Sunday, March 28, 2010

Entering the Marital Bond - I : Finding a Suitable Spouse

Marriage is one of the most serious and important commitments an individual will make in his lifetime. It is a bond that once established, cannot be easily broken. It is one of the most important relationships in a society, as it is the building stone of the overall structure. Marriage is so important in Islam that the Prophet said:

"Whoever marries has completed half of his faith. So let him have fear of Allaah in the remaining half." [Narrated by At-Tabaraani]

As an act of worship, Muslims should make the intention to please Allaah, Almighty, during this process and act in accordance with His laws.

Unfortunately, in this time, more and more Muslim marriages are crumbling, primarily due to the fact that they were not in conformity with the laws established by Allaah. The intention to please Allaah was not there from the beginning.

As this is a rather immense topic, it will be spread out over several issues. Some of the initial components in the process are considered in the following, with the focus on women who are entering the marital bond.

The presence and guidance of a Wali (guardian - father or whoever takes his place) is one of the conditions required for soundness of a marriage contract. The Prophet said:
"There is no marriage except with a Wali." [Ahmad, Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

He also said:
"If any woman marries herself without the permission of her Wali, then her marriage is void, then her marriage is void, then her marriage is void." [Ahmad, Abu Daawood and others]

The Wali is the one who will be responsible for finding a suitable spouse for his ward, one who is religious and an appropriate match. The Wali must be male, mature, of good moral character, and of the same religion as the woman.

In the ideal situation, the Wali should be the closest male relative of the woman, so first it has to be the father, if not then it passes to the closest male relative on the father side, her grandfather, then her son, then her full brother, then her half brother, then his sons, then paternal uncles, then their sons, then the father paternal uncles, then the Muslim Judge. For women who have entered Islam from another religion, however, it is not acceptable for her non-Muslim father or other non-Muslim relative to act as her Wali. In this case, the responsibility falls upon the leader of the community. A woman cannot choose any person for her Wali. The Prophet said: "There is no marriage but with a Wali. And the ruler is the Wali for one who does not have a wali." [Ahmad and others]

A woman should never be forced to accept a marriage proposal. This is very clear in Islam. If a woman is forced to accept a marriage proposed against her will, she would have the right either to annul the marriage or accept and remain in it.

Ibn 'Abbaas narrated that a young virgin woman came to the Prophet and stated that her father had married her and she disliked it. So the Prophet gave her the option (to annul the marriage or remain in it). [Abu Daawood and Ahmad]

The relationship between the woman and her Wali is ideally one of cooperation involving mutual respect and consideration.

Finding a Spouse with Faith and Piety:

The Prophet said: "If someone whose religion and character you are pleased with comes to you (to marry your daughter or ward) then marry (her off to) him. If you do not do so, there will be commotion on the earth, and a great deal of evil."
[At-Tirmithi and Ibn Maajah]

The Wali should assist the woman in finding a spouse who has strong faith and piety, which is reflected in behavior.

The happiness of the marriage often rests upon this important element. One of the goals of marriage is to find comfort, repose, and security in the relationship. This goal is more likely to be achieved if each spouse has fear of Allaah and adheres to Islam.

Unfortunately, women often look for a man who has wealth and letters behind his name (M.D., Ph.D., etc.) assuming that this will bring them happiness. Although there is no harm in considering these things, yet it should not be given first priority. How helpful will that wealth and those letters be when the person is being disrespectful and uncaring towards his wife? How beneficial will he be in helping her to fulfill her obligations to Allaah?

Women should carefully arrange their priorities when it comes to selecting a spouse, for the success and happiness of the marriage may depend on this.

Payment of Mahr (dowry):

Payment of the Mahr is also a necessary condition for soundness of a marriage contract. It is given to the wife as a way of honoring and respecting her and as a symbol of the husband's commitment to provide for and take care of his wife.

Allaah Says (what means): "And give the women (upon marriage) their bridal gifts graciously." [Quran; 4:4]

This verse and others establish the obligatory nature of the Mahr. There is no minimum or maximum amount of Mahr stated explicitly in either the Quran or Hadeeth.

Anything of value is acceptable as Mahr, regardless of whether it is something material or something non-material (if the person lacks wealth). The prophet said: "Search for something, even if it just be a ring made from iron." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] In fact, the Mahr could be knowledge of the Quran as related in a popular narration. The Prophet accepted the dower of a person's knowledge of Quran. He said: "Go for I have put her under your charge (in marriage) due to what you have of the Quran." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

There is no maximum amount of dower as Allaah Says (what means): "But if you want to replace one wife with another and you have given one of them a Qintaar (great amount of gold) in gift, do not take (back) form it anything." [Quran; 4:20]

A Qintaar is a very large amount of gold, which implies that it is allowed to give such large amounts. The Caliph Umar however, did advise the people at one time not to be excessive with regard to a woman's dower. The Prophet also encouraged people to be easy in this area. He said: "The best Mahr is the one which is easiest (to be paid)." [Al-Haakim and Ibn Maajah]

Some women request enormous amounts of money, jewelry, and goods from their prospective husbands, oftentimes making it impossible for the men to fulfill these requests. Men are actually foregoing or postponing marriage because they are unable to pay the "going rate" or to find a woman who is willing to accept a lesser amount.

This creates a great deal of corruption, trial and temptation not only for individuals, but also for society as a whole. Women should look beyond their own personal desires and interests and consider loftier values and benefits.

Wednesday : 09/12/2009


Preparing for Puberty - Islamic Perspective

Dr. Aisha Hamdan

Learn why it is so important to talk to your child about sexuality from an Islamic perspective, and how you can help take the lows out of growing-up.
Talking to teenager about sexuality

Your child has just turned 11 years old; over time you begin to notice subtle changes in the way that she looks, acts, and talks. Her body begins to show signs of maturation, she is rather moody, and conversations with her seem to be more adult-like. Your child, or rather ‘young lady’, is just now entering the first stages of puberty and experiencing the wonderful changes that it brings. As a parent, it is important to prepare your child for this phase of life, and it is also crucial from the Islamic perspective. Once she has reached puberty, she will no longer be considered a child free of responsibility. Instead, she will be an adult with all of the obligations of Islam placed upon her. Spiritually, her relationship with Allaah will grow and develop, and she will be accountable for all of her choices, actions, and intentions.

Although we are able to train our youth for the religious and spiritual aspects of this phase, we often neglect to teach them about another important element – sexuality. Our neglect may be due to shyness, discomfort, fear, or worry, but it is something that must be done for the sake of our youth. Young adult Muslims have actually related that they wished someone (i.e., a parent, relative, Imaam) would have spoken to them about the Islamic perspective on sexuality and dealing with the opposite gender. They have so many questions about this new passage in their life, but are often afraid to ask. It is imperative that Muslim parents discuss with and educate their youth on this issue; otherwise their child may turn to other sources that are likely to be un-Islamic. It is actually the responsibility of parents to undertake this task, as it is part of the overall education, or training of a child. We must also consider how much our involvement will benefit our youth, because adequate preparation for the changes they are about to experience will lessen their worry, anxiety, and fear.

What should you say?

The following are some key points to consider when imparting information about sexuality to youth, and are also good points to draw on when discussing it with them.

1. Sexuality is a beautiful gift from Allaah
Sexuality is a blessing given to us from Allaah, Almighty. It is obviously for the purpose of procreation, but it is a mercy from Allaah, Almighty, that there is also enjoyment and satisfaction that comes with it. The relationship between man and woman in all spheres highlights Allaah’s Graciousness. Allaah, Almighty, Says (what means): “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Quran 30: 21]
Thus, sexuality is one component in a loving and affectionate relationship between husband and wife. It is not something shameful or disgraceful, but is rather part of Allaah’s wondrous, universal plan.

2. Sexuality is a test and also a responsibility

Although sexuality is a gift from Allaah, along with many other things in life, it is also a test and it entails responsibility. Allaah, Almighty, determines, at the age of puberty, that an individual is ready for this test. The test determines whether or not a person will submit to Allaah and His laws in this sphere of life. To pass this test, the satisfaction of one’s sexual urge must be fulfilled in pure and legitimate ways (within the bond of marriage); to fail the test is to engage in illegitimate sexual relations and those actions and thoughts leading up to it. There are strict guidelines in the Sharee’ah (Islamic Law) for our sexual life, even in relation to other issues such as Hijaab, privacy and our social behavior. Many of these are a means of prevention, which is the most effective mechanism. This matter is a very serious one, and should be treated as such, for the consequences are quite severe if it is neglected.

3. Sexuality and marriage are inseparable

To assist in successful completion of the test, Allaah, Almighty, through His Mercy, has provided legitimate means to satisfy sexual desire. Marriage is strongly emphasized in Islam for this reason (as well as many others) as indicated in the following Prophetic narrations. The Prophet said: “Whoever marries has completed half of his faith; so let him have fear of Allaah in the remaining half.” [At-Tabaraani] He also said: “He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him to lower his gaze (from looking at forbidden things and other women) and save his private parts (from committing illegal sexual acts) and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to observe fasting, as fasting will diminish his sexual power.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Islam encourages marriage as a legal sexual outlet and as a shield and protection from immorality. Marriage should not be postponed, as is common practice in this time, particularly if the youth has strong sexual desire. The fulfillment and satisfaction of this desire is one of the main purposes of marriage, and it should not be postponed or suppressed for the sake of further education or reaching a certain age, especially if the temptation for illicit relations is present.



Para pembaca budiman,

Bila dada-dada akhbar setiap hari penuh dengan agenda Jahiliah Milinium ini iaitu pembunuhan bayi yang tidak dikehendaki, maka timbul lah idea lapuk mengemukakan dan menekankan bahawa Malaysia tidak melaksanakan Pendididkan Seks di peringkat awal lagi. Alasan yang kononnya wajar anak-nak remaja tidak pandai melakukan hunbungan seks yang selamat. Mereka tidak boleh dipersalahkan kerana tidak boleh menahan gejolak hawa nafsu dan syahwat yang begitu mendesak.Dari manakah syahwat itu diperolehi?. Ya benar dari peningkatan umur baligh, pendedahan bahan-bahan bacaan dan visual yang terfokus kepada hubungan Sex terlarang. Jauh dari sudut itu, bangkit isu-isu moral dan pegangan kepercayaan bahawa mungkin seronok jika kita dapat lakukan, dirasakan juga tidak salah jika dibuat berkumpulan dan beramai-ramai. Boleh juga kita akan mengugut ibu bapa yang enngan MERESTUI CINTA MEREKA dengan mengandung untuk kahwin muda dan jika tidak berkesan ambil langkah lari dari rumah, kerana di luar sana ramai jantan-jantan yang bersedia menjual dan membeli mereka kepada sesiapa sahaja peminat-peminat wanita dan gadis remaja terlarang ini dengan kos LUMAYAN.

Fenomena yang digambarkan di atas TIDAK DISEBABKAB OLEH KEKURANGAN PENGETAHUAN SEKS. Malah kerana terlebih pengetahuan sekslah remaja mencipta ruang-ruang INOVATIF di alam kehidupan seksual bebas dan terlarang ini. Agama dan adat serta sifat semulajadi kemanusiaan sahaja mengatakan demikian. Namun bagi remaja dan orang tua yang tidak sedar diri dan tidak terdidik hati budi mereka, tidak pernah yakin dengan mana-mana kepercayaan agama dan moral serta adat menganggap bahawa HUBUNGAN SEX TERLARANG INI - HALAAAAL.Inilah gejala yang menimpa sistem pendidikan kita dan cara asuhan kita terhadap generasi yang telah kita keluarkan. Jangan sembarangan membuat TUDUHAN, kerana semua dari kita rakyat Malaysia bertanggung jawab, paling besar tanggung jawabnya adalah ibu bapa dan pemerintah atau kerajaan serta kementerian-kementerian terbabait.

Jelas sekali kita menghadapi KEMEROSOTAN MORAL DAN PENDIDIKAN AGAMA SERTA ADAT TERADISI TIMUR yang menjunam pada kedudukan yang sangat parah. Bukti ini boleh diperolehi di Mahkamah-Mahkamah Syariah dan Mahmakah sivil, ketika kes rogol dan bersekedudukan berlaku ia tidak melibatkan golongan remaja sahaja, malah golongan berpendidikan tinggi pun terlibat dengan gejala persundalan ini dan aktiviti-aktiviti seks rambang atau terlarang ini. Latar pendidikan dan ijazah tidak menjadi PENDINDING KEPADA WABAK KERUNTUHAN MORAL UMAT INI. Benteng pendidikan dan kesedaran kemanusiaan dan moral yang tinggi sahaja mampu mengawal generasi Malaysia di masa yang akan datang. Pendidikan seks sebagai alternatif TIDAKLAH TEPAT, kerana akal boleh diberi maklumat dan difahamkan dengan intelek dan rasional, NAMUN jiwa, hawa nafsu dan hati budi manusia memerlukan ASUHAN DAN DIDIKAN KEAGAMAAN DAN ADAT TERADISI KETIMURAN SERTA AMALANNYA berkuatkuasa dari generasi ke generasi. Segulung Ijazah Ph.D di dalam Pendidikan Seks (Ph D in Sex Education) tidak mampu membendung sex rambang, sedangkan golonga yang taat beragama dan berpegang kuat dengan adat teradisi ketimuran, sekali pun tidak ada Ph.D di dalam Adat dan Akhlak Ketimuran (Ph D in Religious Ethics and Oriental Studies) mampu menjaga marwah diri mereka sehingga mereka berkahwin dan hidup bahagia sebagai MANUSIA YANG TINGGI TAMADUN DAN PERADABAN.

Abu Muhammad ADIS El-Merbawiy


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tanggung Jawab Umat Islam Perjuangkan Bumi Palestine

Bersatu perjuangkan Palestin

Penduduk berhaluan kiri Israel, Islam Palestin dan aktivis keamanan asing mengadakan demonstrasi ekoran insiden seorang aktivis dirempuh jentolak Israel semasa tunjuk perasaan di Gaza pada 2003.

TIDAK pernah berlaku dalam sejarah, sesebuah negara dikepung dan dikenakan sekatan ekonomi yang berlarutan lebih tiga tahun kecuali Palestin. Inilah sikap sebenar Israel dan konco-konconya terutama payung utamanya Amerika Syarikat (AS) yang kononnya sentiasa memperjuangkan hak kebebasan dalam demokrasi.

Malangnya, kekejaman dan penindasan zionis ke atas rakyat Palestin ini seolah-olah ‘disapu ke bawah karpet’. Sehinggakan nyawa manusia yang tidak berdosa bagaikan tidak berharga.

Sekatan ekonomi yang dikenakan pula menyebabkan 80 peratus rakyat Palestin kehilangan pekerjaan. Sekali gus menambah sengsara rakyat Palestin dikepung di ‘neraka dunia’ itu.

Wartawan MOHD. RADZI MOHD. ZIN menemu bual Pengarah Pusat Kecemerlangan Palestin (Pace), Prof. Madya Dr. Hafidzi Mohd. Noor bagi mengupas isu ini.

Mega: Perjuangan umat Islam untuk membantu Palestin sudah berlaku lebih 60 tahun. Namun sehingga hari ini belum nampak hasil yang konkrit. Adakah ini bermakna kita telah gagal?

DR. HAFIDZI: Perjuangan untuk membebaskan diri daripada cengkaman penjajahan memang memakan masa yang lama. Sejarah menunjukkan ada perjuangan yang memakan masa sehingga ratusan tahun sebelum sesebuah negara yang terjajah memperoleh kemerdekaan.

Begitu juga perjuangan yang berlaku di Palestin pada hari ini. Bahkan bukan sekali ini Palestin dijajah. Kira-kira 1,000 tahun yang silam, bumi Palestin pernah dikuasai oleh tentera Salib dan pendudukan tentera Salibiah berlangsung selama 100 tahun (1090 sehingga 1187) sehinggalah bumi Palestin dibebaskan oleh Salahuddin al-Ayubbi.

Meskipun perjuangan di Palestin kini sudah memasuki tahun yang ke 62 (jika dikira dari tarikh penubuhan negara haram Israel pada tahun 1948) namun untuk menganggap perjuangan ini belum mencapai hasil yang konkrit tidak begitu tepat.

Ini kerana perjuangan yang dipelopori oleh rakyat Palestin semenjak enam dasawarsa lalu telah berjaya mematahkan cita-cita Israel untuk meluaskan jajahan takluknya sebagaimana yang diimpikan melalui agenda Israel raya (Eretz Israel) yang menganjur dari Sungai Nil di Mesir sehingga Sungai Furat di Iraq. Bahkan kita menyaksikan jajahan takluk Israel semakin mengecil.

Bermula dengan pemulangan Semenanjung Sinai kepada Mesir pada tahun 1981, pengunduran tentera Israel dari Selatan Lebanon pada tahun 2000.

Pengunduran Israel dari Gaza (2005) meskipun kemudiannya mereka mengenakan kepungan ke atas Gaza dan penyerahan sebahagian kecil dari wilayah di Tebing Barat berdasarkan perjanjian Oslo kepada pihak berkuasa Palestin (meskipun kuasa tersebut terbatas pada kuasa sivil dan bukan aspek keselamatan).

Semua ini menjadi kenyataan kerana semangat juang rakyat Palestin yang tidak pernah luntur untuk memerdekakan tanah air mereka.

Satu lagi perkembangan menarik mengenai perjuangan pembebasan Palestin ialah pendapat umum masyarakat antarabangsa kini semakin memihak kepada perjuangan rakyat Palestin.

Sehingga tahun 2000 (dengan tercetusnya Intifadah al-Aqsa) masyarakat antarabangsa khususnya barat memandang serong kepada perjuangan rakyat Palestin.

Mereka sentiasa menyokong Israel yang kononnya menjadi mangsa kepada ancaman keganasan rakyat Palestin. Tetapi kini seiring dengan perkembangan teknologi maklumat dan media baru, masyarakat antarabangsa mula terdedah kepada realiti sebenar perjuangan rakyat Palestin.

Sikap prejudis kini beransur-ansur bertukar kepada simpati dan akhirnya menyokong perjuangan rakyat Palestin untuk membebaskan tanah air mereka.

Israel kini mula mendapat kritikan dan cemuhan terutama daripada masyarakat barat yang peka dengan hak asasi manusia dan prinsip undang-undang antarabangsa. Rakyat Palestin kini dianggap sebagai mangsa yang perlu dibela daripada kekejaman rejim zionis Israel. Perkembangan ini juga terhasil daripada strategi jaringan antarabangsa yang dibangunkan oleh pelbagai pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), sama ada di dalam dan di luar Palestin untuk menyebarluaskan kesedaran dan sokongan terhadap rakyat Palestin yang tertindas dan dinafikan hak di tanah air mereka sendiri.

Kesimpulannya, rakyat Palestin tidak gagal, bahkan mencipta kemenangan demi kemenangan dalam konflik yang berpanjangan ini.

Pada 9 Mac lalu, Israel luluskan 1,600 penempatan baru pendatang haram Yahudi di timur Baitul Maqdis. Tindakan ini membuktikan rejim zionis itu hanya berpura-pura untuk merealisasi proses damai. Apa komen Dr.?

DR. HAFIDZI: Ini langsung tidak memeranjatkan. Sebenarnya Israel sama sekali tidak akan menyerahkan Baitul Maqdis timur dan Tebing Barat yang mereka duduki sejak tahun 1967.

Tebing Barat dirujuk sebagai 'Judea' dan 'Samaria' oleh orang-orang Yahudi dan Jerusalem pula telah diistiharkan sebagai ibu kota abadi Israel.

Oleh kerana itu mereka tidak akan menghentikan projek membina penempatan untuk penduduk Yahudi di sana.

Segala komitmen untuk membekukan aktiviti pembinaan penempatan Yahudi adalah omong kosong zionis Israel yang dijadikan umpan setiap kali berlangsungnya rundingan damai.

Hakikatnya Israel tidak pernah menghormati mana-mana syarat rundingan dengan pihak berkuasa Palestin termasuk dalam isu penempatan Yahudi.

Bahkan selepas perjanjian Oslo pada tahun 1993, Israel terus giat membina penempatan tambahan Yahudi sehingga jumlahnya meningkat lebih daripada sekali ganda mencapai 200 kawasan menjelang tahun 2000.

Sedangkan menurut penjanjian Oslo, dalam tempoh lima tahun (1998) negara Palestin yang terdiri dari Tebing Barat dan Semenanjung Gaza akan diisytiharkan sebagai wilayah Palestin yang berdaulat dan merdeka.

Bagaimana ini menjadi kenyataan jika Tebing Barat dan Baitul Maqdis timur dipenuhi dengan penempatan Yahudi yang merupakan penduduk Israel?

Situasi yang sama berlaku semasa Persidangan Annapolis pada 27 Disember 2007 di mana delegasi Israel berjanji akan menghentikan aktiviti penempatan Yahudi.

Namun sejurus selesai persidangan itu, pengumuman rasmi dibuat oleh Tel Aviv, mereka akan meneruskan aktiviti membina penempatan Yahudi.

Apabila Benjamin Netanyahu dipilih sebagai Perdana Menteri Israel antara langkah pertama yang beliau umumkan ialah penambahan unit-unit kediaman Yahudi di Tebing Barat dan Baitul Maqdis.

Mempamerkan kekuatan ketenteraan terbaru iaitu pesawat tanpa pemandu Israel yang boleh terbang sepanjang hari pada 22 Februari lalu, disifatkan antara perang saraf zionis kepada rakyat Palestin. Mungkinkah lebih banyak serangan ke atas penempatan awam Palestin selepas ini?

DR. HAFIDZI: Serangan ke atas sasaran awam tidak pernah berhenti semenjak tahun 1967. Israel sama sekali tidak akan mengubah polisinya menyerang tempat-tempat awam tanpa mempedulikan peraturan dan undang-undang antarabangsa.

Dalam banyak kejadian Israel tidak pernah mengisytiharkan perang bahkan melancarkan peperangan melalui pengisytiharan sepihak.

Kini mereka menggunakan pesawat tanpa pemandu predator untuk memilih sasaran-sasaran rawak di Palestin. Kehadiran predator yang berlegar-legar di ruang angkasa Palestin sudah tentu merupakan satu gambaran yang menakutkan rakyat Palestin.

Bahkan senjata kawalan jauh ini seringkali tidak disedari kehadirannya kerana tidak mengeluarkan bunyi dan ditalakan kepada sasaran secara mendadak.

Situasi ini boleh menjadi alat perang saraf yang berkesan kepada Israel. Namun hidup dalam ketakutan sudah menjadi semacam sebahagian dari kehidupan rakyat Palestin.

Kehadiran pesawat pejuang F16 atau helikopter Apache di ruang udara sudah cukup menggoncang dada. Adakalanya bangunan-bangunan menjadi sasaran bedilan meriam dan kereta kebal pada saat-saat yang tidak diduga.

Semua ini sudah menjadi pakaian hidup rakyat Palestin. Saya kira kehadiran pesawat kawalan jauh 'predator' ini adalah sebahagian daripada perancangan Israel untuk terus menimbulkan kesan psikologi takut yang melampau kepada rakyat Palestin.

Namun sebagai rakyat yang sudah terdedah kepada semua bentuk kekejaman dan keganasan, kehadiran predator adalah satu realiti baru yang akan dihadapi oleh rakyat Palestin dengan tabah.

Apa pula status terkini di Palestin?

DR. HAFIDZI: Israel telah membuat perisytiharan untuk memilik negarakan beberapa tempat di Palestin sebagai hak warisan Yahudi. Ini termasuk wilayah Hebron atau Ibrahimi yang ada di dalamnya Masjid Ibrahim.

Dikatakan juga kawasan tersebut pernah menjadi tempat tinggal Nabi Ibrahim dan anak-anaknya.

Tindakan ini adalah provokasi dan untuk mencuba ke atas orang Islam. Sebabnya Baitul Maqdis dan sekitar Al-Quds adalah bumi terbuka sebagai mana yang diisytiharkan oleh Saidina Umar sebelum ini. Maknanya, tidak ada sesiapa boleh mendakwa kawasan tersebut hak mereka.

Keadaan ini berlangsung sekian lama sehingga tercetusnya Perang Salib walaupun majoriti penduduk kawasan itu adalah Yahudi dan Kristian.

Ini dianggap boleh mengeruhkan lagi suasana dan menimbulkan ketegangan dalam usaha mahu mencapai perdamaian.

Saya melihat perbuatan ini akan ditolak bukan sahaja oleh orang Islam tetapi juga penduduk bukan Islam.

Amerika Syarikat (AS) terus berdolak-dalih dalam memberi tekanan kepada Israel untuk menjayakan misi perdamaian. Jika ini berterusan, adakah bermaksud kedamaian di Palestin hanya impian?

DR. HAFIDZI: Dasar luar AS terhadap Timur Tengah, amnya dan Israel, khasnya memang telah diketahui sejak dahulu. Dasar luar AS terhadap Israel sangat konsisten iaitu tetap menyokong apa-apa juga tindakan Israel dalam isu Palestin dan jiran-jiran negara Arabnya meskipun tindakan tersebut dilihat melanggar ketetapan PBB dan peraturan antarabangsa.

Bahkan AS mempamerkan rekod sangat cemerlang di dalam menggunakan kuasa veto atau pembatalnya di dalam menolak apa juga ketetapan PBB yang dilihat tidak memihak kepada Israel.

Contoh terbaru adalah laporan Goldstone yang mendedahkan jenayah perang yang dilakukan oleh Israel ke atas Gaza yang dibentangkan di PBB.

Majoriti negara anggota PBB mengundi menyokong dapatan yang terkandung di dalam Laporan Goldstone terhadap jenayah perang yang dilakukan oleh Israel.

AS sebagaimana yang dijangka membidas laporan tersebut dan menunjukkan sikap yang amat bertentangan dengan pendirian masyarakat antarabangsa yang mahu melihat keadilan ditegakkan untuk rakyat Palestin yang teraniaya dan dizalimi dengan mengheret Ketua-ketua negara Israel ke muka pengadilan.

Berdasarkan kepada realiti ini memang sukar meletakkan sebarang harapan kepada AS untuk mencapai kata sepakat dalam isu Palestin. Namun harapan sebenarnya bukan terletak di tangan AS.

Meskipun Amerika kini adalah sebuah kuasa dunia tunggal namun corak kuasa unipolar yang mencorakkan politik antarabangsa bakal berubah.

Kemunculan kuasa-kuasa baru seperti Cina, India dan Rusia di samping EU (Kesatuan Eropah) dan negara-negara Amerika Selatan yang semakin lantang seperti Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile dan Argentina bakal mengimbangi kuasa politik dan ekonomi AS, sekali gus boleh mendatangkan kesan terhadap dasar luarnya.

Lama-kelamaan AS tidak boleh lagi mengenepikan pandangan umum masyarakat antarabangsa terhadap dasar luarnya. Kita bakal menyaksikan AS akan melunakkan sikapnya dalam isu Palestin dan lebih tegas terhadap Israel meskipun pentadbiran AS berada di bawah pengaruh pelobi yahudi zionis.

Peranan yang lebih besar sebenarnya dimainkan oleh masyarakat madani (masyarakat sivil) dalam bentuk NGO dan pertubuhan hak asasi.

Pertubuhan-pertubuhan ini semakin mendapat pengiktirafan dan bakal memimpin perubahan di peringkat antarabangsa.

Kini kita melihat usaha-usaha mencabar kepungan Israel dan sekatan ekonomi ke atas Gaza bukan diterajui oleh negara-negara tertentu tetapi oleh pertubuhan-pertubuhan sukarelawan yang bergabung dan melancarkan kempen serta bantuan kemanusiaan rentas sempadan ke Gaza seperti Viva Palestina, Gaza Life line, Break the siege dan sebagainya.

Kita jangan lupa tekanan daripada masyarakat sivillah yang telah menyebabkan kerajaan AS mengubah polisinya di Asia Tenggara dan mengundurkan tenteranya dari Vietnam.

Keadaan yang sama boleh berulang di mana rakyat AS sendiri semakin peka dengan penderitaan yang ditanggung oleh rakyat Palestin.

Bahkan kita melihat demonstrasi dianjurkan oleh rakyat AS sendiri di bandar-bandar besar dan kecil mengutuk serangan Israel ke atas Gaza.

Ada juga pihak yang mempertikaikan apa yang boleh negara kecil seperti Malaysia lakukan untuk bantu Palestin jika kuasa besar tidak menunjukkan komitmen mereka. Adakah ini melemahkan perjuangan Pace?

DR. HAFIDZI: Untuk menangani isu Palestin yang sudah menjadi isu global, tidak ada satu negara pun yang boleh bertindak sendirian.

Hatta sebuah negara besar dan paling berkuasa pun seperti AS akhirnya terpaksa tunduk kepada kehendak masyarakat antarabangsa.

Jadi Malaysia perlu berperanan membantu membentuk pandangan masyarakat antarabangsa yang membawa ke arah penegakkan hukum dan keadilan sejagat dalam isu Palestin.

Ini boleh dilakukan dalam forum-forum antarabangsa. Mungkin PBB bukanlah forum yang berkesan kerana kita tahu PBB ditubuhkan dengan matlamat untuk menjaga kepentingan negara-negara berkuasa.

Kuasa veto

Ini terbukti daripda struktur PBB itu sendiri yang memberikan kuasa veto tanpa had kepada lima negara kuasa besar iaitu AS, Rusia, Britain, Perancis dan China.

Maka Malaysia perlu menerajui isu Palestin melalui forum-forum seperti Pergerakan Negara Berkecuali (NAM), Pertubuhan Persidangan Negara-negara Islam (OIC), Dialog Selatan-Selatan, Kumpulan 77 (G77) dan Pertubuhan negara Komanwel.

Dengan memimpin pandangan umum terhadap isu Palestin dalam pertubuhan-pertubuhan ini, maka suara yang lebih kuat dalam diketengahkan di dalam PBB dan boleh mempengaruhi trend pengundian dan sokongan di Persidangan Agung PBB dan juga Majlis Keselamatan PBB.

Satu lagi pendekatan yang berkesan ialah melalui boikot (BDS - Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) yang kini sedang rancak diperjuangkan dan dikempenkan oleh pertubuhan-pertubuhan hak asasi dan pengguna di seluruh dunia).

Malaysia harus menyokong kempen BDS ini bahkan wajar menerajui kempen BDS ini di peringkat serantau - Asia Tenggara dan negara-negara membangun.

Kempen boikot ekonomi amat berkesan. Model boikot ini telah dibuktikan di dalam menangani kerajaan Aparteid Afrika Selatan. Apabila kempen boikot ini disambut di seluruh dunia maka rejim Aparteid Afrika Selatan terpaksa akur dan mengembalikan hak demokrasi rakyat kulit hitam dan berwarna di sana.

Tidak mustahil bahkan amat mungkin rejim zionis Israel terpaksa tunduk kepada masyarakat antarabangsa apabila mereka tertekan dan terkesan dengan kempen boikot di peringkat antarabangsa ini.

Atas dasar inilah Pace sentiasa mengambil inisiatif untuk mengadakan pemuafakatan dan kerjasama dengan semua pihak sama ada di peringkat nasional atau antarabangsa dalam menangani isu Palestin.

Pace mempunyai jalinan antarabangsa dan seringkali berhubung dan menyokong usaha-usaha semua pihak di dalam memperjuangkan hak rakyat Palestin.

Dalam konteks Malaysia dan global, Pace bergabung di bawah satu pakatan Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM) yang bergabung dengan Viva Palestina - International (VP) dan turut terlibat di dalam menyalurkan bantuan melalui Konvoi 3 ke Gaza, baru-baru ini.

Ia menyaksikan lebih 200 ambulans dengan bekalan ubat-ubatan dan bahan makanan dibawa masuk ke Gaza mengikut jalan darat merentas benua Eropah ke Gaza melalui Rafah di Mesir.

Pace juga bernaung di bawah Al-Quds Institute, sebuah badan antarabangsa yang dipengerusikan oleh ulama tersohor Prof. Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi yang mengkoordinasi bantuan dan juga menyusun strategi perjuangan bagi membantu rakyat Palestin membebaskan diri daripada cengkaman zionis.

Kesimpulannya, Pace sama sekali tidak akan merasa hampa dengan apa juga situasi yang berlaku di Palestin. Perjuangan membela rakyat Palestin pasti diteruskan dan akan terus dipacu tanpa jemu.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jaharberdeen - Be careful while interpreting Personal Islam.

Is ‘politico-Islamisation’ a threat to the Muslim faith? (Part 1)
— by:Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos (

MARCH 16 — A cogitation on the politicisation of Islam in the country — what spurned its coming to being, its manifestation and how it is adversely affecting Malaysia and her citizens, in particular the ordinary Muslim citizen. This is the first of four parts.

Twenty-three years ago, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, the well-respected social scientist and Muslim thinker, wrote in his book “Islamic Resurgence in Malaysia” (Fajar Bakti Sdn Bhd, 1987) that the signs of “Islamic resurgence are everywhere”. In this excellent book, he analysed objectively and clearly the primary and secondary causes of the resurgence, the reaction of the political players (primarily PAS and Umno) and the general reactions of the Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

It is interesting that he decided to explain in his book why he chose the term “Islamic resurgence”. I would like to quote one of the reasons he cited at page 2:

… resurgence as a term embodies the notion of challenge, even a threat to those who adhere to other world-views. Many Muslims themselves would regard the espousal of an Islamic alternative as a challenge to the dominant social systems. Groups outside Islam, including those who are being challenged, would similarly perceive the rise of Islam as a threat to the position they hold.

I recall as a young student in UKM in 1984, I was part of the “Islamic resurgence wave” with the determination that before I graduated I must organise at least one “Islamic programme.” I did manage to organise the first international seminar of its kind organised by a student body in the country then — “Seminar Sistem Kewangan Islam.” A seminar to discuss various “Islamic financial institutions.” At the time, “Bank Islam” was still in its infancy and there were hardly any other “Islamic financial institutions.” The event was a success if measured by the attendance of international speakers, and it was officiated by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who was the then-Finance Minister. (Of course, I never realised then the metamorphosis of such institutions today labelled “Islam”.)

I recall too that the main challenge in making the seminar a success was the management of my project committee. In UKM then, the student body was divided into two — one pro-PAS and the other pro-Umno. The Economics Society was controlled by the pro-Umno group. Normally, whenever any project is carried out by pro-Umno, they will only select their own kind. Likewise with pro-PAS, they will also select their own. When my proposal for the project was accepted, I had insisted that I had the sole discretion to select my committee without any interference from the Economics Society exco, which they agreed.

My committee was made up equally of pro-Umno, pro-PAS and non-Muslims! Though I am considered to be part of the pro-Umno group, I was among the rare ones who could mingle easily with the pro-PAS group. However, in the eyes of the pro-PAS group, I was considered “dangerous” because while my dressing is western (shirt tucked in, belt, long pants and black shoes!) I could debate and argue with them. Those were the days when even Umno leaders (with the exception of Dr Mahathir) would not dare to argue about Islam with PAS or pro-PAS groups.

Hence, some of the pro-PAS members of my committee were actually trying to scuttle the project. Student leaders like me should not be allowed to succeed because that would give me an “Islamic credential” when in some of their eyes, I do not deserve that. That was my first lesson of “religion being a tool of politics.” Some groups feel that Islam is their sole property and only they can dictate what is and who should talk about it. As a young student of course I was shocked that a “noble intention” and the willingness to work towards the success of the project was insufficient. I had to look and talk like them.

I had to make a decision because there were real sabotages done that could actually derail the seminar. That’s when I decided on a few things in my life:

1) I will forever refuse to look like an Islamist (not to be confused with “Islamic”). I do not live this life for fools/hypocrites who conjecture and treat God’s religion as a club membership. My life is Allah’s.

2) I will maintain the members and will not sack them unless they themselves do not want to be part of the seminar. They will be my test of fairness.

3) The non-Muslim members will remain unless they too do not want to (there was opposition to their inclusion too). I am a Muslim and no one will convert me into a racist.

Finally, I called a meeting and spoke at length about the importance of the seminar, asked everyone to co-operate, those who wanted to leave could leave but I preferred them to stay and help. Those who want to stay and try to scuttle the project too are also welcome to remain behind because I too want to know what was God’s ultimate plan for the seminar. I told them that I hold no grudges against any of the scuttlers and that they are a test to us and to themselves. I told them each of them is answerable to God, not to me. By the end of the meeting, some of the committee members cried and from that day on, generally, we were “smooth sailing.” Generally.

I read Chandra’s book in 1988 because I was amazed how accurately he analysed the events that I saw then in UKM. He was talking about Malaysia and I was thinking that UKM in 1982 is the future Malaysia. Today, I think I am correct.

While I too was very happy with the rise in “Islamic consciousness”, I cannot help worrying about mass hypnosis and indoctrination, preoccupation with form rather than substance and the political hijacking of faith which to me is personal. It worried me that we may become a society where there is “religious oppression” and in the process, we are left with the “law” but the death of “the spirit of Islam” in our society.

In 1984, the wave of “Islamisation” was strong for both the “right and wrong reasons”. The reactions to this wave were both “right and wrong.” My own impression was that the embracing of the resurgence was not altogether due to the love of God but other factors too, including the need for identity. However, while everyone was espousing the “Islamic” nature of UKM, I was seeing something else.

I saw that there was a rise of racism under the guise of “Islam.” For instance, until 1985, if I recall correctly, there were no non-Malay students who stood as candidates in the university elections. The logic then (and I am sure still is now among the conservative quarters) was that non-Muslims cannot be leaders for Muslims. Hence a Muslim should not vote for non-Muslims. You may recall that at one time, PAS was criticising the Barisan Nasional for working with MCA and MIC. Heavens! This is not the mercy to humankind called “Islam” that I understand.

As a senior student in UKM, when I was put in charge of the campus election machinery, I argued along Quranic principles why we must field non-Muslim candidates too. For the first time, one Chinese and one Indian student stood for elections in UKM. This is Islam as I understand from the Quran. I learnt also that I will have to prepare myself for the conflict between those conservative groups who want to impose their views on me and my own understanding of the Quran. I am, at the end of the day, accountable to Allah for my deeds. No one will be my advocate.

From UKM in 1984 to this day, “the conservative outlook of Islam” is the dominant outlook in our society. This is largely due to the political positioning and competition between PAS and Umno as both try very hard to get into the hearts of the Malay voters. This I call the “politico-Islamisation process” — where political considerations determine the “type of Islam” in the country. Political considerations usually consider what is pragmatic, popular and expedient — not necessarily what is “right and correct.”

The politico-Islamisation process in this country took on a serious evolutionary process because both PAS and Umno seem to want outdo each other with who is more “Islamic.” In the process, the Umno-led government is the one that gave momentum and force to this process, albeit unsuspectingly, by its Islamisation programme in 1982 with the subsequent sprouting of many institutions “Islamic.”

I think somewhere along the way everything got out of hand. The man or the group of men who started the “Islamisation programme” was not there forever to control or manage it. It began to have a life of its own and began to mutate into something else altogether. Politics and the fight for prominence in matters “Islamic” took precedence over the education, discussion and understanding of Islam by Muslims themselves. The very political structure of our society seem to make the state and its apparatus the sole decider of what is “Islamic and what is not.” For example, there are set syllabi in primary schools which are compulsory for all Muslim students to attend. All these which involve matters of faith and personal accountability to God are decided by a group of paid civil servants and politicians for the rest of the Muslim populace.

The rest of us will simply have to submit to them. This is a point which I have to return to later.

Peace! —

Loyarburok note: This post originally appears in the author’s blog Rapera.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or the newspaper. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


Comments (6)
Show/Hide comments
written by M. Menon, March 17, 2010

Jahaberdeen, Islam means submission to the Almighty.The English translation submission does not really describe it.It a very personal spiritual journey for an individual to relate to and it is a universal in it's application.The race , class ,politics added on in it's implementation and intrepretation by various persons/cultural norms during different epochs in it's development clouds it's true meaning.

written by IQpalsu, March 17, 2010

The suggestion that there has been ever ongoing competition between PAS and Umno as to who do more for Islamisation, or which of the two is more Islamist, is rather, as I see it, a slight misinterpretation of past and current events.

Frankly, I must say here I do place a high respect for your roles, opinions, approach, and principles. It is quite true to say there has been an apparent competition on the part of Umno about Islamisation. All that Umno has been doing for Islam all this while is not to outdo PAS but in reality carrying out its natural responsibility as a ruling party and the ruling government. Islamisation is seen as a compulsory part and parcel of nation building and more importantly for human development. Hence, the various policies and projects.

To Umno, all this Islamisation, if you want to call it so, is not totally, or mathematically, political in nature. It is political within the context of the Constitution, and not anything extra. And protecting Islam goes together.

There have been of late vicious talks or unjustified accusations to relate racism with Islam as practiced or treated by BN/Umno government. These are mere political talks to shake the support for Umno. A good example is the PAS Spiritual Leader Tok Guru Nik Aziz's regular attacks labeling Umno as kafir, secular, unIslamic and most recently, rejecting Islam. That is outright competition from the other side. This attack is strange considering Nik Aziz and other PAS leaders are currently engaged in painstaking efforts to cover up their conservative image and project PAS as "non-Muslim friendly" Islamic party. They are in somewhat sticky position in dire need to recreate a more conducive image to attract support of the non Muslims in Pakatan, especially the votes of chauvinistic DAP in urban areas.

As for Umno, which for many years since the Mahathir era has always been moderate, not actually secularist, the non Malay support is not much of a problem that is almost guaranteed under Barisan Nasional. Nik Aziz's recent attack was perhaps an attempt to win some support from the silent majority which the Pakatan had benefited in the last GE but not likely to win them the next time.

written by swipenter, March 17, 2010

I have heard /read so many times here where some muslims are telling the non muslims that they have have no business commenting on issues affecting the muslim citizens like caning, beer drinking, the word "Allah" etc. These issues affect both muslims and non muslims and yet such muslims take the position that it is for "muslims only" stand. But where are these people when the some irresponsible muslims trampled on the religious and other sensitivities of Hindus, Christians and non muslims?

I think politico Islamisation is a threat to not just the Muslim faith but also to the nation. Look a how polarised we are as a nation now compared to before 1970s. Now we are hearing loud shoutings of our "demographic superiority" and "threats and insults" to the Muslim faith and the dire consequences to the non muslim population if they keep "challenging us and our faith." The reality is that we have become familiar strangers to each other starting from the 1980s and religion is one of the cause and most divisive factor amongst others.

written by sengaun, March 17, 2010
racism under the guise of religion. how cowardly and shameful!

written by Dayak Sarawak, March 19, 2010
Necessary and Sufficient?

1. The religious divide: Mu'min and Kuffar.
2. With the association of a race to a particular religion (definition of a Malay)-Federal constitution.
3. The religious divide becomes a racial divide.

written by abu muhammad ADIS el-merbawiy, MY, March 20, 2010

Brother Jahaberdeen, your comment does not fair to Islam as the way of life in term of knowledge and scientific manners. The ideas of Islam is a personal religion was taken from the Christianity or other religions that conducted their religions as personal businesses. Yes, Islam has part of it that's seem to be personal, yet it still has strong relation to the societal linkage like the congregational prayer is performed in the special mode of leadership (Imam) and followers (Makmum) in Muslim society. What's about Islamic Economics, Islamic Finance, Islamic Banking operations, Islamic Investments, Islamic Civilizations that had taken part in previous time and recently implementing in modern times among the Muslim Countries and a systematic way of life in the West among the European Muslim societies. So. brother, Jahaberdeen, let's study Islam not as a personal religion, but focus on Islam as a systems of life for human societies that regarding to the main principles from Allah almighty and had articulated the reasoning process from the human intellectual faculties as long as they could not against The Syariah Islamiah and the fact of recent scientific discoveries that represented intellectual and academic applications. This kind of Islam must be put forwards for the interest of all nations, religious affairs and universal justice. My brother, let's understand Islam from a broad minded of the religion from the great Muslim Scholars who did not endorse what ever the conflicting concepts and practices that had done by ignorant Muslims and the deviant scope that exposed by misguided western scholars about Islam. By doing this, you might be fair to Islam as a way of life, not only the personal religion.

So, if there is the resurrection of Islam, it means the rennaisanse of Intellectual culture and the reality of implementing truth-base in Knowledge and scientific discoveries might took place in the future Malaysia. Don't be so pessimistic about the ability of this religion of Islam. Now it was proven in Islamic Finance and Banking operations, later I hope Islam must replace the conventional application of Politics and administrations into fairly Islamic politics and administrations. Why not...give the Muslim scholars and the wise politicians chances to prove it into reality.

Thanks so much for sharing ideas and great hope for ISLAMIC SYSTEM OF LIFE.

Dungun MY

Friday, March 19, 2010

Terima Kasih Datuk Salleh Majid - atas Huraian Kemelut Ekonomi Malaysia

Kenapa kita perlukan Model Ekonomi Baru — Salleh Majid

20 MAC — Kenapa negara kita memerlukan Model Ekonomi Baru (MEB)? Kita sudah ditinggalkan oleh jiran-jiran kita.

Pelaburan asing walaupun ada datang tetapi sudah berkurangan. Syarikat swasta kita sendiri tidak melabur dalam negara sendiri. Mereka pergi ke tempat lain untuk mencari keuntungan.

Kita terlekat dengan pendapatan pertengahan.

Negara-negara yang satu masa dulu sama taraf pendapatan dengan kita seperti Korea Selatan, Hong Kong, Taiwan dan Singapura kini telah jauh meninggalkan kita.

Pendapatan perkapita kita hanya setakat AS$7,000 (RM23,100) sedangkan negara yang sama taraf dengan kita satu masa dulu sudah meningkat dua hingga lima kali ganda daripada perkapita kita.

Kenapa pelaburan asing berkurangan? Syarikat asing memberikan pelbagai sebab mengapa mereka tidak lagi datang ke sini. Pertama, industri kita masih lagi bertumpukan industri bergaji rendah dan teknologi rendah yang kurang nilai tambahnya dalam produk keluaran.

Kedua, bagi industri berteknologi tinggi, kita tidak memiliki tenaga pekerja yang berkemahiran. Ramai tenaga kerja berkemahiran kita lari ke negara jiran atau negara lain kerana mereka boleh mendapat gaji yang dua tiga kali ganda lebih tinggi daripada negara sendiri.

Golongan profesional kita juga begitu. Ramai yang sudah lari ke Negara lain seperti Singapura, Hong Kong dan Singapura, malahan Indonesia sendiri memberikan gaji yang lebih tinggi daripada kita.

Ketiga, ramai pelabur yang merungut susah untuk memulakan perniagaan dengan kerenah birokrasi yang menjadi-jadi. Kalau di tempat lain, apa jua yang perlu untuk memulakan perniagaan —boleh dilakukan dalam beberapa jam tetapi di sini, mengambil masa berbulan.

Satu maklum balas yang tidak pernah kita alami dalam tahun-tahun 1990-an dulu adalah jenayah. Ramai orang luar berasa bimbang dengan keadaan jenayah di negara kita. Ini kerana ia menimbulkan keadaan yang tidak selamat kepada diri dan keluarga. Lihat saja akhbar kita setiap hari dipenuhi dengan kisah pembunuhan, rompakan dan ragut.

Walaupun pihak Kementerian Dalam Negeri berusaha sedaya upaya untuk membasmi jenayah itu, tetapi keadaan masih belum selamat.

Syarikat kita juga tidak melabur dalam negara sendiri. Sumbangan pelaburan kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) daripada 40 peratus kira-kira 10 tahun dulu jatuh sehingga ke paras 20 peratus.

Orang kita sendiri rela melabur di luar negara – kenapa?

Di sini, tidak ada industri yang boleh memberikan mereka keuntungan yang lebih seperti yang boleh diperoleh dari luar negara. Lihat sahaja Vietnam yang sekian lama menjadi mangsa perang dengan Amerika Syarikat selama bertahun-tahun kini telah bangkit mencabar kedudukan jiran-jirannya.

Dari sudut usaha dan inovasi, kita kalah dengan mereka. Apa yang peliknya adalah sektor swasta yang sepatutnya menaikkan taraf teknologi industri kita. Kalau semuanya sudah lari ke negara lain, siapakah yang akan melonjakkan tahap perindustrian kita ke tahap yang lebih tinggi?

Selain itu, sektor awam sedia maklum bahawa rasuah masih belum dapat dibanteras. Mungkin orang yang memberi dan menerima rasuah tidak sedar bahawa orang dalam dan luar negara tahu akan penyakit buruk yang boleh meruntuhkan negara ini.

Keadaan semasa menunjukkan jurang perbezaan pendapatan antara yang kaya dan miskin semakin meluas. Mereka yang duduk di paras bawah 40 peratus mempunyai pendapatan kurang daripada RM3,000 dan 80 peratus daripada golongan ini terdiri daripada orang Melayu. Juga jurang antara satu rantau dengan satu rantau lagi juga luas.

Misalnya, antara Semenanjung Malaysia dan Sabah dan Sarawak. Kemiskinan di Sabah dan Sarawak, Kelantan dan Terengganu mencapai paras 25 peratus berbanding dengan paras purata nasional 5 peratus.

Apa yang jelas adalah satu keadaan yang ketiadaan kesaksamaan dalam ekonomi antara satu kaum dengan satu kaum yang lain. Kaum majority penduduk negara ini merupakan golongan yang kedudukan ekonominya lemah berbanding dengan kaum lain.

Keadaan yang begini mempelawa ketidakstabilan dalam kalangan kaum-kaum di negara ini, dan apa jua dasar yang ingin mengurangkan kemiskinan dan menyusun semula masyarakat tidak tercapai sepenuhnya disebabkan pelaksanaan yang mempunyai banyak kelemahan.

Salah satu kelemahan yang kerap dibangkitkan oleh pengkritik Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) adalah ia menguntungkan orang-orang tertentu, mereka yang mempunyai kaitan dan hubungan dengan pemimpin dan pentadbir atau tergolong dalam golongan yang mempunyai pengaruh atau boleh membawa pengaruh.

Oleh itu, DEB tidak sampai ke sasaran yang diinginkan. Tidak hairanlah kalau pengkritik mengatakan mereka yang berdegar-degar menyuruh DEB diteruskan terdiri daripada mereka yang ‘tukang tenggek’ (rent-seekers) yang bimbang peluang-peluang mereka mendapatkan projek secara mudah tanpa bekerja kuat akan musnah kalau tidak diteruskan.

Sebenarnya, negara kita tidak boleh terus dalam keadaan di mana jurang ekonomi antara golongan majoriti (60 peratus) dengan golongan minority bertambah luas. Kalau semua bidang ekonomi sudah dikuasai oleh golongan minoriti, bagaimana golongan majoriti ini boleh memperbaiki kedudukan ekonomi mereka.

Syarikat swasta yang rata-rata dikuasai oleh bukan Melayu tidak akan mengambil orang Melayu bekerja dengan mereka. Mereka yang menguasai rantaian bekalan tidak akan memberikan potongan kepada bahan binaan yang diperlukan oleh kontraktor Melayu. Projek swasta tidak akan diberikan kepada kontraktor Melayu.

Pada waktu yang sama, penjawat awam juga harus mengamalkan dasar adil kepada yang layak menerima tidak kira bangsa. Misalnya, jangan disekat kenaikan pangkat di institusi pengajian tinggi bagi tenaga pengajar yang layak.

Pelajar yang memenuhi syarat kemasukan universiti misalnya tidak patut ditolak. Lesen dan permit tidak patut dibolot oleh sesuatu golongan sahaja.

Banyak reformasi perlu dijalankan selaras dengan pelaksanaan MEB ini.

Selain daripada cara menghasilkan modal insan yang boleh memenuhi kehendak negara, perkhidmatan awam juga wajar dilakukan reformasi.

Lihat sahaja masalah yang dihadapi pada masa lalu dengan pelaksanaa nmisalnya apa yang termaktub dalam Rancangan Malaysia Kesembilan (RMK-9). Kalau sesuatu dasar atau program itu tidak difahami dan jenis tindakan yang diperlukan tidak sampai ke peringkat bawahan, sesuatu rancangan, program atau model itu tidak akan dapat dilaksanakan dengan berjaya.

Hal ini telah dapat kita saksikan pada masa lalu. Program Masyarakat Perniagaan dan Perindustrian Bumiputera misalnya ghaib begitu sahaja walaupun ada peruntukan sebanyak 12 kluster dalam pelbagai sector pembangunan usahawan yang telah dihuraikan dalam RMK-9. Jadi, yang kesembilan pun belum dapat dilaksanakan dengan sepenuhnya, kita kini di ambang memperkenalkan yang ke-10 pula.

Apa MEB akan lakukan adalah mengubah struktur ekonomi negara kita supaya tahap persaingan kita akan lebih meningkat supaya pendapatan perkapita menjelang 2020 adalah AS$17,000 (RM56,100).

Hasrat yang lainnya supaya industri berasaskan pengetahuan ke hadapan, selain daripada tanah, buruh dan modal, serta inovasi dan kreativiti menjadi fokus utama.

Ini adalah satu arahan besar yang memerlukan banyak pihak, baik yang mendokong mahupun yang menyokong seperti institusi kewangan melakukan reformasi masing-masing.

Pendapatan lebih tinggi tidak bermakna memberi gaji yang lebih sahaja.

Yang lebih penting adalah peningkatan dalam produktiviti. Kini, angka indeks produktiviti itu rendah dan kita perlu tingkatkannya.

Banyak yang perlu diberikan tumpuan kepada aktiviti pembangunan dan penyelidikan (R&D) kalau kita ingin maju.

Apa juga kekuatan negara kita seperti sumber alam dan kepelbagaian budaya dan masyarakat harus kita terokai sepenuhnya. — Utusan Malaysia

* Datuk Salleh Majid ialah bekas Presiden Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur (kini Bursa Malaysia).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or the newspaper. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


Monday, March 8, 2010

The Answers for 10 Misconseptions on Islam

Islam is the unfortunate scapegoat presented, stereotyped and linked to each catastrophe which so happens to involve an individual Muslim, who by the way may not be a practicing Muslim.

Sunday, March 7,2010 20:21

Huma Ahmad - IkhwanWeb

This is the biggest misconception in Islam, no doubt resulting from
the constant stereotyping and bashing the media gives Islam. When a
gunman attacks a mosque in the name of Judaism, a Catholic IRA
guerrilla sets off a bomb in an urban area, or Serbian Orthodox
militiamen rape and kill innocent Muslim civilians, these acts are not
used to stereotype an entire faith. Never are these acts attributed
to the religion of the perpetrators. Yet how many times have we heard
the words ‘Islamic, Muslim fundamentalist. etc.’ linked with violence.

Misconception of Islamic Politics

Politics in so called “Muslim countries” may or may not have any
Islamic basis. Often dictators and politicians will use the name of
Islam for their own purposes. One should remember to go to the source
of Islam and separate what the true religion of Islam says from what
is portrayed in the media. Islam literally means ’submission to God’
and is derived from a root word meaning ‘peace’.

Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the modern world. Perhaps
this is because religion doesn’t dominate everyday life in the West,
whereas Islam is considered a ‘way of life’ for Muslims and they make
no division between secular and sacred in their lives. Like
Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense of
religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled forcibly
from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat which include
prohibitions against harming civilians and against destroying crops,
trees and livestock.

“Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not
transgress limits. God does not love transgressors.” (Quran 2:190)
“If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He is
the One that heareth and knoweth all things.” (Quran 8:61) War,
therefore, is the last resort, and is subject to the rigorous
conditions laid down by the sacred law. The term ‘jihad’ literally
means ’struggle’. Muslims believe that there are two kinds of jihad.
The other ‘jihad’ is the inner struggle of the soul which everyone
wages against egotistic desires for the sake of attaining inner

Islam oppresses women.

The image of the typical Muslim woman wearing the veil and forced to
stay home and forbidden to drive is all too common in most peoples
thoughts. Although some Muslim countries may have laws that oppress
women, this should not be seen as coming from Islam. Many of these
countries do not rule by any kind of Shari’ah (Islamic law) and
introduce their own cultural standpoints on the issue of gender

Islam on the other hand gives men and women different roles and equity
between the two is laid down in the Quran and the example of the
Prophet (peace be upon him). Islam sees a woman, whether single or
married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and
dispose of her property and earnings. A marriage gift is given by
the groom to the bride for her own personal use, and she keeps her
own family name rather than taking her husband’s. Both men and women
are expected to dress in a way that is modest and dignified. The
Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said: “The most perfect in faith
amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his

Violence of any kind towards women and forcing them against their
will for anything is not allowed. A Muslim marriage is a simple, legal
agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions.
Marriage customs thus vary widely from country to country. Divorce is
not common, although it is acceptable as a last resort. According to
Islam, a Muslim girl cannot be forced to marry against her will: her
parents simply suggest young men they think may be suitable.

Muslims worship a different God.

Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah for Muslims is the
greatest and most inclusive of the Names of God, it is an Arabic word
of rich meaning, denoting the one and only God and ascribing no
partners to Him. It is exactly the same word which the Jews, in
Hebrew, use for God (eloh), the word which Jesus Christ used in
Aramaic when he prayed to God. God has an identical name in Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam; Allah is the same God worshiped by Muslims,
Christians and Jews. Muslims believe that Allah’s sovereignty is to
be acknowledged in worship and in the pledge to obey His teaching and
commandments, conveyed through His messengers and prophets who were
sent at various times and in many places throughout history.
However, it should be noted that God in Islam is One and Only. He,
the Exalted, does not get tired, does not have a son ie Jesus or
have associates, nor does He have human-like attributions as found in
other faiths.

Islam was spread by the sword and intolerant of other faiths.

Many social studies textbooks for students show the image of an Arab
horseman carrying a sword in one hand and the Quran in the other
conquering and forcibly converting. This, though, is not a correct
portrayal of history. Islam has always given respect and freedom of
religion to all faiths. The Quran says: “God forbids you not, with
regards to those who fight you not for [your] faith nor drive you out
of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for God
loveth those who are just. 60:8)

Freedom of religion is laid down in the Quran itself: “There is no
compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right
direction is distinctly clear from error”. (2:256) Christian
missionary, T.W. Arnold had this opinion on his study of the question
of the spread of Islam: “.. of any organized attempt to force the
acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any
systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion,
we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of
action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as
Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made
Protestanism …”

It is a function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of
minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have
flourished all over the Islamic world. History provides many
examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the caliph
Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of
worship to all religious communities in the city. Proclaiming to the
inhabitants that their lives, and property were safe, and that their
places of worship would never be taken from them, he asked the
Christian patriarch Sophronius to accompany him on a visit to all the
holy places. Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up
their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the
minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an
Islamic state are considered sacred whether the person is Muslim or

Racism is not a part of Islam, the Quran speaks only of human equality
and how all peoples are equal in the sight of God. “O mankind! We
created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into
nations and tribes, so that you may come to know one another. Truly,
the most honored of you in God’s sight is the greatest of you in
piety. God is All-Knowing, All- Aware. (49:13)

All Muslims are Arabs

The Muslim population of the world is around 1.2 billion. 1 out of 5
people in the world is a Muslim. They are a vast range of races,
nationalities, and cultures from around the globe–from the
Phillipines to Nigeria–they are united by their common Islamic faith.
Only about 18% live in the Arab world and the largest Muslim
community is in Indonesia. Most Muslims live east of Pakistan. 30%
of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa,
17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab world, and 10% in the Soviet
Union and China. Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan make up 10% of the
non-Arab Middle East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost
every area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most
numerous in Russia and its newly independent states, India and
central Africa. There are about 6 million Muslims in the United

The Nation of Islam is a Muslim group.

Islam and the so called “Nation of Islam’” are two different
religions. NOI is more of a political organization since its members
are not limited to a single faith. Muslims consider this group to be
just one of many cults using the name of Islam for their own gain.
The only thing common between them is the jargon, the language used
by both. “The Nation of Islam” is a misnomer; this religion should be
called Farrakhanism, after the name of its propogator, Louis Farrakhan.

Islam and Farakhanism differ in many fundamental ways. For example,
Farakhan followers believe in racism and that the ‘black man’ was the
original man and therefore superior, while in Islam there is no
racism and everyone is considered equal in the sight of God, the only
difference being in one’s piety. There are many other theological
examples that show the ‘Nation’s teachings have little to do with
true Islam. There are many groups in America who claim to represent
Islam and call their adherents Muslims.

Any serious student of Islam has a duty to investigate and find the
true Islam. The only two authentic sources which bind every Muslim
are 1. the Quran and 2. authentic or sound Hadith. Any teachings under
the label of “Islam” which contradict or at variance with the direct
understanding of fundamental beliefs and practices of Islam form the
Quran and authentic Hadith should be rejected and such a religion
should be considered a Pseudo-Islamic Cult. In America there are many
pseudo-Islamic cults, Farrakhanism being one of them. An honest
attitude on the part of such cults should be not to call themselves
Muslims and their religion Islam. such an example of honesty is
Bahaism which is an off-shoot of Islam but Bahais do not call
themselves Muslims nor their religion, Islam. In fact Bahaism is not
Islam just as Farrakhanism is not Islam.

All Muslim men marry four wives.

The religion of Islam was revealed for all societies and all times and
so accommodates widely differing social requirements. Circumstances
may warrant the taking of another wife but the right is granted,
according to the Quran, only on condition that the husband is
scrupulously fair. No woman can be forced into this kind of marriage
if they do not wish it, and they also have the right to exclude it in
their marriage contract.

Polygamy is neither mandatory, nor encouraged, but merely permitted.
Images of “sheikhs with harems” are not consistent with Islam, as a
man is only allowed at most four wives only if he can fulfill the
stringent conditions of treating each fairly and providing each with
separate housing etc. Permission to practice polygamy is not
associated with mere satisfaction of passion. It is rather
associated with compassion toward widows and orphans. It was the
Quran that limited and put conditions on the practice of polygamy
among the Arabs, who had as many as ten or more wives and considered
them “property”.

It is both honest and accurate to say that it is Islam that regulated
this practice, limited it, made it more humane, and instituted equal
rights and status for all wives. What the Qur’anic decrees amount to,
taken together is discouragement of polygamy unless necessity for it
exists. It is also evident that the general rule in Islam is monogamy
and not polygamy. It is a very tiny percentage of Muslims that
practice it over the world. However, permission to practice limited
polygamy is only consistent with Islam’s realistic view of the nature
of man and woman and of various social needs, problems and cultural

The question is, however far more than the inherent flexibility of
Islam; it also is the frank and straightforward approach of Islam in
dealing with practical problems. Rather than requiring hypocritical
and superficial compliance, Islam delves deeper into the problems of
individuals and societies, and provides for legitimate and clean
solutions which are far more beneficial than would be the case if they
were ignored. There is no doubt that the second wife legally married
and treated kindly is better off than a mistress without any legal
rights or expermanence.

Muslims are a barbaric, backward people.

Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam was the
simplicity of its doctrine-Islam calls for faith in only one God
worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs man to use his
powers of intelligence and observation. Within a few years, great
civilizations and universities were flourishing, for according to the
Prophet (pbuh), ’seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim
man and woman’.

The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with
old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics, physics,
astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and history.
Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic numerals, and also
the concept of the zero (vital to the advancement of mathematics),
were transmitted to medieval Europe from Islam. Sophisticated
instruments which were to make possible the European voyages of
discovery were developed, including the astrolabe, the quadrant and
good navigational maps.

Muhammad was the founder of Islam and Muslims worship him.

Muhammad(pbuh) was born in Mecca in the year 570. Since his father
died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was
raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew
up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so
that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes.
The historians describe him as calm and meditative. Muhammad (pbuh)
was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence
of his society.

It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira
near Mecca. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat,
Muhammad(pbuh) received his first revelation from God through the
Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for 23 years is
known as the Quran. As soon as he began to recite the words he heard
from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him,
he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution,
which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to

This event, the Hijra ‘migration’, in which they left Mecca for the
city of Medina, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. After
several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to
Mecca, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam
definitively. Before the Prophet saw dies at the age of 63, the
greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death
Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China. He
died with less than 5 possessions to his name.

While Muhammad (pbuh) was chosen to deliver the message, he is not
considered the “founder” of Islam, since Muslims consider Islam to be
the same divine guidance sent to all peoples before. Muslims believe
all the prophets from Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus etc. were all sent
with divine guidance for their peoples. Every prophet was sent to his
own people, but Muhammad(pbuh) was sent to all of mankind. Muhammad
is the last and final messenger sent to deliver the message of Islam.
Muslims revere and honor him (pbuh) for all he went through and his
dedication, but they do not worship him. “O Prophet, verily We have
sent you as a witness and a bearer of glad tidings and a warner and
as one who invites unto God by His leave and as an illuminating

Muslims don’t believe in Jesus or any other prophets.

Muslims respect and revere Jesus, upon him be peace, and await his
Second Coming. They consider him one of the greatest of God’s
messengers to mankind. A Muslim never refers to him simply as
‘Jesus’, but always adds the phrase ‘upon him be peace’ (abbreviated
as (u) here). The Quran confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the
Quran is entitled ‘Mary’), and Mary is considered the purest woman in
all creation. The Quran describes the Annunciation as follows:

“Behold!” the Angel said, “God has chosen you, and purified you, and
chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives you
good news of a word from Him whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus
son of Mary, honored in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those
brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and
in maturity, and shall be of the righteous.” She said: “O my Lord!
How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?” He said: “Even
so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it,
“Be!” and it is” (Quran 3:42-47)

Jesus (u) was born miraculously through the same power, which had
brought Adam (u) into being without a father: “Truly, the likeness of
Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust,
and then said to him, ‘Be!’ and he was.” (3:59) During his prophetic
mission Jesus (u) performed many miracles. The Quran tells us that he
said: ” I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you
out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breath into it
and it becomes a bird by God’s leave. And I heal the blind, and the
lepers, and I raise the dead by God’s leave.” (3:49) Neither Muhammad
(pbuh) not Jesus (u) came to change the basic doctrine of the brief in
One God brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm and renew it.

In the Quran Jesus (u) is reported as saying that he came: “To attest
the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what
was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so
fear God and obey Me. (3:50) The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“Whoever believes there is no god but God, alone without partner,
that Muhammad (pbuh) is His messenger, that Jesus is the servant and
messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating
from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by
God into Heaven. “(Hadith related by Bukhari).


(Islam: A Brief Introduction, Islamic Circle of North America,
Jamaica, New York)

(Understanding Islam and the Muslims, The Islamic Affairs Department
The Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington DC, 1989.)

(Badawi, Jamal, Polygamy in Islamic Law, The Muslim Students’
Association of the United States & Canada,)

(Islam and Farrakhanism Compared, The Institute of Islamic Information
and Education, Chicago, Illinois)

(Jihad Explained, The Institute of Islamic Information & Education,
Chicago, Illinois)


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do The Right Things - by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

I see the Ministry of Information has taken out full page advertisements in the major Malay newspapers to argue that Kelantan has no right to oil payments under the Petroleum Development Act because the oil resources in question lie outside the 3 nautical mile limit that delimits state versus federal jurisdictions.

The advertisement fails to point out that almost all the oil found in Malaysia is located more than 3 nautical miles offshore, and Petronas has nevertheless been making oil payments to the states.
By the argument deployed in the advertisement, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak too are not entitled to the "cash payments" of 5% of profit oil (commonly and a little inaccurately referred to as "oil royalties").

Yet last year, according to its annual report, Petronas paid out RM6.2 Billion in petroleum cash payments, with RM 3Billion to Terengganu, RM2.3Billion to Sarawak and RM0.9Billion to Sabah. One wonders what basis this payment was made on since none of this was for petroleum found within 3 nautical miles offshore of these states.

The argument for depriving Kelantan of 5% cash payments on the basis of its petroleum resources being found beyond 3 nautical miles is an insult to the intelligence.

The government's advertisement also alleged that I once denied that Terengganu had any right to the 5% cash payment. I said no such thing. If the government media is to be believed I also once converted to Christianity by wearing Kadazan headgear just in time to be exposed amidst a General Election campaign.

In fact, as a BN backbencher at the time I opposed the Federal Government's intervention to prevent Petronas from making oil payments to Terengganu and the move to channel those funds instead into "wang ihsan".

Between the 2000 and 2009, 15.8 Billion was paid out through the legal black hole of wang ihsan, not to the rightful party as specified under the Petroleum Development Act, which is the state government's consolidated fund, but to agencies more amenable to vested interests linked to the central government.

The outcome of that spending is the Monsoon Cup, a Crystal Mosque in which it is impossible to pray, a leaking swimming pool, a collapsed bridge and a collapsed stadium. The people of Terengganu remain poor while Billions have been paid out in their name.

The device we used was a Vesting Deed by which the states vested, in perpetuity, all their petroleum resources to Petronas, onshore and offshore. In return for this Petronas guaranteed the cash payment of 5% from oil found anywhere, offshore or onshore, of the state. This rendered any consideration of federal/state boundaries whether at 3 or 12 nautical miles or whatever irrelevant for the purpose of reckoning the payment.

I traversed the country to sign this agreement with each Chief Minister of each state government. Tun Razak was driven by the nation-building concern that these poorer east coast states, with their predominantly Malay population, should benefit directly from offshore oil, and I drafted the Petroleum Development Act to reflect that concern.

The arguments used in yesterday's newspaper advertisement undercut the rights of all the states in respect of a natural resource which is theirs as a sovereign right. It violates a contract between Petronas and the states, denies the Petroleum Development Act, denies the raison d'etre of Petronas (which was in the first place formed to ensure the integrtiy of the federation by way of an equitable sharing of this valuable resource) and sets the Federal Government in contravention of an Act of Parliament.

One immediate implication of the argument laid out in yesterday's official clarification from the Ministry of Information is that Terengganu is also ineligible for the oil payments. This means that after cutting off oil payments when Terengganu fell into Opposition hands in 1999 and replacing it with "compassionate payment" there is absolutely no basis for the government's promise to now resume cash payments to Terengganu. All of Terengganu's oil is found far offshore.

Written by razaleighhamzah February 22, 2010 at 10:21 am


Tunku Abdul Rahman was the founder of Malaysia. That has been obscured by an intervening period in which his memory has been brushed out of our national consciousness.

Part of the reason our collective memory of Tunku has faded, and that Tunku would not recognise today's Malaysia, is that Tunku and his generation built institutions that empowered the people rather than cults of personality to concentrate power and wealth in themselves. They reached instinctively for democratic decision-making. The concepts and precepts of constitutional democracy were part of their natural vocabulary and instinctive reactions. They knew who the country belonged to, and that they lived to serve.

The day of Tunku's funeral was not even declared a national holiday. It is no accident that the erasure of his memory has gone hand in hand with the erosion of our institutions. Tunku built up a system of good civil service in which ordinary citizens did not need to see so-and-so to get things done. This has been replaced by a domineering style of leadership in which what you get done depends on who you know.

Ordinary Malaysians are disenfranchised of their rights. They are then patronised by leaders whose idea of public service is to go around like Father Christmas doling out gifts of resources which are really the property of the people. This turns citizens into supplicants.

There has been, over the years since his passing, a quite deliberate erasure of our memory of Tunku. This should come as no surprise. He saw the wrong turn we were taking and he opposed it. He and several other leaders were excluded from UMNO Baru.

If any one of us was tempted to imagine that Malaysia had outgrown the sordid events of 1997, the government's newspapers bring to our breakfast tables each day Sodomy 2, to remind us that after another decade of sloganeering, we have come full circle to find ourselves back at the doorstep of our debased institutions and a Constitution that is increasingly inoperative.

The progress of the trial of the leader of the Opposition, the government's apparent ignorance of the sovereign rights of the states and the way in which we have allowed religious issues to be manipulated, point to that conclusion. The constitutional crisis in Perak, in which a government has been installed by illegal means, the failure to implement two royal commissions of inquiry findings, point to that conclusion.

The barbarous political culture promoted by the establishment media brings us full circle, and drives home the point: our system of government is still in 1997. We are still in the after-wash of a wave of bad taste, authoritarianism and arbitrary power that destroyed our practice of parliamentary democracy, compromised our judiciary and police, and disenfranchised our people.

Our penchant for slogans is a reflection of our dislocation from the living reality of constitutional and parliamentary democracy. We don't need slogans. We need our Constitution back.

This, then, is the context in which IDEAS has adopted its noble purpose. The efforts of idealistic young people, attuned to the principles of parliamentary democracy and to our real history, and equipped with a plan to effect that purpose, are exactly what we need at this time. We need this and other such efforts from the young. They should not let their repugnance at the ugliness of our political system turn them away from it. It is precisely because we have a broken political system that it is so ugly. It is precisely because our main political parties are bound to infantile ethnic politics that we are now stagnant and declining as a country. Instead, I hope they see the mindlessness and ugliness of our present politics as a call to service.

I urge young people to rise to the task of changing our political system. We have left it to "the deranged" for too long. To expect change from the incumbents is to expect, in the Malay saying, the mice to repair the gourd.

Written by razaleighhamzah February 8, 2010 at 1:48 am


Certain features of the trial of Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim pose a serious challenge to public confidence in the government. Public confidence is essential to the basic functioning of government.

1) The trial is being conducted in an overwhelmingly politicized environment. Part of its context is the earlier trial of Anwar on the same charge, a trial which was perceived worldwide as politically motivated. We do not longer live in an insulated world.

2) Pre-trial publicity by the local mainstream media has been so blatantly unbalanced as to convey the impression that the media are pursuing a political agenda. Since the local mainstream media is either government owned or tightly controlled, this translates into the impression that the government itself has an interest in its outcome.

3) Many Malaysians believe that sections of the executive and political establishment have an interest in this trial. There does not seem to have been any attempt to remove this suspicion.

Written by razaleighhamzah February 5, 2010 at 9:40 am


The larger issue is State rights. Malaysia is a Federation of sovereign states. The Federal government has no rights over any petroleum resources except where these have been assigned to the Federal Government by the respective state governments. The novel mechanism we created for this assignment was Petronas.

The states vested all their rights in their petroleum resources in perpetuity to this entity incorporated under the Companies Act. In return Petronas bound itself to pay the respective state 5% of the profit oil from any oil found on or offshore of the state. I signed those undertakings with the Menteri Besar of each of the states.

Petronas is all about the Federation of Malaysia. It was formed to strengthen and protect the Federation. In founding it we intended to strike a balance which ensured that while respecting the sovereign rights of the individual states over their oil resources, all the citizens of the country, no matter what state they lived in, had some part in the bounty of oil.

Sarawak and Sabah shared their oil bounty in the spirit of strengthening the Federation. The arrangement struck with those states was extended to all the other states on the principle of kesaksamaan, or fairness.

By ignoring both the letter and the spirit of those agreements, the Federal government sets aside the very purpose of Petronas. More importantly there is a failure to understand the origin of Federal powers over state resources. We have forgotten that the states existed prior to the Federation. The Federation only exists because the states were willing to vest their rights in it, such as their rights in oil.

Not the other way around. The Federation itself rests on the principle of fairness to all the states, and to all our citizens, wherever they live. When the government of the day ignores this principle, it is ignoring a basic principle holding our country together.

There has been too much centralization of power in the federal government. Powers functions and rights that belong to the states must be restored to them.

Written by razaleighhamzah January 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm


There are some good things about our country which we do not acknowledge either because are too obvious or because it is politically incorrect to do so. One of these is the role played by British institutions in our country.

The best of what we already had, come 1957 and 1963, were a set of viable modern institutions practices and skills: the Westminster model of Parliamentary democracy, civil law grounded in a Constitution, a capable and independent civil service, including an excellent teaching service, armed forces and police, good schools, sophisticated trade practices and markets, financial markets, and modern methods of management such as those applied in our plantation sector.

We were already a functioning country integrated into global markets. The challenges of development and nation-building were serious, but we faced them with an independent judiciary, a professional civil service and a well-defined set of relationships between a Federal Government and our individually sovereign states. Indeed we were able to face these challenges because these institutions functioned well.

Institutionally, we had a good start as a nation. Why is it important to recall this?

For one it makes sense of the feeling among many Malaysians and international friends who have observed Malaysia over a longer period that Malaysia has seen better days. There is a feeling of wasted promise, of having lost our way, or declined beyond the point of no return.

This feeling is too sharp, and too pervasive to be put down to the nostalgia of always finding "the good old days best." The illusion of nostalgia doesn't explain why we are losing our best and brightest.

Those who can stay away and settle overseas do so, with the encouragement of their parents. Their parents tell them to remain where they are, there is nothing for them here. The illusion of nostalgia does not explain why parents fight to send their children to private and international schools rather than the national schools they themselves went to.

The very same politicians who recite nationalist slogans about our national schools and turn the curriculum into an ideological hammer send their own children to international schools here or in Australia and Britain. They know better than anyone else the shape our schools are in. It is no illusion that people do not have the faith in our judiciary and police that they once had.

Malaysians are losing faith in their future despite the evidence of material progress around us, despite being a relatively successful country. We have lots of infrastructure. Lots of malls and highways. Especially toll highways. It is not for want of physical infrastructure, dubious as some of it is, that we feel we languish.

It is a sense that we are losing the institutional infrastructure of civilized society.

That infrastructure, whether indigenous or acquired, was already in place at independence. Having secured our political independence through a consultative and deliberative process, we were well placed to build upon this foundation.

We had a complex system of laws, conventions and practices but crucially we had the people capable of understanding and administering such a system. We had a civil service and a political class trained and socialized into the practices of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Core principles of accountability, check and balance and independence were lodged in the habits, thought patterns and behaviour of our civil servants and judges.

It is time we shed the crude nationalism which refuses to acknowledge things "not invented here". This country had a great start in life because we had inherited a system of laws, rights and conventions that had been refined over more than seven hundred years. We inherited a civil service that for all its woes continues to keep the ship of state afloat despite the sometimes irresponsible actions of politicians. We inherited the English language, and with that a strong set of links to the English speaking world. The eminence of tonight's assembly testifies to the great value of our educational ties to Britain.

We acknowledge and celebrate our ties to British education and British institutions not out of sentimentality but out of an understanding that these are foundational influences that have had much to do with stability and competitiveness as a nation. British educational, administrative, legal and cultural institutions continue to be of vital importance to us as Malaysians.

We need to affirm these links without political blinkers, understand their cultural, political and economic importance to us, and build on them. One result of such a change of attitude should be a rethinking of our attitude to the English language. By now it is also a Malaysian language. It would be sheer hypocrisy to deny its value and centrality to us as Malaysians. Do we continue to deny in political rhetoric what we practice in reality, or do we grasp the situation and come up with better policies for the teaching and adoption of the language?

Rather than indulge in grand schemes of cultural "import substitution" we should appreciate the extent of these influences and links and explore ways to develop them further.

We should acknowledge that by the time of Independence we already had a string of excellent schools in major towns across the country. These include Penang Free School, The Royal Military College, The Malay College, St John's Institution, Victoria Institution, Muar High School and my alma mater Anderson High School.

These schools nurtured a generation of multiracial leaders who were completely at home with each other despite coming from different backgrounds. This comfort with each other was the basis of their ability to work with one another. We have let these schools become mediocre, at great cost to the quality of our leadership and in a way that imperils our unity. It is time to restore them to their former eminence.

The world has not stayed still. We should look at matters such as Parliamentary reform and the reform of the civil service with an eye to what is going on in Britain as it faces the challenges of European integration and its transformation into an increasingly multicultural society.

At both the institutional and people to people level, we should connect with Britain as it is today, a fast changing society facing many of the same problems we do, rather than recycle stale colonial era stereotypes.

*Speech delivered at British Graduates Association 22nd Anniversary Dinner
Nov 1, 2009, Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur