The Ugly Face of the Malay psyche on display


March 25, 2015

The Ugly Face of the Malay psyche on display

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

It takes a brave Malay woman to say what the whole nation is thinking, and it is amazing how many Malay men cannot wait to show the world the ugly face of the Malay psyche.

The threats of physical violence and rape on BFM host Aisyah Tajudin, for her satirical take on the Kelantan hudud law, have proven that despite receiving the ‘best education in the world’, many Malays remain shallow, servile and seriously stupid. Only insecure, egotistical Malay men would feel threatened, not just by the truth, but by a woman, and worse still, a Malay woman.

The rakyat’s problem is that Malaysia’s religious men aspire to become politicians, and its politicians pretend to be religious men.

The latest hudud debacle has very little to do with religion. It is about power. Power over the Malays in Malaysia. Power to overcome any non-Malay resistance. And power to crush any opposition, especially from progressive Malays, who represent the biggest threat.

Aisyah (above) wanted to liberate Malay minds, not conquer their bodies. Her video was for people to reflect and to ponder. She did not force her message on others, if they did not wish to accept them.

Aisyah discussed important issues, so we may understand some of our country’s problems. If she didn’t care for her country, she would have chosen to remain quiet, like 97 percent of the population.

The Malays are creative and in the olden days, songs, sajak (poems) or bangsawan (opera/plays) would relay any messages, from rulers to their subjects. Aisyah is merely continuing a rich Malay tradition. The Malays who reacted badly to her satire, are an uncultured lot.

Aisyah appealed to the Muslims’ faith and their compassion. The Malays who threatened her, revealed everything that Islam does not represent.The BFM host used ingenuity to drive home a message about hudud, in Kelantan. The bigots revealed their stupidity and inability to use their intellect, to counter her point of view. Their threats, to rape and kill, will force more moderate, but silent Muslims, to speak out. These bigots have also stained the moderate face of Malay Muslims.

BFM should not have apologised for making and airing the satirical video. The company probably had no choice. The government issues permits, and can shut down companies. In the past, companies had their computers seized, their editors harassed, their Muslim writers accused of being lesbian, gay, apostate or atheist, and issued with death threats, violence or legal action.

In the Charlie Hebdo massacre of January 7, terrorists used Islam as their excuse to mow down several people, including a Muslim Policeman. Disagreeing with the cartoonists, does not give the men a licence to kill. The terrorists’ actions further tarnished the image of Islam and gave the impression that Muslims lacked the ability to enter into intelligent discussion.

Silencing freedom of expression

The day after the Paris carnage, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said that Malaysia needed the Sedition Law to prevent such attacks on Malaysian soil. The terrorists used bullets, in Paris, to silence freedom of expression, but Khalid uses the Sedition Law, to curb freedom of speech.

The IGP claimed that his role of policing Twitter, was to act like the referee of social media, and stop troublemakers. So, why are tweets from extremist and racist UMNO Baru politicians not censured? Khalid should leave Aisyah alone, and arrest the men who threatened her.

NIK RAINA INTERVIEW Using a slew of laws like sedition and blasphemy to condemn Aisyah, just shows his desperation. The IGP is mimicking the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department’s (JAWI) relentless pursuit of the Borders manager, Nik Raina Abdul Aziz (above).

Malays brought up on UMNO Baru’s diet of race, religion and royalty, have had their brains sucked dry. They have long forgotten how to think, to rationalise and to analyse.

By all means, blame UMNO Baru, but do not forget their new partners in crime, PAS. Both parties are desperate to take control of the Malay mind, but more importantly, their votes. It is all about power. Sadly, the late Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s experience of both him and PAS being betrayed by UMNO/Umno Baru, have already been forgotten by the PAS ulama.

PAS President Hadi Awang is desperate to force hudud through Parliament. This is about power. When it comes to absolute power, religion becomes a pawn, and a means to an end.

Hadi has fallen into UMNO Baru’s trap, and we are now being distracted by hudud, instead of tackling major issues like 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), corruption, the goods and services tax (GST) and the flood victims.

Malays can still be pious without having to become wannabe Arabs. Malays are in danger of losing their history and their culture, which go back several centuries, long before Parameswara was born.

If Malays do not reclaim their true identity, the only reference to Malay culture will appear at cultural shows, for the benefit of tourists, and at Tourism Malaysia performances worldwide. The religious indoctrination by power-hungry Malay men, has reduced Malays to a poor imitation of Arabs, and turned multi-cultural Malaysia to a ghetto-nation.

Hudud does not belong in multicultural Malaysia. Aisyah’s video made us think, and that is what the bigots fear most.

Rape, Murder, Hudud?


March 24, 2015

READ THIS:

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/hudud-a-cause-for-hubris-and-hypocrisy

Rape, Murder, Hudud?

by Dr.Azmi Sharom@ http://www.rakyattimes.com

Azmi SharomAs I feared – no one can speak against hudud. Non-Muslims don’t have the right and Muslims must just obey because, according to PAS, this is God’s law.

In fact, if you question it, you deserve to be burnt and raped, as has been the threat against a BFM radio newsreader. I thought murder and rape are also against God’s law. But perhaps in the minds of some, two wrongs do make a right. Or perhaps there is a clause that says that murder and rape are OK as long as they are committed in the name of God.

 I am very angry. I am angry for the following reasons:

As usual, when anything about Islam comes up in this country, there is a tendency for all reason to go out the door. This is shameful because Islam has prided itself on being a faith of reason where knowledge and the written word were emphasised in the very first revelation.

The disgusting behaviour of the thugs who threatened Aisyah Tajuddin of BFM Radio for her participation in a video questioning the implementation of hudud is an insult to the religion into which I was born and raised. Yet, I hear nothing from the “defenders of the faith” against these people. Perhaps it is because they don’t like what Aisyah said? If that is the case, then what they are saying is that if you don’t like what someone thinks and says and if another person threatens serious harm to him or her, it is OK to just keep quiet. In other words, consent through silence.

And already some PAS people are making sounds that this is something that cannot be debated and cannot be questioned. This, from a party that claims to be democratic. “Islamic democrats” – some of their number describe themselves. Where is democracy if we can’t discuss the laws which govern us? Where is democracy when a person lives in fear of being demonised, just because his or her ideas differ from those of the “Islamic democrats”?

Hadi3Haji Abdul Hadi Awang al-Hududu

I have always held the belief that if those in PAS or anyone else wants to implement hudud or any law that they think is so fantastic, then it is their right. If they want to make this a country governed by their Ulama Council, it is their right.

But if you want to change this country, you have to do it by the rules. You must obey the Constitution and you must allow democratic space for full and open discussions. And you must defend the right of people to take part in those discussions.That is the only just way. Or does justice not matter anymore?

 

PAS’ Hudud Folly–PART 2


March 19, 2015

PAS’ Hudud Folly–PART 2

by Bridget Welsh@www.malaysiakini.com

Bridget-Welsh-2COMMENT The introduction of the hudud amendments today in Kelantan have yet another origin beyond democratic dynamics within the party. They are based on a calculated effort to win votes, namely to strengthen the support of PAS’s core supporters and to strengthen the position of PAS vis-à-vis the coalition partners inside Pakatan.

Ironically, the hudud measures do neither, and potentially undermine the party’s standing as a national party and within its own electoral base. In this second piece, I lay out how misguided the revitalized hudud initiative is for a political party whose stated aim is to hold national power.

Over-reacting to UMNO pressure

In the defensive mode of the PAS party leadership, the party have been responding to others rather than setting its own course. The most effective actor influencing PAS has been UMNO.  Opting for offensive attacks, UMNO has successfully convinced PAS that is it losing ground among Muslims.

Despite winning more of the popular vote nationally in G-E13 and winning more seats and gains in their vote share in Malay heartland seats (except Kedah and Perak where party infighting affected results), many in PAS have the perception that they lost ground.

They have also been made to believe that the have lost their core support base among devout Muslims and rural Malays, as they have taken to heart the UMNO propaganda and concentrated on developments in Kelantan and Kedah, where the losses were most evident. The numbers for PAS’s performance are much more positive than the public framing of their performance.

najib-razak-Nik-AzizCollectively PAS lost 3 percent of Malay support, considerably less than in most of the elections historically except 1969, 1999 and 2008. In most of the states their gains were among Malays in termsof numbers. Significant gains in support were also gleaned from non-Muslims, ranging over 7 percent. Of the 21 seats PAS won, 14 of these would not have been possible without non-Muslim support.

But in politics, it is not reality that matters, but perception. Malaysian politics still centres around Malay politics, and for PAS there has been a growing sense that it is not winning Malays. In fact, there is a deep-seated fear that they are losing their core supporters. In fact, in some ways, they are right. PAS did lose among some devout Muslims, it lost in some rural areas, and it lost among women.

Part of the explanation lies with the appeal of other Pakatan parties for Malay votes, as PKR and even DAP has won over support. The main reason is UMNO’s successful efforts to infiltrate PAS’s core through support for religious education, funding to religious organizations and more effective engagement with young voters on the issues that matter to them, notably with a concentration on bread and butter issues.

For some analysts there has been a focus on UMNO’s confrontational race and religious campaign as the decisive factor undermining PAS, with PAS portrayed as betraying Islam. My own view places greater emphasis on UMNO’s calculated efforts to cut off PAS from its social networks, the critical use of resources and the ineffectiveness of PAS’s electoral campaign on a national scale.

These issues remain open for debate, but what is relevant for the revitalisation of hudud is that PAS believes it needs to appeal to its core – devout Muslims and rural Malays.

Standing tall, winning respect

In going back to hudud, PAS is also responding to another set of insecurities, the Democratic Action Party in particular and its discomfort in Pakatan more generally. The issues here are complex – racism, religious differences, style, strategy and personalities.

All the parties in Malaysia are grappling with an electorate that is less race oriented, but a political context that continues to be racially analyzed and framed. Racism is still deeply embedded, and had been stoked intensely in the past two years as UMNO fans discord for political ends.

Pakatan parties are also not immune from the issues of race as well, with considerable misunderstandings and cultural differences. The challenges of bridge-building on religion are even more challenging, particularly for PAS.

The G-E13 campaign and its aftermath has left an imprint on PAS, who has been portrayed as weak vis-a-vis its Pakatan partners.  It is seen as the weakest link. PAS was blamed by some for ‘not performing’ in the last election and it has been consistently portrayed as ‘the problem’.

This has fed insecurities. The image of PAS in the Malay language press has fanned these sentiments by building up the portrayal of the ‘weakling’. As the hudud issue has evolved the non-Muslim mediums have moved to portray PAS as the ‘villain’, with ‘aggressive’ DAP seen to be leading the accusations.

This has not sat well in PAS, even among the more progressive elements. PAS wants respect, it wants to be treated fairly and many feel that the response of its Pakatan partners have crossed lines. Hudud is in part about fighting back, for the party to be seen out of the shadow of others. Thus hudud has become yet another political tool to show UMNO, DAP and PKR that it is its own party.

Hudud is push, not pull

Sadly, this is a counterproductive strategy. By going forward with the hudud amendments, PAS has neither secured its Malay core nor secured its electoral gains. To explain my argument, I draw on surveys on hudud and focus groups.

Let me unpack my analysis. First of all, hudud is not as important a pull factor for Malays and even devout Muslims as PAS believes. Second, hudud is more alienating for some Malays and non-Muslims than PAS believes. Third, hudud serves to showcase PAS’ shortcomings as a party in national government, with a narrow focus that excludes and portrays negativity.

There have been two surveys conducted on the hudud issue, the Merderka Centre’s Survey of April 2014 reported in the press and the Asia Barometer Survey last September-October, coming out in a book later this year and outlined here. The findings are reasonably consistent.

I draw from the ABS findings, as I have run a series of tests to examine how hudud compares to other electoral issues such as the economy and corruption and importantly this survey includes East Malaysia.

Some observations:

  • The majority of Malaysians do not agree that the country is ready for hudud.
  • While a majority of Malays do agree the country is ready for hudud, there is a large share of Malays – 30.6 percent, who do not and many who have a lukewarm support for hudud, 28.8 percent. This is by way of saying only a third of Malays strongly support hudud.
  • Overwhelmingly, non-Muslims do not support hudud, with a larger share of non-Muslims strongly disagreeing with hudud than Malays who strongly support hudud.
  • A small share of non-Muslims believe the country is ready for hudud.
  • Females, including Malay females, disproportionately do not believe the country is ready for hudud.
  • There is considerable regional variation in the support for hudud, with support in the Eastern states of Kelantan and Terengganu considerably higher than the northern (Kedah, Perlis and Penang) and southern regions.  Strong support in the Eastern states for hudud does not translate into a majority.
  • East Malaysians have the least support for hudud.

Returning to the argument about why hudud amendments hurt PAS electorally, let me draw from the survey and my other analyses. To the point of attracting voters, numerically, the core strong support for hudud remains a minority nationally and even in the Eastern states of Kelantan.

Importantly, however, when these voters were asked – as they were in The Malaysian Insider survey and multiple other surveys such including the ABS – what is important in voting and whether hudud is important vis-à-vis other factors, hudud is less important. Religion generally only ranks high as a determinant for voting for a small share of the electorate, less than 15 percent, with this divided equally among Muslim and non-Muslim voters.

Hadi3To put this differently, hudud is not a vote-getter – resolving problems, bread and butter issues, good governance, honest government, good respected leaders and much more count more. Hudud does not win votes – good policies and good government do!

Introducing hudud does however lose votes for PAS as a party. There is serious trust deficit for this Islamist party, among non-Muslims, women and among some Malays. Focus groups identify the main source of distrust as hudud. It is not religion specifically, as many Malaysians across faiths want a moral government, but the perception that hudud is about ‘restrictions and control’, ‘unfairness’ and ‘backwardness’ – the respondent’s words.

When voters were asked why they voted for PAS that never had before, the reasons were ‘Pakatan,’ ‘ABU’, ‘Change the government’. The affinity to PAS specifically was weak. Hudud never came up.

When it was broached and voters were asked how they would vote if hudud was implemented, the response that emerged as ‘ABP’ – Anything but PAS. This provoked much stronger negative reactions than support for hudud among even the strongest PAS supporters.

The take-away is that hudud pushes away the voters that offer PAS an opportunity to move out of its core political base or even to strengthen its base within its core. With hudud, at this time based on these surveys, PAS, would not be elected on the national level and definitely not on its own.

Allah Issue SupportersA final finding is that by moving forward with hudud PAS has reinforced a negative image of itself among the electorate. It is seen as a one-note party – hudud, hudud, hudud – with many people not liking the rhythm or the song. The image of hudud remains significantly negative among the majority of the electorate who see this about punishment rather than empowerment, backwardness rather than the future and inadequate as a basis of government.

The Kelantan amendments may change this perception, but based on the studies to date, negative perceptions dominate.

The Kelantan and ulama leaders in PAS are going ahead. There has been little in-depth study of the impact of the hudud messaging on voters and this will be crucial as the situation evolves. The message sent so far is that the PAS leadership seems to prioritize their core support base rather than being a national party, and may not even bring them the gains they hope for.

Part I: PAS’s hudud folly – a political putsch

Part III will look at the implications of hudud for Pakatan and PAS’s longer term, highlighting that this experience offers opportunities to strengthen PAS and Pakatan.


BRIDGET WELSH is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of National Taiwan University and can be reached at bridgetwelsh1@gmail.com.

Shameless Malaysian Government Fraud Goes Global


By Azeem Ibrahim

From the Huffington Post, February 28, 2013

Last week, a civil suit was filed at the High Court of Malaysia by a number of very disgruntled investors. They are alleging that Doxport Technologies Sdn Bhd solicited their investments based on false invoices and fraudulent documents and have misappropriated funds of about $4 million. [SEE ALSO HERE]

When their support was solicited in 2008 and 2009, the investors considered that Malaysia was an emerging, secure and accountable business system and assumed that they would gain an honest return on their investment. Today however, after several years of fighting to get their funds returned, they have met with nothing but delays.

The whole affair raises serious questions whether investigation is being stalled by people in high places. This is certainly a matter which would merit investigation by the MACC and by any government concerned in its commitment to battle corruption.

The investors have had many meetings with Malaysian politicians and ministers in London and Malaysia — including Prime Minister Najib a day after he announced Part 1 of his New Economic Model which included promoting inward investment.

British political leaders are taking up the issue on behalf of these British citizens and in spite of countless reassurances that Malaysian justice can be relied upon, there has still been no definitive action from the Malaysian government.

Dato’ Seri Abdul Azim Bin Mohd ZabidiThe original funds were invested in Doxport Technologies Sdn Bhd whose chairman and director is the influential Dato Seri Abdul Azim Bin Mohd Zabidi, former treasurer of the main UNMO political ruling party. The other director of Doxport Technologies is Sivalingam Thechinamoorthy, who is allegedly one of the ‘frontmen’ for many of Dato Abdul Azim’s deals, with Thechinamoorthy’s wife, Gurmeet Kaur, playing a pivotal role as well.

This is by no means the first hint of corruption within Malaysia’s political elite, despite Malaysia’s high-profile anti-corruption crusade. Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government professes to be taking a lead in weeding out graft but the perception is growing that corruption under the Najib administration is flourishing.

For example, the global corruption watchdog, Transparency International reported recently that Malaysia scored worst in the world in the 2012 Bribe Payers Survey.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) began its operation officially on January 1, 2009 and according to the official website of International Association of Anti Corruption Authorities, “had focused on investigating cases involving illegal mining and sand smuggling, illegal logging, corruption at the country’s entry points as well as distribution of diesel subsidy.” An impression is given of a corrupt government hounding the small offenders and ignoring the more important cases of pervasive graft.

Abuse continues in government procurement and scandals such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Project, not to mention the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) described by Transparency International as “a black mark on the country’s history.” Another example is the Bakun Dam in Sarawak which was included in Transparency International’s ‘Monuments of corruption’ Global Corruption Report in 2005. The mandate to develop the project went to a timber contractor and a friend of Sarawak’s governor. The construction of the dam was found to be faulty and the provincial government of Sarawak is still looking for customers to consume the power to be generated by the project.

However, rather than living up to its promises, the government continues to deal with corruption by shameless blame shifting and paper shuffling. The delay in fully investigating the Doxport Technologies alleged fraud case is yet another egregious example of justice delayed and therefore justice denied. This will not rest here however, as the British victims of the Doxport Technologies alleged fraud are moving their case to a higher level.

British investors have received the support of many of their Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, many of whom have sent letters:

• 9 have written to date, to the Malaysian Prime Minister — no reply has ever been received
• 6 have written to date, to the Malaysian High Commissioner in the UK — no reply has ever been received
• 3 have written to date, to the Malaysian Attorney General — no reply has been received to date
• 3 have written to date, to the Malaysian Minister of Law — no reply has been received to date

However, letters to the British Foreign Secretary have ensured that the British Government is aware and active in the case and that the Doxport Technologies alleged fraud will have major repercussions.

The persistent corruption in Malaysia is destroying the country’s international reputation as a safe and equitable environment for investment and is doing immense disservice and harm to its people. Whistleblowers in Malaysia have not had a fair hearing over the years with ominous reports for example of people falling to their death following interrogation by authorities.

Opposition politicians find themselves facing trumped up charges if their accusations get too close to the truth and Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and currently the de facto leader of Keadilan, the People’s Justice Party, has already spent a number of years imprisoned for his courageous stand against government corruption.

Tackling fraud will be Anwar Ibrahim’s top priority if elected when the country goes to the ballot. Prime Minister Najib Razak must dissolve parliament by April 28th and hold the election within 60 days, but a nervous leadership is delaying the announcement to the last possible moment and is bringing the democratic process of free and fair elections into question.

Fraud and corruption in Malaysia have reached a shameless new level and might be seen as the dying efforts of a government on its way out. Certainly the people of Malaysia deserve better if trust is to be reestablished in Malaysia as an international player in global economics. Respect for the law must begin at the top. If Doxport Technologies and its directors cannot be made accountable, hopefully the government of Malaysia will receive a just verdict of defeat in the imminent election and democratic justice will prevail.

Dr Azeem Ibrahim is the Executive Chairman of The Scotland Institute and a Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Follow Azeem Ibrahim on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AzeemIbrahim

Pride comes before Destruction


January 22, 2013

Pride comes before Destruction

by Mariam Mokhtar (01-21-13)@http://www.malaysiakini.com

According to one Sabahan, there is so much crime in Sabah that squatter houses, too, have grilles on the doors and windows, and that these cost more than the houses themselves.

For four decades, ordinary Sahabans have been angered by illegal immigration and the social and economic problems associated with it, such as a shortage of housing, a lack of employment and educational opportunities, high levels of crime and massive overcrowding.

Despite the limited terms of reference of the Royal Commission of  Inquiry (RCI) ordered by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, the RCI has revealed disturbing aspects of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid to remain in power. Soon, the RCI will be overshadowed by the side-show that Mahathir may have helped arrange.

NONEThe star-performer is the self-styled motivational guru Sharifah Zohra Jabeen Syed Shah Miskin (right). One wonders if Zohra has replaced the virgin queen, Ummi Hafilda Ali, who used to come to Mahathir’s aid and helped distract the rakyat with golden showers and salacious revelations.

There was once a time when the government would detain reporters and send them to Kamunting, ostensibly for their own safety. Zohra was denied this privilege because Najib has abolished the ISA. Last week, Zohra bowed to overwhelming pressure and heeded Police advice to cancel her seminar on ‘How to Make Your First Million’.

I can give you the gist of the RM200 per person seminar. It is an open secret that the first million is easy to make; join UMNO, then claw your way to the top by backstabbing and badmouthing everyone who stands in your way.

There are tell-tale signs that that you have “made it” and joined the UMNO elite. In the election canvassing that takes place every five years, UMNO delivers bags of rice to the masses, but the UMNO elite receive Birkin bags.

Households that qualify are given a one-off payment of RM500 (and possibly another RM500 if the situation demands it) but the elite get several million ringgit in hard cash, stuffed in suitcases.

The poor may get a discount on their smartphones, but the elite are given the contracts to sell the phones.  The rakyat may be given tins of powdered milk as freebies during canvassing, but elite members are given millions of ringgit to buy a few cows and many luxury condominiums.

Zohra has not much in humility

A video of the shameful conduct of Zohra emerged a month after the incident. Despite the public opprobrium which she received, Zohra showed everyone that she is miskin by name and miskin (poor) by nature.

She lacks the intellect to reflect on her poor behaviour. She did not have much in the way of humility. She displayed an inferior understanding of people’s feelings and she was a poor communicator.

Instead of eating the humble pie, she has become more arrogant and haughty. Instead of acknowledging that she was tactless and rude, Zohra issued a statement from her hiding place, in which she declined to apologise but “forgave” KS Bawani, the student who suffered Zohra’s acid tongue.

This incident should have been a temporary frenzy and yes, we are angry because it is obvious that Zohra’s behaviour is unacceptable. Some UMNO leaders and members of the BN coalition have distanced themselves from her, but it appears that Zohra is determined to prolong this crisis into a full blown affair.

The reason must be to take our attention away from Mahathir’s alleged crimes in the Sabah votes for citizenship fiasco.  Just a few months ago, Najib outlined the terms of reference for the Sabah RCI. Many have criticised the RCI for its limited scope and because its findings will not be revealed before GE13.

NONEIf the RCI proves that UMNO won elections by fraud and cheating, it brings into doubt the legitimacy of this and previous UMNO-BN governments. By cheating, UMNO has disenfranchised the people of Malaysia and forced us to wait until GE13 to gain our choice of ruling party.

Proof of fraud and cheating will confirm that UMNO-BN should not be the current government. Will the RCI be another whitewash or will its members seek to save their own skins, by leaving the sinking UMNO ship?

As the extent of Mahathir’s Project IC is slowly being revealed, the importance of this RCI is increasing.

Mahathir won’t go without a fight

Just as Mahathir thought he had undermined Najib, his hopes were damned. So he tried to deflect some of the rakyat’s abhorrence of Project IC, by tarnishing the name of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Father of Independence.

Will the RCI bring about the fall of Mahathir? No. He may have cut a pathetic figure recently but he will not go without a fight. Although the rakyat have a strong case against him, Mahathir has too many people in his pockets. They owe their success to him and he will call in his favours.

The rakyat is leading the Opposition fight to topple the Mahathir regime, but their wish will not be fulfilled, just yet.

Both Najib and Mahathir are locked in a deadly battle. Najib cannot bring about Mahathir’s fall, because to do so would bring the fight right to his front door. He, like Mahathir, has a dirty past. The best Najib can do is to hold out for a few more months.

If Najib were to destroy Mahathir now, it would start a media frenzy, which would eclipse the one Zohra is facing today.  Zohra’s gaffe has caused quite a stir. She tried to put on a brave face and refused to apologise, thus avoiding an admission of guilt. Ironically, her intransigence has damaged UMNO by rallying the rakyat to vote for the Opposition.

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?