Respect the Rukunegara


January 21, 2013

A Message to Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali and Others like him: Respect the Rukunegara

by Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi*@http://www.malaysiakini.com

COMMENT: I wish to comment on the irresponsible statement of Ibrahim Ali Dr Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi(purposely NOT using any titles) on the burning of Malay language Bibles with the name Allah. I think such statements, if left unchecked by the Malaysian public, elected representatives and especially the Prime Minister himself, would create a culture of extreme violence and victimize many innocent Malaysians.

I urge peace loving and sensible Malaysian of all religious faiths to come together and denounce such ‘grandstanding statements’ that clearly violate our ‘sacred’ Rukunegara tenet of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’.

Our forefathers have worked hard to build this nation of diverse communities, race and Ibrahim Alireligions and derive the principle of ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’. I am convinced, as a Malaysian, as an academic and as a Muslim, that the May 13 tragedy that saw many innocent lives lost was not due to the ignorance of ordinary Malaysians but by politicians trying to be popular by using such fiery instructions in order to incite racial hatred.

I have read the book ‘A Singapore Story’ and some other critical writings that indicate that the culprits of our racial mistrusts and clashes were in no small part due to self-serving politicians and a media which has no sense of honour whether in the Islamic spirit or in any religious spirit.

Have we Malaysians, and especially Malays, forgotten our own principle in the Rukunegara, crafted in our own Melayu Language. Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan. As good  am I with English I can’t translate properly the word ‘kesusilaan’. The word, and I am not a scholar in Lingusitics, connotes to me such softness, tact and, politeness, concern and humility. Is there a better word than this to reflect such a great culture of the Malays?

Ridhuan Tee AbdullahI dare say that the Prophet Muhammad, if Allah had not intended for him to be born in Arabia, would have been a Malay. Why? Because the Prophet was the softest and most humble, polite and considerate of men.

I have read through over 20,000 hadiths from the compilations of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Madjah along with the Muwatta and the Sirah Ibn Ishaq to conjure up a man which a hadith says that the Prophet was so ‘shy’ and gentle that even a small slave girl can lead him.

This characteristic of gentleness is totally unheard off in the boisterous, rowdy and all man’s world of the Arabs. When the Prophet Muhammad stood on the fields of Ta’if with a bloodied and scarred body after being stoned by children and adults of the settlement, he still forbade the Angel Jibrail from taking any retribution and destroy the community. Why? For ‘I am sent as a Mercy to mankind’ said the Prophet.

When Aishah asked him ‘What was your greatest fear, O Rasulullah?’ He replied that he feared of giving in to his feeling of vengeance and destroying the community with a single command. The Prophet did not fear death or bodily harm. He feared giving in to his ego and vengeful feeling that all humanity possess.

Who are we Malays then?

I, therefore ask, who are we Malays then? Are we better than the Prophet? Look at ourHarussani examples. The mufti (right) and other higher authorities have INSTRUCTED, ORDERED and DECREED that non-Muslims MUST NOT use the word Allah. The PAS Syura Council that has all the so-called great Islamic scholars went round and round their wordings until settling on almost the same tone of instruction, order and decree.

Now we have the person of Ibrahim Ali calling on the burning of the Bible or the Injil. Unless I am mistaken, Allah called on all Muslims to honour the Books of Allah in the past and its PEOPLES. Yes… yes…we can argue about what book and which Bible that have been ‘tampered’ with and all that stuff but I have read the Bible in English and I, for one, found many enlightening things that Nabi Isa says that has helped me get closer to Allah The Most High.

I think I am honouring what the Qur’an says in Surah Al-Baqara to believe in the Books. I also read other books of our great religions that have given the first idea of humaneness to human civilisation.

41. And believe in what I have sent down (this Qur’an), confirming that which is with you, [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], and be not the first to disbelieve therein, and buy not with My Verses [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] a small price (i.e. getting a small gain by selling My Verses), and fear Me and Me Alone. (Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol. I, Page 253).

The whole Allah issue to me was handled as badly as it can be handled. Why? It is simply anNik-Aziz-Nik-Mat instrument of political influence. If the so called scholars and politicians of Islam were sincerely concerned about such confusion on the Malay usage of the word Allah, there should have been a courteous call for discussion with our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith. Not instruct, order and decree first… and… then call for discussion.

What discussion? It seems that the decision has already been chiselled into stone. Where in heavens name is the Rukunegara? Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan?  Ibrahim Ali has called for the burning of the Bible. What next? Let us Malays go burn a church at 4 pm next week? Oh… while we’re at it why don’t we burn a few Christians… if we have time!

What talk is this? What country is this? Have we forgotten the decency to discuss cordially. “This is an Islamic Country and I am a Malay and so you better do as I say!” Is that the line we are taking now as Malays? Perhaps that is a Malay cultural trait… I do not know. But I DO KNOW it is NOT what the Prophet would say or do. It is NOT within the Islamic Spirit as shown by the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him).

I can quote pages and pages of hadith showing the generosity and magnanimity of Muhammad Rasulullah. I can’t seem to find any of the same characteristics in Malay politicians in Malaysia.

Dr MMy wife and I have raised five children and now we have a grandson. I am sure all Christian parents and Muslim parents are concerned about where this country is going and would it be safe to be a place to stay. Just because I am a Malay, with a million-strong mostly Malay civil service, and an equal number of police and military personnel of my race does not give me the right to frighten my brothers and sisters of the Christian faith… or any other faith for that matter.

So, before such volatile statement turn into regrettable actions, I call upon the last strand of decency from the politicians of the ruling party, and especially the Prime Minister, to denounce Ibrahim Ali and his war-mongering words. Or else, we would have to change our Rukunegara from ‘Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan’ to ‘Kekasaran dan Kegila-gilaan’.


*Dr.Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi is Professor at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s School of Architecture. A prolific writer, he has authored over 30 books, including his latest, ‘Why Listen to the Vice-Chancellor?

From Euphoria to Doom: Wither Pakatan Rakyat?


March 9, 2011

http://masterwordsmith-unplugged.blogspot.com

From Euphoria to Doom: 3rd Anniversary of 2008 Political Tsunami

by Masterwordsmith-Unplugged

“Today, 8th March 2011, is the third anniversary of the 8th March 2008 ‘Revolution’. Has the Revolution lost steam? Will the next general election see the opposition make more gains or is it downhill from hereon? This is what many are asking and most are of the opinion that March 2008 was a flash-in-the-pan. The next general election is not for Barisan Nasional to win but for Pakatan Rakyat to lose” –Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK)

Actually, I did not want to write about the 3rd anniversary of the 2008 tsunami because there is nothing to celebrate. In fact, I hang my head down in shame for all that has been happening. From a high point of euphoria, we have descended into the doldrums of doom with hope that seems to be diminishing by the day. In his latest post HERE, RPK said that “The next general election is not for Barisan Nasional to win but for Pakatan Rakyat to lose.” What led to this despondent state of affairs?

Are we really headed for doom? Where is the hero that will prevent us from being decimated by all the squabbling and controversies? What do we see at the moment? Top on the list is the fast diminishing support from voters who are unlikely to continue to stand behind Pakatan Rakyat candidates who refuse to stand TOGETHER for Malaysians. However, is there really increasing support for BN? The record shows that both coalitions have won eight of 16 by-elections which means that when the next GE comes, anything could happen so it is not the end until the fat lady sings.

Pakatan Rakyat: Facing the Backlash of the Gambling Ban

Time and time again many have asked PR to take the bull by the horns and deal with issues e.g PKR internal problems, the PAS gambling ban etc. but have they done what is needed? Have they put the rakyat first in their deliberations and actions? They have to be serious in their leadership role not only because it is the right thing to do for us Malaysians but because to do otherwise would be absolutely foolish and politically self-destructive.

However, at a time when the PR leaders should come together and reason to see how to attack the common enemy, they are facing the backlash from voters because of the gambling ban. It is not so much the public outcry against gambling per se but rather the insensitivity to the needs of those of different religious beliefs and the impact on illegal gambling. In other words, PR is digging its own grave at an unprecedented speed what with:

* the departure of Zaid Ibrahim and the formation of KITA.
* the internal squabbles of PKR.
* Selangor water woes.
* Sodomy II trial.
* defections.
* the absence of public statements from the coalition as contrasted by differing views from leaders of the coalition such as on the gambling ban.
* the increasing distrust and fear/wariness of PAS.
* failure to deliver.
* how the needs of the rakyat have NOT been prioritized.
* the gambling ban.
* poor public relations strategies.
* failure to handle internal problems and to deal with objections/public outcry
* and many other shameful issues which have been headline news.

Are our politicians too proud to admit that they have erred? Have they been so complacent with the high points of the 2008 victories and the aftermath to the extent that they are of no earthly use because they have yet to come down from their cloud 9?

Are they busy taking care of their own turf and bickering over seats for the next elections? Are they foolishly complacent into thinking that the disgruntled rakyat WILL support them?

Knock, knock knock! Reality bites! Real hard bites too! Pakatan MUST consolidate. They MUST come together to see how best they can go to battle. This is the time to improve their artillery, train their foot-soldiers, improve their public relations techniques, spruce up their report card, go down to the grass root levels to seek out support and to lobby instead of floating around in their airy-fairy land doing sword-fighting antics against their friends instead of foes!!!

Pakatan Rakyat MUST remember that the rakyat are their bosses and if we are NOT happy in our appraisal of what has and has NOT been done, we will have no qualms about showing them the door just as we did to BN in the previous election.

Honestly, I do not understand their warped mentality. At this time, BN is at full turbo speed zooming to the rakyat, forking out aid, giving out goodies, delivering well-written speeches, painting a hunky dory pic of BN while PR members are taking turns to shoot themselves in the foot.

Good heavens! Please stop all this monkeying around and get down to the brass tags of serving the people. Time is running out, you are playing in injury time and there have been too many red cards issued to you.

Wise up or prepare to be shipped out! That, my dear, is the hefty price you may have to pay for your false pride and complacency!