Archive for February, 2007

Really Bad Video Game Box Art

February 28, 07

History fascinates me… How wars started, were fought and were won. How the politics of a nation influenced its rise and fall. How small, seemingly unimportant decisions by seemingly unremarkable men changed the direction of the world.

And how the wonderful world of computer and video games has evolved over these 2 or 3 decades! The history of electronic games really grabs me, their ups and downs, corporate blunders and revolutionary successes.

A lot of these facts are plain old fun to delve into – such as how in 1982 Atari released 12 million copies of the Pac-Man game… Even though there were only 10 million Atari owners to use the games. Or how E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial caused the Great Video Game Crash of 1983.

Being fun stuff therefore, these posts will be under Fun Fun Doodle Dum. Although they are also factual, these kind of facts aren’t really useful or deserve undue concern, so they won’t be under That’s A Fact.  And so having been said, I present to you my first offering in video game history…

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Argh! Quick, cover my eyes! It’s Really Bad Video Game Box Art!

Goodness, gracious me! These examples of video game box art are so bad… They’re great! In a ‘split my sides laughing’ and ‘slap my head in disbelief until I’m retarded’ kind of way.

You can read the mocking article in its entirety right here.

I’ve picked out some of the really strange/lame box arts below, and provided screen shots of the actual game and other, non-lame artwork of the game so that you can compare.

BLACK BELT

   BlackBeltArt

A disembodied foot pinning a colourful paper cut-out star to a tiled wall. Um, yeah, pretty descriptive art. It doesn’t even show the titular Black Belt. Compare actual game:

   BlackBeltGame

BUST-A-MOVE

   BustAMoveArt1

   BustAMoveArt2

A fun, colourful puzzle game featuring the well-known Bubble Bobble dinosaurs… But not if you believe the box art! I mean, could a 10-year old really convince his parents to buy a game with the first artwork? Compare the Japanese version (named Puzzle Bobble) and the actual game:

   PuzzleBobbleArt

   BustAMoveGame

MEGA MAN

MegaManArt1

This one is so unbelievably atrocious, it’s my personal ‘favourite’. Now with Pac-Man (the next entry), it was forgiveable – the artist couldn’t see what Pac-Man actually looks like as a living character. But there’s no excuse for the American artwork dudes!

From cute kid robot, to middle-aged coffee-punk. Compare the actual game, clearly showing Mega Man firing his buster:

   MegaManGame

And the current interpretation of Mega Man (Rockman in the original Japanese):

   Rockman

   Rockman7

UPDATE 6 August 2008: Mega Man 9′s promo art returns to the roots of bad taste!

UPDATE FEB 2012: Well, this explains the sudden influx of searches for Megaman Bad Box Art.

Via Dueling Analogs, the box art Megaman will be a playable character in Street Fighter X Tekken 3:

Yes, he looks like he put on 20-30 years since the bad box art. Realism, yo!

PAC-MAN

   PacManArt

Everyone knows the famous game Pac-Man. But I bet you didn’t know about this surreal and somewhat annoying art for the original American release!

Gotta cut the artists some slack, however. I mean, how do you interpret artwork for a game where the main character is a yellow pizza with a mouth?

Compare the Japanese stab at it: Pac’s got a nose here, but somehow looks more sellable than the above artwork. Btw, Pac-Man is of Japanese origin.

   PuckmanFlyer

Artwork on the American game cartridge itself hit a little closer to home:

   PacManArt2

It’s actually very close to the modern interpretation of the character:

   PacManModern

And just in case you’ve forgotten what the in-game Pac-Man originally looked like, here’s a screenshot from history. Classic.

   PacManGame

PHALANX

   PhalanxArt

Uh, now this just confuses me. What do a country banjo player and a spaceship shooting game have to do with each other? I recall one of the space-faring Silverhawks having a guitar theme (see this site), but…

Anyway, at least they got the spaceship fairly accurate.

   PhalanxGame1

   PhalanxGame2

The Japanese box art for comparison (somewhat phallic mind you):

   PhalanxArtJap

PRO WRESTLING

    ProWrestlingArt

Once more for the Sega Mega Drive, you can see the obvious similiarities with Black Belt’s art style. This time it’s a detached head instead of a foot though. The game itself:

   ProWrestlingGame

Finally, for another comparisons-of-box-art tour, visit this 1up.com article where you can learn more about the reasons behind changes in artwork direction and see this:

   DonkeyKongArt

Yes, that is supposed to be Mario!

And that’s all for today, folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip down the hallways of videogame history. Sorry about the way ugly paintings on the walls though!

Gun Toting Traffic Police Chase Down Robbers

February 28, 07

I often complain about the police force’s slow reaction time, inability to catch criminals and ineffectiveness in preventing crime. And I also gripe that there are too many traffic cops when regular beat cops are lacking.

So I must say, good job Johor traffic police!

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From NST 28 Feb 2007 (NST removes its links after about a week):

2 held after dramatic road chase

28 Feb 2007
Jassmine Shadiqe 

JOHOR BARU: Two of four suspected robbers were arrested in Tampoi yesterday following a 6km chase which saw several shots fired by traffic policemen.

Three of the shots were fired at the windscreen of the suspects’ vehicle while another two were fired in the air after the suspects abandoned their car to flee.

In the incident at noon, two traffic policemen on their motorcycles were stopped by the owner of a scrap-metal dealership and told that his premises had just been robbed by four armed men.

They rushed to the scrapyard nearby and saw three men in a Datsun 120Y car and another outside, holding a black bag.

Seeing the policemen, the driver of the vehicle sped off, leaving his accomplice to flee on foot.

The traffic policemen left the fleeing suspect and chased the suspects’ car.

After several kilometres, the driver of the Datsun tried to ram his car into the chasing police motorcycles and knocked one of the policemen off his machine.

The policeman fired three shots at the car’s windscreen before climbing back on his motorcycle and continuing the chase.

At Kampung Semangat in Skudai, the suspects came to a dead end and fled on foot.

The policemen fired two warning shots in the air and arrested two of the suspects, aged 30 and 47, while the third escaped.

Johor Baru South police chief ACP Shafie Ismail said the two arrested men had records for robbery and drug-related offences.

“The robbers, who were armed with parang and iron rods, had stolen four mobile phones and RM17,000 from the scrapyard.

“From the suspects’ vehicle, we recovered RM10,000 and the scrapyard owner’s identity card. We also seized several knives and daggers,” he said.

The Insult That Got Away

February 27, 07

I got this comment to this post of mine, perhaps from an annoyed DotA player. It managed to get past the spam filter. I deleted it, but not before print-screening it for your viewing amusement.

(WARNING: Very rude words in the image below)

DotARudeComment

He didn’t give any meaningful or real name, e-mail or site address, thus confirming what I mentioned in my post about anonymity and lack of accountability encouraging people to act like the rude barbarians mostof them are deep down inside.

Btw, I still consider it an excellent post, worthy of being a printed article in a nationally-circulated publication. Any takers?

Blaming Global Warming For Gurney Drive’s Ugliness

February 26, 07

I’m posting about this because of my blogging on global warming just today, over here. The Penang State Environment Committee chairman blames global warming. It figures to blame something you can’t stop or control and is caused by other countries of the world for the state of Gurney Drive.

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From NST 26 Feb 2007 (note that NST removes articles after about a week):

Gurney Drive ‘now ugly and smelly’

26 Feb 2007


GEORGE TOWN: It used to attract scores of people who came for their daily morning walks and to enjoy the relaxing sound of waves hitting the beach.

But a visit to Gurney Drive these days would leave you wondering whether you are indeed visiting the famous promenade.The beach has almost disappeared. Instead of seeing waves, visitors are greeted by the sight of an ugly mudflat, with smelly sludge, garbage, tree trunks and other waste exposed for much of the day until the tide comes up.

Environmentalists and residents are infuriated.

They say Gurney Drive is now paying the price of the land reclamation for a massive upscale housing project at Tanjung Tokong.

The reclamation has been blamed for causing a change in the tidal pattern which has resulted in the prolonged low tide at Gurney Drive.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia secretary Meenakshi Raman said the problem will only get worse as new development projects are approved in the area.

“I am saddened by the lack of environmental impact assessments, studying how the projects are going to affect the coastline.

“If nothing is done, the whole coastal area at Gurney Drive will soon disappear.”

The authorities should come up with a rehabilitation plan to revive the appearance of the Gurney Drive beach front, Meenakshi said.

Gurney Drive resident Sally Wong, 30, said the scenery at Gurney Drive has become awful and is getting worse because of the continued low tide there.

“It used to be a pleasure to walk in the area. Now, I have to endure the unbearable stench from the mud and look at all kinds of rubbish washed up on the beach front.”

The state government has rubbished claims that over-reclamation has caused the problems at Gurney Drive.

State Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said it is premature to point fingers at the development project in Tanjung Tokong.

He said the prolonged low tide could be due to global warming and not the land reclamation.

Increased Police Patrols in Tampoi

February 26, 07

That’s nice, the police doing some active crime prevention! This is what we need to deter brazen criminals. Please widen this service to the rest of Johor Bahru, particularly Taman Pelangi and Taman Century! We would be much obliged.

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From The Star 26 Feb 2007:

Residents hail increased police patrols

JOHOR BARU: School teacher Abdul Rahman Juwa had a pleasant surprise when he came back from his holiday and found notices from the police in his mailbox. 

The notices informed him about the police’s visit to his home in Taman Perling under the Safe Home Campaign. 

“I usually do not spend my holidays peacefully as I would be thinking about my house as there have been break-ins in my neighbourhood before,” Abdul Rahman, 54, said. 

He commended the police and The Star for jointly organising the campaign which allows busy people to register via fax or telephone instead of going to the police station. 

Pleasant surprise: Tan looking through the notices in his mailbox indicating that police had been patrolling the neighbourhood, in Taman Perling, Johor Baru on Sunday.

“I came to know about this campaign from my neighbour who called me while I was away in Tangkak,” he said, adding that he gave all his particulars to his neighbour and asked her to register for him. 

Tan Wern Chiat, 28, from Tampoi, said that he was grateful to the police for increasing their patrols in the neighbourhood. 

“Even though there have been many robbery cases before, I think the increased police presence is a good deterrent,” he said when met at his home. 

Tan, a business development manager, wished that the campaign would be extended all-year-round. 

Md Nawi Wan Hassan, 57, praised the police for checking on his house in Tampoi even though there were people at home. 

“They came to my house and rang the bell and asked me to identify myself,” he said, adding that the policemen were friendly and enquired about the neighbourhood. 

His next-door neighbour, Tee Poh Suan, 45, said that even though she did not receive any notices from the police, the fact that she had already registered her home was more than enough to assure her that her home was safe. 

The state-wide campaign was held between Feb 13 and 25 and was organised by the police in collaboration with The Star

A similar campaign was conducted during the Hari Raya and Deepavali celebrations between Oct 14 to 31 last year and not a single house among the 1,259 which were registered was broken into.  

Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming – 5 Reasons Why I’m Not Alarmed

February 26, 07

First off, let me clarify my stand: I believe that global warming is a scientifically proven fact. The average world temperature has been rising in the past decades and centuries. Greenhouse gases do cause the Greenhouse effect, keeping the planet warm enough to sustain life.

What I don’t subscribe to is the notion that human activities contribute greatly to this trend (i.e. anthropogenic global warming). Even if they did, it has but a miniscule effect. And if anything is to blame, it shouldn’t be carbon dioxide emissions.

Here I submit 5 simple, straightforward and easily understandable reasons as to why I am not alarmed by the claims of irreparable CO2-caused climate change:

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1) Carbon dioxide accounts for just 0.0383% of the atmosphere. Literally a drop in the atmosphere! To me, it’s very difficult to see how such a miniscule amount of CO2 can have any meaningful effect on the world temperature.

Wikipedia on CO2 atmospheric concentration

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2) Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen 20.253% since 1960. Wow, so scary huh? But take a closer look at what measurement scale we’re talking about. CO2 levels rose from 316 parts per million to about 380 parts per million. Parts per million! That’s just an increase of 0.000064!

Comparing 1960 and today, for every 15,625 buckets of air you scoop up you’re only going to collect one extra measly bucket of CO2.

See also my post, Carbon Emissions and Percentage of Atmosphere.

CO2Levels

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3) Water vapour is the main Greenhouse gas, causing from 36-70% of the Greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide only causes 9-26%, methane 4-9% and ozone 3-7%. Should we initiate International Protocols to reduce the evaporation of water worldwide, then?

Wikipedia on Greenhouse gas contributions

Maybe we can’t stop water from being evaporated all across the world’s oceans. And nobody is going to support a reduction of the ozone layer.

But we can do something about methane levels which have risen 150% since 1750. Cow farts, rice paddies, swamps and even termites pump tonnes of methane into the air. So we’d better slaughter those cows, stop planting rice, clear up the mangroves and exterminate all termites in nature then!

Wikipedia on methane producers

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4) The temperature of the Earth seems to have been rising steadily. Seems to have been, but has it really been? Maybe the temperature measuring stations have been getting skewed readings because of their close proximity to cities which are full of people, industries, vehicles and glass and concrete buildings?

Satellites measuring the temperature of the lower atmosphere show a warming of only 0.04°C per decade, while grounded stations show an increase of around 0.17°C per decade (plus or mine 0.06°C). It seems to me like better, more accurate and less alarmistly biased research should be conducted before we get all chicken little.

Wikipedia on satellite temperature records (vs ground-based)

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5) How much will the average world temperature rise if global warming and Greenhouse gas emission continues at the present rate? Nobody really knows for sure, and nobody agrees on an estimate (the satellite measurements in Point 4 are one example of disagreement).

The average world temperature will perhaps increase by at least 1°C by the year 2100, perhaps as much as 6%, or perhaps it will even drop. But the important dispute is: Do human activities contribute in any significant way at all?

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And what is the conclusion? The Kyoto Protocol is a waste of time, resources and media coverage! What will it achieve really, by trying to reduce CO2 emissions when CO2 isn’t doing anything significant? And Kyoto doesn’t apply to China and India mind you, which happen to be the hugest industrializing nations.

Up to recently, I thought that the US was being arrogant, selfish and pig-headed for not signing Kyoto. Now I feel that money and effort spent reducing CO2 emissions would be better used on more important concerns such as saving lives by providing clean water for third world nations. Slightly higher CO2 levels might even increase plant growth and agricultural production.

On a final note, let me say that although I don’t think we should worry about human activity causing global warming with terrible consequences, I strongly support other environmental concerns such as pollution control.

Just walk around for an hour along the streets of KL, breathing the noxious fumes deep into your lungs, and I think you’ll agree that there are far more pressing matters than global warming.

To me, human life is the most important concern overriding all others. And after that, the quality of life. Everything hinges on the value of a human being.

If DDT will destroy wildlife and cause cancer (which it has been proven NOT to do), I’ll still spray it around… Because it will kill malaria-carrying mosquitos and save millions of lives in the meantime.

That’s a whole ‘nother debate and controversy, but bottom line is: Get your facts straight! That’s our real first responsibility to the world, before running off on very damaging wild-goose slaughterchases.

Bunnywunny: Light

February 24, 07

Read through. Can you catch the significance to me? Hint: The 7th and 14th paragraphs (after you’ve given it a shot!).

http://bunnywunny.blogspot.com/2007/02/light.html

Abdullah Badawi on Mat Skoding

February 24, 07

Update on the Mat Skoding thing. The Prime Minister has put his rather gentle, soft-spoken foot down.

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From The Star 23 Feb 2007:

PM: Concentrate on tackling urgent issues facing Muslims

JAKARTA: Stop policing the morals of Muslims, concentrate on tackling various urgent issues facing them instead, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. 

The Prime Minister said there was no need for such policing which others could easily misinterpret. 

“Last time (Datuk Seri Mohd) Ali Rustam (Malacca Chief Minister) attempted to set up a moral police squad in Malacca, but I said there was no need for it. 

“We can take action against those who are involved in vice activities in public places, but there is no need for us to snoop as that will infringe on people’s right to privacy,” he told the Malaysian media at the end of his two-day visit here. 

He was asked to comment on a statement by Terengganu State Islam Hadhari Committee chairman Datuk Rosul Wahid on Wednesday, who said that the  

state had not set up a snoop team to spy on Muslims committing khalwat but would depend on informers to curb vice activities. 

Abdullah said that as far as he was concerned, snooping and informing was one and the same. 

“If you do not snoop, how are you going to give information on such activities? I say that there is no need for this. 

“It can be misread, for example, the incident which happened to a non-Muslim couple in Langkawi not too long ago,” he said. 

He was referring in the incident where the hotel room of an elderly foreign couple in Langkawi was raided by anti-vice enforcement officers who acted on information given by staff of that hotel. 

Abdullah said that instead of devoting too much time and effort trying to police the morals of Muslims, state religious departments were better off concentrating on programmes that could strengthen the Islamic values and morals of the community. 

They should also focus on resolving the many cases involving Muslims that have yet to be cleared at the Syariah Courts, he added. 

This is not the first time that the Government has had to put a stop to the setting up of snoop squads to nab people committing morality offences. 

Last year, the Cabinet told the Federal Territory Religious Department to disband its “snoop team” as it was tantamount to invasion of privacy. 

In 2005, the Government also rejected a plan by the 4B Youth movement led by Mohd Ali to set up an Islamic snoop squad dubbed Mat Skoding, which was to be encouraged to spy on couples and to report those who engage in immoral activities. 

On an unrelated matter, Abdullah said recent suggestions by police that construction workers be confined to areas near their working places should be discussed first between the various parties involved. 

He said that at a glance, the suggestion had merit but it should never be meant to restrict the workers from exercising their freedom of movement. 

“If the employers can provide living quarters that are close to their projects and regulate their movement in an out of those areas, then I do not see why this cannot be done. 

“However, there should not be any interference by the police in regulating the workers’ movements as that will go against their basic rights,” he added. 

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Interview with Datuk Rosol Wahid, who is Terengganu Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman, on the ‘snoop squad’ issue. From NST 23 Feb 2007:

‘We’re in the business of stopping moral decay’

23 Feb 2007
ROSLI ZAKARIA

Terengganu Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid (picture, below) believes that preventing khalwat (close proximity) is important in Islam. He tells ROSLI ZAKARIA why.

Q: Is khalwat a major problem for Terengganu? How do you overcome the problem?

A: I have to admit that it’s a problem but it’s not as serious as illegal racers, snatch theft or house break-ins. But it’s still a problem which the Religious Affairs Department needs to address before it gets out of control.

Our approach is to educate society. It is much easier to do it in Terengganu because the majority of the population are Muslims, and the best place to start is in schools.

We believe that by infusing Islamic knowledge in students, we could create a greater sense of understanding and awareness. These are students who will become involved in nation-building and they need to have strong moral values. We cannot achieve the objectives under the Islam Hadhari concept in one day. But we have to start somewhere.

Q: Is the state government taking over the responsibility of parents in educating children and moulding a morally-sound society?

A: We’re not taking over parents’ role. We are complementing their role. But no matter how you look at it, moral education must start at home.

More often than not, the source of the problem is neglect at home and bad influence. Children get influenced by drugs and become involved in immoral activities, for example. But do we blame the parents who need to earn money for the family?

If you start the blame game, the list will become endless. Some people will go to the extent of blaming the government for not doing enough to stop moral decay. It’s a shared responsibility. You cannot leave that responsibility to parents alone and that is why we have schools, which is the government’s responsibility.

The police, the state Religious Affairs Department, the Road Transport Department, the local authorities and other agencies all have roles to play in moulding society.

Q: Does having informants help curb khalwat and immoral activities?

A: There’s no foolproof approach or mechanism that can eliminate immoral activities. The presence of informants acts as a deterrent.

In Terengganu, we have informants who voluntarily provide information on immoral activities, including khalwat, to enforcement officers of the state Religious Affairs Department. They are not vigilantes or members of a special squad who snoop around to catch couples but they can be anyone who feels it is his responsibility to check immoral activities in their area.

We are getting the support from parents of couples arrested for khalwat. Considering that it is a thankless job for the officers, such support encourages officers to work harder.

Seriously, the department is understaffed and any help from informants is welcomed. We are not in the business of putting couples or their families to shame.

We are helping families and society. In the larger context, we are preventing such incidences from becoming a norm.

Q: How do you relate this to Islam Hadhari?

A: We want to create a civilised and progressive society as envisioned by Islam, and Islam Hadhari is a concept which guides us.

With the right knowledge, we can develop a righteous society where people learn what is right and wrong, and exercise restraint. Education is still the best form of prevention.

Q: Can your style of implementation solve the problems associated with moral decay in society?

A: We have to be realistic about this. We have more than a million people in the state and there are certainly some bad apples, or if you like, black sheep.

We hope that our future generation will have some form of insulation against corrupt practices, mismanagement and fraud. With sound knowledge of Islam, we hope the next generation will be more civilised, progressive and morally sound. It’s not going to be easy as there are detractors.

We just have to be confident that what we are doing today is for the good of all in the state. We are serious about realising the Islam Hadhari concept.

We are serious about checking moral decay and transforming the people into a progressive workforce. We have more serious matters to attend to than focus on khalwat cases.

Tampoi Cops Keeping Homes Safe – Good On Ya!

February 23, 07

Yay! Some reprieve from the spate of depressing bad news, especially crime-related bad news. Do this for Taman Pelangi and Taman Century please, lovable and much appreciated police force!

Otherwise… Anyone interested in forming a private security company that provides night patrol services to housing areas? For a fair fee, well-trained and very professional guards with sub-lethal weapons would do the rounds in the area to discourage (or brutally incapacitate) would-be robbers and burglars.

There’s a niche there, mates!

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From The Star 22 Feb 2007 (man, everything seems to come out when I’m on holiday for a day):

Tampoi cops keeping homes safe

JOHOR BARU: While many people spend the long holiday period with families and friends, Chief Insp S. Nazari Abdul Manan has been patrolling residential streets with his men. 

Daily, the policemen from the Tampoi police station would monitor thousands of homes in 34 housing estates around Tampoi. 

C/Insp Nazari, who is also the station chief, takes his work seriously despite the higher workload during the holidays when more houses are vacant. 

“Every day we patrol these housing estates on motorcycles and in patrol cars. 

“Besides carrying out normal patrols, we have also been visiting the 34 homes which are registered in Tampoi under the Safe Home Campaign,” he said, adding that such campaigns were good as they forged close cooperation between the public and police. 

Daily patrol: L/Kpl Mohd Ahmed Mokhtar (left) helping C/Insp Nazari put a notice in a mailbox informing a Taman Perling resident that police had come by on Tuesday.

To date, about 540 residents, mostly from this city and Muar, have registered under the state-wide campaign being held between Feb 13 and 25. 

C/Insp Nazari said that after each inspection, a notice would be left in the owner’s mailbox to inform the residents that the police had come by. 

“We want to assure the residents that we were patrolling their neighbourhood when they were not around,” he said. 

The Safe Home Campaign is organised by the police in collaboration with The Star

Those leaving for their hometowns can get the campaign forms in StarMetro South & East today or from the nearest police station. Completed forms can be faxed to 07-224 0115. 

The public can also contact the police via SMS to POLISJOH – 32728 or their hotline 07-221 2999. 

Mat Skoding Updates

February 23, 07

Please please PLEEEEEEASE can the guys in charge reassign the volunteers to watch the streets and keep citizens from harassment, instead of getting them harassed? I’m sure all Malaysians, Muslim or non-Muslim, would greatly appreaciate and completely accept such a service.

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From The Star 22 Feb 2007:

Spying on Muslims only

KUALA TERENGGANU: Tip-offs by Mat Skoding are confined to wrongdoings committed by Muslims, the state government explained Wednesday.  

State Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid said he wanted to emphasise this to avoid any misunderstanding. 

He said the Mat Skoding, part of a voluntary squad under the guidance of state religious advisers, had no right to apprehend people.  

This had been clarified to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who called from Jakarta yesterday to speak with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. 

The strategy of using the voluntary corps to provide tip-offs had been used for almost a decade, Rosol said. The Mat Skoding comprise, among others, hotel workers and those employed at locations where immoral activities are likely to occur. 

“This (vigilance by Mat Skoding) is not a new practice,” he told a specially called press conference to explain a report in The Star on Tuesday on the Mat Skoding issue. 

Rosol was reported to have said that to avert soaring cases of close proximity and vice, the Terengganu Government would use Mat Skoding to tip-off religious department officials. 

His statement has drawn flak from many quarters, with some describing it as repulsive. 

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Also from The Star 22 Feb 2007:

Informers ‘must be sound’

KUALA LUMPUR: Using Mat Skoding to help curb immoral activities is fine but the volunteers selected must have sound religious character, Johor Mufti Datuk Noh Gadut said. 

He said informers should be selected on the basis of four basic traits – siddiq (sincerity), amanah (trustworthiness), tabligh (ability to deliver “the message”) and hikmah (wisdom). 

“They (the informers) need to have these four traits so that they will not abuse their power. They must be sincere so that they will not twist information. They must be trustworthy so that they will not be biased,” he said. 

Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani supported the move, saying that informers were tools to prevent illicit behaviour from becoming rampant. 

Malaysian Ulama Association president Abdul Ghani Samsuddin said it was up to the department to train informers to carry out their duty responsibly. 

“There is nothing wrong with rewarding the informers, who are sincerely helping to carry out their fardu kifayah (social obligation) to curb immoral acts,” he added. 

Sisters In Islam (SIS) said, however, it was disappointed that Malaysians were being again enlisted and “trained” to spy on one another. 

The Women’s Aid Organisation said it was appalled by this attempt at “moral policing”.  

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And one more from The Star 22 Feb 2007:

Be consistent in banning moral squads, Government urged

PETALING JAYA: The Government should be consistent in its policy banning the formation of moral policing squads, the DAP said. 

Its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said such moves had been initiated in Malacca in 2005 for a month before its “Peeping Tom squad” was disbanded. 

Lim said a similar squad was formed by the Federal Territory Religious Department in January last year but was disbanded by the Cabinet. 

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had stressed that the Cabinet should be consistent and stand firm by its earlier decision that no groups should be formed to spy on people on the basis of moral grounds. 

“Whatever reason given by the Terengganu state exco that the Mat Skoding squad will only report suspicious behaviour to the state Islamic Affairs Department and not even offer counselling is unacceptable,” he said in a statement yesterday. 

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And finally, from NST 22 Feb 2007:

‘No peep squads, only informants’

22 Feb 2007

KUALA TERENGGANU: The state government has again denied that it is setting up a Mat Skodeng (Peeping Tom) squad to spy on couples for khalwat (close proximity).

“No such squad. We only have informants who are volunteers to provide information to enforcement officers of the state Religious Affairs Department.

“These informants must be willing to stand as prosecution witnesses. They have no power to arrest or investigate couples,” said state Islam Hadhari and Welfare Committee chairman Datuk Rosol Wahid.

He said the informants had been around for “a long time” and done an excellent job co-operating with enforcement officers to check on moral decay among the public.

“These informants are everywhere. They could even be your neighbour,” he said, denying a newspaper report (not the New Straits Times) that the state had set up a Mat Skodeng squad to curb vices.

He added that Mat Skodeng were perverts and voyeurs and rejected by Islam.

Rosol said he had to make the clarification following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

Abdullah wanted an explanation on why there was still such a vigilante squad when there was a Cabinet decision to stop the formation of such a volunteer group in Putrajaya.

The Cabinet had requested Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ali Rustam to disband its Mat Skodeng squad meant for the same purpose.

“I believe we are doing the right thing and in line with the state motto of Islam Hadhari, Terengganu Bestari (Islam Hadhari, Intelligent Terengganu),” said Rosol.


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