practice. Holder of degrees in Law and Economics. Now teaching Law and Economics somewhere.

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stupid Assholes

Enough said.

Mistake in gazette, Christians still can’t use ‘Allah’

KOTA KINABALU: A Feb 16 government gazette lifting a ban on Christian publications to use the word “Allah” will be rescinded.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said a gazette would be issued as early as tomorrow to cancel the earlier gazette.

He told reporters here yesterday that there were mistakes made in the drafting of the Feb 16 gazette which stated that Christian publications could use the word “Allah” provided the words “For Christians” were clearly printed on the front cover.

“The government’s stand on the ban has not changed.

“There is also a judicial review challenging the ban,” Syed Hamid said.

He said the government had no intention of pre-empting any decision of the courts on the judicial review brought by the Malaysian Catholic church publication, the Catholic Herald.

Acknowledging that more care should have been taken, he said since mistakes were made “we will now have to correct them.”

Syed Hamid said a gazette to cancel the Feb 16 gazette is needed to clear any misunderstanding over the matter.

Apart from the word “Allah”, the ban for the Christian publications also covered the words “Kaabah,” “Solat” and “Baitullah”.

The ban on these words are not aimed at preventing other religions from being practised.

It is just that the government wants to avoid any confusion, Syed Hamid added.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Geert Wilder should not have been banned from the UK

Now, this is ridiculous.

Is the UK for "free speech" or not? Exactly what are the boundaries? Looking at my last post, I think it's pretty obvious that there are some pretty woolly thinkers in the powers-that-be that regulate free speech in the UK (yes, oh come on, "free" speech is regulated everywhere).

Wilder's video, as I have said in earlier posts, doesn't actually contain any fabrications or lies.

It contains statements and multimedia equivalents (ie. videoclips) taken out of context. Wilder has not invented statements from the Koran; he's merely extracted them for his own purposes.

Similarly, the videoclips were not staged for Wilder's camera; so, unlike the proverbial fire in the cinema, cited by a "brilliant" minister of Her Majesty's august government (Mr Miliband also said: "We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry 'fire' in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land.") - as an example of a situation where the UK government would not allow the freedom of speech to prevail, there IS repeat IS a fire here - there is no lie in that sense. The statements Wilder actually made in Fitna are "true" - no fabrications.

The only dispute is over what you, the listener, make of that fire - is it the kind of fire that makes you run for the exit, ie. you agree with Wilder, or the kind of fire you will simply stand on to put out, ie. Wilder is exaggerating or otherwise putting the wrong spin on the observable facts.

In other words, the proper response was to allow plenty of equal time for Wilder's opponents to justify their stand.

Banning him shouts one thing loud and clear: there is no effective or proper logical response to Wilder that will appeal to the listener's good sense; Wilder is essentially correct in what he says, and therefore the only way to win the argument with Wilder is to shut him up and deny him the right to put his views across instead of replying him point for point.

Let's put my point another way, linking back to my earlier post: if saying God Doesn't Exist is not a violation of norms where freedom of speech in the UK is concerned, what exactly is wrong with saying that the Muslim God is a God of Violence? I mean, in neither case is anyone saying: Kill All the God-Believers, or, Kill All the Muslims, although that may or may not be an implication from the statement. It is merely another opinion, no? Why allow one and ban the other? Is the lobby group against Wilder more powerful than the lobby group against Atheists, and therefore more successful? Is this the real truth behind the matter, Mr Miliband? Is the deciding factor exactly who and how many you think might be offended by the statement rather than the quality of the statement itself?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why the Atheist anti-God campaign is so offensive.

I was intrigued by this which I saw on the BBC website:

Man refuses to drive 'No God' bus

"A Christian bus driver has refused to drive a bus with an atheist slogan proclaiming "There's probably no God".

... The advertising campaign is backed by the British Humanist Association and prominent atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins.

Hanne Stinson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said: "I have difficulty understanding why people with particular religious beliefs find the expression of a different sort of beliefs to be offensive.

"I can't understand why some people seem to have a different attitude when it comes to atheists."

I thought it would be pretty obvious why such a campaign would always be offensive. In a way I'm surprised it was allowed, because Britain does have hate speech legislation. It all depends on HOW you express your "different sort of beliefs" - and if it's just a BELIEF, ie. a normative rather than a positive statement (ie. one that can be proven true or false by reference to facts you can objectively measure), then you really shouldn't be surprised if those of a different belief group decide they aren't going to cooperate with you or be nice to you.

What would happen if I decided I was going to pay for an ad campaign to run on buses that said: "Cina Balik Tongsan" (Chinese Go Home) - in the Malaysian or Singaporean context - or, taking a religious (NOT ethnic) example: "Jews / Muslims /Hindus / Buddhists / Have Got it All Wrong, It PROBABLY Ain't Kosher - Come to Church on Sunday", or, perhaps, "The Law is an Ass - **Don't** Follow Law"??

The only reason why this British Humanist Association statement, which I found quite silly, was made: "some people seem to have a different attitude when it comes to atheists" - is because the atheist concerned doesn't consider religion to be an important part of a person's character or life makeup. It's a typical, insensitive, one-angled, not well thought-through kind of attack on other belief systems.

It's not different, in my view, from wondering why slagging the law off would offend lawyers, or slagging Chinese off would offend people who are Chinese, or slagging Judaism off would offend Jews.

Maybe the ad is some kind of joke, or half-joke - in which case, and this wouldn't be new, one person's joke is simply another's insult.

For instance, I'll always remember the year Andrew Leci performed at the Bar Council's Annual Dinner. His act was FULL of lawyer jokes, and by the time the end of the show was reached nobody was laughing, even politely.

I also remember Al Gore's Reformasi speech - in KL, as an invited guest of the Malaysian government, at APEC - when he was still the vice president.

Maybe Al thought he wasn't offending anybody except corrupt power-abusing politicians, but a lot of ordinary Malaysians got mighty upset and I recall personally writing and circulating a long email post "gor-ing" Gore on this, back then. One prominent Malaysian intellectual even took out a full-page advertisement in the newspapers on his own account to condemn our "good friend" Al from America.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Australian researchers claim breakthrough on dengue fever

Now why is it that a Malaysian or Singaporean research team didn't do this?

Was it just lack of money, or something deeper, more fundamental? Was it just luck, or some cultural or intellectual impediment? I'm thinking, did someone perhaps NOT think out of the box here? Because it seems to have not been a difficult thing to speculate that this could be a solution to the problem, and yet it had to be tested in Australia, a country only partially tropical, and certainly not under as big a threat from dengue as Malaysia and Singapore.

"SYDNEY : Australian researchers funded by US billionaire Bill Gates Friday claimed a breakthrough which could help in the fight against dengue fever by stopping the often deadly disease in its tracks.

University of Queensland researchers said they have successfully infected the mosquito which spreads the tropical disease with a bacterium which halves its 30-day lifespan, thereby reducing its ability to transmit dengue to humans.

Scientists hope their work will help halt the spread of the painful and debilitating disease which affects millions of people each year.

"The key is that really only very old mosquitos are the only ones that are able to transmit the disease," said researcher Professor Scott O'Neill.

"What we've done is put this naturally occurring bacteria into the mosquitos that actually halves their adult lifespan so they don't live long enough to be able to transmit the virus."

The research published Friday in the journal Science is the result of injecting 10,000 mosquito embryos with a bacterium that occurs naturally in fruit flies but has never been detected in dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

O'Neill said the test was designed to see whether the bacterium reduced the lifespan of the insects without killing them or preventing them from breeding and was able to be passed on to offspring.

He said while the laboratory tests, which involved researchers allowing the bacteria-infected mosquitoes to bite their arms because the species needs human blood to breed, had been successful, it would be several years before the technique would be tested in the wild.

"It's really a preventative strategy for preventing dengue fever outbreaks and what we've done is show that it's possible to be done in a laboratory," he told AFP."


"Herald appeals Bahasa ruling
KUALA LUMPUR: A Catholic newspaper said on Friday it might take the Malaysian Government to court for allegedly violating the rights of religious minorities by refusing to let the publication use Bahasa Malaysia.
The Herald, the main Roman Catholic weekly in Malaysia, received a letter from the Home Ministry on Tuesday restricting it to English, Mandarin and Tamil for its multi-lingual editions. The newspaper typically uses four languages including Malay.
Rev. Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, said the newspaper sent a letter to the ministry Friday to appeal the order. If there is no response in seven days or the decision is not retracted, the Herald will consider legal action against the government, Andrew said.
The Herald has sought a court order to challenge the government’s ban last year on its use of “Allah.’’ A hearing is scheduled for next month. - AP"

And so it seems the assault on religious freedom by the bigots within the "Islamist" establishment continues. Come on folks, what is it you idiotic schizophrenics want? Is Bahasa Malaysia the language of the country, the national language, the official language, the one All Malaysians should be proud to speak, and NOT just Muslim Malaysians, and Malay Muslim Malaysians at that, never mind the Indian, Chinese and other non-Malay ethnic-origin Malaysian Muslims, OR NOT????

Malaysians, Christians or otherwise, Catholic or otherwise, Unite!!! We have to fight this now! Before it gets to THIS stage! and the so-called Muslims who are NOT really genuine Muslims but only power-hungry bigots who CLAIM to be Muslim, take power completely! We have to stop all the little Maharajalelas before they get out of hand and do a JWW Birch on the Malaysia that we know!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The FITNA video: Why Wilder is RIGHT and ALL Muslims are WRONG

Mr Wilder's DEFAMATORY (Fitna, that's the correct meaning of the word, borrowed from the Arabic into Malay) video, above, is a collection of still pictures and movies which can be found publicly available elsewhere, combined with real, actual, factually correct snippets of text from the Quran.

Like all truly polemical works, the worst possible selections from Muslim scripture have been made and taken out of context to "prove" Mr Wilder's point: that Islam is a religion to be viewed with great suspicion if not fear and outright hostility as its core values are the opposite of any modern Western-style (not necessarily just Western) liberal (and often not-so-liberal) democracy. In fact, it could be argued that the video is not defamatory at all, as it is a fair opinion to arrive at, based on facts which have been disclosed together with the allegedly defamatory opinion. "Fair comment on matter of public importance" and its variations are of course valid defences to allegations of defamation. But I am going off on a real tangent here; there is of course no real "defamation" as the term is understood in law, since no particular individual person still alive has been targeted, just Muslims as a community, and we all know that defamation of an entire community is not legally actionable in "defamation" as such, as opposed to defamation against known individuals. The proper course of action could be sedition, or violation of other specific statutory prohibitions on hate speech, but not defamation as such.

Back to Mr Wilder: My worry here is that the video has been met with calls like that of Mahathir, who haven't even bothered to reply to Mr Wilder point for point and more importantly, have not really stepped forward to denounce the abuses showcased in Mr Wilder's video. As Douglas Farah has pointed out, those abuses pictured really happened - nothing was doctored - and the Quranic verses, they DO exist, Mr Wilder didn't actually lie, he simply took those aspects of the truth that best fitted in with his views of Islam. Mahathir hasn't even bothered to step right out and take concrete action to call for the active, actual, legal and physical suppression of those who perpetrate the abuses shown in the video in the name of Islam, he's simply called for a boycott as if Mr Wilders has fabricated a complete lie, which of course he has not.

The furthest Mahathir has gone is to say that “They will continue to do this until we show to them Islam is a good religion, that we are not violent people, that we don’t tell lies to people...but this must be shown in practice by the Muslim community,” - but of course, talk is cheap. He's been moving for the Prime Minister to resign, will he put the same kind of energy towards punishing people such as the "Muslims" pictured in Wilder's video?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

1st Priority: Reign in the Civil Servants

... and moving on from Election Day, the first priority of our Opposition State governments and the now very substantial Opposition bloc in the Federal Parliament, is to REIGN IN the Civil Service - with particular emphasis on the POLICE who must be brought to task, reformed, re-engineered, re-trained and otherwise re-organised to reduce the country's crime rate.

Corrupt and inefficient officers interested only in bullying HINDRAF lawyers and booking cars with Singapore licence plates in the hope of earning a fast buck must be punished - in clear, certain and painful terms.

Forensics training, and the mastery of other types of basic evidence gathering, retention and delivery for the purposes of successful prosecution must be the order of the day. No more reliance only on informers, anonymous "tip-offs", and the extraction of doubtful confessions under torture.

Makkal Ossai, Makkal Shakti!!


What Happens When You Try to Kill All the Lawyers

The impossible has happened - the BN has lost its two-thirds majority for the first time since 1969, and the Opposition controls 5 states and all Parliamentary seats for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (which is not a State).

The DAP, PAS and Keadilan will, operating as a loose coalition, form the State Governments of Penang, Kedah, Perak, and Selangor. In addition, PAS will rule Kelantan with a much stronger majority than it obtained in the last election in 2004.

As President Musharraf discovered much to his dismay when he decided to Kill All the Lawyers - figuratively speaking - Abdullah Badawi's BN has realised, too late, what happens in any functioning society which wants to maintain at least a semblance of democracy: when you find yourself trying to put down (well, at least ignore or denigrate) street protests mounted by lawyers, you are at the deep end of the pool and will drown in the next election.

A tip for politicians in future elections: be careful how you treat the professional class. You start dumping them in jail, it's a good leading indicator that you will fare poorly at the next (honest) polls.

For a better idea of what I'm talking about, go here and here.

And of course, Mr Shakespeare's famous line about Killing All the Lawyers, which when read in context was actually a Major Compliment to the Legal Profession, can be found here (Act IV, Scene 2, Henry VI Part 2).

One compliment to the ruling party though; the Malaysian elections were by and large, free and fair, and allegations and fears of rigging were basically unfounded, going by all currently available evidence.

Unfortunately, as Musharraf discovered in Pakistan, if you rig the vote you lose the elections no matter what the official outcome may be, and if you don't rig the vote then you lose the elections fair and square - either way, you lose.

Like I said, don't put the lawyers down, or you are looking at losing the next polls.

Now, some will say the BN hasn't actually lost the polls, at least not in the way that Musharraf was wiped out in Pakistan. Musharraf wasn't actually up for election; his party lost big and lost all control of Pakistan whereas Badawi WAS up for election, and the BN managed to retain all of East Malaysia and the southern and eastern regions of Peninsular Malaysia. But I say the BN very obviously lost in the sense that despite having gerrymandered election seats over many years in its favour, lopsided media coverage, the devotion of massive resources to a PR campaign, and the detention without trial of its most extreme recent critics (Manoharan & company, of HINDRAF), the BN received an absolute whopping in states it had considered reasonably safe - Selangor, Perak, Kedah - and in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, previously divided between Opposition and BN but as of yesterday TOTALLY Opposition (bar 1 seat). AND the BN lost Penang, was wiped out in Kelantan, AND lost its 2/3 majority - the holy grail of Opposition politicians. The Barisan Nasional has NEVER been beaten so badly since Independence. In Malaysian terms, it counts as a certain defeat.

For the first time in all recorded history, we have 5 Opposition Menteris Besar - one each from Keadilan and the DAP, and 3 from PAS. My congratulations to them all. I just hope they don't waste the chance to Just Change It!

and, for good measure: MAKKAL SHAKTI!!!

- Lawman -

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Waylaid Couple Assaulted, Woman Gang-Raped

It's time to shoot the cops - publicly and immediately. Time to pull a few monkeys in the Royal Malaysian Police aside, try them for dereliction of duty, and have them shot in public and the bill sent to their families.

I want to ask our highly devoted and super-efficient ROYAL policemen exactly how much shit they expect the average Malaysian civilian to take before they will move their sorry little cholesterol-filled, corrupt, overpaid and underworked arses to actually do more than just stop people for driving with tinted windows and Singapore licence plates.

I am of course referring to that bit in the above article which states: "...the girl's brother who was driving around Taman Perling searching for his sister, chanced upon a police patrol car."

"...the policemen in the car listened to the girl's brother before driving off."

In other words, they did ABSOLUTELY nothing.

So the girl gets gang-raped by 4 men in Taman Tampoi Indah in front of her boyfriend, who is himself slashed in the legs with a parang.

The Chinese papers contain more information on how the police completely SLEPT with their eyes, ears, hands and legs wide open (begging to be assaulted, I suppose). It seems that the various police stations in the Johor Bahru area passed the complaint on from one to another, each station unwilling to actually take the report.

WHY are you afraid to act, hmmmm? Are these 4 men YOUR OWN perhaps?? I really want to know - but I'm sure I'll never find out, because short of yet another Commission of Inquiry - and how many of those do you our beloved men in blue actually want before anything changes in your sorry little decrepit excuse for a police force?? - YOU will never really investigate this "little" offence - your men are too busy taking RM100 bribes to settle RM300 compounds and shaking down honest businessmen for their money.

Is this an isolated incident? AM I over-reacting?

Weeeel, try the above article on for size - see the last bit which states: "The family called the police around 4am but Salima said a patrol car only arrived at her house about 7.30am. Kulim district police chief Superintendent Abdul Majid Hashim said he would look into the allegation that the police were slow in responding."

Yes, go ahead, look all you like. You won't find anything - because YOU are PART of the problem, not the solution.

Want to learn some real policing? Go see your neighbours down south. But that's not all, I think at least some of you require some brain surgery first. Radical brain surgery. Involving the complete physical separation of brain from body, in a clean-cut manner.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Spiderman 3 and that Catholic Church Thing

A Catholic church or cathedral (read: large church) (link connects to my best guess of which church that is) - is featured in Spiderman 3.

That's the place Spidey (ie. Peter Parker) goes when he realises his little Jazz-ballroom dance thingy-in-a-bar revenge show-up of Mary Jane using Gwen Stacy has gone a little too far, apparently for some quiet contemplation. Also featured in Spiderman 2.

This follows on from the Catholic church featured prominently in Daredevil (see the very first scene - same church, me-thinks...).

What is it with Hollywood and Catholic Churches? How come we don't see superheroes seeking contemplation, redemption and the odd property-destroying fight-scene in Orthodox or Anglican/Episcopal or - yeeks - Pentecostal Charismatic Evangelical warehouse-type churches? Or, perhaps, a Shinto temple or a Mosque?

Here's where Catholic churches, especially those of the traditional French Gothic design, have a couple of advantages.

Firstly, they're somewhat more familiar and "comfortable" to be in, to the West, and that includes the Anglophile East, even in today's widely-travelled, multi-religious, even somewhat irreligious, secular world, than Orthodox churches and buildings of other religions. Quite a few are architectural representatives of the cities they were built in.

Secondly, they use 3-D imagery (read: impressive (as in, makes a lasting impression!) architecture, interior design and icons) a lot - to convey the essential truths or values of the religion. Jesus crucified, the theme of sacrifice: see both our favourite blind lawyer and his arch-enemy Bullseye in Daredevil. Bell tolls for those who seek salvation: see Spiderman in Spiderman 3. High church spire: quiet contemplation; attaining peace through forgiveness, the double-edged sword of hate and revenge, etc - see both movies. So, if you want to use some kind of quasi-religious imagery to get your moral high point across, Catholics have an advantage over your average Hillsong-type concert hall or hotel ballroom Evangelical outfit.

All goes to show that Messrs Luther, Calvin, Melanchton, Zwingli & Co just got it all wrong when they decided to throw out and burn their icons in favour of the Word. It wasn't even right to call them "idols" when they were just icons. Talk about a senseless contribution to global warming, not to mention an overly optimistic view of literacy rates in Reformation Europe (the reason for Protestantism being restricted to just Northern and Western Europe perhaps?)

But oh, don't worry. I won't get into a "How to Find God in Spiderman 3" here. That's already been done, sort of, in a movie review here.

Cheers. And ignore the critics. Spidey 3 is a great movie; 'tis true that it won't win any Academy Awards, the pace is just waaay too fast for proper development, but it is a great movie nonetheless, with some great scenes and good acting, and a very good moral message for the viewer to boot. Well worth the RM11 per ticket + RM1 for a couple seat that Cathay Cinemas is charging...