Wednesday, June 26, 2013

i have been saying this for some time -Relook preventive law to rein in criminals - The STAR

THE Emergency Ordinance (EO), a preventive law that allows the police and Home Affairs Ministry to detain an individual for two years (which can be renewed after two years) without trial and place them in detention centres (similar to prisons) in our country, was repealed in the middle of 2012.
The Prime Minister stated then that the Government was ready to make changes in the law in accordance with the current needs of contemporary society.
This landmark decision by the Government was a victory for the champions of human rights.
However, for the research team on crime and policing from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), we knew that the country was going to see a significant surge in violent crimes, especially those involving gangs and recidivists (repeat offenders), based on our fairly extensive research on this subject.
In 2010, our team recommended that the Restricted Residence (RR) Act be repealed as it was obsolete in our high-tech communication-savvy modern Malaysian society. But we recommended that the EO be sustained with amendments to prevent any abuse.
The EO is a preventive law that was originally developed to deal with subversive elements that threatened national security and specific criminal elements that threatened the safety of society.
Although the EO has been criticised as a draconian, inhumane and undemocratic law, it cannot be denied that it served its purpose in effectively dealing with terrorists, secret societies, criminal gangs, recidivists and organised/syndicated crime members.
Most of the detainees under the EO in the last three decades were those alleged to be involved in violent gang activities, extortion, kidnapping, gaming, and in executing the day-to-day operations for organised/syndicated crime bosses.
Almost 2,000 of these undesirable criminal elements were released after the repeal of the EO last year.
Since then, according to police officials as reported in the media, most of them are back in business.
However, they are now more daring and dangerous and commit crimes openly.
These criminals are also openly displaying their gang identities/symbols during funeral processions, community activities and even at religious events. They fear no one, including the police.
We, the research team on crime and policing from USM, would like to ask all law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of Malaysia to what extent they are willing to give up safety for the sake of liberty and democracy.
We have a track record of being a rather safe nation but if we do not equip our authorities with the right tools to operate effectively in dealing with the various types of criminal elements in society, we will not win the battle, nor the war against crime.
We should consider having a similar preventive law like the EO, but with a stringent check-and-balance system to prevent abuse.
We must, however, bear in mind that there are many crimes where the offenders can be charged under existing criminal laws.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Invitation to Joint Forum on "The Conflict in Syria: An Insider's View"

We are pleased to inform you that the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia will be organising a Joint Forum on The Conflict in Syria: An Insider's View.” The Forum will be held on Wednesday, 3 July 2013 from 9.15am–11.15am at ISIS Conference Room  Attached is a copy of invitation letter and a flyer of the event for your kind attention.
We wish to invite you to participate in this Forum, and look forward to your positive response. Kindly complete the attached reply slip and return it to us by Friday, 28 June 2013.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Greed makes the world go round By Patrick Lee - The STAR

Former chairman of Fatwa Council Malaysia Datuk Dr. Ismail Ibrahim, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, Vice President of Malaysia Hindu Sangam Dr Rupa Swaminathan, Chief High Priest of Malaysia Datuk K.Sri Dhammaratana, Zubedy(M) Sdn Bhd managing director Anas Zubedy and president of JUST Dr Chandra Muzaffar(on wheelchair) launch "Subverting Greed: Religious Perspective on the Global Economy".Former chairman of Fatwa Council Malaysia Datuk Dr. Ismail Ibrahim, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, Vice President of Malaysia Hindu Sangam Dr Rupa Swaminathan, Chief High Priest of Malaysia Datuk K.Sri Dhammaratana, Zubedy(M) Sdn Bhd managing director Anas Zubedy and president of JUST Dr Chandra Muzaffar(on wheelchair) launch "Subverting Greed: Religious Perspective on the Global Economy".
KUALA LUMPUR: A book on greed's hold on the world economy and how religion can stop it will be hitting Malaysian bookshelves soon.
Entitled Subverting Greed: Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy, it argues that greed is to blame for many of the world's economic troubles.
At its launch yesterday, International Movement for a Just World (JUST)president Dr Chandra Muzaffar said: “We know that the cause of the sub-prime crisis in the United States and the global financial crisis was greed.”
Dr Chandra, who co-edited the title, said the book had essays from scholars and their thoughts on religion's role in modern economics.
These scholars include Chair of the United Nations Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Swami Agnivesh, Japanese Zen Buddhism (Sanbo Kyodan) teacher David R. Loy and National University of Singapore (Department of Chinese Studies) Professor Zhou Qin.
The launch was also attended by local religious leaders, including former Fatwa Council chairman Datuk Dr Ismail Ibrahim, Malaysia Hindu Sangam vice-president Dr R. Rupa Saminathan, Chief High Priest (Buddhist) of Malaysia Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana and Archbishop of Kuala LumpurTan Sri Datuk Murphy Pakiam.
Zubedy M Sdn Bhd managing director Anas Zubedy, who published the book, said it takes a good look at how an economy can prosper from religion.
“The book has deep ideas on how our different religions organise economy with a win-win approach both for profit and social justice,” he said.
Dr Chandra admitted that while religions warn against greed, there are some leaders who do not practise what they preach.
“The religious and non-religious can be greedy and selfish. It is a reflection of our human failings, and with religious teachings, we need to remind people of this wrongdoing,” he said.
The book, Dr Chandra said, was originally released in the United States in 2002 but distributing rights issues prevented the title from being released here until this year.
The 193-page book costs RM44.90. Details on bookstore releases will be made available in the near future.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

World Interfaith Day/Book Launch at zubedy - Speech

Y.Bhg Dr. R Rupa Saminathan

Y.Bhg Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana

Y.Bhg Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam,

Y.Bhg Dato’ Dr. Ismail bin Ibrahim

Y.Bhg Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

Ladies and gentlemen and fellow zubedyans


Zubedy is a for profit organisation that combines business goals with a social cause. We have a deep conviction that profit must be balanced with ethics. Our vision is to unite people and get people to work together. Our mission is to add value to everyone that we interact with.

Today we at Zubedy are very excited and humbled. As you would have noticed on our wall at my right, a collection of Zubedy festive advertisements; we have since 2001 spent considerable energy, time, talent and money featuring great spiritual and religious leaders of the past on Chinese New Year, Vaisakhi, Wesak, Aidil Fitri, Deepavali, Christmas and also Hari Malaysia.

By featuring exemplary men and women like Chinmayananda, Chuang Tzu, Mahakassapa, Mata Khivi, Francis Asisi and Muhammad Iqbal we hope to introduce moral ethical role models to the Malaysian public.

Today we are humbled and honoured by the presence of such exemplary men and women right here in our midst – on this auspicious occasion to celebrate the World Interfaith Day, launching a book that deals with an interfaith perspective towards making this world, our world, a better place.

We are really excited about publishing this book. This is because the content of the book matches many of the values that Zubedy takes to heart, practices and tries to emulate. The book talks about religion and economy and how people should deal with the moral ethical approach surrounding the two.

Furthermore, the book has deep ideas on how our different religion and spiritual traditions can help organise the economy with a win-win approach - both for profit and social justice. These ideas are worth considering.

At Zubedy we are confident that religion and spiritual traditions have a very important role to play for modern men. Religion and spiritual traditions offer a rich and vast history of accumulative knowledge on how to manage people and how to assist them achieve their potentials – for free.

Any smart businessman would love to get such good advice especially free of charge. It is simply good business sense.

We see knowledge and the technology of religion and spiritual traditions as not only essential but practical for daily living. That is why we always end our Corporate Adverts with … I Quote -

“At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.”


This takes us to another faith based conviction.

We believe wholeheartedly that our shared values within our religious and spiritual traditions are able to unite us, act as a platform for peace and prosperity. And we in Malaysia have the unique God-given gift to have these traditions embedded in our daily lives – as a Malaysian. For example, accordingly Prophet Muhammad asked the Muslim to quest for knowledge even unto China. But here in Malaysia, the Chinese are our neighbors. J

Yes, we have Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims in our family and as friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. We must stop and ask, have we made full use of this God-given opportunity? How far have we stepped forward? What must we do next? Where we can go from here?

Before I end, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about a campaign Zubedy has mooted. It is the #SaySomethingNice Campaign.

The idea and campaign started a few years ago to act as a safety valve in a mosaic nation like ours.

With #SaySomethingNice campaign, we suggest to spend 17 days from Hari Merdeka to Hari Malaysia encouraging truce and showcasing the best about our nation.

During this short period, we ask Malaysians to portray Malaysia in a positive light; a time to appreciate, a time to bershukur, a time to forgive, a time to accept each other. A time to subvert our greed for power, ego and money.

But this year we want to make it a bigger campaign. We want to make it a HEALING campaign.

Since 2008, for 5 years our country has been split into extreme partisan blocs where we throw hurtful words at each other. This has wounded many hearts and the vibrancy of our peaceful society.  We need to heal ourselves.

We need to focus our energy on putting back love, respect, and dignity in this country. To heal our nation, we need to work hand in hand, heart in heart. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims.

This campaign will need all the help we can get and it is time for us to harness the love, peace and wisdom from our religious and spiritual traditions and bring them to the forefront of national unity and prosperity.

I would like to say thank you, thank you and thank you to -

Y.Bhg Dr. R Rupa Saminathan

Y.Bhg Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana

Y.Bhg Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam,

Y.Bhg Dato’ Dr. Ismail bin Ibrahim

Y.Bhg Dr. Chandra Muzaffar

To all of you especially the Team that have worked hard to make this day a success. Aizat the team leader, Dayah, Din, Najib, Dayana, Syuhada,  Syiqqin and fellow zubedyans.

May I end by sharing with you the

Quran chapter 5 :48

“To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute.”

Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.

Anas Zubedy
Kuala Lumpur

Friday, June 21, 2013

International Buddhist-Muslim Joint Statement: Shared Commitment of Action

Bangkok, Thailand | 16 June 2013
Buddhist and Muslim leaders from South and South East Asian countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, have gathered in Bangkok, Thailand to address escalating tensions between two communities and potential spread of hatred across the region. The consultation was co-organized by the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), and Religions for Peace (RfP).
We recognize these challenges facing the two communities in the region:
1) Rise of extremism, hate speeches and campaigns and instigation of religious discrimination and violence;
2) Prejudice, fear and hatred caused by ignorance, misperception, stereotyping, negative impact of traditional and social media, simplification and generalization, and communal pressure;
3) Misuse of religion by certain religious, political and other interest groups and individuals;
4) Socio economic dimensions of conflict; and
5) Spillover effects across the region.
We are also deeply aware that if Buddhist and Muslim communities can overcome the challenges that confront them, there is tremendous potential for the growth and development of ideas and values that may help to transform the region. For Buddhist and Muslim philosophies embody gems of wisdom about the purpose of life, the position and role of the human being and her relationship with all other sentient beings and nature which could well liberate contemporary civilization from its multiple crises. The young in these two communities in particular should be imbued with these profound ideas and values about life and its meaning.
We endorse the Dusit Declaration of 28 June 2006 and commit ourselves to implementing its shared action across the region. Our actions will include intra-religious and inter-religious initiatives in education, advocacy, rapid reaction/solidarity visits/early warning/conflict prevention, constructive engagement with the government, strategic common action, and the effective use of media for positive messages. We will also engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships with governments, inter-governmental bodies such as the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the United Nations.
Dusit Declaration
28 June 2006, Bangkok
A Buddhist–Muslim Dialogue on the theme ‘Buddhists and Muslims in Southeast Asia working towards justice and peace’ was held at the Suan Dusit Place of Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, Bangkok from 26-28 June 2006. It was organised jointly by the Santi Pracha Dhamma Institute (SPDI), International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) and International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
A total of 35 participants from eight countries attended the three-day Dialogue. Most of the participants were Buddhists and Muslims from Southeast Asia. A number of them were socially-engaged scholars and grassroots activists.
The Dialogue was part of a continuous process of interaction and engagement among individuals from the two communities that had begun ten years ago. Since Buddhists and Muslims constitute the overwhelming majority of Southeast Asia’s 550 million people, dialogue aimed at enhancing understanding and empathy between the two communities is vital for peace and harmony in the region. In view of the critical situation in Southern Thailand, the Dialogue on this occasion assumed special significance. Apart from Southern Thailand, the Dialogue also reflected upon issues of concern pertaining to the two communities in a number of other Southeast Asian countries.
The Dialogue observed that for most of history relations between Buddhists and Muslims have been relatively harmonious. This has been due largely to a certain degree of mutual respect and a willingness to accommodate differences. This historical backdrop should provide the two communities with the strength and resilience to overcome the challenges that confront them today.
In order to overcome these challenges, the Dialogue made the following proposals:
1. Civil society groups should utilise to the fullest various information and communication channels with the aim of increasing knowledge and understanding among Buddhists and Muslims of the principal teachings of their respective religions. Towards this end, SPDI, INEB and JUST undertake to produce a series of monographs in all the Southeast Asian languages which will emphasise the fundamental values and principles in Buddhism and Islam that give meaning to justice and peace. An attempt will also be made to disseminate documentaries on inter-religious harmony that embody real life episodes through various local communication channels as well as via webcasting, podcasting and broadcasting.
2. The mainstream print and electronic media should highlight those moral values and ethical standards that Buddhism and Islam share in common, and at the same time explain differences in doctrines and rituals with sensitivity. It should also regard it as a duty to eradicate stereotypes and prejudices about the two religions. The media should not aggravate inter-religious ties by distorting and sensationalising events that have implications for religious harmony. In this regard, the media should not allow itself to be manipulated by opportunistic politicians and public personalities who abuse religion and nationalism for their own agendas. Civil society groups should establish ‘media watches’ to monitor media reporting on matters pertaining to inter-religious ties.
3. Schools and universities should introduce and expand courses that seek to promote better understanding between Buddhists and Muslims. Since both religions are committed to justice and peace, it would be worthwhile to increase peace studies programmes at all levels of formal education which focus on non-violence in conflict resolution. School and university curricula should not contain materials which create animosity and perpetuate prejudice between religious and ethnic communities. Civil society groups can help to initiate the development of curricula that reflect Buddhism’s and Islam’s concern for justice and peace. At the same time, they should monitor school and university curricula to ensure that they do not have a negative impact on inter-religious ties.
4. Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders should within the context of their respective faiths emphasise those ideas and values which conduce towards inter-religious harmony and the celebration of our common humanity. They should discard the tendency to be exclusive in their outlook and consciously cultivate a more inclusive and universal orientation towards religion. Differences between the two religions should not be allowed to create cleavages between their followers. Buddhist monks and the ulama should work together to eliminate prejudices, hatreds and misconceptions that sometimes tend to separate the two communities. Both should adopt a principled position against violence, especially the killing of civilians, and the destruction of places of worship regardless of who or what the target is. In this connection, civil society groups should engage with religious leaders in order to encourage them to become more inclusive and universal in outlook and more positively orientated towards justice and peace.
5. Government leaders and politicians should consciously nurture harmonious relations between Buddhists and Muslims and among people of other faiths through both their public pronouncements and policies. It would be utterly irresponsible of government leaders and politicians to exploit religious sentiments for narrow political gain. They should instead initiate meaningful reforms to existing political structures which would protect and strengthen the rights and dignity of the different religious communities. In certain situations it may even be necessary to devolve political authority through the empowerment of disenfranchised religious communities. To endow substance to the empowerment of the community, government and political leaders should adhere to moral principles such as transparency and accountability. Civil society and the media should not hesitate to expose irresponsible leaders who divide the followers of different religions in pursuit of their self-serving political agendas.
Apart from looking at the challenges facing Buddhists and Muslims in Southeast Asia as a whole, the Dialogue also addressed immediate and urgent issues obtaining in specific country situations. The focus was of course on Southern Thailand.
6. In the case of Myanmar, there was concern over attempts by the government to control religious activities to the detriment of the communities in question. The state itself appears to be a purveyor of prejudice against certain religious communities. In Indonesia, the adverse socio-economic and socio-political situation has had a negative impact upon inter-religious relations. Unethical methods of proselytisation by groups within a particular religious community allegedly supported by foreign elements have led to a further deterioration in majority-minority ties. There is also a need for the Malaysian state to be more sensitive to some of the legitimate interests of its non-Muslim minorities.
7. The Dialogue was of the view that the recommendations of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) established to study the situation in Southern Thailand deserve the wholehearted support of the nation. It is significant that the NRC declared in unambiguous terms that religion is not the cause of the violence in the South. Injustices arising from the existing judicial process and administrative system and poverty and deprivation are more important contributory factors. Historical and cultural conditions have also played a role in prodding militants to resort to violence which has been met with excessive force by the state. The NRC recommends a whole gamut of measures to overcome the violence. Among them is the establishment of a Peaceful Strategic Administrative Center for Southern Border Provinces (PSAC) which inter alia would seek to promote understanding of the situation and methods to solve the problem in all government agencies among people in the region in Thai society at large and in the international community. There is also a proposal for the state to engage in dialogue with the militants and to act decisively against state officials who abuse their power. There are also other recommendations for solving the unemployment problem, building confidence in the judicial process and improving the education system.
8. The Dialogue also proposed that civil society undertake to ascertain the sentiments of the people in the three troubled provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala about the form of local governance that they prefer. A petition with at least 50,000 signatures on the form of governance they opt for should then be presented to Parliament for deliberation. This would be in accordance with the Thai Constitution and would reflect the democratic will of the people of the three provinces.
9. Monks and the ulama and Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders in general in the three provinces should make a concerted effort to break down barriers that have created a wide chasm between Buddhists and Muslims and instead build bridges of understanding between the two communities. This process would require honest and sincere introspection on the part of the religious leaders and others about their own flaws and foibles. Critical self analysis should go hand-in-hand with Buddhist-Muslim dialogue in the three Southern provinces.
10. INEB and other NGOs should initiate efforts to form a “People’s Watch” comprising both Buddhists and Muslims drawn from various sectors of society whose primary purpose would be to protect and safeguard places of worship, institutions of learning and hospitals among other public institutions. A “People’s Watch” would not only ensure the safety and security of these institutions but more significantly, it would also help foster a spirit of togetherness among Buddhists and Muslims.
11. Both Buddhists and Muslims from neighbouring countries especially those representing the influential strata in religion, politics and the media should assist in whatever way possible in the process of dialogue and reconciliation in southern Thailand. More specifically they should try to strengthen a more inclusive and universal approach to both religions informed by values of justice, compassion and forgiveness.
Enhancing understanding and empathy between Buddhists and Muslims in Southeast Asia has become imperative in view of the overwhelming power and influence of contemporary global capitalism rooted in global hegemony. The hegemonic power of global capitalism is the new ‘religion’ which threatens to undermine the universal, spiritual and moral values and world views embodied in Buddhism, Islam and other religions. This is why Buddhists, Muslims and others should forge a more profound unity and solidarity which will be able to offer another vision of a just, compassionate and humane universal civilization.
It is with this mission in mind that we hereby announce the launch of a permanent Buddhist-Muslim Citizens’ Commission for Southeast Asia.

Interactive Dialogue on Actions for Peace and Sustainability Consultative Meeting on
Contemporary Issues in Buddhist-Muslim Relations in South and South East Asia
15-17 June, Rissho Kosei-kai, Bangkok Dharma Centre, Bangkok
Participants List:
Country Name Religion Organization
Al Haj U Aye Lwin, Muslim, Chief Convener, Islamic Center of Myanmar and a Founder of Religions for Peace Myanmar
U Myint Swe, Buddhist, President, Ratana Metta, and President of Religions for Peace Myanmar

Sri Lanka
Harsha Navaratne, Buddhist, Sewalanka Foundation
Dr. M.A. Mohamed Saleem, Muslim, President of Mahatma Ghandi Centre in Sri Lanka
Ven. Professor. Kotapitiye Rahula, Buddhist, Department of Pali & Buddhist Studies, University of Peradeniya; Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace
Ven. Dr. Divulapelesse Wimalananda thero, Buddhist, University of Peradeniya
Ven. Kalayanamitta Dhammapala, Buddhist, Wat Thong Noppakul
Ven. Balangoda Manju Sri Thero, Buddhist, Senior Buddhist Sangha for Inter-faith Peace

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Muslim, President, International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
Anas Zubedy, Muslim, Secretary General, JUST
Fah Yen Yin, Program Coordinator, JUST
K V Soon Vidyananda, Buddhist, Malaysia Engaged Buddhist Network

Muhammad Habib Chirzin, Muslim, Islamic Forum on Peace, Human Security and Development
Abdul Mu'ti, Muslim, Central Board Muhammadiyah
Wintomo Tjandra, Buddhist, Hikmahbudhi

Sulak Sivaraksa, Buddhist, Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation
Ven. Phra Bhanu Cittadhanto, Buddhist, Wat Phra Ram IV (Kanchanobhisek)
Parichart Suwannabuppha, Buddhist, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University, Salaya,
Saroj Puaksumlee, Muslim, Leader of Bann Krua Community, Bangkok
Ratawit Ouaprachanon, Buddhist, Spirit in Education Movement
Somboon Chungprampree, Buddhist, International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Patcharee Conmanat, Buddhist, International Network of Engaged Buddhists

Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General, Religions for Peace
Rev. Shin'ichi Noguchi, Niwano Peace Foundation
Russell Peterson, American Friends Service Committee

Prashant Varma, Deer Park Institute, India

Thursday, June 20, 2013

BOOK LAUNCH INVITATION SUBVERTING GREED Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy

We are pleased to informed that our book launch will be graced by:

1.   Y.Bhg Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan, President of Malaysia Hindu Sangam
2.   Y.Bhg Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana from The Buddhist Maha Vihara, High Chief Priest of Malaysia
3.  Y.Bhg Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, Archbishop of The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur
4. Y.Bhg Dato’ Dr. Ismail bin Ibrahim, former Chairman of Majlis Fatwa Malaysia


Y.Bhg Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
President of The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and co-editor of

Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy

Saturday, 22nd June 2013

8:30 A.M – 10:00 A.M

zubedy (m) sdn. bhd.
Wisma W.I.M., 3rd floor, 7, Jalan Abang Hj. Openg,
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

zubedy (m) sdn bhd is a for profit organisation that combines business goals with a social cause. zubedy’s vision is to unite people and get people to work together while adding value to everyone we interact with. This is most notably reflected in our festive season advertisements in local newspapers spreading our message of Unity.

In celebrating this year’s World Interfaith Day on the 22nd of June, we are happy to launch the internationally acclaimed ‘Faith Meets Faith’ series book entitled ‘Subverting Greed - Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy’. The book offers an ethical compass of multi-religious insights on how religion can play a role in economy.

Joining us for this event is co-editor of the book, Dr. Chandra Muzaffar with honourable guests such as former Chairman of Majlis Fatwa Malaysia, Dato’ Dr. Ismail bin Ibrahim, current Chief High Priest of Malaysia, Y. Bhg. Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana from The Buddhist Maha Vihara, and finally President of Malaysia Hindu Sangam, Y. Bhg. Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan.  

We invite you to be a part of the launching – we welcome a journalist and a photographer/
cameraman from your organisation to join us for this gathering.


8.30am:           Arrival of guests

9.00am:           Opening speech by Anas Zubedy, Managing Director of Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd

9.05am:           Speech by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of The International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and co-editor of Subverting Greed – Religious Perspectives on the Global Economy

9.20am:           zubedy Unity presentation

9.30am:           Interfaith Session: Shared words of wisdom

9.40am:           Book launch by
1)    Datuk R. S. Mohan Shan, President of Malaysia Hindu Sangam
2)    Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana from The Buddhist Maha Vihara, High Chief Priest of Malaysia
3)    Archbishop Tan Sri Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, Archbishop of The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur
4)    Dato’ Dr. Ismail bin Ibrahim, former Chairman of Majlis Fatwa Malaysia

10.00am:         Media conference


To confirm your attendance or for media enquiries, please contact Syiqqin at 03 - 7727 0758 / 019-2445205 or via e-mail at

We look forward to seeing you, and will soon call you to follow up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


A man kills a deer and takes it home to cook for dinner. Both he and his wife decide that they won't tell the kids what kind of meat it is, but will give them a clue and let them guess. The kids are eager to know what the meat is on their plates, so they beg their dad for a clue. The dad said, "Well, it's what mommy calls me sometimes."The little girl screams to her brother, "Don't eat it!!!! Its an ASSHOLE...!!!!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Talent show Arab Idol brings unity into sharp focus By S. Indramalar - The STAR

The fresh voices of the Middle East have elevated Arab Idol into much more than a TV reality show.
IT took Mohammad Assaf two days to get from his home in Khan Younis, Gaza in Palestine, to Egypt for the Arab Idolauditions. The 23-year-old Palestinian literally had to beg Hamas officers and bribe the border guards to let him pass through the border to attend the auditions, according to a report on online media monitoring network, The Middle East Monitor.
When he finally stepped into the hotel in Cairo where the auditions were being held, he realised he was a little too late. There were no more audition tickets left.
Disappointed but not willing to give up just yet, Assaf burst into song right in the hall where the other hopefuls were waiting.
Upon hearing him sing, Ramadan Adeeb Abu Nahel, another Palestinian youth at the auditions, decided to give his ticket up to Assaf telling him, “I know I won’t reach the finals, but you will.”
Ramadan Adeed made the right call.
Assaf – the first contestant on the show from Gaza – has made it to the finals of the second season of the reality singing show, a version of the original British show Pop Idol created by Simon Fuller.
In Palestine, Assaf has become somewhat of a national hero. Each week, millions of Palestinians switch on their televisions or log on to YouTube to watch the handsome, dark-haired youth with a megawatt smile (who is a college student moonlighting as a wedding singer in his hometown) belt out songs – mainly patriotic folk songs and romantic ballads – on the reality show which began broadcasting from Beirut, Lebanon, in March.
His strong, rich vocals along with his gutsy determination (evident by his struggle to get to the auditions) has inspired not only ordinary Palestinians – who apparently convene at restaurants and coffeehouses to watch the show – but also the judges of the show.
“You are the authentic Palestinian voice. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!” commented judge Ragheb Alama, a prominent Lebanese singer, after one performance. The judges then surprised the young performer by asking him to release his new song, Ya Rayt Riyyi Khabiha, as a duet with him.
Assaf also reportedly received a telephone call from Mammoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, who expressed support and encouraged the youth to keep at it.
But it isn’t just Assaf’s voice and swagger that have captivated millions. It’s the spirit he embodies in all his performances. His Facebook page ( AssafArabIdol2013) is filled with comments from fans – largely Palestinians from all corners of the world – proclaiming their support and adulation for the young singer.
“Palestine and the world is so proud of you. God protect you,” said one fan, Jamal Hilmi, on the fan page.
Majida Abu Almeaza, a 45-year-old mother of five from Gaza, said that Assaf is showing the world that Palestinians are “humans who have a deep and beautiful culture”.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shaping of post-GE13 scenario by Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi - The STAR

Our nation’s destiny will be shaped as much by the realities on the ground as by the character and courage of our leaders.
WHAT direction will Malaysian society take in the post-GE13 era is a question on many minds. The future is not for anyone to predict with certainty. The spirals of history do not have a pre-determined, dialectic path.
What can be said is that our destiny will be shaped as much by the realities on the ground as by the character and courage of our leaders. Will they rise above the timberline to transcend race, religion, region and narrow partisan politics to persevere with an agenda for transformation? Or will they sacrifice idealism at the altar of expediency?
Only time will tell. It is periods of changes that test the mettle of leadership.
“Leaders of substance do not follow opinion polls. They mould opinion. Not with guns or dollars or position but with the power of their souls”.
The rise of two major political coalitions is now consolidated.
This supplies political unity to a society deeply divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines.
The 2008 and 2013 general elections have legitimised the existence of a strong political Opposition.
People have begun to believe that some check and balance in Govern­ment is necessary.
In the recent elections, Barisan Nasional’s victory appears to be owed to three disparate groups – rural votes in the Malay heartland; lower income groups of peninsular Malaysia that benefited from Government handouts and Barisan’s safe deposit seats in Sabah and Sarawak.
The Chinese and Indian components of Barisan failed to deliver and this has led some foreigners to comment (I believe prematurely) that Malaysia’s multi-ethnic coalition is near collapse.
It may be difficult in the long run for Barisan to maintain its grip on its GE13 electorate because rural areas are shrinking. Rural to urban migration is widespread.
The Malay community is the most prone to internal migration. In any case, PAS has captured some erstwhile Malay rural fortresses. As to the poor, if their socio-economic condition improves, they may develop new preferences.
Therefore, Barisan needs a new orientation and new policies.
Specifically, it needs to consider how far issues such as elite corruption and the perception that business opportunities are being monopolised by the political and administrative elite has alienated it from sections of the Malay grassroots.
While ethnicity remains a potent factor, other dynamics seem to have emerged. Among them is the rural-urban divide. Areas penetrated by Internet appear inclined towards the Oppositon.
On the non-Malay side, its withdrawal of support for Barisan is fuelled by official over-zealousness in the enforcement of Article 153 policies. There are a number of intractable religious issues, among them the recurringly painful one of conversion of minors to Islam when one parent leaves his religion to become a Muslim. Limited places in public universities, low representation in public services and the escalating cost of private higher education are also fomenting frustration.