The Persecution of Kassim Ahmad: A-G Gani Patail loses again


July 24, 2014

The Persecution of Kassim Ahmad: A-G Gani Patail loses again

by Din Merican

In the past two weeks, the mainstream media have been screaming the news that Kassim Ahmad had lost in his attempt to get leave to sue the Minister of Religious Affairs, the Syariah Chief Prosecutor and the Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI). It is as if they were gleeful that Kassim Ahmad had initially lost in the High Court and then failed to get a stay in the Court of Appeal.

The Malay media, especially Utusan Malaysia, portrayed that Kassim Ahmad will finally meet his doom in the Syariah Court for “menghina Islam”. That immediately made the already controversial Kassim Ahmad Islam’s Public Enemy No.1 in Malaysia.

But what stunned me most was that the Malay Muslim public was even quicker to label the counsel whoRosli Dahlan acted for Kassim Ahmad as also “bersubahat” or an accomplice to an enemy of Islam. Thus it was that my young friend Lawyer Rosli Dahlan who acts for Kassim Ahmad ended up being painted negatively as if he too was an enemy of Islam. I know Rosli to be a deeply religious person and that such remarks would hurt him.

What most people do not realize is that Rosli is the 1st batch of the law graduates of the International Islamic University (IIU). I know Rosli is proud of his alma mater and fiercely loyal to the concept of justice taught by his mentor the late Professor Tan Sri Ahmad Ibrahim.

I know that because on the occasions that I get to speak to him about civil rights including when we had lunch with the former US Ambassador John R Mallot, Rosli was passionate about the Rule of Law and justice and insisted that these two concepts are not just Islamic concepts but are the demands of the Syariah. John and I found that very refreshing that a UIA graduate is not insisting on the importance of implementing Hudud but was more concerned about the justice that an Islamic system would bring.

That gave me an insight as to why Rosli would defend Kassim Ahmad and persevered even as he faced initial failures when the High Court rejected his bid to seek Judicial Review against the Minister Agama, the Chief Prosecutor and JAWI. But today is a different story.

Today, most alternative media reported that Rosli succeeded in persuading the Court of Appeal that Kassim Ahmad should be given leave to challenge Minister Agama, the Chief Prosecutor and JAWI. Today, the Court of Appeal unanimously directed the High Court to hear the judicial review application filed by scholar -researcher and public intellectual Kassim Ahmad.

Today, Rosli perseverance in fighting for Kassim’s case paid off. Today, Rosli won against the A-G in Kassim Ahmad’s case (Malaysiakini’s report below).

But, one of the reporters also whispered something to me that many people may have forgotten. This is the end of Ramadan. In 2007, at this time of Ramadan, Rosli was brutalized by the MACC and that started his on-going battles since then with the AG and others whom he called the “rogues in government”.

What the reporter whispered to me was that after Judge Vazeer Alam ruled that the AG is not immuned from legal action brought by Rosli, AG Gani Patail has been avoiding going to trial. And yesterday, A-G Gani Patail succeeded in getting a Stay Order so that Rosli’s case against A-G Gani Patail and 11 others will not see the light of to trial. READ : http://dinmerican.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/a-g-gani-patail-is-not-above-the-law/

I was sad for Rosli, here he is successfully fighting Kassim Ahmad’s case, but , unknown to many he suffers another personal tragedy when his own case against AG Gani Patail cannot go on. But I know Rosli, he will not yield. He will not surrender. He will persevere. He is a fighter and I know he will fight to the end until he thinks justice has been served!

____________________________________

Malaysiakini article on Kassim Ahmad’s Judicial Review bid

http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/269747

High Court must hear scholar’s review bid

by Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com (07-24-14)

The Court of Appeal in a unanimously decision today ordered the High Court inKualaLumpur to hear the judicial review application filed by scholarKassim Ahmad.In ruling that the civil court has jurisdiction to hear matters pertaining to questionable actions by Islamic religious authorities, the appellate court ordered the case to be remitted to the High Court to hear its merits.kassim-ahmadJustice Balia Yusof Wahi, who led the three-member panel, did not make an order as to costs. Sitting with him were Justice Mohtaruddin Baki and Justice Rohana Yusof.Justice Balia said the court was satisfied that Kassim had passed the low threshold in establishing a prima facie case for the judicial review to be heard.He said the application related to the defendant (the religious authorities), being a public body, for initiating proceeding against Kassim, after he was charged under the Syariah Criminal Offences (FT) Act.

‘Appellant should not be shut off from remedy’

“The High Court judge concurred (in her judgment) that the issue is not confined solely to jurisdiction. The appellant is challenging the enforcement and administration of a public body. On this, the appellant should not be totally shut off from his remedy for judicial review and from ventilating the challenges,” the judge said.

The court, Justice Balia said, is also guided by the 1988 Supreme Court decision in the case of Mamat Daud, that an offence against an Islamic precept can be challenged by way of judicial review. “We therefore allow the appeal and order is granted for leave (permission) to hear the merits. We set aside High Court order (that it does not have jurisdiction),” he ruled.

Kassim, was represented by Rosli Dahlan , Bahari Yeow and Ahmad Khubayb, while senior Federal counsel Nor Hisham Ismail appeared for the Attorney-General’s Chambers.  Rosli also applied to the appellate court for a stay of Syariah High Court proceedings against Kassim, but this was objected to by Nor Hisham.

Following this, Justice Balia said he would order that an early date be fixed by the High Court. High Court judge Justice Zaleha Yusof on July 14 rejected Kassim’s application for a judicial review, following a preliminary objection by the Attorney-General’s Chambers that the court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Kassim, 81, named Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom, the Chief Syariah Pprosecutor of the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI)  and the Malaysian government as respondents when he filed the judicial review application last month.

He complained that JAWI acted overzealously in breaking down the door of his house in Kulim, Kedah, to arrest him and take him to Kuala Lumpur in March this year.

Jawi has not authority in Kedah’

The octogenarian complained that JAWI had no authority to make the arrest as it  should be confined to the Federal Territory and the fatwa against his book was only applicable there and not in Kedah.

Kassim was charged in the Syariah High Court in Putrajaya on March 27 for with deriding Islam, under Section 7(b) of the Syariah Offences (Federal Territories) Enactment 1997, in his talk at the Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana seminar, which was organised by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya in February.

The scholar is charged with stating that people appear to idolise Prophet Muhammad and that the aurat of a woman does not include her hair. He is also charged under Section 9 of the same enactment with violating the instructions of the religious authorities in delivering those views and for citing two books he authored, which have been banned by the Federal Territories Islamic authorities.

On May 6, the authorities levelled another charge against Kassim, but the charge was not read out in court when recording his plea.

In his judicial review application, Kassim is seeking several declarations: to quash the actions taken by Jawi, which includes the issue of the warrant of arrest against him; to set aside the charges he faces; to compel Jawi to give him the relevant documents pertaining to the charge; and to stop the authorities from prosecuting him.

He also sought a declaration that Jawi’s action was contrary to the Federal Constitution and a declaration that the Federal Territory fatwa is only applicable to those who live there and not in Kedah.

I was sad for Rosli, here he is successfully fighting Kassim Ahmad’s case, but , unknown to many he suffers another personal tragedy when his own case against AG Gani Patail cannot go on. But I know Rosli, he will not yield. He will not surrender. He will persevere. He is a fighter and I know he will fight to the end until he thinks justice has been served!

On Secularism


July 24, 2014

On Secularism

By Dr. Wong Chin Huat@www.themalaysianinsider.com (07-23-14)

Dr.Wong Chin HuatSecularism has been seen largely demonised amongst Muslims in Malaysia but widely embraced by Muslims from Indonesia in the east to Tunisia in the west. Does religion explain this stark difference?

While theologians may offer nuanced ideational explanations, allow me to offer a simple analysis from the perspective of group competition and power relations. Secularism is fundamentally about the impartiality of state in the religious sphere, and by derivation, full religious freedom for all. This could mean at least three things to different people.

First, it is about the relationship between the faithful and the atheists. Second, it is about the relationship between the faithfusl of different religions. Finally, it is about the faithfuls of different denominations within the same religions.

Secularism has been a dirty word for Malaysian Muslims largely because of the two legacies: the Kemalist legacy in Turkey and the British legacy in Malaya.

The Kemalist Legacy

Beyond Malaysia, hostility is the natural reaction of many Muslims to the militant secularism espoused by Kemal Atartuk. In Kemalist Turkey, generations of religious Muslims were suppressed and marginalised because of their faith, until the recent rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The state does not only refuse to be partial to practising Muslims but has become partial against them. Like atheist states, militantly or absolutely secular states see religion as a threat to their own existence. This is completely different from the past Muslim Empires – not unlike most polities with an established faith – which were explicitly partial to Muslims.

Perhaps more upsetting for many Muslims is that, in the making of Turkish nationalists, Kemal Atartuk denied Muslims both inside and outside of Turkey their political identity as Muslims protected and united by a Caliphate.

On the ruins of Ottoman Empire, the last Caliphate which met its end soon after its humiliating defeat in the First World War, Atartuk wanted to radically Westernise Turkey both politically and culturally so that it could cease to be the “Sick man of Europe”.

Not unlike what was advocated by some nationalists in China, then the “Sick man of Asia”, for Atartuk, modernisation required a thorough break with one’s own cultural root and imitating the enemies.This is of course emotionally traumatising and enraging for many Muslim nationalists, for whom Islam is the symbol of resistance and political unity.

Why secularism is seen as synonymous as atheism or anti-Islam by many Muslims is then perfectly comprehensible.

The indirect British Legacy

Interestingly, the negative image of secularism may have its second root in the British colonialisation, despite the British’s conscious efforts in grooming the Anglophile, conservative and secular Malay elites. Unintended consequence if you will.

What happened? If secularism essentially means state impartiality towards citizens of different faiths, then in the context of Malaya/Malaysia, it would have to mean impartiality between Muslims and non-Muslims, which is at the heart of the 1946 question.

This becomes clearer if we compare Malaya/Malaysia, with Indonesia. There, the Dutch colonisation not only did not create a religious majority as the communal core for the future nation. It led to the emergence of Christian communities, not just in remote islands like Ambon and Flores, but also in the main island of Java, fragmenting the indigenous communities.

Secularism became the rational choice of Indonesian nationalism both during and after the colonial era. Like multi-religious India, Indonesia may break up if secularism is replaced by the explicit dominance of any faith and religious assimilation creeps into the nation-building agenda.

In Malaya, the British moved beyond the port colonies of Straits Settlements to actively intervene in the inland Malay states only as late as 1874. Taking the lesson from the religiously-triggered Indian mutiny in 1857, the British decided to opt for indirect rule in the Malay states to minimise disturbance.

In doing so, the British not only strengthened the Malay states but, through affirming the Malay rulers’ power in religious affairs and Malay custom, also religion as the ethnic boundary of the Malays. That is the historical basis of why “Malays” are by definition Muslim, as stipulated in the Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.

With the Malays being all Muslims and the non-Malays being largely non-Muslims, secularism in the sense of state impartiality towards citizens of different faiths may basically reduce the differential in citizenship rights between the Malays and non-Malays.

In other words, secularism as religious equality is inherently contradictory to the logic of building a Malay-nation, an agenda crystallised in 1946 and established two years later.

Granted, UMNO’s Anglicised, Anglophile, conservative elites led by Tunku, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein and pre-Reformasi Mahathir never wanted an Islamic state.But they only upheld secularism as intra-Muslim religious freedom – in the sense of minimum penetration of the state by religious authorities, but not interfaith religious equality.

In fact, for Sabah and Sarawak, 51 years of Malaysia has been largely a process of erosion of secularism to serve the agenda of Malay nationalism, where non-Muslim Bumiputeras are to gradually become Muslim Bumiputeras and eventually Malays. Aggressive conversion of non-Muslims into Islam under Tun Mustapha’s USNO and Harris Salleh’s Berjaya was much despised by Christian Bumiputeras in Sabah.

Years before the word Allah became an issue, non-Muslim Bumiputeras had complained about religion-based discrimination in public sector employment and the enjoyment of Bumiputera privileges.

Many “liberal-lifestyled” Muslims supported UMNO in the past because it stood for intra-Muslim religious freedom, as compared to policing of Muslims advocated by hard-line Islamists in PAS. The question is: if secularism as interfaith equality must be weakened by the day to maintain the regime, how long can intra-Muslim religious freedom remain?

The intra-Christian origin of Secularism

Secularism has no future in Malaysia if it remains a dirty word and not a glorious cause for the Malay-Muslims. But should Malay-Muslims uphold secularism? Can secularism actually benefit the Malay-Muslims?

The answer is a clear “No” if secularism is still seen in the lens of Kemalist legacy, that it means de-Islamisation for the sake of modernisation. But why should secularism mean the denial of one’s civilisational root? Where the Arab Spring started, Tunisia under an Islamist government has just adopted a secular constitution and guaranteed religious freedom and equal citizenship.

From an ethno-nationalist perspective, the answer is also a clear “No” if this is all about giving the minorities equality.But this is where the history of secularism in Christian Europe should be revisited.

Secularism was not born out of the need of Christians to deal with the pagans, Jews or Muslims, or to grant these infidels religious freedom. Religious tolerance was not a virtue of Christians in the medieval Europe. The Jews were treated much better in the Muslim Empires than the Christian States. Neither was secularism established to advance atheism.

Secularism was much driven by faith. Rivalry between the kings and the Catholic Church and the growth of secular thought and capitalism did not turn Christian Europeans into atheists. These forces only divided Christians into Catholics and Protestants, many of whom died to defend and advance their faiths.

Today’s rigid view of secularism as absolute separation of state and religion is too much rooted in post-Revolution France, which influenced Kemalist Turkey.

Some one and a half centuries before that, the order of proto-secularism was actually laid by the 1648 Westphalia Treaty to end religious wars between Catholics and Protestants.

The treaty, on which today’s international system of sovereign nation-states are founded, affirmed the “religious freedom” of both the states and their subjects. The kings and princes were free to decide the official state of their polities, but their subjects were also free to choose their faith and entitled to equal treatment before the law. Religious disputes were resolved through secular procedures that excluded religious reasoning.

Secularism thus freed Christians of different denominations from unnecessarily deaths in the name of faith, and later by extension, provided for religious freedom for non-Christians including Muslims. While Christian Europeans later continued to die over nationalism and ideologies in the centuries to come, the Westphalian secularism removed religion from the list of reasons to kill.

One only needs to look at today’s European Union to see the benefit of secularism. Can the European Union simply be possible if the states need to choose between Catholicism, various denominations of Protestantism and Orthodoxy as her official religion?

Ever wonder what would happen to Palestine if the Arab League can be united like the EU? Ironically, the self-styled Caliphate of the Islamic State (formerly Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) actually hopes to unite the Muslims by slaughtering all who oppose their rule – the antithesis of secularism.

Hundreds more times of Muslims had to die in the wars in Syria and Iraq – hell will break loose if Saudi Arabia and Iran directly enter the battlefields – because these Muslim states were, are and can be partial either to Sunnis or Shias or Alawites. Muslims die and suffer, not so much over the theological differences as for each group’s survival.

Coming back to home, can Westphalian secularism benefit the Malay-Muslims? Yes, if the goal is to have the space to be both more pious and more united, as per the Amman Message, which recognises as valid all the main schools of Islamic thought – Sunni, Shia, Ibadhi, Ashari, Sufi and Salafi?

After all, spirituality is about what we can believe while dominance is about what others cannot believe, lest we get confused.

 

Concerned Malaysians in Support of Negara-ku Charter


July 18, 2014

The Negara-Ku Charter

On a daily basis, we are confronted with serious challenges that have begun to undermine the very foundations of our Nation. The peace and harmony of our multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multicultural society are under threat.

 Ethnocentric and race-based politics and communally-minded politicians continue to derail the process of inclusive nation building and the formation of a Bangsa Malaysia national identity. Importantly, religion is now increasingly used as a main marker of identity, and as a boundary maintenance mechanism to polarise the people.

There are political parties and their affiliates that are not focused on nation building, rather on building their respective power bases. These parties on both sides of the divide pursue their agenda that are transactional and short-term, not transformational and long-term.

The mobilisation and manipulation of race, ethnicity and religion have resulted in increasing intolerance, bigotry and extremism. There is also an emerging sub-culture of political violence. These are symptomatic of dangerous under-currents in our society.

The State, by default or design, has failed to address these pernicious developments. The State has also failed to play the role of an honest broker in managing conflicts in our society.

We believe the majority of the People want to end this brand of divisive ethno-religious politics.

We want to take ownership, fully cognisant, that Malaysia is a nation where her people are inextricably bound by a shared history, commonweal, and destiny.

We have to act before our society descends into the abyss of instability.

The “NEGARA-KU” Coalition aspires to mobilize and empower the People: -

1. To resist all forms of intolerance, bigotry, hatred, extremism, and violence;

2. To oppose all forms of discrimination, oppression, persecution and injustice;”

3. To strive for a socially inclusive society;

4. To exhort the State and its Institutions to respect, adhere and uphold the Rule of Law; and

5. To demand adherence to the principles of stewardship, integrity, accountability and transparency in all aspects of governance.

We will strive to do this by returning to the basics:-

The Federal Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land;
The Malaysia Agreement; and

The Rukunegara as the guide for national objectives and values.

By this process of engagement and empowerment we endeavour to”HEAL THE NATION” and “RESTORE HOPE” in our future.

_________________________________________

Concerned Malaysians in Support of Negara-ku Charter

Press statement in conjunction with Press Conference at Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Friday July 18, 2014

Ambiga2Leaders of the Negara-Ku Movement

We, concerned Malaysians, take note and fully concur with the  Negara-Ku Charter launched by the People’s Movement to heal the nation and to restore hope for our shared common future.

We are in the midst of epochal challenges and changes in which all Malaysians must stand together to fight the forces of racial bigotry and religious extremism.

To safeguard our fragile multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural unity, we must resist those who seek to destroy Malaysia and what it stands for which are the principles contained in the Constitution of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

We call on all Malaysians, especially our political leaders, to endorse this charter, embrace its values and principles fully and strive to uphold it wholeheartedly and unflinchingly in our personal and public lives.

List of Signatories

AB Sulaiman (Writer)

Ahmad Chik (Business and Community Leader)

Andrew Aeria (Academic)

Anwar Fazal (Educationist)

Art Harun (Lawyer and Commentator)

Azmi Sharom (Academic and Commentator)

Bah Tony Williams-Hunt (Community Leader)

Chong Ton Sin (Publisher)

Din Merican (Commentator)

Dominic Puthucheary (Lawyer)

Foong Wai Fong (Commentator)

Gurdial Singh Nijar (Academic)

Jannie Lasimbang (Community Leader)

Koon Yew Yin (Business and Community Leader)

Lim Teck Ghee (Academic and Commentator)

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar (Lawyer)

Ramon Navaratnam (Business and Community Leader)

Sharaad Kuttan (Commentator)

Sharom Ahmat (Educationist)

S. Thayaparan (Commentator)

Tan Pau Son (Business Leader)

Wan Saiful Wan Jan (Commentator)

Wong Chin Huat (Academic and Commentator)

Tricia Yeoh (Commentator)

Zainah Anwar (Community Leader)

Japan’s Cabinet Seeks Changes to Its Peace Constitution


July 2, 2014
Asia Pacific Bulletin
Number 270 | July 1, 2014
ANALYSIS

Japan’s Cabinet Seeks Changes to Its Peace Constitution – Issues New “Interpretation” of Article Nine

By Andrew L. Oros

AbeJapan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed his nation at a 6pm press conference on July 1 to announce a much-anticipated Cabinet decision to reinterpret a constitutional prohibition related to Japan’s military forces working together with other states, setting the stage for a series of changes to Japanese law when its parliament reconvenes in the fall.

Protestors opposing this effective change to Japan’s constitution–which has never been formally revised since its implementation in 1947–have gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s official residence all week. An estimated 5,000 protestors gathered outside the prime-time press conference where the prime minister argued that the reinterpretation did not represent a fundamental departure in nearly 70 years of Japanese security policy, but rather was a modest update to current policy in response to a changing international security environment.

He repeatedly touted Japan’s postwar identity as a “peace state” (heiwakoku), arguing that now is the time for Japan to make a greater international contribution to international peace–in line with the national security strategy released by his government in December 2013 that called for Japan to make “proactive contributions to peace” internationally.

The issue of “collective self-defense”–engaging in military action with allied states even if your state itself is not directly threatened–has been a topic of debate in Japan all year. Japanese government policy for over half a century has been that although all states have an inherent right to engage in collective self-defense, as rooted in long-standing practice of international law, Japan would refrain from exercising that right in deference to Article Nine of its postwar constitution, which forbids the use of force to settle international disputes.

Prime Minister Abe has long argued that Japan should engage in collective self-defense activities with like-minded states, both together with its alliance partner the United States as well as with other states and through United Nations peacekeeping operations. Abe’s coalition partner in government, the New Komei Party, has been opposed, however. As a result, the issue was set aside during the first year of Abe’s return to power in December 2012.

Critics of the Abe government argue that this decision is rushed, is taking place without debate in Japan’s parliament, and that no elected leader has the right to reinterpret the constitution. There is widespread misunderstanding about the power of this cabinet statement, however: it does not have the force of law.

Only legislation passed by Japan’s parliament has the force of law–and, indeed, this was one of the subjects of Abe’s 10-minute prepared statement to the nation: that his government would be creating a team to draft bills to establish the necessary legislation to submit to the Diet for its deliberation. Still, the cabinet statement does reflect unanimity among the cabinet, which includes one member from the New Komei Party. It took months of negotiation and substantial compromises by Abe to achieve this support, leading to a much watered-down mandate to exercise the right of collective self-defense only in highly constrained circumstances and even then only using the minimum necessary force to restore the peace.

The Abe government prepared 15 examples to share with the nation illustrating situations where it saw Japanese security at risk due to Japan’s decision not to exercise its right of collective self-defense, which Abe debuted in an earlier televised prime-time press conference in May. Famously pointing to a sketch of a mother holding a small child while fleeing hostilities, Abe explained cases such as the challenges of evacuating Japanese nationals from a war zone, or Japan’s need to cooperate in de-mining critical sea trade routes in the event an enemy were to lay such mines (as happened in the 1991 Gulf War). In fact, the most likely cases where Japan would exercise collective self-defense are together with its only formal military ally, the United States.

It was announced last October that the two states seek to formally revise their 17-year-old guidelines for defense cooperation by the end of 2014, making a decision on the issue of collective self-defense time sensitive. The two states’ goals of cooperating to combat cyber threats and to improve defenses against ballistic missiles both require a pre-commitment from Japan to work together with the militaries of other states, even in cases where it is not clear that Japan itself is being attacked. In addition, the long-standing fear of a new outbreak of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula would also put great pressure on Japan to offer assistance to US and South Korean military forces–even if Japan itself was not directly attacked, something prohibited under the prior cabinet interpretation of the Japanese constitution.

This new policy on collective self-defense should thus be seen, in part, as a way to show Japan’s commitment to the US-Japan military alliance–and to seek to secure US commitment to the alliance in the wake of growing Japanese concerns about China’s designs on the remote and uninhabited Senkaku Islands that Japan administers but China claims (and which China calls Diaoyu), and that Japan would need the United States military to help protect in the event of hostilities.

The new policy should also been seen as part of a set of initiatives of the Abe government to re-craft Japanese military activities as the sort of conduct any “normal” state engages in without suspicion. In this sense, it is part and parcel of his broader efforts to move beyond the criticism of Japan’s militarist past and to a new status quo where Japan’s “proactive contributions to peace” are welcomed on the contemporary international stage. The policy also should be understood at face value: as a way to address potential security contingencies Japan may face in the future.

The Abe government is correct about international law: that all states inherently possess the right of collective self-defense. But his public statements belie the substantial change in policy that Japan choosing to exercise this right would represent. Critics over-state the significance of the cabinet statement, however. Nothing has yet been changed in Japanese law, and even if new laws are passed in the fall based on this cabinet statement, the agreement within the ruling coalition places substantial barriers on Japan exercising this right in the years to come. Abe has thus not yet realized his dream of Japan becoming a “normal” state–and based on the scale of criticism both at home and abroad about this policy push, it will take many more years of policy evolution to achieve this goal.
About the Author

Dr. Andrew L. Oros is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland and Adjunct Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington. He is author of Normalizing Japan: Politics, Identity, and the Evolution of Security Practice and can be contacted via email at aoros2@washcoll.edu.

The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue.

Established by the US Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

The Asia Pacific Bulletin (APB) series is produced by the East-West Center in Washington.

APB Series Editor: Dr. Satu Limaye, Director, East-West Center in Washington
APB Series Coordinator: Damien Tomkins, Project Assistant, East-West Center in Washington

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the East-West Center or any organization with which the author is affiliated. For comments/responses on APB issues or article submissions, please contact washington@eastwestcenter.org.

East-West Center | 1601 East-West Road | Honolulu, HI | 808.944.7111
East-West Center in Washington | 1819 L Street, NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC | 202.293.3995

The Constitution must be supreme


June 28, 2014

Ceritalah

Published: Tuesday June 24, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday June 24, 2014 MYT 7:03:13 AM

The Constitution must be supreme

Karim RaslanBy Karim Raslan@www.thestar.com.my

“We are a polyglot nation. We cannot suddenly rid ourselves of our diversity and complexity. Yes, it is messy but it is also a fact of life and embedded in our national DNA.Until and unless we amend our Constitution – the fact remains that Malaysia is not completely secular, but neither does it allow one faith to run roughshod over the other.”–Karim Raslan

A FEW weeks ago, I wrote about my opposition to the implementation of hudud in Malaysia. Since then, it appears that the on-going debate about the role of religion in our country has become even more complicated, whether over child custody, raids on weddings and funerals as well as the issue of Malay-language Bibles.

To me, the challenge for Malaysians is simple enough.We must decide what kind of country we’re living in. Is it secular or religious? A constitutional monarchy which practises Westminster democracy or something else altogether?

Our leaders have shied away from answering these questions for far too long, allowing opportunists and extremists to dominate the discourse.This has left Malaysia in a permanent state of flux. We cannot become a developed nation when one group of citizens thinks the only way they can be protected is to relegate another into an inferior state.

That is at the heart of the various disputes: Malay versus non-Malay, Muslim versus non-Muslim and so on. At the same time, this dichotomy fails to acknowledge the many Malay-Muslims who feel uncomfortable with the idea of living under a theocracy.

Still, the fundamental question remains this: should people be treated equally in Malaysia? If not, why?If it is because this will somehow denigrate the position of Islam and the Malays – why is that so?The solution, I think, is to go back to Malaysia’s founding document – our Consti­tution.

Unlike Britain, Malaysia’s Constitution is written.This makes us a nation of laws, which gives us a framework for how we deal with each other. And what does the Constitution say? It is true Article 3(1) states that Islam is the religion of the Federation but also provides that other faiths may be practised in peace and harmony.

Every mainstream voice in Malaysia has accepted this.But does this article mean that the rights and values of non-Muslim Malaysians are completely irrelevant the moment Islam comes into any matter? Let us also not forget that Article 3(4) also states: “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution.”

I might be wrong here, but I think this also means that Islam’s special position does not abrogate the force of other provisions, like Article 8(1): “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.” Malaysians – it seems – are being forced to choose between two very unpleasant extremes.

One is that we must remove religion from our public lives altogether.The other is that a certain understanding of Islam must take priority over everything else.But if people truly took the time to read the Constitution – they would realise that neither of these paths meet the spirit in which our nation was founded.

We are a polyglot nation. We cannot suddenly rid ourselves of our diversity and complexity. Yes, it is messy but it is also a fact of life and embedded in our national DNA.Until and unless we amend our Constitution – the fact remains that Malaysia is not completely secular, but neither does it allow one faith to run roughshod over the other.

Anyone who says that provisions of the Constitution or other laws can be ignored simply because they think Islam is under threat is going against the law of the land. Does believing this make someone a bad Muslim? I humbly submit that faith is better served through doing justice rather than by causing fear and ill-will. Our leaders must show collective wisdom and courage in these difficult times.

HRH The Sultan of Selangor is to be commended for stating that his state’s religious authorities should seek redress for their grievances only through legal means.However, we live in a democracy. As such, our elected officials should lead the way.

They must draw on the collective wisdom of our nation to find the path forward.Leadership is not about being silent in times of crisis. It is about decisiveness and courage.I am no fan of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but at least he always understood the need to lead.

image

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet must step forward. They must lead from the front.If they don’t have the guts to do so – Malaysians will turn elsewhere.

 Karim Raslan is a regional columnist and commentator. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. His online documentaries can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/user/KRceritalah

Malays must stand up to the extremists (and Malaysians too)


June 27, 2014

Extremism can flourish only in an environment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfare of the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessness create the desperation that fuels religious extremism.–The Late Benazir Bhutto

MY COMMENT: Well done, Ahmad, for this article appealing to Malays to stand up against extremists. I hope he also means extremists without identifying their ethnicitydinmerican or religious orientation. Extremism in whatever shape or form, colour and race must not be tolerated. So far the most vocal ones are Malays like PERKASA’s Ibrahim Ali and Zul Nordin, formerly of PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat), and institutions like Jais, Jawi, and  Mais, Isma headed by Ustaz Ahmad Zaik Abdullah Rahman and other Muslim NGOs claiming to be defenders of the Faith. That is unfortunate as I expected Malay leadership to be enlightened, open minded and colour and race blind. But we do know that there are also extremists from the “other side” (for want of a better word), be they bible champions or  those in Non-Muslim NGOs who also spread prejudice.

ibrahim-ali-perkasaMalaysia cannot be a truly a united country if extremists on both sides (UMNO supporters and Pakatan supporters) are allowed the freedom to spread hatred and extol their prejudices. We are living in a wonderful country, blessed with good weather (generally speaking), diversity and peace. Let us all, men and women of reason and compassion, stand up for  Malaysia for all.

My family like many other families came from the Indian sub-continent centuries ago. I was born, bred, educated and worked here in Malaya/Malaysia. It makes no sense to label me a pendatang. Those who resort to this sort of labelling, or racial and religious stereo-typing, should check their own background carefully before casting the proverbial stone on others.

Let us be realistic and recognise that we are all an indivisible part of our heritage in the ever advancing continuum of time. I am proud to be a Malaysian. I am loyal to my King and country. That is why I am against extremism and condemn those who use extremism to create social disharmony and achieve political ends or for personal gain. Stand up for Malaysia and fight the extremists.–Din Merican

Malays must stand up to the extremists (and Malaysians too)

by Ahmad Hafidz Baharom | June 24, 2014 2:44PM@http://www.malaysiakini.com

NO to ExtremismFirst and foremost, I am a third generation constitutional Malaysian Malay Muslim, as far as I can tell from my secondary school history project I did in 1996. That being said, there are those who may have a history of their ancestors and families living in this nation longer than I have.I am partially Chinese, Indian, Indonesian Malay and Malaysian Malay, which we can all say are the four biggest populations in Malaysia currently.

All I can say about this is that my parents must have taken Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s racial genetic co-mingling which he suggested in The Malay Dilemma seriously.As much as I am a Malay, I am not a supporter of UMNO, nor am I a supporter of PAS or any political party. Instead, I align myself to individuals, among them PAS’ Khalid Abdul Samad, and Mujahid Rawa (regardless of his anti-smoking crusade), DAP’s Charles Santiago and Tony Pua, PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, Elizabeth Wong, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, and Rafizi Ramli, and UMNO’s Saifudin Abdullah, Ahmad Husni Hanadziah and Nur Jazlan Mohamed.As a graduate of UiTM, I am thankful for what UMNO has done in the past, but that doesn’t exclude them from criticism. Nor does it exclude UiTM from criticism. As such, I don’t find an insult to UMNO as an insult to myself as a Malay, nor do I see urging UiTM to be opened up to non-bumiputeras as an insult to myself.

Similarly, I do not find it taboo for a non-Muslim to wish me salam, or to use Islamic phrases. This is Abdullah-Zaik-Abdul-Rahman-145x120because I see it as a positive, as them trying to emulate our culture instead of somehow seeing it as a threat against my religion. In other words, I am not a paranoid. In the past year or so, we have somehow seen that any insult to UMNO, Ikaan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma), having Iban language Bibles, urging the reining in of religious authorities, all of this as an insult to Malays.

UMNO is not a representation of all the Malays in Malaysia. The fact that they lost Shah Alam in the last two general elections is solid proof of it. Mind you, we have a more than 90 percent Malay population in this parliamentary district. Isma’s president, contrary to his wife’s belief, is not the representative of all Malays. After all, if he thinks the Chinese are trespassers, then he is equally saying I myself am the product of a trespassing ancestor.

A Penang assemblyperson calling UMNO ‘celaka’ is also not an insult to me, because I have seen students right out of UiTM who just got their first jobs giving out the same expletive remarks when they read news coverage of the Auditor-General’s Report. And by the way, these were former BN Youth Volunteers during the 2013 general election.

I am not a traitor to HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah for thinking that both the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) are in the wrong and have totally lost the plot by seizing Bibles and having fake ex-Christians hold a talk at UiTM, regardless of what Negri Sembilan Perkasa suggests. And if they think they need to behead me for this, I suggest they check in with the His HRH Sultan of Selangor to use his royal courtyard for the guillotine.

I believe the Malays have to now take a stand against all these extreme views, and voice it out as ardently as possible; that we are no longer represented by extremists. Now is the time for the Malays to take a stand and tell those in charge to either stop it, or face the consequences of misrepresenting us to the entire world.

It is time to take legal action against our extremists to gag them from making unwarranted statements that tarnish the image of the Malay race. If not, then the greatest insult to the Malays would be the insult we do to ourselves by letting the voice of the loud few destroy whatever pride we have left in ourselves as a people, as a community, as a majority in this country.

Malaysia’s “Greatest” Islamic Warriors


June 27, 2014

Malaysia’s “Greatest” Islamic Warriors

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee, Centre for Policy Initiatives (June 15, 2014)

It is exceptional for one hero to emerge during one’s life time. But two? Unbelievable but yes – this unprecedented happening is taking place right now which makes this an amazing time to be a Muslim in Malaysia.

Riding to the rescue of the rudderless masses – confused by the arrival on our shores of huge numbers of gays, lesbians, dog lovers, Cadbury munchers and other purveyors of polluting and ‘haram’ consciousness and deeds secretly slipped in through our porous land and sea boundaries by western neo-colonialist agents bent on bringing the Golden Chersonese back into the sphere of Christian-Zionist influence – are two heroes and warriors of Islam.

Their war to ensure Islamic supremacy is not only against threats emanating from outside the country. The more dangerous threats are embedded deep within our midst in the form of munafik, pengkhianat, pendatang, penceroboh, Cinabengs, kaki botol, pariah dogs, kiasus,liberals and even moderates. Taking advantage of the Christian and western financed anti-Muslim internet media, these devilish elements intent on destroying the fabric of Muslim society have emerged from the Satanic darkness to spread lies and ply their propagandist filth of moderation, democracy, equality and human rights to the unsuspecting Muslim population.

Islamic Icons

Abdullah-Zaik-Abdul-Rahman-145x120Who are these two warriors whose names should forever be emblazoned in the pages of Islamic history in our country? They are Ahmad Zaik Abdullah Rahman (left) and Mohd. Ridhuan Tee. This extraordinary pair may have come from differing backgrounds but they complement each other perfectly in their uncompromising philosophies.

Ahmad Zaik’s stand is based on “Malays stand united; Islam reigns supreme”. Riduan Tee, a Chinese convert to Islam, cannot wave the Malay flag so easily. His slogan? “Muslims stand united; Islam reigns supreme”?

Imprisonment of the mind is the greatest scourge faced by humanity, especially by Muslims. Not only are these two warriors in a mission to cleanse the country of its unsavoury anti-Muslim minority, but they are also intellectual giants fighting ignorance and helping to rewrite the course of development in the country by less violent means. Clearly a ‘speak loudly and carry a big stick’ strategy. Ahmad Zaik’s accomplishments include a 64 page book, ’30 Soal Jawab Melayu Sepakat Islam Berdaulat’. In this incredibly slim but profound volume, he is able to provide answers rooted in classical Islamic knowledge to all the burning issues of Malays, Muslims and Malaysia.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to think of any other book that has had such an impact on the Malay reading world. It is noteworthy that the book’s forward was written by Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy UMNO President Muhyiddin Yassin and and launched by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom, both Islamic warriors too, though of lesser stature, despite their higher political status.

Blockblaster Film Issue and Plagiarism Non-Issue

tanda_puteraIncidentally the book also serves as a ‘bible’ to the Isma clubs being established all over the world. At last count, there were over Isma clubs in over 25 counties so that it should not be long before “30 Soal” makes it to the international best sellers list. Also rumour has it that the much castigated and misunderstood director of the Tanda Putera film, Shuhaimi Baba is of the opinion that the book has the makings of a major cinematic hit in the Muslim world; and that she is the right person to bring it to the Islamic green screen.

This is an incredible opportunity for FINAS, JAIS, Khazanah, etc.to provide funding for a noble cause which can only add lustre to Malaysia’s Muslim credentials. Besides, it will provide the catalyst to the establishment of an Islamic film industry in Malaysia to take down the decadent and Islamic soul destroying Hollywood empire build by Jewish money. I am sure our Saudi colleagues will want to joint venture with us; but even if they do not want to, we have the petro dollars to make this happen.

But our bureaucracy needs to hurry up. Rumour also has it that Ahmad Zaid has already turned down a similar offer from the Malaysian financiers of the Hollywood film, The Wolf of Wall Street. This was despite the concession apparently made that no partial nudity will be shown in the film – not even of uncovered arms and legs. If this rumour is true, it is yet another mark of the purist Islamic character of this remarkable ustaz for whom fortune and fame appear to have little or no meaning – just the pursuit of the jihad. On a lighter note, female fans of this formidable warrior have swooned over his hirsute chest revealed in recent photos but this, I am assured, is due to his sharp sartorial style rather than any latent exhibitionist tendencies.

In comparison, Ridhuan Tee (right) has been more prolific in his literary output and can be considered to be theTee Abdullah intellectual star in UMNO’s media empire. Because he is so prolific at churning out masterpieces of Islamic commentary in his weekly column (and this is in addition to his formidable academic output), detractors have claimed that some of his work has been plagiarised from other sources. Obviously, intellectual giants are fair game for ultra kiasu hate mongers. There is in fact no need for Prof. Madya Ridhuan to respond to the allegation of plagiarism. After all, it is not a word or concept that is found in the Malay or Muslim dictionary; neither is it taken seriously by our universities. In fact, we can consider it a”haram”western word and concept with bad intentions, aimed at devaluing and demeaning our local scholars who are increasingly being exposed to the best Islamic tradition.

Saudi Influenced or Malaysianized Islam

TDM--21 MarchWhat next for our Islamic warriors? There is one pressing issue to be resolved before achieving the paradise on earth that they envisage for Muslims and Islam in the country. Is it fundamentalist Shaf’i Islam that they are advocating or are they intent on creating a new form of Islam? A form analogous to Wahhabi Islam in doctrine and in liturgy, but purely Malay or at least (for Riduan Tee’s sake) purely Malaysian Muslim. This notion would be revolutionary for Malaysia: that a new Malayanised Islam open to converts in Malaysia, but at the same time aggressive, racist and exclusive, is being created before our very eyes. If this is their intention, clearly the patron saint of the new Islamic movement should be none other than Dr. Mahathir, the country’s number one Muslim convert.

Meanwhile, there have been suggestions that the duo should be honoured with state or federal honours – minimally dato-ships or even tansri-ships. Other suggestions have included appointments to higher positions and monetary and other material awards from a grateful Ummah in the way that the best koranic readers were rewarded in the annual national contests which, unfortunately, has been abandoned for reasons totally unfathomable.

All in good time quite soon surely, but perhaps the most appropriate honour for now– especially since their mission here is nearly complete – is to send them on a flight out to fight the enemies of the Muslim world where they least expect it – Antarctica?

We Allow Thugs to set the National Agenda


June 25, 2014

Brave New World

Published: Wednesday June 25, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 25, 2014 MYT 7:14:57 AM

We Allow Thugs to set the National Agenda

by Dr. Azmi Sharom@http://www.the star.com.my

Azmi SharomMALAYSIA is turning into a hateful country. Hate; it is such an ugly word. Yet I can’t think of anything else to describe what is happening here, the land where I am to spill my blood.But then, why should I care? I am after all an intruder and immigrant.

Yes, I realise that when the racists speak about intruders and immigrants, they mean non-Malay intruders and immigrants; this despite the fact that many so-called Malays are actually of foreign origin. But I am not a hypocrite like them.

 I know my roots and they spread to Yemen, to Medan, to Singapore. I wasn’t even born here. Yet I believe that I have as much right to be here as anyone else and my fellow Malaysians have just as much right as me. And still the question remains: why should I care? I don’t have the answer to that question because I am not a very philosophical man. Yet I know this; I have no desire to live in the Yemen, or Medan or Singapore. And as much as I loved my significant time in England, I always knew that I would come home. And home is here, Malaysia.

Forgive the overly sentimental tangent this article is taking, but I am trying to make sense of my world as I write. It is hard to be purely analytical when one’s home is being slowly destroyed by the bigoted, small-minded, cruel and vicious.

This place is my home because I grew up here. My memories and therefore my identity are tied up to this place.My tastes, my relationships, my way of thinking, in short everything that makes me the individual that I am, are due to this place. But what kind of place is it now? It looks to me like the kind of place where the vicious can threaten to behead people, where those who are meant to be the final arbiters are unwilling or incapable of making judgments based on the principles they have sworn to uphold.

It is a place where cowardly leaders think only of their votes and not of making a stand against vile people and their vile deeds.There is so much going on which is going to affect our basic needs of hearth and security. While the wheels of capitalism turn, we the ordinary folk are going to find it harder and harder to just make ends meet. Yet we allow thugs to set the agenda. We allow non-issues to become national debating points. We allow the vicious to go on screaming malicious words with God on their lips and hatred in their hearts.

ayn-rand-We have lost our capacity to Reason

All this when we are living in a country with so much potential and wealth. If we can ensure that the truly needy, regardless of their creed or colour are protected and helped; if we can move our education system towards one where we produce thinking people and not well-educated automatons; if we can create a government in all its guises which is dedicated to honesty and the rule of law.If we can do all these things, then the future will be more secure for all of us. It is there, within reach.

Instead there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel and all I see is a darkness populated by the shrill screeching of the hatemongers.It does not need to be like this. If the face of this country is as twisted and ugly to you as it is to me, we can still do something.

We can challenge our elected representatives into a corner. Force them to tell us where they stand.We can support the downtrodden. We can gather together in huge numbers to make a stand not for any political reason, but to show the bigots that they are not the only ones in this land and that their cruel philosophies are not welcome.

We can think for ourselves and not simply allow those with so-called authority to dictate our thoughts for us. We can be fearless in deed, words and thoughts to uphold the values that surely any country needs to hang on to – fairness, compassion, kindness, freedom and justice.This country is becoming so hateful; that is true. But I am not yet ready to hate it. Are you?

http://www.thestar.com.my/Opinion/Columnists/Brave-New-World/Profile/Articles/2014/06/25/Thugs-allowed-to-set-agenda/

 

Kadir Jasin on Najib’s Cabinet and Najib-Muhyiddin Partnership


June 25, 2014

DM at 75

COMMENT: Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin has mocked Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over his latest cabinet reshuffle, which apart from the appointment of new faces, did not witness the much speculated shake-up. In truth, there is little that Najib can do with regard to changes to his Cabinet for two reasons.

First, he has to make sure that his support among UMNO ministers is solidly with him ahead of the impending UMNO General Assembly to prevent a no confidence vote against his leadership of the party, government and the country. Second, there is in reality a dearth of talent and competence in the Barisan Nasional coalition making it difficult for him to make any radical change. 

John Maxwell on Leadership

Najib must take decisive action on pressing issues facing our country, and prove his critics like me and  others  of my generation wrong. He has been at the helm of our nation since 2009, and that should be time enough for him to learn the ropes of governance, and do what is expected of him. He should lead our nation, and that means he should not pander in the name of politics to extremists, bigots and ultra-nationalists since he is Prime Minister for all Malaysians.–Din Merican

Kadir Jasin on Najib’s Cabinet and Najib-Muhyiddin Partnership

In line with his policy of appeasement towards the Chinese, making everybody happy and keeping things big, Prime Minister  Najib added three more Ministers to his cabinet and retained the rest.

The new Ministers are MCA President Liow Tiong Lai, his Deputy Dr Wee Ka Siong, and the Gerakan President, Mah Siew Keong. Liow is Transport Minister while Dr Wee and Mah are ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department.

With the new additions, he now has 34 Ministers to lord over. Ten of these people are in his department. There are 35 including him. This is not counting 28 Deputy Ministers. The MCA, despite its mediocre performance at last year’s general elections, also received three Deputy Ministers’ posts. The appointees are Vice-Presidents Datuk Lee Chee Leong (International Trade and Industry), Datuk Chua Tee Yong (Finance) and Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun (Women, Family and Community Development).

So all the talks and speculations about Muhyiddin leaving and Hishammuddin going up are a waste of time and space. The Prime Minister and his merry men march on! Apologies: Mohd Najib was Finance Minister under Abdullah.

ORIGINAL POST–June 24, 2014

najib and his deputy

They need each other

NOT long before last year’s UMNO election, Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, made known to allies that he would not challenge Mohd Najib Abdul Razak for the post of president and gave “tiredness” as his reason. When I asked him some time later, he repeated the same reason – penat. – Additionally he did not want to be accused of being unable to work with any Prime Minister having been instrumental in hastening (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s resignation as Prime Minister in 2009.

The excuse that he was tired was flimsy. I would have given some credence had he said he was to challenging Mohd Najib because the latter was doing a good job or something like that. I could not remember him saying such a thing. This latest talk that he wants out could have been members’ interpretation of his recent statements at party meetings that UMNO must prepare for succession and take steps to train younger leaders.

Muhyiddin isn’t exactly old. He is 67 and is not known to have health problem. The late (Tun) Abdul Ghafar Baba became Deputy Prime Minister at 61 and (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad remained PM until he was 78.

Even if Muhyiddin has differences with Mohd Najib, it should not be an excuse for him to step down. Many UMNO leaders, including ministers, have issues with Mohd Najib. They should stay and fight for the party instead of forsaking it out of distaste for Mohd Najib.

PM Needs Muhyiddin

ON the other hand, Mohd Najib may shudder at the thought of not having Muhyiddin by his side in the cabinet. This is even more so if Muhyiddin’s intention is to spend time building up UMNO. That could be a dangerous proposition for Mohd Najib.

He needs Muhyiddin close to him for two reasons. First, Muhyiddin is popular with UMNO members. For that reason, Mohd Najib has left much of party work to him. Second, because of Muhyiddin’s popularity with UMNO members, it is risky for Mohd Najib to let him take charge of the party away from his scrutiny. He has to keep Muhyiddin in his sight. That could have been the reason why Mohd Najib came out strongly to deny that Muhyiddin was leaving the Cabinet.

But we have to take such a denial with a pinch of salt. Dr Mahathir too denied strongly the allegations against Anwar Ibrahim by Ummi Hafilda in 1997. Muhyiddin’s aides acknowledged that their boss had raised the matter of his “advancing” age with Mohd Najib.

According to them Mohd Najib told Muhyiddin that he needed him.But now there is a new twist to the issue. According to aides, Muhyiddin had started to feel uneasy when speculations that he was leaving the Cabinet began to spread in the press. He felt that there might be attempts to pressure him to leave or to make Mohd Najib feel that he can no longer rely on him (Muhyiddin).

The Hishammuddin Factor

Surely Muhyiddin is not unaware that there are others in UMNO who aspire to take over his job as DPM. hishamuddin-husseinFor a start, talks are rife that Mohd Najib is preparing his cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein (right) to take over the post although Hishammuddin himself is said to be uncomfortable with the speculation.He is said to have told friends that such a speculation could have a negative effect on his chances of advancing in the party and Cabinet.

Like Muhyiddin, Hishammuddin is a Johorian. It is well-known that Johor UMNO leaders do not always get along well with each other. And talk about Hishammuddin’s being groomed as Muhyiddin’s successor does not help to calm matters down.

Whether this is true or not will depend on where Hishammuddin goes when Mohd Najib finally reshuffled his Cabinet. It is widely speculated that Hishammuddin would take over the Finance Ministry from Mohd Najib.Whether or not Hishammuddin is a Finance Minister material is debatable. But if he is given the post he will automatically become very powerful although not a single Finance Minister had risen to become PM.

The unofficial version of the story had it that Muhyiddin had told a very senior Supreme Council member that he was leaving because he could not anymore cope with the goings-on in the government.Muhyiddin may remain DPM but may let go of the Education Ministry and take on a smaller portfolio so that he can spend more time managing UMNO but on condition that he remains loyal to Mohd Najib. Furthermore, under Mohd Najib’s 1Malaysia, Muhyiddin is its Malay face. His “Malay first” assertion is popular with the Malays, especially those in UMNO.

 

Kassim Ahmad: The Malay Art of Pleading


June 18, 2014

​​​Kassim Ahmad: The Malay Art of Pleading

by Din Merican in Hsinchu, Taiwan

image

I read with amusement of the things that are happening in Malaysia. It is almost in a state of confusion, with state agencies like MAIS and JAIS showing blatant disregard to the advice by the country’ top most government lawyer – Attorney-General Gani Patail. I think the A-G is right on this occasion. On the other hand, the disrespect shown to the A-G’s advice and office simply shows that government agencies themselves have no confidence in Gani Patail as A-G. Gani Patal is too tainted, too scandalous and has become a liability to the administration of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak. Thus, the honorable thing for Gani Patail to do is to step down ,or be sacked.

At the same time, I am following with great interest that Malay public intellectual- scholar Kassim Ahmad hasRosli-Dahlan brought his fight right to the feet of PM Najib Razak, Chief Minister Kedah, Mukhriz Mahathir and JAWI Minister Brig-Gen Dat Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. Kassim is clearly sending a signal to Brig- Gen Jamil Khir that he is not afraid of the tactics of intimidation by JAWI.

What is more interesting is that Kassim is doing it in the most polite Malay way. Kassim instructed his lawyers to send an appeal letter to the PM. I have just read the Malay letter. It is a masterpiece. Without disrespect to Kassim’s lawyer, I think Kassim must have authored the letter himself. Let us not forget that Kassim is a Malay scholar and literary figure.

Kassim was also formerly the President of Partai Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia which means he understands the concept of federalism and some aspects of the law. Thus, JAWI has just awoken a sleeping lion. Kassim may be an old man of 81 years, but this is an old man with a fighting spirit. This is an old man well versed in the Malay art of pencak silat.

Now read the letter:

image

Read :here and HERE for articles on the Kassim Ahmad story by http://www.freemalaysia.com

Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib: Show Political Courage and put things right


June 18. 2014

Taipei, Taiwan

Public Intellectual-Scholar Kassim Ahmad Urges Najib:  Show Political Courage and  put things right

by FMT Staff@www.freemalaysiatoday.com.my

kassim thinker

Malaysia appears to be at the “brink of anarchy”, controversial scholar Kassim Ahmad said today in reference to recent actions by Islamic authorities.

Explaining why he had instructed his lawyers to ask for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s intervention in the case brought against him by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI), he said he was concerned that Islam was being unjustly dishonoured.

His lawyers’ letter, sent out last Friday, was also addressed to Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir and de facto Religious Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom. In a message to FMT, Kassim, often referred to as Pak Kassim, wrote:

“There were many wrong things that were done by JAWI to me. They came in 13 cars and raided and searched my house, seized my personal belongings, dragged and bundled me into a van and drove me from Kedah to Penang Airport and then flew me out of the state of Kedah to KL against my will.

“Then JAWI kept me up awake the whole night interrogating me and the next day charged me in the Putrajaya Court in such a spectacular manner.

“Was all that necessary? I am a harmless 80-year-old man. The accusation against me is that I gave an opinion different from the mainstream opinion. Is difference of opinion a crime? That’s why I am asking Brig-Gen Dato Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister overseeing JAWI, to address and correct these wrongs.

“I addressed my letter to the PM because lately Malaysia seems to be on the brink ofKassim and Rosli anarchy. The PM took an oath to uphold the Federal Constitution. Thus, the PM must clarify these issues so that JAWI and their like do not act in a manner that dishonours Islam as a great religion and, more importantly, that JAWI, which is under the PM’s Department, does not breach the fundamental liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

“It is the PM’s constitutional duty to ensure that every agency act within the bounds of the law. They cannot be a law unto their own.

“I also addressed the Menteri Besar of Kedah because I am a citizen of Kedah. The MB has a duty to protect me under the concept of federalism so that agencies of other states like JAWI cannot do as they please in the state of Kedah. Kedah has its own laws and fatwas.

“JAWI has charged me for an offence that has no equal in the Kedah Syariah Enactments. Yet, JAWI dragged me from Kedah and forced me to come under JAWI’s jurisdiction. That is disrespecting the concept of federalism and violating my fundamental rights.

“The Kedah MB must answer to my plea for protection, especially since DYMM Sultan Kedah is now the Yang Di Pertuan Agong. I hope these ministers will discharge their constitutional duties and have the moral and political courage to put things right.”

Malaysia not a secular state : says who ?


Malaysia not secular state, gov’t says
By Ram Anand

posted from Taipei, Taiwan

Jun 17, 2014

PARLIAMENT The government has stressed that Malaysia is not a secular state due to the special position of Islam in the framework of the federal constitution.

Article 3(1) and 50.4 percent of the 30 million population in Malaysia being Muslim do not make the Federation an Islamic state.

Article 3(1) and 50.4 percent of the 30 million population in Malaysia being Muslim do not make the Federation an Islamic state.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom said so in a written answer to Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu) in Parliament last week.

Jamil Khir also stressed that the constitution does not provide for the civil court to have jurisdiction over matters under the purview of the Syariah Court.

“Regarding the question as to whether Malaysia is a secular state or an Islamic country, it is stressed here that Malaysia is not a secular country,” Jamil Khir said in his answer.

He said that this was based on “history” where Malaysia was established based an Islamic sultanate government and Malay sultans are heads of Islam for the respective states.

“This is further strenghtened by Article 3 of the federal constitution, which clearly states that Islam is the religion for the federation,” Jamil Khir further said.

Jamir Khir said that secular countries do not have a religion as the country’s religion.

Ling had asked Jamil Khir about the implementation of hudud and and whether Malaysia is a secular or Islamic state.

However, Jamil Khir stressed that the government is still studying the feasibility of implementing hudud in Malaysia.

 

On Hudud: Honour Our Constitution (Article 4)


May 31, 2014

On Hudud: Honour  Our Constitution (Article 4)

Dato’ Noor Farida Ariffin
Kuala Lumpur

http://www.thestar.com.my

Dato Noor FaridaIn light of Muhammad’s strict injunction to Muslims to honour the treaties that they have entered into, let me urge UMNO members to search their conscience and state whether they would be prepared to abandon the fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution in favour of PAS’ hudud law, in clear violation of the Constitutional Agreement and the teachings of Islam.–Dato’ Noor Farida

MUCH has been said on hudud and Pas’ latest attempt to foist hudud law on Muslims in Malaysia. PAS, as usual, is using moral and religious blackmail to convince gullible Muslims with a shallow understanding of Islam, including some in UMNO, that support of hudud is the sacred duty of believers.

When the Kelantan State Assembly passed the Hudud Bill on Nov 25, 1993, the Deputy Mentri Besar, in answer to the question whether people had accepted the state Government’s plan to implement the hudud laws, made the incredible announcement that the question did not arise as Muslims in the State who rejected the laws would be considered murtad (apostate)!

And all this while we Muslims have been taught to believe that only Allah has the prerogative to determine who is a believer and who is not! This is a blatant example of a political party distorting religion to suit its political agenda.

As a believing, practising Muslim, after studying the writings of respected Muslim scholars on this subject, I am of the view that Muslims should reject PAS’ hudud law without fearing that they are going against Islamic teachings.  Hashim Kamali, a professor of law at the International Islamic University, has published a detailed analysis of the PAS Hudud Bill from the perspective of the Quran, the Hadith (traditions of Muhammad) and the opinions of the Companions of the Prophet.

The professor has concluded that “the Hudud Bill of Kelantan has failed to be reflective either of the balanced outlook of the Quran or of the social conditions and realities of contemporary Malaysian society”.

A case in point, which has given rise to concerns among women’s groups, is that the PAS Hudud Bill is totally silent over the problem of rape. While the Bill addressed the subject of zina (illicit sex), it did not mention rape at all.

To prove zina, the rape victim must produce four male witnesses. If she fails to provide the necessary proof, then she herself would be liable to the punishment of qadhf (slanderous accusation of zina). Obviously, this will result in victims of rape being punished and perpetrators being let off scot-free!

Notwithstanding the fact that this clause in the Hudud Bill has been the focus of public criticism and debate, Pas has stubbornly refused to amend it.

What is even more alarming is the much-criticised provision that “circumstantial evidence, though relevant, shall not be a valid ­method of proving a hudud offence”. Therefore, material and scientific evidence, like semen stains, vaginal swabs, blood samples, scratch marks, genetic fingerprinting, DNA samples, etc, are not admissible methods of proof in zina. This will clearly result in injustice to rape victims.

The reason for this inexplicable rejection of scientific, medical evidence may be that they were not available during the time of the Prophet. Yet Prophet Muhammad himself urged Muslims to seek knowledge “even if they have to travel to China to acquire know­ledge”. Yet Pas rejects medical and scientific advances which human civilisation has achieved since the ninth century.

Many prominent Muslim scholars have opined that the application of hudud as an isolated case without providing the necessary context and environment is not only unrealistic but is more likely to produce the opposite results and frustrate, ­rather than satisfy the Islamic vision of justice and fair play.

In addition, they emphasise that the Hadith which is also a legal maxim, provides that hudud must be suspended in doubtful situations.

For those UMNO members who have allowed themselves to be duped by PAS’ threat of apostasy, let me remind them of the Treaty of Hudaibiya which was contracted between the Muslims of Medina led by Prophet Muhammad and the non-Muslims of Mecca.

The last clause of the treaty was not in favour of the Muslims. Even before the treaty was signed, the Muslims wanted to breach this clause. The Prophet forbade them to do so because to him it was important to honour the terms of the treaty which they had agreed to, even though the treaty, as in this case, had a negative impact on the Muslims. This illustrates the importance the Prophet placed on ­honouring one’s word and, in particular, the terms of a treaty to which a Muslim is a party.

The Federal Constitution was agreed to by the Conference of Rulers, the Government of the Federation of Malaya comprising UMNO, the MCA and the MIC, and the British Government in 1957.

Article 4 of the Constitution provides that the Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Therefore, should UMNO and PAS attempt to amend the Constitution to change its secular character to make way for the implementation of hudud, it will be in clear violation of the agreement reached between the members of the Alliance party.

In light of Muhammad’s strict injunction to Muslims to honour the treaties that they have entered into, let me urge UMNO members to search their conscience and state whether they would be prepared to abandon the fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution in favour of PAS’ hudud law, in clear violation of the Constitutional Agreement and the teachings of Islam.

The Muslim World’s Challenges (Part 2)


May 29, 2014

The Muslim World’s Challenges (Part 2) : Islam and Moderation

By Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami@www.nst.com.my

Dr Farhan Ahmad NizamiTHE ideal of government as service cannot be realised without tackling corruption. Ultimately, this depends on personal integrity. However, much can be achieved by strict implementation of accountability procedures.

People’s everyday transactions — like getting a passport, a telephone connection, a licence to start a business or being free to travel — can be needlessly complicated by discriminatory application of regulations, or by having to pay bribes. As part of the commitment to justice and fairness, it is essential that Muslim identity is detached from crude forms of tribal and sectarian politics.

The Quran censures those among the Israelites who claimed salvation on the basis of tribal belonging. A central feature of Islamic civilisation was its understanding that values — like knowledge and skill and virtue — are by no means a monopoly of the Muslims.

Islam was a learning and teaching civilisation, and for that reason, a force for good. Between communities, there is need for both fences and bridges. Muslims must recover their talent for managing the shared and separate spaces.

If they do not, their sectarian and ethnic divisions will always be vulnerable to cynical exploitation.

The Quran describes the Muslim community as ummatan wasatan: the middle or moderate community, the anti-extreme or mainstream. The community of Muslims must not cut itself off; it must be inclusive and assimilative, go east and west, learning as well as teaching. That is an ideal worthy of presentation to all the peoples of the world.

In the end, people must have good reasons to prefer life in societies identified as Muslim, if they are to give their hearts to making those societies successful. Therefore, among the general objectives we pursue, some are bound to be specific to Muslims. Others may see the sense in them or they may not. But Muslims have a commitment to them from faith.

Human beings must expect to be questioned about the ends they pursue and the means they engage to realise them. For Muslims, there are issues of haram and halal in both means and ends.

With that in mind, Muslims should strive for a resetting of the international financial system and its regulation. They can draw upon their wealth of past and recent experience with Islamic financing.

A 100 per cent reserve ratio may be an impossible target, but significantly raising it is not impossible. Muslims can also demand much stricter regulation and more transparency in the relations between banks and regulators.

Islamic banking must practise what it preaches. To promote research and analysis in the general field of Islamic finance, a small positive step is the annual roundtable jointly organised by the Securities Commission of Malaysia and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.

Muslims can and should intervene, more strongly than they do, to limit dependence on commercial and industrial processes that are life-threatening. Harm that happens far away is called an “external cost of business”. This is morally repugnant and, sooner or later, self-destructive.

Muslims can make common cause with non-Muslims to build the will to sacrifice present comfort for future wellbeing. Muslim states have contiguous borders, large populations and considerable financial weight. There is no reason why they cannot lead efforts to preserve natural resources and environments.

In many Muslim societies, the lives of women are diminished by ingrained social and economic injustices. Men and women have aspirations and duties for which they have equal capacity and equal need. Therefore, they have an equal right to be prepared for those duties. This means education and the freedom to test that education in appropriate occupations.

Any policy oriented to human values, if not expressed in local cultural idioms, will not have local buy-in. Granted that Muslims have much to learn from the West, their first and last responsibility as Muslims is to embody the teaching of God and His Messenger. It is not permissible for them, where they have a choice, not to discharge that responsibility.

Within the debate among Muslims about political and human rights, there is broad agreement on the need for reform of attitudes and institutions. But political models imposed from above will not lead to open, accountable government sensitive to human rights. Such models, in practice, exclude the society they are claiming to serve.

Effective, stable representative government can only evolve from the collective will of the whole society. It will realise broad and enduring legitimacy only when it adapts the full resources of the society’s history and culture.

That is a good reason for beginning with reflection on past achievements. We do that to identify the general objectives that are desirable now. But we also need to identify actual, present commitment to those objectives, and to recognise and celebrate the progress that has been made. In this respect, Malaysia is the right place to be doing that.

Malaysia is an example of the political wisdom of which Muslims in the modern world are capable. It has demonstrated that, where social and historical circumstances permit and outside influences do not prevent, Muslims can build a stable society alongside non-Muslims.

Malaysia is a thriving nation whose Muslims remain, through their embrace of modernity, true to what is universal in their cultural and religious values.

I know there are tensions. But ways have been learnt to contain the tensions, and they are ways of peace. Differences intelligently managed have been converted into the advantages of diversity and moderation.

It is appropriate that the call for a Global Movement of Moderates has come from Malaysia. Since it is active in various international forums, and is the next chair of  ASEAN, it can project that message to many others.

The message is listened to because it is supported by a lived, achieved example.Within the struggle for political independence, there had also been a struggle for Malay/Muslim rights and identity.But that struggle did not, despite imbalances in educational opportunity and economic leverage, decay into sustained ethnic conflict.

Such conflict was viewed as an aberration from the norm, and Malaysia’s different communities learnt to co-exist and cooperate for the benefit of all.

Some of the reasons for this success are local, peculiar to the situation in this country. But the deeper reasons have to do with an Islamic tradition of tolerance and neighbourliness with peoples of different religion and ethnicity.

I would argue that, even in circumstances that differ markedly from the situation in Malaysia, the most promising basis for initiating and sustaining such a political settlement is religious conviction. It is a responsibility of those who believe in and value their faith to engage religious conviction as a means of promoting tolerance and peace within and between nation-states.

Malaysia’s political stability has been accompanied by equally impressive economic development. Malaysia took the lead in setting up the World Islamic Economic Forum. This initiative carries forward years of effort to improve economic cooperation between Muslim countries.

I mentioned earlier the lack of cultural contact among Muslim countries. Again, Malaysia is at the forefront of putting this right. It attracted some 73,000 visitors last year from Saudi Arabia alone. Its universities offer high-quality advanced education and training to students from the developing world. Many Muslims are taking up the opportunity.

Malaysia’s policymakers have identified a long-term need and committed resources to scholarship programmes that will encourage students of all backgrounds to take part.

Perhaps consideration could be given to the establishment of a National Endowment for the Humanities in Malaysia. Aside from the enrichment in perspectives, this policy will also, over time, contribute to reducing the flow of cultural product from the West into the Islamic world.

Muslims in the past, when confident of their religion and of themselves, were not intimidated by the ancient prestige of the learned traditions of the Greeks, Persians and Indians.

They were sure that Islam could absorb them, since whatever is truly of value to human life is, ultimately, compatible with the compassion and beneficence embodied in the teachings of the Quran and God’s Messenger. Muslims have a responsibility to contribute to the mainstream of world civilisation. There are several areas in which Muslim history and experience have something to teach:

The Muslims’ experience of pluralist societies could enrich contemporary constitutional debates which express individual rights but have no language for community rights. Their experience of the tension between scientific and religious thinking could shape a philosophy of science to reconcile belief in a Creator with rigorous scientific study.

Their experience of economics is relevant to ethical business, the balance between market freedom and state intervention, between private profit and public welfare, the cost of money. All these topics require the commitment of resources for the long term.

That commitment must come alongside a confidence in the ability of Muslims to find answers to the concerns that preoccupy all of us: the fight against the expulsion of religious authority from the public domain, and its growing irrelevance in the domain of individual lifestyles; the fight against consumerism and the widening gulf between those who have and those who do not have buying power; the fight against scales and patterns of economic activity which are pitilessly indifferent to their consequences for human lives and the natural systems we depend on; the fight against a near-autonomous technology answerable only to the economic interests that finance it; the fight against injustices, some located in particular persons or regimes, others anonymous and inaccessible behind the visible structures of power.

Alongside this fight against, there is a fight for — for the recovery of habits of worship (ibadat) and religious reflection; for the self-discipline which enables disinterested service of others; for the alleviation of poverty through healthcare and education; for effective conservation and environmental protection; for the preservation of family life which, however imperfectly, is still the most tested way to raise adults capable of moral autonomy.

Ultimately, the quality of commitment to a goal is dependent upon the quality of human resources carrying it. It is in the domain of education which builds human resources that Muslims need to work the most.

They need to learn how to organise and manage effective faith-based schools (pondok). They need to relearn how to devise and balance curricula to equip students for an effective life as believers in the contemporary world.

They need to teach students not only the externals of their faith, but also how to understand and carry their faith within themselves and translate it into self-transcending service of others.

This Muslims cannot do until and unless they appreciate that other traditions of learning have also achieved worthwhile progress in advancing human knowledge and know-how, and challenged received wisdom with sound arguments from human reason, observation and experience.

Muslims need to inculcate that mental and moral discipline which stops believers from bringing into the zone of the sacrosanct narrow issues of custom and practice that pertain, not to belief as such, but to local identities and local manners.

It is not an easy discipline; if practised properly and sustained, its fruit is tolerance and peaceful co-existence with others of the same and other faiths.

All of that can be summed up as an effort to teach values that are authentically derived from religious commitment. I have explained that this effort needs to be, for Muslims, commensurate with the legacy of their past. It needs to be forward-looking and outward-looking. It needs to be comfortably multi-cultural, willing to learn, to go abroad. And it has to be confidently Islamic.

The Muslim World’s Challenges–Part 1


May 28, 2014

The Muslim World’s Challenges

By Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami

ISLAMIC PAST: Legacy was built on Muslims’ confidence in Islam, sustained by material prosperity, combined with political and legal stability

Dr Farhan Ahmad NizamiFOR about a thousand years, roughly from the 7th century onwards, the people under Islamic rule made striking advances in their material and intellectual culture.

The contribution of those advances to modern Western philosophy, sciences and technology has been extensively studied. But I want to speak about their distinctively Islamic qualities.

The area under Islamic influence stretched overland from the Atlantic in the west to the borders of China, and across the Indian Ocean to the islands of the Malay archipelago.

This vast area was commercially interconnected with much continuous and profitable exchange of goods. It was also culturally interconnected, with prodigious traffic in books and ideas, scholars and travellers.

Its people busied themselves in seeking knowledge and writing it down. So much so was this that, to this day, there remain huge quantities of manuscripts, from different ends of the Islamic world, yet to be catalogued and studied.

The regional diversity and assimilative embrace of Islam as a civilisation is manifest in the names by which great figures in Islamic scholarship are best known: al-Qurtubi, al-Fasi, al-Iskandari, al-Dimashaqi, al-Baghdadi, al-Isfahani, al-Bukhari, al-Dihlawi and al-Jawi.

The language of communication among scholars was mostly Arabic, with Persian and Turkish becoming important later in the east. This dominance of Arabic was not the result of any policy to diminish local languages. It was simply a gradual extension of the authority of the language of the Quran and its teachings.

Muslims believed that the way of life defined by the Quran summed up the best of the teachings of the past. They expected that non-Muslims, too, would have knowledge, skills and virtues. They expected to learn from them and to fit that learning with Islam.

Islamic civilisation thus self-consciously set out to co-exist with and absorb the cultures of others. It did so from a position of political strength.

The House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma) in Baghdad, funded by the Caliph, is the best-known example of this attitude. Translations were commissioned of works in every branch of learning, from metaphysics to the science of making poisons. Once translated, these works were studied critically, then improved and extended.

The dominant streams in this flood of knowledge were Hellenic, Persian and Indian. The Chinese script proved too severe an obstacle to the absorption of Chinese philosophy and science. However, Chinese influences are found everywhere in the material culture of the Islamic world, in decorative motifs, and in the skills of making paper, ceramics, glass, metal-ware, textiles, dyes and drugs.

The Quran presented the teaching of all God’s messengers as a unified legacy. Muslims set out to harmonise older traditions of learning with that legacy. This effort was not universally admired.

In particular, the presentation of Islamic teachings in the style of Greek philosophy remained controversial for centuries. In the end, it had a more enduring influence on the medieval Christian world than on Islam.

Such controversies did not dampen Muslims’ self-confidence. In general, Islamic norms continued to encourage intellectual adventure and achievement. Muslims were aware of living in prosperous, stable societies, and comfortable with non-Muslim communities among them. They considered themselves forward-looking, inventive and multi-cultured.

Their best scholars made innovations of lasting importance in mathematics and experimental science, and applied them in technical instruments, manufacture, and engineering. And the wealthiest royal courts competed to own and display the results.

Al-Jazari’s famous water-clock illustrates this well. Its water-raising technology is Greek; the elephant, inside which the great vat of water is hidden, represents India, the rugs on its back are Persian; on top of the howdah sits an Egyptian phoenix; on its sides are conspicuously Chinese red dragons. This deliberately multicultural device was constructed shortly after the Crusades.

All that said, while Muslim societies were stable, their governments were often not: regime change was usually violent and disruptive. Politically, the Muslims became ever weaker and more divided.

Little now survives of their cultural self-confidence; even less remains of the personal and political skills they had developed to manage life alongside different communities and confessions.

Their ways of organising long-distance commerce and regulating free markets have vanished completely. The material remains of the rest — all the thinking in all the books, colleges, libraries and hospitals — interest only medievalists, museums, and tourists.

The past still has presence in the public spaces; you still hear the call to prayer, even in secularised city centres. There is still a feel of Islam in private homes and personal manners.

We can objectively map the movements of books, ideas and scholars from one end of the Islamic world to the other in every century until the modern period.

The recovery following the Crusades and Mongol conquests included the building of madrasa and colleges that taught a rich, varied curriculum.

There is little evidence of that during European colonial rule. The madrasa of that era were not well funded. They could afford to focus only on Islamic sciences narrowly defined.

For the rest of their education, Muslims had to leave the cultural space of Islam. A division became established between religious and secular education, between old and modern, with Islam on the side of the old. That division is at the heart of the present challenges facing Muslims in every part of the world.

When we memorialise the legacy of the Islamic past — when naming public institutions, or presenting past glories in books and museums — we should remember that this legacy was built on Muslims’ confidence in Islam.

This confidence was sustained by material prosperity, combined with a sufficient degree of political and legal stability. Without prosperity and stability, the constraints on political and economic decisions are too strong for people to make their own choices for their future.

We need only look at the difficulties in post-recession Europe to know that feeling powerless to shape the future is not special to Muslim societies. It is not related to their being Muslim but to the material conditions in which they are Muslim.

The end-goal is hardly a matter of dispute among the vast majority of Muslims. It is to re-establish connections between Islamic upbringing and education and modern secular, technical education.

The latter provides the means for individuals to make their way in the world, to have things to do in it and to enjoy doing them successfully. The former provides them with their religious orientation and identity.

Religious orientation is not itself the goal. The aim is not to have people identify as Muslims; the vast majority already do that. Rather, the aim is to enable them to prosper in the world in ways that express and test, inform and improve, their identity as Muslims.

As the Chinese saying puts it, the journey of a thousand miles begins from where your feet are. We in the Muslim world can only set out from where we stand in reality. That reality needs to be stated bluntly.

Today, Muslim identity is not sufficiently relevant to how things are done in the world, especially in the collective spheres of life.

Muslim identity is not the engine of prosperity, of either the production or the distribution of wealth. Muslim identity is not the engine of knowledge, of collecting it, or adding to it, or disseminating it. (This is true, rather unexpectedly, even of knowledge about the past legacy of Islam.)

Muslim identity is not the engine of political and legal order. Or rather, it is not so in a positive way. Instead, we see mainly negative expressions of it. We see it in a despairing withdrawal from the evils of power: in the attitude that the status quo, however bad, is still better than chaos.

We see it also in despairing violence intended to erase the status quo, without any labour of understanding and analysis about what will follow.

The end-goal is to make being Muslim relevant and effective in the quest for knowledge, in the quest for prosperity and in the quest for political order. Except in the sphere of personal courtesies and private concerns, being Muslim is no longer the currency of exchange neither among Muslims themselves, nor between them and non-Muslims.

To make it so again is a task of huge scale and complexity. Our first priority must be to establish institutions and forums so that the present challenges are properly identified, and then try to guide expectations towards realistic, achievable goals.

The hurdles in the way are real and substantial.First, there is the hurdle, as I said, of determining what is do-able and specifying it intelligently, in the light of local realities; in the way that sustains momentum towards the next objective; and without losing sight of the end-goal.

Second, there is the hurdle of co-ordinating effort with other societies and states. Priorities can vary sharply with local conditions. Therefore, there will be a need for trust among policymakers, with tolerance for variable levels of competence and energy.

Thirdly, there is the hurdle of rejection by those who oppose any attempt to bring religious concerns into the public sphere. The response will sometimes be concession, compromise and conciliation. At other times, it will take the form of steadfastly holding one’s ground. In either case, alert flexibility — the readiness to adjust to different circumstances — is essential.

Among general objectives, the most inclusive is to build up the commercial, financial, trade and cultural ties between Muslim societies.One measure of the need is the low values and volumes of bilateral trade between Muslim-majority countries, compared with their trade with non-Muslim countries.

Another measure is the low values and volumes of trade outside the dollar-dominated banking system.

Another is the low numbers of Muslims travelling for higher education from one Muslim country to another; the general preference, for those who can afford it, remains Europe or America.

Yet another measure is the massive inflow of cultural product from the non-Muslim into the Muslim world — the information and imagery people get from their televisions and computers; the advertising that influences the things they want to own; the time they give to sports and other entertainments.

All of this shapes people’s horizons, and their understanding of what is important and what is possible.

For the states that make up the Islamic world, the need to work together is clear. Modern technologies make it much easier to do that than it used to be. The sacrifices needed for cooperation to succeed are widely understood. But we should also highlight the benefits of a strengthened economic base in Muslim states, through increase in trade and long-term investments in human development.

The distribution of resources favours Muslim nations, but they lack the will and confidence to manage them to best advantage. If only because they are Muslim nations, their leaders have a special responsibility to nurture that will and confidence.

Their aspirations and policies should be consciously linked to the history, culture and faith that Muslims share. If enough far-sighted individuals have the courage of their Islamic convictions, what seems desirable but unrealistic can become a realistic and achievable goal.

Muslims are commanded to “bid to the good and forbid from the evil” (amr bi-l-ma`ruf wa-nahy `ani l-munkar). This entails commitment to the direction and quality of the whole social ethos. Not just traditional forms of family life and neighbourliness but also religiously valid ways of earning a living, co-operatively with others and with the natural environment.

As I mentioned, in the past, Muslims traded globally. The expansion of Islam’s influence followed the trade routes out of its Arabian heartland. For Muslims, economic effort is an integral part of responsible living.

We have a reliable record of how the Prophet and his companions went about discharging that responsibility. Muslims may not engage in practices that deliberately and systematically deprive others of their livelihood, and then, in response to a separate impulse, give charitably to relieve the distress their economic practice has generated.

Rather, the effort to do good works and the effort to create wealth must be sustained as a single endeavour. Both means and ends must be halal.

More Muslims need to join, with each other and with non-Muslims, in the urgent need to balance the creation and distribution of wealth so that a good life is available to all, including future generations.

Muslims’ efforts to develop techniques of financing and investment that are free of usury and uncertainty (speculation) are pertinent to the wider concerns about ethical investment, fair and genuinely free trade, and abolishing the export, through debt-slavery, of poverty, instability and pollution to the poorest and weakest on this earth.

We have seen over the last forty years massive growth in the stocks of Islamic financial capital. But these stocks are not being deployed to develop the economic capacity of Muslim countries. It seems that the wealthiest Muslims, individually or as sovereign powers, prefer the safe, quick returns from investment in the non-Muslim world.

In many Muslim states, economic infrastructure and activity remain linked to servicing the economies of former colonial powers. Those linkages are not sustained only by fear, but by individual and institutional inertia — by lack of will and imagination on the part of officials to take the necessary steps to put in place the needed skills and systems.

One reason that Muslims do not invest their wealth and talents in Muslim countries is that those countries are unstable, unsafe and unproductive to work in.

This vicious circle is not a function of those countries being Muslim: similar socio-economic conditions elsewhere have similar effects — an exodus of energy, talent and money.

Many Muslim states inherited their political boundaries from the colonial era. Those boundaries increased dependence on the colonial power to keep order. The anti-colonial struggle provided a shared history for communities separated by ethnic and religious differences. In the post-colonial era they have not been able to find common ground. Solidarity is not a precondition, but an outcome, of the effort to identify common purposes. It is something that has to be, and can be, constructed.

To make Muslim identity effective in the world, a major policy commitment must be to make justice and fairness the decisive value for all modes and levels of governance.

This means allowing independent centres of authority to emerge and recognising their concerns and aspirations. It means a redistribution of opportunities to acquire wealth and influence, so that decision-making is not concentrated in the same few hands.

This must be a process, not a gesture. It must be given the time it needs, according to local conditions, to happen gradually.

In this way all parties learn to trust and work with each other to mutual benefit. If government is seen to be in the service of the people as a whole, its security is guaranteed by them.

Tomorrow: Part II

Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami presenting the Perdana Putrajaya Lecture at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre yesterday. Bernama pic

A Life Remembered: Sister Juliana died as she lived – for others


May 24, 2014

A LIFE REMEMBERED

 Sister Juliana died as she lived – for others

By Terence Netto

Sister JulianaIn Catholic-Christian understanding vocations to the religious life do not arise in a void. They sprout from a bed seeded by the prayer, deeds and sacrifices of the family from which the postulant has emerged, the community of faith of which he/she has been a part, and the educational environment in which the candidate was nurtured.

 Hilary Clinton’s idea that it takes a whole village to educate a child very nearly explains the vocation of Sister Juliana Lim, the Roman Catholic nun who died last Tuesday, six days after she was beaten senseless by an unknown assailant on the grounds of the Church of the Visitation in Seremban. Juliana, 69, was getting out of her car, together with her elder confrere Sister Marie-Rose Teng, 79, when both were accosted by an intruder brandishing a crash helmet.

The sisters, belonging to the Congregation of the Infant Jesus, famed for the setting up of convent schools in the country from as long ago as 1852, were early for a daily ritual: attendance at morning mass which on Wednesday, May 14, was scheduled for 6.30.

 Little did the nuns expect that this was to be a different morning, one in which they would become victims of every urban denizen’s paranoia in a country where the police are at pains to deny what many citizens feel in their marrow – that they can at any time be targets of the random violence that could leap at them from shadowy recesses where individual pathology intersects with law enforcement decay.

 Perhaps because the church is located in a street, Jalan Yam Tuan, that has a gurdwara and a Hindu temple in the vicinity, the three places of worship lying almost cheek by jowl, the sisters would not have had an inkling of the brutal surprise that lay in furtive wait for them. But when it appeared in the form of a frenzied figure flailing away with a crash helmet, all expectation of the day getting off to a sacramental start, said to be the oxygen of religious life, was crushed under the bludgeoning blows of the assailant.

It must have taken a few moments for Juliana to come to terms with what was happening and, habituated from her childhood in Ayer Salak, an agrarian New Village 15 kilometers northeast of the city of Malacca, she moved without a thought for her safety to get between the assailant and her elder confrere, Marie-Rose.

 The younger nun took the brunt of the hammer blows rained by her attacker who was probably in dire need of the stimulants that can drive otherwise placid-seeming individuals to a manic state if they are short of the cash for their next fix.

The attacker would not have been sentient to the reality that his targets that morning, vowed to a life of evangelical poverty, would not have been in possession, between them, of more then a few Ringgit – a cruelly ironic mismatch, one might say, between his expectations and his victims’ actual capacity.

Juliana crumpled to the ground senseless from the battering she received while Marie-Rose was felled by a less intense barrage. As his victims lay prostrate, their assailant, chastened perhaps by the enormity of what he had done, vanished into the dappled darkness from which he had emerged like a sinister apparition.

 It was several minutes before regular attendees of the morning service became aware of the atrocity that had taken place within a short distance of the main entrance to the church. By the time they were alerted, Juliana was beyond saving while Marie-Rose, reprieved by the selflessness of her younger confrere, would make a fairly quick recovery at the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital where the injured nuns were admitted.

 No purely material computations of the value of a life are allowed in the Roman Catholic worldview, but in the unlikely event that such a heresy is permitted, it would have been Marie-Rose who would have reckoned her life as more expendable than Juliana’s.

The latter was a versatile member of one of the 20 communities to which ageing members of Sisters of the Infant Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order whose charism is the education of young women, have been divided.

After losing control — through a combination of the Islamization of the national education system and slumping vocations — of the 57 convent schools the order had set up in Peninsular Malaysia since their first in Penang in 1852, the nuns have had to reinvent themselves. They moved away from their focus on education to concentrate on the care and upbringing of orphans, on providing shelter and vocational training to abandoned and battered women, and on faith education.

Juliana was good in the new roles her order has had to assume. When she took her vows in 1964, the nuns of the Infant Jesus and the convents they ran, like the Christian Brothers of the De La Salle order who also had their own schools, were renowned for the quality of the education they imparted in their institutes. But matters have steadily declined from that lofty perch so that people like Juliana, who was pushing 70 but was healthy and energetic, were viewed as anachronisms or relics of a bygone era.

Just two Sundays ago, when it was Good Shepherd Sunday in the Catholic liturgical year, a day devoted to the fostering of vocations, Juliana took leave from her community in Seremban to go back to Ayer Salak where she was born to be with 21 others – all either nuns, priests or brothers – who had returned from their stations throughout Malaysia for a celebratory gathering at the St. Mary’s Church. Three others could not make it. At 24 vocations to the religious life, the agrarian community of Ayer Salak, with a population of about 1,550 mainly Catholic Teochews, has furnished the lion’s share of the vocations to the religious state.

Perhaps a pastoral backdrop is more conducive to the flowering of religious vocations, the natural rhythms of agriculture – of herding, sowing, cultivation and harvesting — bearing similarities to the phases of life devoted to matters of the spirit.

 Her confreres at the gathering at St. Mary’s and the people of Ayer Salak remember Juliana as a strong and cheerful character. Several of them made the journey yesterday to Seremban for her funeral which was held at the church where she met her untoward fate.

Ayer Salak is unique as it is the only Chinese Catholic New Village among the 450 settlements formed in the mid-1950s at the height of the communist insurgency. Unlike most Chinese New Villages where land is held under lease or Temporary Occupation Licenses, the land belongs to the Malacca-Johor Diocese of the Catholic Church and the villagers are charged a nominal yearly rent.

It is from this hatchery that the vocation and character of Sister Juliana Lim was formed, selfless and heroic to the end.

Penindasan Ilmu membantutkan Perkembangan Bangsa


May 21, 2014

Penindasan Ilmu membantutkan Perkembangan Bangsa

oleh  Zairil Khir Johari

Zairil Khir JohariIzinkan saya bermula dengan memetik sebuah anekdot masyhur yang dikisahkan di dalam Al-Quran. Kisah seorang insan yang mencari siapa Tuhannya. Beliau bermula dengan mempersoalkan amalan tradisional masyarakatnya yang menyembah berhala.

Pada malam hari, beliau melihat kepada bintang yang menyinari pekat malam, lalu bertanya: apakah bintang ini Tuhan? Namun, ternyata bintang itu terbenam di ufuk dunia menjelang subuh.

Lalu beliau melihat pula kepada bulan, bulat dan bercahaya, dan mengajukan soalan yang sama: apakah bulan ini Tuhan? Namun, bulan juga menghilang setelah terbit fajar dan diganti pula oleh matahari yang bersinar dengan lebih terang.

Apakah matahari ini sebenarnya Tuhan? Setelah matahari terbenam tatkala senja menyingsing, beliau menyedari bahawa Tuhan tidak mungkin menjadi objek dan simbol-simbol semata-mata tetapi adalah kekuasaan yang mengaturkan objek dan simbol-simbol ini. Maka, beliau akhirnya berkata:

“Wahai kaumku, sesungguhnya aku berlepas diri (bersih) dari apa yang kamu sekutukan dengan Allah. Sesungguhnya aku hadapkan mukaku kepada Allah yang menciptakan langit dan bumi, dengan cenderung kepada agama yang benar, dan aku bukan dari orang-orang yang menyekutukan Allah.”

Demikianlah pengembaraan spiritual Nabi Ibrahim mencari Tuhannya, sebagaimana yang dicatatkan dalam Surah Al-An‘am, ayat 74-79.

Walaupun saya bukan pakar agama, saya percaya bahawa kisah Nabi Ibrahim ini jelas menggambarkan bagaimana Islam adalah agama yang berasaskan sisi rasional yang mampu dihujahkan dengan logik.

Pada saya, perkara yang paling menarik dalam kisah tersebut, adalah pada waktu Nabi Ibrahim sedang menghadapi persoalan epistemelogi yang paling besar dalam sejarah ketamadunan manusia – persoalan kewujudan manusia – tiada campur tangan yang berlaku daripada Yang Maha Esa. Bukankah mudah andainya sekiranya malaikat (atau setidaknya Ustaz Azhar Idrus) diutuskan untuk memberikan jawapan kepada Nabi Ibrahim?

Sebaliknya, Allah dalam kebijaksanaanNya telah menyerahkan kepada Nabi Ibrahim untuk mencerap alam dan mencari kebenaran melalui kaedah kognitif dan empirikal. Malah, kaedah ini telah mengukuhkan lagi keyakinan Nabi Ibrahim.

Ini membuktikan bahawa Islam adalah lebih daripada dogma semata-mata. Sesungguhnya, Allah telah mengurniakan manusia dengan magnum opus ciptaannya, kurniaan yang hatta tidak pernah diberikan kepada makhluk lain termasuk para malaikat, iaitu akal fikiran yang melayakkan kaum manusia diangkat menjadi khalifah di dunia ini.

Agama Islam adalah agama ilmu pengetahuan.

Agama Islam adalah agama ilmu pengetahuan.

Malangnya, di Malaysia, nikmat akal ini tidak benar-benar dihargai, apatah lagi disyukuri, sehingga terdapat kecenderungan para penguasa untuk melakukan apa yang Allah sendiri tidak lakukan terhadap Nabi Ibrahim, iaitu untuk berfikir dan membuat keputusan bagi pihak orang lain, khususnya dalam soal keimanan yang sangat peribadi.

Penindasan ilmu

Justeru, di negara kita, pemerintah akan menentukan untuk rakyat apa yang boleh atau tidak boleh dibaca, ditonton, dibicara, malah dipercayai. Sebagai contoh, bukan Muslim dilarang daripada menggunakan beberapa kalimah “Islam” seperti “Allah,” manakala terjemahan Bible dalam bahasa Melayu pula menjadi mangsa undang-undang.

Penapisan ini tidak hanya terhad kepada bahan-bahan agama. Filem adiwira Daredevil (2003) juga telah diharamkan kerana kononnya merosakkan akidah umat. Baru-baru ini, nasib yang sama telah menimpa buku komik berjudul Ultraman: The Ultra Power.

Dan sekiranya itu tidak cukup menghairankan, kerajaan telah mengambil langkah pelik mengharamkan sesetengah buku hanya dalam bahasa Melayu, manakala tiada sebarang halangan dalam versi bahasa Inggeris.

Satu contoh adalah buku penting dalam ilmu biologi, The Origin of Species karya Charles Darwin. Masuk sahaja ke mana-mana kedai buku atau perpustakaan utama di negara kita dan buku tersebut boleh dijumpai. Walau bagaimanapun, terjemahannya dalam bahasa Melayu, iaitu Asal-usul Spesies, disenaraikan sebagai buku terlarang.

Ada juga buku lain yang mengalami nasib yang menyedihkan ini, seperti karya Karen Armstrong, Islam: A Short History. Terjemahannya, Sepintas Sejarah Islam, diharamkan manakala versi asalnya boleh dibeli dan dipinjam di serata negara.

Apabila diminta untuk mewajarkan pengharaman buku Darwin, maklumbalas yang diterima daripada Kementerian Dalam Negeri adalah bahawa buku tersebut “memudaratkan ketenteraman awam” sambil bercanggah dengan ajaran Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah (hal ini pula menimbulkan persoalan lain berkenaan penguasaan pemerintah ke atas “jenis” Islam yang boleh diamalkan).

Pun begitu, jawapan kerajaan langsung tidak masuk akal. Bagaimanakah mungkin sesuatu buku itu dianggap sebagai ancaman kepada ketenteraman awam dan menyalahi ajaran Islam dalam satu bahasa, tetapi boleh diterima pula dalam bahasa lain?

Ataupun, adakah ini sebenarnya cara kerajaan untuk meletakkan batasan ilmu ke atas mereka yang hanya celik Bahasa Kebangsaan, seolah-olah orang Melayu Islam tidak cukup rasional dan cerdik untuk membaca karya besar dunia berbanding mereka yang mampu berbahasa Inggeris?

Pembantutan perkembangan bangsa

Hakikatnya, tindakan mengharamkan buku atas apa-apa alasan tidak mungkin diwajarkan, kerana ia bukan sahaja menindas ilmu dan minda, malah membantutkan perkembangan negara bangsa.

Sejarah dunia membuktikan bahawa pembangunan tamadun berlaku atas usaha memperluaskan ilmu, manakala kegagalan tamadun berlaku apabila ilmu disekat dan dihadkan.

Dalam hal ini, usaha penterjemahan adalah sangat kritikal. Ini kerana ia bukan sahaja soal penyalinan kata dalam bahasa yang berbeza, tetapi pengolahan ilmu, maklumat dan pengalaman sesuatu budaya.

Ketika zaman kegemilangan Islam semasa pemerintahan Khalifah Harun al-Rashid, Baitul Hikmah di Baghdad telah menjadi pusat penterjemahan yang masyhur, di mana karya-karya tamadun Greek telah diterjemahkan bagi tatapan umum.

Ini bukan sahaja tidak memudaratkan ketenteraman umat, malah telah menyumbang kepada perkembangan tamadun Islam sehingga terhasil karya-karya dunia yang sangat berpengaruh sehingga ke hari ini.

Malangnya di Malaysia, usaha penterjemahan buku ilmiah adalah amat kurang sekali. Maka, persoalan muncul, apakah fungsi Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia atau sekarang dikenali sebagai Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia (ITBM)? Institut ini bukan sahaja tidak giat dalam usaha penterjemahan, ia nampaknya lebih cenderung kepada menerbitkan buku-buku pemimpin kerajaan seperti Perkhidmatan Awam: Meneraju Perubahan, Melangkau Jangkaan oleh Dato’ Sri Najib Razak dan Sudut Pandangan Muhyiddin Yassin oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri.

Cuba bayangkan sekiranya Khalifah Harun al-Rashid menggunakan Baitul Hikmah untuk menerbitkan buku sendiri – adakah zaman baginda akan dikenali serata dunia sebagai zaman kegemilangan Islam?

Bahasa milik penguasa?

Kita semua kenal dengan cogan kata “Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa.” Menurut Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, slogan ini adalah satu gagasan besar yang bermaksud bahawa bahasa mampu memainkan peranan dalam pembentukan identiti kebangsaan.

Di negara ini, bahasa Melayu telah diangkat menjadi Bahasa Kebangsaan. Ini bererti ia bukan lagi menjadi bahasa milik kaum Melayu semata-mata, tetapi telah menjadi bahasa kepunyaan setiap insan yang bergelar rakyat Malaysia.

Namun, tindakan kerajaan untuk memperkecilkan kemampuan bahasa Melayu sebagai bahasa kebangsaan dan bahasa keilmuan dengan mengharamkan terjemahan Melayu sesetengah buku serta keengganannya untuk melabur secara besar-besaran dalam usaha penterjemahan telah menjadikan gagasan ini sebagai slogan kosong yang menghiasi dinding-dinding sekolah semata-mata.

Dalam erti kata lain, para penguasa di Malaysia bukan sahaja tidak menghormati Bahasa Kebangsaan malah menindas penggunaannya. Justeru, nasib bahasa Melayu hanya boleh diselamatkan sekiranya belenggu kerajaan dirungkaikan dan ia diberi ruang dan sokongan yang mencukupi agar menjadi bahasa wacana ilmu sekali lagi.

Elok juga sekiranya iktibar dapat diambil daripada kisah Nabi Ibrahim dan sejarah tamadun Islam, iaitu tidak ada kuasa yang boleh kekal, sama ada kuasa ideologi, agama atau politik, sekiranya ia tidak dapat diwajarkan secara logik dan rasional. Pada masa yang sama, mana-mana kerajaan atau tamadun yang tidak membenarkan ruang bagi perkembangan ilmu dalam kalangan masyarakatnya akan akhirnya menemui kegagalan. Bak kata pepatah orang putih: Sesiapa yang gagal mengambil iktibar daripada sejarah akan mengulangi kesilapannya.

ZAIRIL ialah Ahli Parlimen Bukit Bendera, yang juga Pengarah Eksekutif Penang Institute (PI). Ucapan ini disampaikan sebagai pembukaan Forum Nusantara anjuran PI di Shah Alam pada 17 Mei 2014 bertajuk ‘Bahasa Jiwa Bangsa atau Bahasa Jiwa Kuasa?’