Sleepwalking? What is progress supposed to look like?


May 23, 2018

On Turning 79–A Time for Personal Stock Taking 

COMMENT: I chose Firoz’s article to remind Malaysians of  Generation X and Y of what they failed to do in the last decade when they allowed Najib Razak and UMNO kleptocrats to govern our country carte blanche. We have been sleepwalking. Now look what Najib had done and imagine what more  he could have done if he were re-elected on May 9, 2018.

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Thanks to the present generation of voters, Najib is out of action; he is now being asked to account for the scandals he left behind including a trillion ringgit in national debt for the Mahathir 2.0 government to deal with. It takes my generation of 1950s, men like Tun Daim, Tan Sri Robert Kuok, former Attorney- General Abu Talib and others to come back to sort out the mess.

For me, money is not everything. It is important to have money. How much is enough? It is never enough. It was Mahatma Gandhi who said there’s enough for everyone’s  needs, but never enough for someone’s greed. Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor succumbed to greed and now they must bear the consequences of their avarice.

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That is why I seek to lead a simple life and as I reach 80 in a matter of 365 days from today, I choose to lead a life of an academic, a life of learning and devoted service to my students at The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. These students challenge me everyday to give my best.

It was the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew who urged us to lead a purposeful life. Greek Philosopher and teacher of Plato, Socrates said an unexamined life is not worth living. Descartes pronounced “I think , therefore I am” (Cogito Ergo Sum). Finally, I am just beginning to realize what they mean. It is a lonely life of deep contemplation. It does not make one popular; in fact, it may ruin relationships, but I will give it my best shot. And if I fail, it will not be for the lack of effort.

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Mr. Lee Kuan Yew led a life of public service

Today I turn 79. I choose to celebrate this day by posting Firoz’s article and to remind myself that I must continue to speak the truth to power. I will, therefore, hold our new government accountable for their policies and actions. I will remain critical. While I congratulate Pakatan Harapan on their electoral success, I will speak up when  our leaders in the  Mahathir 2.0 administration fail to honour their pledge to serve Malaysians.–Din Merican

Sleepwalking? What is progress supposed to look like?

by Firoz Abdul Hamid

http://investvine.com/highlights/tech-and-education/

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Robert Frost, a well known American poet wrote a poem on the 1919 inflation which reads:

The pain of seeing ten cents turned to five,

We clutch with both hands fiercely at the part,

We think we feel it in – the head, the heart,

Is someone cutting us in two alive?

Is someone cutting us in half?

These words cannot ring truer in a landscape where we are seemingly sleepwalking into losing homes and our life savings. A world where you could walk into work and be greeted by your pink slip, when only yesterday you were probably told you were a star in the galaxies of the workplace. The world of capitalism markets has created more people on Prozac (or similar tranquilisers) in search of their own personal worth and purpose. Even dogs are said to be on Prozac now – a testament of how we treat animals today

Is this what progress is suppose to look like? Does progress leave one billion people in hunger whilst another billion overindulging on food? How can the 21st century tolerate illness due to hunger and poverty and that due to overeating of “super scale” sized food at the same time and on the same planet? Why are people overeating anyway in the first place? Is the food produced for the “life on the rat race” lacking in nutrition that we have to keep eating? Even the basics like milk are no longer pure. We get pasteurised, skimmed, 1 per cent, 99 per cent with many other combinations. Coffee used to just be yes, coffee. Today we have all sizes and designs – it has become an industry unto itself to wake the stressed life we have all subscribed to.

And then we see the springing of organic food for the enlightened. But shouldn’t all food be organic in the first place. How did our food become unhealthy and inorganic that we need to search for health in food?

How did we get here as a civilisation?

When we have movements like the 1 per cent versus the 99 per cent on wealth, countries like the USA which makes just under 6 per cent of the world’s population is said to be one of the world’s largest consumers of global resources. Yet under these same skies we have the poorest of the poorest who are probably living on dhal (lentil) and bread, living a more prosperous life than those with multi-gated security having their three course meals, all cooked and served (flown to wherever they are for some).

Robert Frank wrote a book titled “Richistan” in 2007. In a commentary article on the book he wrote, “The wealthy weren’t just getting wealthier — they were forming their own virtual country. They were wealthier than most nations, with the top 1 per cent controlling $17 trillion in wealth” He further adds, “The real story behind all this wealth, however, isn’t in the numbers. It’s in the people, and how they’re changing the culture and character of wealth in America. Richistan is largely about a country in flux — one in which Old Money is being shoved aside by self-made entrepreneurs, philanthropy is changing from passive check-writing to ‘high-engagement philanthropy,’ and the progressive new rich are changing the politics of wealth. Most of all, Richistan is about the entertaining way that today’s rich are making, spending, donating and living with their wealth. (Like the guy in my book who has a house staff of 105 people.)

It is reported that since Frank wrote the book, some of the people in the book have faced repossession, but that isn’t the question at hand here. The argument really is about what is just, what is equitable, what is equity and what is mercy? What is humanity? What indeed is our purpose on and for this earth?

This is not a debate on class warfare. It is not about being against the rich and opting for the less privileged. It is about our motives and what should be the essence of our humanity and our civilisation. Yes, these are probably questions we are asked and taught in Sunday schools, in our Islamic classes, and other similar religious settings both in our schools and homes. Yet we tend to cast it aside when we reach a certain age in our adult life. We get so hamstrung into the hamster cycle of competition and the “dog eat dog” world that we forget the simple basics of doing unto others as you like it done unto yourself.

There is little to dispute about the state of our planet today, never mind our economies and markets globally. One thing that doesn’t require a debate – we are in trouble!

The models of yesterday haven’t worked – we only need to reflect on the staggering changes in our weather cycles from East to West and the breakdown of our economies and communities. Whether we are religious in our inclinations or otherwise, we have a moral purpose and responsibility for our time on this planet; if for nothing else for the people who will stay behind to pick up the pieces after we are long gone. Do we let them pick up pieces of destruction – or savour the pieces of our achievements and success? You know we are in trouble when you don’t know for sure what is in the food packs that you are buying (this relates to the recent horse meat saga in the UK). We are in trouble when the food that is served in Muslim schools is not what it seems (a recent incident in the UK).

Progress cannot possibly bring such episodes. Progress cannot justify loss of dignity for so many in an instance and from a decision made by a reckless someone in one part of the world. Progress cannot consent dire hunger and obesity sharing the same space in time. This surely cannot be progress. Are we sleepwalking into progressive destruction?

Even in fields like medicine, how far must you and can you go to seek cure for an illness? Where do the remits and limits of conscience and ethics stand when seeking solution – is it or must it be at all cost?

Across industries and sectors, there is a real crises of conscience on what we must do differently. Abdal Hakim Murad, the Dean of Islamic School at Cambridge, wrote in a 2009 article in The Guardian, “Ours is an age that has made idols of the great banks and finance houses, driven to frenzy by competition amongst billionaires who are kept awake at night by the thought that a rival might make a business deal more quickly than them. A banker who can asset strip companies and throw its employees out onto the street is someone who is in the grip of an obsession that has thrown him beyond of the normal frontiers of humanity.”

The purpose of this column is to scour industry and sector leaders on what the role of ethics in business should entail and how it can be implemented. Does it hold a place in markets, economies and businesses? What works and what should be done? Through interviews, this column will seek to understand their views on ethics in their areas of business.

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Aristotle spoke of justice in societies and equitable spreading of wealth. Imam Ghazali, one of the most leading scholars in the Islamic tradition, wrote books on trade justice. Today we have such organisations like Fairtrade International accrediting companies to safeguard injustices and abuse against farmers so that these farmers can have a more dignified life than if they were to sell their products in the traditional conveyor process of the capital markets. In return, consumers are probably getting a better deal. Whether you are inclined towards an organic or halal industry type setting or the mass market setting, the essence of humanity needs to get back into how we transact with our fellow human beings in business. The Orwellian world view can only truly destroy our souls and of what may be left of the future of this planet.

I hope you will enjoy these interviews – there are some real great people in store at http://www.investvine.com

Editorial note: This article is the prelude to a series of interviews on ethics in business with high-ranking executives globally.

 

 

 

A Better Deal for Teachers–More than Appreciation


May 21, 2018

A Better Deal for Teachers–More than Appreciation

by Dr. Fareed Zakaria

https://fareedzakaria.com/columns/2018/5/17/teachers-need-a-lot-more-than-appreciation

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John Steinbeck writes, “In the country the repository of art and science was the school, and the schoolteacher shielded and carried the torch of learning and of beauty. . . . The teacher was not only an intellectual paragon and a social leader, but also the matrimonial catch of the countryside. A family could indeed walk proudly if a son married the schoolteacher.”–In East of Eden

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, and I intended to write on the subject, but a more newsy topic intervened. That’s an apt metaphor for the plight of teachers in America today. We live in a media environment in which the urgent often crowds out the important. But this week, I will stick to my plans.

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Novelist John Steinbeck and his companion

In “East of Eden,” a sprawling, magisterial novel about the great American West, John Steinbeck writes, “In the country the repository of art and science was the school, and the schoolteacher shielded and carried the torch of learning and of beauty. . . . The teacher was not only an intellectual paragon and a social leader, but also the matrimonial catch of the countryside. A family could indeed walk proudly if a son married the schoolteacher.”

The picture Steinbeck paints (set in the early 20th century) is almost unrecognizable in today’s America, where schoolteachers are so poorly paid that they are about five times as likely as the average full-time worker to have a second job, according to Vox. We have all heard about stagnant middle-class wages. But the average pay for a teacher in the United States, adjusted for inflation, has actually declined over the past 15 years, while their health-care costs have risen substantially. The Economist reports that teachers earn 60 percent of what a professional with comparable education does.

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The average salary for a teacher in many states is under $50,000. Teachers in West Virginia went on strike a few months ago to demand higher wages, and the government agreed to a 5 percent pay raise, which means the average salary will rise to only $48,000. Like many other states, West Virginia failed to restore education spending after slashing it in the wake of the financial crisis a decade ago. As of last year, per-pupil state funding (adjusted for inflation) was still down between 8 and 28 percent in five of the six states where teachers have now gone on strike, according to a study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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“…the countries that do best at public education — Singapore, Finland, South Korea — can recruit top college graduates into the teaching ranks because they pay reasonably well, they invest in professional development and their societies show deep respect for the profession.”–Fareed Zakaria

With low wages and stretched resources, American educators burn out and quit the profession at twice the rate of some of the highest-achieving countries, as Linda Darling-Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute points out. Since 35 percent fewer Americans have studied to become teachers in recent years, she notes, there are massive teacher shortages, forcing schools nationwide to hire more than 100,000 people who lack the proper qualifications. In fact, the New York Times reports, it is so hard for public schools to find qualified Americans that many districts are starting to recruit instructors from low-wage countries such as the Philippines.

It’s not all about salaries. One veteran educator I spoke with, who began working in California in the 1960s, reminisced about that “golden age” when she had ample resources to use in the classroom, went to seminars to develop her skills and felt fulfilled. Today, teachers have little time or money for any of this. A recent survey of public school teachers found that 94 percent pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets, without reimbursement, at an average of $479 a year.

It’s not even all about money. Leading a classroom was never a pathway to riches, but teachers once did command the respect and status that Steinbeck’s quote reflects. Andreas Schleicher, who heads the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s education division and has spent years doing careful international comparisons on education, has often observed that the countries that do best at public education — Singapore, Finland, South Korea — can recruit top college graduates into the teaching ranks because they pay reasonably well, they invest in professional development and their societies show deep respect for the profession. In the United States, when we encounter a member of the armed services, many of us make a point to thank them for their service. When was the last time you did the same for a public school teacher?

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Yes, education is a very complicated subject. Simply spending more money does not guarantee results — although there are studies that indicate a significant correlation between teacher pay and student achievement. Yes, the education bureaucracy is rigid and often corrupt. But all of this masks the central problem: Over the past 30 years, as part of the assault on government, bureaucrats and the public sector in general, being a teacher in America has become a thankless job. And yet, teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

Fellow Malaysians–Lead a Life of Integrity


May 20, 2018

Fellow Malaysians–Lead a Life of Integrity

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I admire Rex Tillerson not because he was Secretary of State in the Trump Administration. He was never given the chance by the insecure and ego-centric  Donald Trump to prove his worth as America’s top diplomat. I believe, he could have done a great job in that role, given his education and experience in the private sector.

I respect him as Chairman, Exxon-Mobil, a Fortune 500 corporation, and for being a corporate executive with integrity. In his Commencement Address to his Alma Mater’s Class of 2018, he urges graduates of VMI to lead life of integrity (both personal and professional). The  Truth shall make us free, he said.

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Listen to Rex Tillerson so that we too shall be free. Let us make ourselves Malaysians with high standards of ethical leadership, and  build our country into great nation which is admired and respected by our neighbours in ASEAN and the world.  Yes, we can.–Din Merican

 

Appointment of Maszlee Malik as Education Minister raises concern among Malaysians


May 20, 2018

Appointment of Maszlee Malik as  Education Minister raises concern among Malaysians

by FMT Reporters

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa questions double standards by those who defend Zakir Naik’s freedom of speech but oppose the right of Muslims to practise their preferred school of thought.

PETALING JAYA: Prominent Muslim activist Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa said he was not surprised by the storm of protests that greeted the appointment of Maszlee Malik as the Education Minister, but said a bigger worry was whether the Perlis fatwa committee member has the courage to press ahead with the concept of Bangsa Malaysia and resist pressures from extremists on Malaysia’s schooling system.

“The main issue here is whether he has the same courage as Dr Mahathir in facing the two extreme camps in this country, the Chinese educationist extremist and the conservative Malay educationist groups,” Farouk, who heads the outspoken Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF), told FMT.

A debate has been raging over Maszlee’s suitability for the post since he was named by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Friday. Critics point to Maszlee’s defence of controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India over allegations of extremism and money laundering.

They are also concerned with Maszlee’s leaning towards Salafist Islam, and his close association with Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who was recently summoned to a panel hearing on missing activist Amri Che Mat, who Asri had slammed for practising Shia Islam, which local Muslim bureaucrats label as “deviant”.

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Dr. Maszlee Malik–Minister of Education

Maszlee’s supporters have alluded to his academic background and social activities, with others saying his defence of Naik was based on his belief in free speech.

Farouk said the criticism was expected, and questioned Maszlee’s openness as claimed by his supporters.

“If one were to argue that his defense of Zakir Naik was based on freedom of expression, then this freedom also requires him to grant the same to the Shias,” said Farouk, adding that it was only natural to link Maszlee’s opposition to the second largest Muslim denomination to his “Salafist” leaning.

“There cannot be a double standard in preaching for freedom of expression.”

Salafist Islam refers to a movement within Sunni Islam, with roots going back to Wahhabism, the supposedly puritan form of Islam that is officially adopted in Saudi Arabia.

Opposition to PPSMI

Farouk, a medical lecturer at Monash University Malaysia, who was once active with the Muslim Professionals Forum that Maszlee is also part of, said the calls for Mahathir to hold the education portfolio was based on the public’s confidence that he could initiate radical reforms in the sector.

This, he said, included the call by the Chinese education group Dong Zong to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate, and the pressure from Malay groups seeking to abolish the study of Science and Mathematics in English.

“Only he (Mahathir) has the strength and determination in facing this highly debatable issue,” said Farouk, who has supported past government initiatives under Mahathir to emphasise the use of English in schools.

“How do we compete at the International arena when we forego the most important language of science and technology in the 21st century?” he asked.

A policy championed by Mahathir, the Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English, or PPSMI, was aborted in 2011 by then education minister Muhyiddin Yassin, following protests from Malay groups.

The move was welcomed by Ikram, an umbrella organisation of Muslim groups, of which Maszlee is a committee member.

“We oppose any attempts to revive PPSMI because we are convinced that the decision by the education ministry is based on its internal findings,” the group had then said in a statement.

Maszlee, 44, who joined PPBM last March, won the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat in Johor in the May 9 polls.

The former lecturer who taught subjects related to Islamic Jurisprudence at the International Islamic University was named as education minister after Mahathir changed his mind about holding the post himself.

Mahathir said he would abide by a Pakatan Harapan promise that the Prime Minister would not hold any other portfolio.

But within 24 hours of the announcement, over 60,000 signed an online petition urging Mahathir to return to the post, saying he “will bring much needed reforms to the education system in this country”.

Making Academia Matter Again


April 19, 2018

Making Academia Matter Again

by 

Academics can no longer afford to pat themselves on the back and celebrate their own privileges. If they are to defend the freedom of their enterprise, they must restore dialogue with the broader public and ensure that the relevance of their research – and how research actually occurs – is well understood.

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CAMBRIDGE – Academic freedom is a precious commodity, critical to ensure that discovery of the truth is not encumbered by political or ideological forces. But this does not mean that intellectuals should hide in academic bunkers that, by protecting us from criticism by “non-experts,” allow ego to flourish and enable a focus on questions that are not actually relevant to anyone else. We experts should have to explain ourselves.

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The University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh
 

This means, first and foremost, that researchers should be communicating their results in a way that supports accountability and confirms that public funds and education benefits are being used in ways that are in taxpayers’ interests. The duty to communicate findings also ensures that the public is educated, not only about the topic itself, but also about the way research actually works.

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Scholarly books and journals often give the impression that the truth is revealed through a neat, orderly, and logical process. But research is far from being a pristine landscape; in fact, it resembles a battlefield, littered with miscalculations, failed experiments, and discarded assumptions. The path to truth is often convoluted, and those who travel along it often must navigate fierce competition and professional intrigue.

Some argue that it is better to hide this reality from the public, in order to maintain credibility. For example, in 2014, physicists collaborating on a project known as BICEP2 thought that they had detected gravitational waves from the beginning of the universe. It was later realized that the signal they had detected could be entirely attributed to interstellar dust.

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H.E. Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, University of Cambodia (UC) Founder, Board and Trustee Chairman, And President seeks to create a Research  Culture at UC,Phnom Penh.

Some of my colleagues worried that this revelation would undermine faith in other scientific predictions, such as those involving climate change. But would hiding the truth from the public really do more for scientific and academic credibility than cultivating a culture of transparency? Probably not. In fact, being honest about the realities of research might enhance trust and create more space for innovation, with an informed public accepting that risk is the unavoidable and worthwhile cost of groundbreaking and broadly beneficial discoveries.

Another way to ensure that academia continues to innovate in useful and relevant ways is to blur the traditional boundaries among disciplines – the frontiers where invention so often happens. To that end, universities should update their organizational structure, moving away from clearly delineated departments in order to create a kind of continuum across the arts, humanities, and sciences. Students should be encouraged to take courses in multiple disciplines, so that they can weave those lessons and experiences into new patterns of knowledge.

To make this process sustainable, universities should ensure that the courses and curricula they offer help students to develop the skills that a fast-changing labor market demands. This means not just creating new curricula today, but also updating them every few years, in order to account for new trends and discoveries in areas ranging from artificial intelligence and Big Data to alternative energy sources and genome editing.

Professors, for their part, should approach their job as mentors of future leaders in science, technology, the arts, and humanities, rather than attempting to mold students in their own intellectual image. Of course, the latter approach can be useful if the goal is to advance the popularity of one’s own research program and to ensure that one’s own ideas and perspective endure. But that is not the fundamental mission of academia.

The louder the consensus in the echo chambers of academia become, the greater the ego boost for those who inhabit those chambers. But history shows that progress is sometimes advocated by a soft voice in the background, like that of Albert Einstein during his early career. Truth and consensus are not always the same. Diversity of opinion – which implies diversity of gender, ethnicity, and background – is vital to support creativity, discovery, and progress.

That is why it is so important for prizes and professional associations to be used not to reinforce mainstream perspectives, but rather to encourage independent thought and reward innovation. This does not mean that all opinions should be considered equal, but rather that alternative views should be debated and vetted on merit alone.

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We in academia cannot continue to pat ourselves on the back, celebrating our own privileges and failing to look at the world in new and relevant ways. If we are to defend the freedom of our enterprise, we must restore dialogue with the broader public and ensure that the relevance of our work is well understood – including by us.

Missing our Cak Nur (Dr. Nurcholish Madjid)


Merindui Cak Nur Kita (Missing our Dr. Nurcholish Madjid)

oleh M. Bakri Musa
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 Cak Nur (Dr. Nurcholish Madjid)

Pada bulan Mei 1998, didalam suasana rusuhan menentang dia merebak, President Suharto masih lagi sibuk dengan cerot belotnya untuk terus berkuasa. Terdesak, dia cuba memikat dan menggabungkan pemimpin pembankang. Ramai yang terpikat dengan rasuah yang mewah, pangkat tertinggi, serta pujian tak terhingga. Ramai, tetapi bukan semuanya. Antara pengecualian yang ketara, seroang berjiwa jujur serta berani ialah ulama kelulusan Universiti Chicago, Nurcholish Madjid.

Cak Nur, nama panggilan nya yang lebih terkenal, menegur Suharto dengan terus terang tanpa putar belit atau kiasan lembut bahawa rakyat sudah jemu dan mahukan Suharto mengundur. Keesokan harinya ia meletakan jawatan setelah memerintah Indonesia dengan kejam selama 32 tahun. Dengan itu, Indonesia dilindungi kegelisahan dan huru hara.

Image result for Bakri MusaPenulis  dan Penganalis Terkenal Dr. M. Bakri Musa

 

Hari ini Malaysia yang memerlukan Cak Nur nya sendiri. Yakni seorang yang disegani untuk memberi amaran didepan muka Njib Razak bahawa rakyat sudah bosan serta benci dengan rasuahnya yang terlaluan, peragai pemimpinnya yang kurang sopan, dan penyelewangan amanah yang tidak pernah di alami dinegara kita. Sudah sampai masanya untuk Najib berundur. Rakyat sudah tidak tahan lagi menanggung kelakuannya yang mengaget bangsa dan memecah belah rakyat. Peragai beliau membahagikan dan melagakan masyarakat Melayu tidak boleh di tahan dan di ampuni lagi. Samping itu dia telah membebani rakyat dengan hutang berat yang mesti ditanggungi sebeberapa keturunan.

Najib mesti mengundur walaupun jika ia menang di pilihan raya yang akan datang ini. Pilihanraya serta alat alat demokrasi yang lain hanya sah dan bermakna jika tidak dicemari. Dengan campuran rasuah dan “poltik wang” demokrasi bermakna peraturan rusuhan.Peraturan tetapi tetap rusuhan. Malah di demokrasi yang matang seperti Amerika pilihanraya boleh di tipu melalui “gerrymandering” dan gangguan dari luar negri. Apalagi Malayasia, di mana politik wang dianggap biasa dan duit disebarkan kepada pengundi dengan secara langsung dan terbuka; di mana pengundi hantu serta penipuan undi pos antara ahli-ahli polis dan angkatan tentera dilakukan dengan terus terang.

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Di negeri China mereka sedar dan berterus terang dari asal bahawa Pengerusi Xi akan mendapat undi sebulat suara untuk menjadi pemimpin seumur hidup. Mereka tidak berpura-pura atau mengakui diri mereka bebas atau demokratik. Begitu juga dengan Iraq semasa Saddam Hussein. Di Malaysia, pilihan raya hanyalah satu tipu daya kejam yang dilakukan terhadap rakyat, memghampakan mereka dengan harapan kosong serta palsu.

Penerbitan The Economist meramalkan Najib akan mencuri pilihan raya akan datang. Kenyataan itu tidak benar sebab itu memaklumkan bahawa Najib boleh mempisahkan benar dari yang salah, halal dari haram. Najib tanpa maruah. Jabatan Keadilan AS serta penguatkuasa undang-undang dari lima negara mendakwa dia mencuri beribu juta wang dari syarikat kerajaan 1MDB. Tetapi pada Najib dan kucunya dalam UMNO, dia tidak mencuri dana 1MDB hanya menerima derma dari tanah suci. Kemenangannya dalam pilihan raya adalah borkat dari Illahi!

Pakar saikoloji mempunyai istilah tertentu bagi mereka yang berpandangan songsang atau jauh berbeza daripada yang lain.

Pandangan Najib yang songsang dan kelakuan nya yang selekeh itu dilindungi oleh budaya Melayu. Dalam masyarakat kita yang masih feudal, semua yang dilakukan oleh pemimpin adalah betul dan halal, tak mungkin salah atau haram. Kalau dia telanjang, kepada si Nazri, Zahid, dan Ku Nan serta kucu kucu UMNO, Najib dihiasi songket sutera yang telus dan di buat dari benang serangga yang jarang ditemui! Kepada mereka, Najib dia tak “mencuri” pilihan raya atau dana 1MDB. Yang pertama ialahkehendak Allah, menurut ulama-ulama yang di tanggung oleh pemerintah, sementara yang kedua, “sumbangan” atau rezki dari tanah Nabi!

Tiada Cak Nur Malaysia

Pertemuan Suharto dan Cak Nur yang dirujukan itu bersejarah serta unik. Bersejarah kerana ia mengubah masa depan Indonesia jauh dari pemerintah diktator; unik kerana pertemuan saperti begitu jarang berlaku dalam budaya Asia. Masyarakat Asia enggan berdepanan dengan pemimpin mereka dan memberikan kata dua dengan terus terang, tanpa sindiran dan tidak kira sama ada sopan atau sebaliknya. Namun Cak Nur dengan suara nya yang lembut tapi tegas berani memberi amaran kepada Suharto yang sentiasa tersenyum itu bahawa rakyat mahukan dia undur. Hanya untok menghormati kesopanan dan budi budaya, Cak Nur tidak mejolongkan telunjuknya kepada Suharto!

Cak Nur mencerminkan sifat tulen kaum ulama. Sepanjang sejarah Islam ulama berkhidmat sebagai benteng menentang kelebihan dan kezaliman pemerintah. Renungkan hadis ini: Syurga dipenuhi dengan raja yang merapati ulama; Neraka dibanjiri oleh ulama yang selalu ke istana (terjemahan lebih kurang). Ulama tulen sedar bahawa deritaan yang mereka alami di tangan sultan yang derhaka tidak seberat nya bila di bandingkan dengan hukuman di akhirat nanti.

Ulama Melayu terpesona dengan geleran diraja mereka, termasuk pakaian resmi yang hebat dan dihiasi penuh dengan penutup botol. Kepada para ulama, Najib tidak mencuri wang dari 1MDB tetapi menerima rezeki, hadiah dari Illahi!

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Intelektual Awam Pak Kassim Ahmad dan Penulis

Masyarakat Melayu sudah tentu nya diborkati dengan ramai Cak Nur kita. Allah yang Pemurah serta Adil tidak akn mengabaikan bangsa kita. Tetapi kita tidak menghargai borkat Nya. Sebaliknya budaya kita memperlekehkan hadiah dari Tuhan. Di budaya lain, si Rafizi Ramli mereka dihargai. Pelbagai pihak akan merebut dan memujuk ia untuk memimpin mereka. Makhlok saperti Rafizi di anggap sebagai bintang terang di langkasi yang gelap. Di Malaysia sebaliknya, Rafizi di penjarakan . . . kerana mendedahkan rasuah! Almarhum Kassim Ahmad begitu juga. Kerana keberaniannya dia diburu oleh mahkamah syriah hingga hujong umor nya. Lihat lah Azmi Sharum, seorang pakar undang undang di Universiti Malaya. Jangan harapkan dia dianugerahkan menjadi ahli Majlis Profesor Negara.

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Saya terharu dengan seniman kita yang berani menentang ketidakadilan. Di antara mereka ialah penyanyi “blues” Mohammad Ito dan kartunis Zunar. Sementara itu, Lat, yang dulu saya minati, kini dia berdiam diam sahaja, dibungkam dengan gelaran Datuk yang murah, manakala Zunar menerima kehormatan dan pujian antarabangsa kerana berani mengejek Najib dan isterinya. Zunar membuktikan bahawa pena itu adalah senjata yang lebih kuat. Malah Sheila Majid dan Siti Nurhaliza pun sudah bosan dengan Najib. Kuasa bintang mereka melebihi daya tarikan Najib dan RTM pemerintahnya.

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Kartunis Zunar–Berani Kerana Benar

Bekas Perdana Menteri Mahathir pun sudah tidak tahan lagi dengan peragai Najib. Saya berdoa supaya Mahathir berjaya menghapuskan Najib. Semua rakyat Malaysia patut menyokong dia. Benar, Mahathir bertangung jawab atas kenaikkan Najib. Mahathir terhutang budi kepada ayah Najib. Oleh sebab itu Mahathir buta kepada sisi gelap Razak yang diwariskan keanak sulongnya.

Saya kecewa dengan peragai ulama dan sultan Melayu. Mereka berlumba lumba mengejar dedak dari Najib. Mufti Persekutuan tidak sabar menegur penyanyi Neelofa kerana melancarkan tudung bergaya barunya di kelab malam. Tetapi Tuan Mufti tidak bersangka pun untok menegur Najib bila ia mencuri wang 1MDB. Mufti Bakri bukan bahan Cak Nur; jauh sekali!

Sementara itu Raja Melayu senang juga disenyapkan dengan kontrak mahal dan istana mahligai baru. Dedak lebih berkesan daripada pindaan perlembagaan tahun 1980-an untuk mengalih gelagak sultan. Namun orang Melayu masih percaya dengan khayalan bahawa sultan adalah “pelindung” kita. Ia, “perlindungan” kondom Cina yang murah; kecuali sultan kita mahal.

Tanda Qiamat

Orang Islam percaya antara tanda qiamat ialah apabila masyarakat tidak lagi mengutamakan kebenaran, sebaliknya si penipu dan pendusta di muliakan; apabila pemimpin pecah amanah dan menjadi pengkhianat dan penyamun; dan apabila mereka berlumba mendirikan pencakar langit.

Saya tidak percaya bahawa bangsa Melayu berhampiran dengan qiamat kita. Mungkin Najib dan UMNO mendekati qiamat mereka. Sejarah mengingatkan bahawa pemimpin yang korup akan mengalami hujung nyawa yang tidak senang dan mungkin mengerikan. Saksikan Gaddafi dan Ceausescu. Apabila qiamat Najib dan UMNO sampai, kita akan terperanjat serta tidak percaya bagaimana dan betapa mudahnya negara kita telah ditipu dengan terus terang oleh pemimpin yang begitu remeh dan tidak berkobolehan.

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Najib Razak–“Wang Itu Raja”

Kejayaan Najib dengan kesimpulannya “wang itu raja” seumpama kejayaan kupu kupu lepas hujan. Cepat terbang tinggi dan lagi cebat kebumi. Punca ringgit bukan tak terbatas. Kedua, ringgit kita sudah menghampiri matawang Zambia dalam harga. Apabila qiamat menimpa Najib dan UMNO, mereka dan juga kita akan cepat mengetahui mengapa perkataan “amok” itu berasal bahasa Melayu.

Pada saya, Malaysia tidak memerlukan Cak Nurnya. Najib tidak layak dihormati a la Suharto.