February 3, 2016


By: Kassim Ahmad

I am a patriot, a plain Kassim Ahmad, who a long time ago politely refused an UMNO offer for a datoship.Being from a poor oppressed classed, I began early as a rebel (with causes, of course!) and soon became the leader of the Malayan People’s Socialist Party (1968-1984). In 1984, seeing the collapse of international socialism in the world I left the party and made a strong patriotic statement by joining UMNO in 1986. My aim of reform could not take off. I am still an UMNO member, albeit very critical of UMNO.

On the same day when my UMNO memberhip application was approved, my widely discussed book Hadis – Satu Penilaian Semula was released. After two months of extensive discussions, including an ABIM-organized public dialogue, it was banned by the religious establishment in the country.

Several state muftis penned books to rebut my book, repeating their old and tired arguments, which I have already refuted in the first place. However, I wrote another book entitled, Hadis – Jawapan kepada Pengkritik (1992), briefly dismissing the muftis’ several books, but at the same time giving more details about the Quran.

This started the movement for the review of Hadith as well as for going back to the Quran, not only in Malaysia, but internationally. Hadis – Satu Penilaian Semula has since been translated into English and Arabic. I am glad to say that today the Turkish Government is undertaking a major project of Hadith re-evaluation.

I admit that I was a rebel, and still is. At the core of Malaysia’s problems is  corrupt UMNO, the backbone of its ruling BN Government. In 1946 when UMNO was first formed it was a poor idealistic Malay party embraced en mass by the Malays in their enthusiasm and quest for Merdeka.

To cut the story short, via the bloody May 13, via great Razak’s Mageran (the Council for the  Regeneration of the Country) and his extraordinary vision, Malaysia is what it is today, one of the most progressive countries among the developing world.

At the same time, as it is wont in human affairs, deterioration sets in, as complacancy grows among the ruling elite. UMNO became corrupt, and has perhaps reached the point of no return today. In this atmosphere of gloom when financial scandles abound, pessimism is in the air. Oh Lord! Do we need a second Mageran, ask the thinking part of Malaysia?

The people ask, “What are we to do? Can anything be done? Such voices rise from the depth of the soul of the people, voiced by their intellectuals, the likes of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Dr. M Bakri Musa, HRH Sultan of Johor, HRH Sultan of Perak Dr. Nazrin Shah and HRH the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail.

Yes, indeed. What is to be done? Can corrupt UMNO be reformed? Can weak Pakatan Rakyat take over? Where is our Saviour? Where is our Imam Mahdi? When is the Second-Coming (of Jesus Christ)?

Unfortunately, all these wailings are of no avail. Man has been created as God’s vicegerent on earth, to rule the earth and change it to His liking. Oh Man! Rise up to your calling! “I created you free,” God said. So wait no more! Act!

Enumerate the things you must do in order of importance. First, you must reform UMNO. Once the difficult task of reforming of UMNO is over, all other problems will be resolved: wastage in manpower in Government, increasing productivity by optimum use of assets, trimming the Government, the need for good governance, increasing salaries of lower-rung Government servants, overcoming periodic floods in some states, eliminating traffic jams by decreasing private cars and increasing and improving public transport, and doing away with tolls, and such like actions to make life more comfortable for all Malaysians.

KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is

20 thoughts on “My country MALAYSIA: Its PROBLEMS and SOLUTIONS

  1. Even China has changed itsonechild policy because that policy meant that the parents had to put all their resources on that one child even if they knew that he or she would not be able to make it adult life. In a family such decisions are easy to make because as they say blood is thicker than water. When it comes to state the issues are different. If one policy does not wok you have to look for another because the survival of the state becomes more important because with that survival you can implement those policies that are less successful financially. The NEP is the same. TheNEP may not be able to build a strong economy but a strong economy will be more than able to support the NEP. Just a thought.

  2. Dear Kassim Ahmad,

    We had an interesting exchange of views in your other article “The Rise and Fall of Islam”. You ended by saying “Man is an argumentative creature”. I hope you mean by “creature” a living being, especially an animal. And accept evolution as our origin rather than being manufactured by some supernatural being. And I hope I am not being argumentative, but rather am engaging in logical discourse on this important topic.

    /// Muslim civilization lasted eight centuries. In that time, Baghdad became the capital of the world and Europe became students at the feet of Baghdad. When the rot set in, Europe took over the banner of civilization… ///

    In your earlier article, you mentioned Baghdad. Yes, Baghdad was at its zenith, especially during AD 800 – 1100. This was mentioned by Dr Neil DeGrasse Tyson in the video below, which I will reference.

    @51:40 Two-thirds of all stars that have names have Arabic names.

    @ 52:33 Islam AD 800 – 1100

    @ 53:11 While Europe was disemboweling heretics, Baghdad was the crossroad – there were Jews, Muslims, Christians, Doubters (Atheists) – they were sharing ideas.

    @53:33 Algebra, Algorithm Arabic numerals – all Arabic inventions.

    @54:01 Imam Hamid al-Ghazali- He gained cultural power and political power.
    Codified the various Islamic practices and imposed – this is what you need to do to be a Muslim. In there, was the statement that “manipulating numbers was the work of the devil” and that cut off the kneecaps of the entire mathematical enterprise of that period.

    @54:48 Islam has not recovered since.

    Now, on to this article “My country MALAYSIA: Its PROBLEMS and SOLUTIONS”.

    Kassim Ahmad, to you the problem with Malaysia is a corrupt UMNO.
    Your solution is to reform UMNO.

    I agree with your take on Malaysia’s problem. However, let me offer an alternate solution, as I don’t think your solution will work.

    UMNO has consolidated cultural power and political power and religious power. Now, if you view the video in its entirety, it is the religious teaching that is retarding people’s thinking and society’s progress. In fact, just like Baghdad, organized in Malaysia has cut off the kneecaps of its education system. Solution – remove religion from the political, social and cultural sphere. Let religion stay where it belongs – in the personal sphere. Otherwise, Malaysia will never recover.

  3. “Where is our Imam Mahdi? When is the Second-Coming (of Jesus Christ)? “, rues Inche Kassim. For what – to solve Malaysia’s problems or world’s problems? Or to resurrect with greater intensity Christians vs Muslims religious wars of the past and see ISIS’s mega growth with more and larger tentacles?

    A fish rots from its head. UMNO can never be changed by present line of leaders and the next line of leaders too. Change can only come, hopefully, from thousands of ordinary party members and they have to be persuaded and goaded to take symbolic steps to bring about real change. People like Inche Kassim can lead this struggle. Organise bonfire events all over the country now and then for members to gather and throw their UMNO membership cards into a heap and set it on fire. Fire burns and will burn the crooked corrupt leaders. Such leaders are not there for the country – not even for race and Islam. They are there for themselves to fill the pockets.

  4. On mystery of second coming of Christ, I like this Ted talk.

    Who am I, in this great theatre of life?
    The waiting has always been that, as quoted by the Ted talk speaker.

    This are tons of lies in this.

    There are some half truth in here

    >must reform UMNO.
    All truth in the above…

    So, Who am I, in this great theatre of life, given I am no part of UMNO.
    Forgive I have. So now, how can we help?

  5. So it’s time for some hard truths to “save” Malaysia?

    Well, so long as the Malays think, and insist, this is a Malay country and Malays and their interests and their interests alone will always come first, Malaysia will continue to deteriorate and remain a 3rd World country forever, if we are lucky. If we are not lucky?

    Singapore is a country that has an ethnic Chinese majority population, and with so many smart, hardworking Chinese around, the government has non-Chinese ministers to helm critical ministries including the present Chief Justice and Attorney General.

    Therein lies the “solution”. Will the Ketuanan Melayus in Malaysia accept this solution?

  6. It’s not possible. Fact is it takes talent, resource and opportunity to make the kind of change proposed. For the lack of self- change, change will be brought upon. So what must and will happen is first national collapse before rewriting of the rules can be done – that is Darwinian which is bigger than Feudalism

  7. Wayne, your meritocratic Singapore solution will never be accepted by the Malays because they will view it as being Chinese biased.

    Besides, why should they lose the NEP when it has provided them with a leg up onto the first rung of the ladder to a better life? If I were a Malay, I could easily be persuaded to understand that it is not too much of an entitlement for letting them make a living in my land.

    My solution is to try and make the Malays accept Wayne’s formula.

  8. Oh Lordy here we go again.

    “Once the difficult task of reforming of UMNO is over, all other problems will be resolved :”

    Therein lies the folly. The Malaysian dilemma does not begin and end with Um-no. And its really not difficult to “reform” Um-no. Um-no needs to be benched. That’s democracy in action. Of course the difficult part is benching the party, what will the flawed electoral process at our disposal.

    Looking to Singapore with it’s wonderful hard working Chinese (sic) majority isn’t the hard truth. Tokenism might seem like an easy way out but nobody wants to hear the hard truths about Harry’s Paradise.

    Or rather maybe the hard truths are not the kind of things that have any meaning to a certain section of our demographic.

    Looking for saviours also isn’t constructive. Personality politics, strong men archetypes is what got us into this situation in the first place.

    I have no idea what the solution is. Sure the bromides point the way but ultimately I think the Non Malay component of our society or anything we say is irrelevant. We are losing the numbers game.

    Alternative Malay power structures will eventually emerge. The Malay polity will change. Demographics is destiny and Ketuanan Melayu will become what the Malay political elite wants it to become.


    Time to be strong as it is needed to bear witness to each of our own truth (be it a world without religion, a world with meritocracy, or a world with the Quran as foundation).

    For me, I will share a loving heart of an open myth. Dark days ahead. No budding fig trees to be seen yet.

    As for politics, I pursue the dream of the wolf would live with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the goat.

    I second the day when the Mahathirs, son, daughter and father, the G25, the pakatan, exUMNO working on an alternative with the Sultan’s blessings.

  10. “Tokenism might seem like an easy way out but nobody wants to hear the hard truths about Harry’s Paradise.”


    ” ultimately I think the Non Malay component of our society or anything we say is irrelevant. We are losing the numbers game.”


    ” Ketuanan Melayu will become what the Malay political elite wants it to become.”


  11. 1. Mankind is a vicegerent of God on earth. Or he is created in the image of God. He is sovereign individual with power and ability to rule the earth. That is the first thing we must understand.
    2. I said in the beginning UMNO was an idealistic poor party, but it galvanized into a power that even the British Empire had to give in to its demands.
    3. Originally man is the same: Malays and non-Malays. So do not talk as if all Malays are racists. Do not forget that Malays gave outright citizenship to one million non-Malay immigrants at the time of Merdeka.
    4. I have already asked readers here to note the principles of the great Medina Charter. One of which is that religion is autonomously administered by its adherence.
    5. There is a lot of reference to ketuanan Melayu here. I have never used the term. I wonder whether those who used it know what it means. Or is it just anti-Malay prejudice?
    6. I wish commentators would read what I said carefully. Otherwise do not comment.
    — Kassim Ahmad

  12. Wyne

    “As long as the Malays think and insist tthat this is a Malay country ,and Malays and their interests and their interests alone will come first- – – – -”

    If you are so daft,let me tell you that this is a Malay country and it has been so for a few thousand years already.Just like Chinese or Indians their main priority will be their interests first and among them the individual priority usually will rank higher then that of their society just like everyone else.Dont tell me you have not heard of Chinese and Indians ministers in Malaysia and thousands of well known Chinese enterpreneurs as well.

    The problem with this country is that the various races do not want to assimilate.This was due to the British that brought in huge numbers of Chinese and Indians that allow them to remain segregated from the natives of the land,i.e the Malays.If you now migrate to US you will become Americans in one generation.Slowly but surely you will integrate into the American social system,otherwise you will find yourself alienated .The whites in general just like the Malays want foreigners to integrate into their culture just like everyone else.

    The Malays beginning in the 70’s began to emulate the Chinese and started to regard material success as the main criteria to measure success in this life.By hook or crook,substancial number began to struggle to achieve this regardless of the methods and consequences.Thus even the religous teachers despite all the preachings are basically looking at their professions as means of achieving material success.The moral decay in UMNO and the corruption in civil service are also the menifestation of this obsession.

    What we need are good leaders and not more ideologies and the only way to achieve this is to thoroughly screened all potential leaders in public spheres by mean of psychological profiling to exclude the sociopaths and psychopaths.I.Qtests to ensure we pick the intelligent people to hold high public posts and some form of aptitude tests to ensure they have management skill required .However , before we can implement this system we need a benevolent dictator to force through these measures and this is not easy to achieve.Good leaders will inspire those below and finally our society.We cannot afford to have a Menteri Besar with LCE qualification to inspire the citizens to do better.

  13. @aj prof kassim ahmad just wrote no more searching for mahdi like figure, and you suggest a benevolent dictator. Doesn’t Tun M fit the bill? But he forgot how to find another one like himself? His QTest ability is not working? Hlow can I expect my Qtest would work. Even Dato Din originally thought 1Malaysia and setting up of Pemandu is a good thing. There was one LKY who spoke Malay perfecty, but he is rejected. He built a first world island in his lifetime. USA was not as successful in integration as you have claimed on closer look. Else, Sayyid Qutb’s writtings would be drastically different. IMHO, Malaysia is not doing so bad in integration, except it has a wrong idea of what integration mean. We Malaysians kept dumbing down our effort to integrate. We work on finding the lowest common denominator amongst 3 big culture, instead of working on teaching our young to appreciate it before criticizing it. Malays were unfortunate in inheriting such a pluralistic world. But, when life throws lemon into your face, go make lemon juice. You know the world is really hungry for lemon juice, and the Malay elites got the perfect ingredients all ready made to get it right?

    After 12 posts, not one Malay commented something like let’s do it. Let’s reform UMNO, and propose something concrete of how he or she would reform UMNO. Come on.. can some real Malay stand up and lead!?

  14. Read the following on newyorker on resistance for challenging the establishment in America’s Democratic party.

    I don’t know what it takes for UMNO to change.
    But, I can be sure that the environment is ripe to realize Prof Kassim’s socialism ideal. Yet, there is no younger speaker for Prof Kassim Ahmad. Prof Kassim talked about a tangible Islamic model that respects differences, closest that I could see that could galvanize enthusiasm next to Cyrus’s reform today. But, no Malay is excited about it. All the talk is still mere bickering on who is going to be the next leader.
    … this is taking place…
    Another study, by the economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, showed that the richest 0.1 per cent of households own almost a quarter of the country’s wealth, which is more than the bottom ninety per cent of households.
    … so …
    study of millennials found them “burdened by debt, distrustful of people,” and “in no rush to marry.” But, despite all that, they were “optimistic about the future.”
    …and Clinton’s response…
    her response to the Sanders phenomenon sometimes seems to be “No, we can’t.”
    …so, she will need to face up to bob dylan’s song…
    sound suspiciously like one of the “mothers and fathers” that Bob Dylan addressed back in 1964—those people whose “order is rapidly fadin’,” whose “old road is rapidly agin’,” and who, finally, are bid, “Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.”
    Yet, prof Kassim Ahmad .. the one who is really older, is the one youngest at heart, with the young closest to his heart when he stood up against the establishment with his two simple to understand Islamic ideal.
    Melayu… how far do you still want to ‘layu’?

  15. “6. I wish commentators would read what I said carefully. Otherwise do not comment.”

    I make it a point to read whatever anyone writes before making a comment. Indeed my own comments were in reference to points you raised in your article and points raised by other people with regards to your article.

    We call this a discussion.

    I see no reason to be dismissive or offended nor is there any reason to claim people who disagree with you are ignorant of your points or misunderstand them.

    You do understand than even with this response you wrote, people will find much they disagree with, right ?

    But no worries, I will cease responding to your articles because evidently disagreement to you always means lack of understanding or lack of familiarity with cited text.

  16. katasayang

    Its true that Mahathir could have been our benevolent dictatorbut unfortunately he was too emroiled in the politickings and grandeur projects when what was needed was the search and development of leaders that would lead Malaysia to a better future.The reason LKY was not acceptable because the races were not integrated as I have mentioned earlier.If the process of assimilation had occured we could have PM from different ethnic backgrounds like Thaksin and his sister in Thailand or the Aquinos in the Phillipines.As for regorming UMNO,its a waste of time.The moral decay there is too deep rooted and the party can only can only transform of a period in the wilderness after losing the power and self reflection by the members themselves.

  17. 1. Take just one point: religion. I have many times mentioned here that in the great Medinah religion is autonomously administered by its own adherents. Dato’ Din has kindly published the Charter with my comments in his blog. Yet readers here do not seems to understand. They keep harping on religion. That is why I ask them to read carefully.
    2. I do not mind people disagreeing with me. Differences of opinion is natural; in fact, good. — Kassim Ahmad

  18. @aj i love bacon, more than i love to be a PM. I did like a Malay girl in college. Bacon did come to my mind. Lagi, I pun tak begitu kacak. So, nowhere close to get to be that assimilated like Thai PM. Too late now 🙇

  19. katasayang

    It may be too late for us but not for our descendents.Assimilation doesnt neans one has to be exactly like the rest.

  20. “They keep harping on religion”

    People keep harping on religion because religion – esp Islam- is intruding into our lives on a daily basis. If everyone Muslim in this country believed like you did, if Islam was not manipulated by Um-no , nobody would be harping on Religion.

    Well maybe the Christian Evangelists but they are looney to begin with.

    When people harp on about Religion and Islam, I doubt very much they are talking about you or what you have written on the subject. They are talking about the every day reality of Islam here in Malaysia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s