Wednesday, January 19, 2011

‘No changes to book’: Writer reveals otherwise

PETALING JAYA: Kavyan Writers Association president Uthaya Sankar SB today debunked the National Writers Federation’s (Gapena) resolution that not a single word can be removed from the controversial Interlok novel.
He pointed out that amendments were done to the circumstances surrounding the death of one character in the novel, known as Malini.

He said the student’s edition did not explain the cause of death but the 2003 edition, page 325, revealed that Malini committed suicide by hanging herself from a star fruit tree.
Malini, added the book, was disheartened by the separation from her husband, Maniam.
A quote from the book reads: “Saya tak sangka dia mahu mengambil keputusan serupa itu, tuan guru,” kata Perumal dalam esakannya.
“Dia sudah bersetuju walaupun pada mula-mula dia membantah dengan keras…. Saya menjumpainya tergantung di bawah pokok belimbing di belakang dapur.” Perumal terus menangis kembali.
(I did not expect her to make such a decision, teacher, Perumal said in between sobs. She had agreed though she was strongly against it initially… I found her hanging under the star fruit tree behind the kitchen. Perumal continued to cry.)
The 2010 student’s edition, page 284, however posed an open question on how Malini died.
“Malini meninggal dunia,” kata perempuan itu dengan sedih. Raman terhenti daripada berjalan.
“Saya tak sangka dia meninggalkan saya, tuan guru, kata Perumal dalam esakannya.”
(Malini died, the woman said with sadness. Raman stopped walking. I did not expect that she would leave me, teacher, said Perumal in between sobs.)
In the student’s edition, Malini’s death was related to Raman by another character and confirmed by Perumal. The cause of death was not mentioned.
Interlok, the form five Malay literary component for Bahasa Malaysia, landed in the limelight after Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, T Murugiah called for the book to be removed.
Critics, including MIC, claimed that the book contained inaccurate information about the Indian community and used derogatory terms pertaining to caste.
However, Gapena supported the use of the book in schools.

Second post-mortem: Case management set for tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of M Krishnan, the wireman who died in police custody on Jan 7, today filed an application to the High Court for a second post-mortem to be conducted.

The court has fixed tomorrow for case management of the application (to set a date for hearing).

The application, by Krishnan’s widow P Revathi, named as defendants the Inspector-General of Police, the Cheras district police chief, the head of Bukit Jalil police station, the magistrate and public prosecutor.

They also asked for an inquest to be held before another magistrate.

“Why are the police not allowing a second post-mortem? Why? Do they have something to hide?” asked a distraught Revathi at the court lobby here.

“We don’t mind if you say he is guilty but we just want to know why he died. The government is not helping us, why should we vote for them?” she said.

Revathi was was accompanied by a large crowd of supporters to the court. Her six children and Krishnan’s mother E Letchumy were also with her.

“We’re not rich people. My grandchildren’s education is disrupted because of this. I want justice, there’s no reason to beat up my son,” said 55-year-old Letchumy.

Krishnan, 36, was the eldest of her five sons.

Lawyer Gurmit Singh submitted the application on behalf of the family.

Police make U-turn

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, one of the opposition leaders present at the court, said the government should step in and accede to the family’s request for a second post-mortem.

“The hassle and stress of going through legal proceedings is unnecessary. Allow the second post- mortem and let the findings speak for themselves,” said Gobind.

“I ask that the second post-mortem be automatic for deaths in custody. I don’t see why the Attorney-General or police should object,” he said.

Gobind added that a second post-mortem had proved invaluable in cases of deaths in custody as in the cases of A Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock.

“I also call on the government to set up an independent forensic research institute so that we have a better system and to check on the quality of our forensic pathologists,” said Gobind.

Lawyer N Surendran, Port Dickson state assemblyman M Ravi, and a number of PKR members were also present to lend support to Revathi’s family.

Last week, police said that they would be seeking a second post-mortem on Krishnan, but made a U-turn when the Attorney-General’s Chambers advised a different course of action.

On Jan 3, Krishnan was arrested with several others in Taman Miharja, Cheras, on suspicion of possessing drugs.

Four days later, Krishnan was found dead at the Bukit Jalil police station lockup where he was remanded. According to the police, initial post-mortem results showed his death was related to an ulcer.

But Krishnan’s family disputed the claim and said there were bruises all over his back, an open cut wound on his right abdomen, and a bruise on his right eye.

A jailmate, A Sargunan, came forward and said that Krishnan was tortured to death by policemen and subsequently lodged a police report, saying he saw Krishnan being beaten up and trampled upon by policemen in boots.

He also claimed that Krishnan was denied medical assistance.

Guidelines For Muslims Celebrating Religious Festivals Of Non-Muslims

 The 68th muzakarah of the National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs on April 12, 2005  discussed the Guidelines For Muslims Celebrating Religious Festivals Of Non-Muslims. The muzakarah has decided that:
In determining the non-Muslim celebrations that can be attended by Muslims, several main criteria should serve as guidelines so as not to contradict the teachings of Islam. The criteria are as follows:
  1. The event is not accompanied by ceremonies that are against the Islamic faith (aqidah).
The meaning of “against the Islamic faith (aqidah)” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will lead to tarnishing the faith (aqidah) of Muslims. 
For example:
  1. to include religious symbols such as the cross, installing lights, candles, Christmas tree and so forth;
  2. to sing religious songs;
  3. to put any religious markings on the forehead, or other markings onto parts of the body;
  4. to deliver speech or gestures in the form of a praise to the non-Muslim religion;
  5. to bow or conduct acts of honour to the religious ceremony of non-Muslims.
  1. The event is not accompanied by acts against the Islamic law.
The meaning of “against the Islamic law” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will contradict the Islamic teachings practised by the Muslim community.
For example:
  1. Wearing red costumes like Santa Claus or other garments that reflect religion;
  2. Serving intoxicating food or beverages and the likes;
  3. Having sounds or ornaments like church bells, Christmas tree, temple or breaking of coconuts;
  4. Having ceremonies with elements of gaming, worship, cult, superstitions and the likes. 
  1. The event is not accompanied by “acts that contradict with moral and cultural development of Muslim society” in this country.
The meaning of “acts that contradict with moral and cultural development of Muslim society” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will contradict the values and norms of the Muslim society of this country which adheres to the Islamic teachings based on Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jamaah.
For example:
  1. Mixing freely without any limit or manners;
  2. Wearing conspicuous clothing;
  3. Singing songs that contain lyrics of obscenity and worship;
  4. Organising programmes such as beauty pageants, cock fighting and such. 
  1. The event is not accompanied by acts that can “stir the sensitivity of Muslim community”.
The meaning of “stir the sensitivity of Muslim community” is a thing, act, word or situation which if conducted will offend the feelings of Muslims about their beliefs and practices.
For Example:
  1. Speeches or songs in the form of non-Muslim religious propaganda;
  2. Speeches that insult the Muslims;
  3. Speeches that insult Islam;
  4. Presentations with the aim to ridicule the religious belief of Muslims. 
  1. The organisers and the public are asked to get the views of religious authorities before organising or attending celebrations of non-Muslims.