August 16th, 2013

Pemikiran Lee Kuan Yew ada muslihat tersendiri

BUKU terbaru Lee Kuan Yew "One Man's View of the World" antara lain menyebutkan, "Dasar-dasar berasaskan kaum di Malaysia tidak menguntungkan negara ini" dan " Malaysia tidak mengguna pakai bakat semua kaum".

Dua kerat kenyataan Kuan Yew itu ibarat meludah ke langit dan tertimpa ke muka sendiri. Bak kata pepatah, " Mengata dulang paku serpih, mengata orang dia yang lebih". Psiki Malaysian Malaysia masih menghantui Kuan Yew sehingga kini.

Apakah gambaran PAP di Singapura dan dominasi politik Cina di Singapura bukan gambaran dari suatu kaum. Kalau merit dan keadilan antara kaum dijadikan ukuran apakah orang Melayu ada tempatnya dalam menduduki hierarki tinggi dalam tentera, polis, pendidikan dan perkhidmatan awam di Singapura.

Kuan Yew seolah-olah lupa bahawa penduduk Singapura hanya sekitar 4 juta dan berpusat di kota raya di mana orang Melayu hanya sekitar 14% dari keseluruhan penduduk sementara Malaysia mempunyai 29 juta penduduk di mana orang Cina hampir 35%.

Meskipun orang Melayu di Malaysia lebih sedikit 60% tetapi ekuiti atau pegangan yang dimiliki belum melepasi 20% sedangkan ekuiti orang Cina melebihi 70%. Gambaran ini tercermin jelas dalam realiti hidup di Malaysia di mana monopoli ekonomi dan bisnes masih menjadi dominasi orang Cina iaitu penguasaan satu kaum.

Rumah-rumah dan apartmen mewah dengan hartanah yang bernilai tinggi dimiliki oleh orang Cina dan sebahagiannya dari Singapura. Orang Cina yang kaya melabur dalam institusi pendidikan swasta supaya penguasaan Cina dalam bidang pendidikan terus dominan. Orang Melayu sedar mengenai kesan demografik taburan orang Cina di bandar dan tempat-tempat strategik yang bakal menentukan taburan undi dan kuasa politik Malaysia. Pilihan Raya ke-13 lalu menampakkan dengan jelas "tsunami Cina" terutamanya di bandar dalam kebangkitan kuasa politik yang dibantu oleh Pas dan Anwar Ibrahim (PKR).

Kuan Yew masih lagi nostalgik sewaktu berada dalam Malaysia suatu ketika dulu dan agendanya yang belum selesai sedang diteruskan oleh DAP atas nama sosialis demokratik yang amat jijik dengan negara Islam dan hukumah Islamiah. Ia tidak menghairankan kerana Kuan Yew sendiri adalah penganut fahaman agnostik yang melihat agama bukan suatu doktrin yang penting.

Kenyataan Kuan Yew mengenai Malaysia bukan saja mengandungi maksud yang tersurat tetapi juga maksud yang tersirat. Kalau isunya Malaysia mengutamakan suatu kaum apa bezanya Singapura terhadap kaum lain yang ada tempat di Singapura tetapi ekuiti atau keadilan tidak berlaku terhadap mereka.

Kalau isunya bakat semua kaum tidak diguna pakai, masyarakat Cina di Malaysia terus maju dalam semua bidang. Malah perpindahan bakat mereka ke Singapura atau ke Australia bukan sangat sebab tidak ada peluang kerja atau bisnes tetapi sebahagiannya tidak merasakan Malaysia adalah negaranya sendiri.

Seorang Pemenang Hadiah Nobel Prof. Joseph Stigliz berpendapat pelaksanaan Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) memberi kestabilan politik, ekonomi dan sosial di Malaysia. Pandangan ini elok diteliti oleh Kuan Yew kerana realiti masyarakat Malaysia, bandar dan luar Bandar serta pinggir bandar terutama Sabah dan Sarawak masih lagi tidak seimbang.

Perlembagaan Malaysia yang dirumus sebelum kemerdekaan tercapai mengambil kira faktor sosio ekonomi, pertimbangan sejarah dan budaya supaya faktor keseimbangan dalam penguasaan antara kaum mestilah adil dan dirasai oleh semua. Meski DEB berjalan suatu ketika dulu untuk mencari titik keseimbangan ini, orang Cina masih terus bebas meraih ekuiti tinggi dalam ekonomi dan bisnes. Mereka tidak terpinggir dalam menerima faedah ekonomi dan penubuhan institusi pengajian tinggi swasta mengukuhkan lagi penghasilan sumber daya yang berpotensi dalam semua bidang.

Oleh itu usaha kerajaan membantu orang Melayu harus dilihat positif dalam usaha mencari titik-keseimbangan walaupun jalan ke arah itu tidak mudah di samping orang bukan Melayu masih bebas menikmati kemajuan yang sedang dicapai oleh negara ini.

Pembangunan Kota Iskandar umpamanya masih membuka ruang untuk pelabur Singapura terlibat. Apakah pembangunan yang sama di Singapura membenarkan pelabur Melayu terlibat sama. Atau pelaburan yang sedang berjalan di Pulau Pinang atau tempat-tempat lain di Malaysia membayangkan kerjasama pengusaha Cina dan Melayu atas gambaran Malaysia adalah sebuah masyarakat majmuk. Dalam bisnes orang Cina amat dominan. Amat payah tangan dihulur untuk membantu orang Melayu kerana akhirnya menerusi DAP dominasi Cina tidak saja berlaku dalam bisnes tetapi sedang berlaku dalam politik. Orang Melayu amat sedar dan insaf dengan hal ini.



Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 13/08/2013

Pandangan Kuan Yew berat sebelah

MEMANG menarik sekali pandangan yang diutarakan oleh bekas Perdana Menteri Singapura Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) dalam buku terbaharu beliau yang bertajuk One Man's View of the World. Ini kerana selama 52 tahun berada dalam Kabinet kerajaan Singapura dengan 31 tahun sebagai Perdana Menteri sudah pasti beliau memiliki pengalaman yang sukar ditandingi.

Buku setebal 400 muka surat dengan 11 bab itu merupakan buku yang keenam selepas Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going (2011), My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore's Bilingual Journey (2011), Lee Kuan Yew: The Man and His Ideas (1998), dan juga dua buku berbentuk memoir, The Singapore Story (1998) dan From Third World to First (2000).

LKY sememangnya terkenal dengan pandangan kritis tanpa kekangan dan paling menarik dalam buku terbaru yang dihasilkan daripada beberapa siri wawancara dengan pengarang akhbar Straits Times Singapura adalah buat pertama kali beliau berada di luar kerajaan setelah meletak jawatan sebagai Menteri Mentor pada tahun 2011.

Sebahagian besar buku terbaru LKY tertumpu kepada isu dasar luar yang merangkumi Amerika Syarikat (AS), China, Eropah, Asia (Jepun, Korea dan India), Timur Tengah dan juga tidak ketinggalan rantau Asia Tenggara.

Dalam setiap buku LKY, sedikit sebanyak perbincangan mengenai jiran terdekat Singapura iaitu Malaysia sukar untuk dihindarkan sama ada secara tersurat atau tersirat kerana pertalian sejarah kedua-dua negara ini amat begitu rapat sekali sehingga ke hari ini. Begitu juga dalam buku terbaru LKY ada menyentuh beberapa isu berkaitan Malaysia.

Agak menarik sekali apabila LKY membuat tafsiran mengenai pengaruh Islam terhadap suasana politik Malaysia di mana beliau membuat andaian bahawa sikap kesederhanaan dalam pengamalan agama telah luntur di mana pengaruh dari Timur Tengah telah menjalar terutama sekali terhadap bangsa Melayu Malaysia yang menjerumus kepada sikap yang lebih ortodoks.

Pada pandangan LKY, rakyat Melayu Malaysia yang beragama Islam pada satu ketika dahulu tidak mempunyai masalah untuk bersalaman di antara lelaki dan wanita dan bertudung adalah sesuatu yang asing. Suasana di mana minuman keras dihidangkan untuk tetamu bukan beragama Islam adalah sesuatu yang asing pada hari ini. Menurut tafsiran LKY lagi Malaysia tidak boleh dilabelkan sebagai negara Islam yang progresif.

Memang benar semua itu adalah tafsiran LKY semata-mata dan ada kalanya pendapat tersebut mempunyai kepincangan walaupun pernah satu ketika bekas Perdana Menteri Britain, Margaret Thatcher mengisytiharkan LKY tidak pernah silap apabila membuat tafsiran. Tetapi perlu ditegaskan ketika buat pertama kali Barack Obama berucap sebagai Presiden AS di Kaherah, Mesir pada tahun 2009, beliau secara spesifik memuji Malaysia sebagai negara Islam contoh yang moden dan progresif.

Dalam buku Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going yang diterbitkan pada tahun 2011, LKY juga ada menyentuh mengenai pengaruh agama terhadap rakyat Melayu Singapura yang beragama Islam. LKY telah menyarankan kepada Melayu Singapura supaya melunturkan pegangan agama Islam mereka supaya lebih mudah mereka bergaul dengan kaum lain.

Saranan LKY yang dianggap sebagai penghinaan terhadap pegangan agama Melayu Singapura telah mendapat bantahan keras bukan sahaja daripada rakyat malah telah dipergunakan sebagai modal kempen pilihan raya oleh pembangkang pada tahun 2011 walaupun LKY telah memohon maaf di atas keceluparan beliau.

Mengenai perpisahan Singapura dari Malaysia pada 1965, LKY secara sinis menyatakan jika perkara tersebut tidak berlaku maka Singapura pada hari ini tidak akan bebas dan boleh diibaratkan seperti berada dalam penjara. Tafsiran tersebut perlu dikaitkan dengan perjuangan LKY pra-1965 yang mahu menghapuskan keistimewaan bangsa Melayu melalui konsep Malaysian Malaysia.

Sebab itu LKY berpendapat sistem politik Malaysia yang berasaskan kaum tidak akan berjaya kerana ia hanya memberi keutamaan kepada satu kaum sahaja, iaitu Melayu. Beliau memberi contoh penghijrahan rakyat yang mempunyai kepakaran ke negara lain seperti Singapura adalah disebabkan oleh sistem politik Malaysia.

LKY sebenarnya tidak mahu mengakui hakikat bahawa Malaysia menjadi begitu stabil dan makmur lebih daripada lima dekad lamanya adalah kerana sistem politik perkongsian kuasa yang diamalkan oleh semua kaum di negara ini. Perkongsian politik dan ekonomi tidak kira rakyat daripada golongan majoriti atau minoriti adalah tunjang utama amalan politik Malaysia.

Memang benar bangsa Melayu adalah golongan majoriti di Malaysia, tetapi kerana amalan perkongsian kuasa, jauh sekali Melayu berada dalam kedudukan dominan sama ada dalam politik atau pun ekonomi.

Sistem politik Malaysia menjadi agak kucar-kacir apabila ada parti politik yang mengamalkan strategi perkauman yang tebal demi meraih undi dan simpati pengundi. Bibitnya telah mula kelihatan pada pilihan raya umum (PRU) 2008 dan keputusan PRU 2013 adalah manifestasi sah amalan politik perkauman yang tebal.

Keputusan PRU 2013 Malaysia adalah mirip kepada PRU 2001 Singapura di mana pada ketika itu majoriti pengundi Melayu tidak menyokong kerajaan dari parti LKY iaitu PAP kerana merasa terkilan dengan pendirian Singapura yang menyokong kempen memerangi keganasan Washington yang ditafsirkan sebagai kempen menindas umat Islam.

Walaupun PAP memperolehi jumlah sokongan yang begitu padu iaitu sebanyak 75 peratus undi, tetapi sokongan tersebut hanya datang daripada satu kelompok pengundi sahaja iaitu kaum Cina.

Memang pandangan LKY dikatakan agak berterus terang dan bernas tanpa kekangan, tetapi kadang kala apa yang diperkatakan beliau secara negatif terhadap Malaysia sebenarnya juga berlaku di Singapura.



Azmi Hassan ialah Geostrategis Institut Geospatial dan Sekolah Perdana UTM.Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 15/08/2013

Mencari imbangan pembangunan ekonomi, kerohanian

BULAN Ogos dan September setiap tahun merupakan bulan penting dalam kalendar negara kita, kerana dalam tempoh ini, rakyat Malaysia pelbagai kaum menyambut kedatangan Hari Kemerdekaan.

31 Ogos adalah merupakan tarikh bersejarah yang harus diingati oleh setiap lapisan masyarakat kerana tarikh inilah negara kita mencapai kemerdekaan, bebas daripada belenggu dan cengkaman penjajah British.

Dengan tibanya tarikh bersejarah ini membawa ingatan kepada kita untuk mengenang kembali perjuangan yang telah dilakukan oleh bekas tokoh-tokoh negara yang berjuang membebaskan negara kita daripada belenggu penjajah.

Kemerdekaan sewajarnya menyedarkan rakyat bahawa negara kita bebas daripada penjajahan tanpa melibatkan tumpah darah. Rakyat Malaysia haruslah bersyukur dengan kemerdekaan yang dicapai, kerana melalui kemerdekaanlah rakyat dapat mencapai kegemilangan dalam semua aspek kehidupan.

Sambutan hari ulang tahun kemerdekaan ke-56 mempunyai makna yang mendalam dan hanya mereka yang mengerti dan mempunyai rasa cinta kepada tanah air dapat mentafsirkan maksud ulang tahun kemerdekaan ini dengan tepat.

Generasi muda hari ini perlu menghayati semangat kemerdekaan ini. Pengetahuan sejarah melalui pembelajaran sejarah di sekolah adalah amat penting bagi mendalamkan pengetahuan remaja hari ini tentang semangat dan erti sebenar kemerdekaan.

Sesungguhnya 31 Ogos adalah satu tarikh yang begitu bermakna yang tidak ada bandingannya. Amatlah wajar bagi semua rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira kaum, memahami dan menghayati kepentingan kemerdekaan ini.

Tarikh 31 Ogos perlu disambut dengan penuh kesyukuran dan semangat patriotik. Ini kerana kemerdekaan itu adalah kemegahan dan kebanggaan semua rakyat yang perlu dikongsi dan dihayati bersama.

Sambutan Ulang Tahun Hari Kebangsaan yang Ke-56 pada tahun ini diharap dapat memantap dan memperkukuhkan lagi semangat patriotisme dan perpaduan dalam kalangan rakyat. Ini dijadikan lebih penting berikutan kejadian pencerobohan di Lahad Datu, Sabah baru-baru ini.

Perpaduan negara sangat penting dan ia menjadi kunci kejayaan Malaysia. Sama ada Malaysia akan menjadi sebuah negara maju menjelang tahun 2020 bergantung kepada beberapa faktor yang penting, terutama sekali perpaduan rakyat. Perpaduan hendaklah menjadi asas kepada semua aktiviti dan rancangan dalam semua sektor dan masyarakat di negara ini.

Perkauman dan apa juga bentuk polarisasi yang lain merupakan halangan terbesar kepada perpaduan negara dan haruslah menjadi keazaman semua pihak untuk memerangi polarisasi kaum secara yang serupa seperti mana kita telah mengisytiharkan perang terhadap ancaman dadah dan jenayah.

Bagi membolehkan proses tersebut terhindar daripada rintangan, pembuat-pembuat dasar, perancang-perancang dan mereka yang melaksanakannya hendaklah memastikan bahawa pemikiran dan amalan mereka sentiasa tertakluk kepada tujuan-tujuan dan nilai-nilai Rukun Negara dan Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang teragung.

Segala rancangan pembangunan, perindustrian dan sebagainya bagi mencapai imbangan sosial dan mewujudkan keadilan sosial hanya akan mendatangkan makna jika rakyat berbilang kaum di negara ini dapat memperkukuhkan kepentingan bersama ke arah perpaduan.

Usaha saling bekerjasama rakyat Malaysia hendaklah berterusan bagi tujuan memelihara dan menguatkan semangat cinta dan kesetiaan kepada negara dan kebanggaan menjadi warga Malaysia. Semangat patriotisme haruslah sentiasa dipupuk dan dipelihara. Keharmonian kaum dan toleransi beragama di setiap peringkat harus terus diperkukuhkan.

Adalah tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa hari kemerdekaan memang meninggalkan kesan mendalam pada kita semua, terutama dalam kalangan generasi yang pernah berjuang untuk mencapainya.

Nilai murni menjadi asas penting kepada masyarakat Malaysia terutama dalam usaha mencapai taraf sebuah negara maju. Ini penting kerana konsep Wawasan 2020 itu sendiri telah menyebut dengan jelas hasrat negara untuk mencari titik keseimbangan antara pembangunan kebendaan dan kerohanian.

Apa yang perlu ditekan sekarang ialah kita harus menyeimbangkan pencapaian ekonomi dengan pembangunan kerohanian dan akhlak, di samping berusaha dengan lebih gigih untuk mencapai integrasi kaum dan perpaduan negara dalam gagasan 1Malaysia.



TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE ialah Pemegang Amanah Yayasan 1Malaysia Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 15/08/2013

Pemikiran rakyat: Berpolitik untuk apa?

MENJELANG tarikh kemerdekaan 31 Ogos, tertanya-tanya kita sejauh manakah 'merdekanya pemikiran berpolitik' rakyat Malaysia. Jika sekadar berpolitik untuk melepas geram, dendam, benci tentu tidak ke mana. Ia akan merugi masa, tenaga, belanja. Bimbang pula ia akan mencetus huru-hara, persengketaan dan menjejas keharmonian yang sedia ada.

Yang membimbangkan sejak akhir-akhir ini ialah apa yang boleh dianggap sebagai 'kecelaruan berpolitik'. Berpolitik tanpa objektif yang jelas. Berpolitik secara terikut-ikut, taksub, politik asal saja dinamakan kerajaan yang diterajui Barisan Nasional (BN) semua dianggap 'tidak betul'. Tegasnya berpolitik tanpa memahami matlamat.

Dikaitkan pula kononnya politik di Malaysia perlu berubah seperti yang berlaku di beberapa negara lain khususnya sekitar Asia Barat. Untuk apa? Teruk sangatkah kehidupan kita di Malaysia? Buruk sangatkah corak pemerintahan di Malaysia? Apa buktinya?

Ketinggalan sangatkah rakyat Malaysia - dari segi pendidikan, pemilikan kekayaan, menikmati keselesaan melalui kemudahan-kemudahan asas? Tidak adil? Yang pembangkang boleh memerintah beberapa negeri itu apa maknanya? Kenapa BN tidak memperoleh kemenangan dua pertiga di Parlimen?

Mereka tidak pula melihat betapa buruknya kesan daripada persengketaan politik sehingga berlaku rampasan kuasa atau runtuhnya kerajaan yang sedia ada secara tidak terhormat. Dapatkah dibilang berapa buah negara bangkit segar selepas diruntuhkan secara tidak bermoral dan berperaturan.

Dipengaruhi kemaruk mahu menjadi pemimpin (Perdana Menteri?) ada pihak menggesa agar politik Malaysia diubah melalui demonstrasi jalanan jika tidak berupaya melalui proses pilihan raya. Tiada pilihan untuk dijadikan sasaran, Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) dijadikan 'kambing hitam'.

Lalu ramailah juga mereka yang terikut-ikut rentak 'pemburu agenda peribadi' ini untuk melaungkan semua yang kerajaan buat tidak betul! Rakan-rakan wartawan pernah menemu bual anak-anak muda semasa perhimpunan 'Bersih 0.2' di ibu negara sedikit masa lalu. Ditanya kenapa mereka datang berhimpun, lantas ada yang menjawab: "saja suka-suka. Orang ajak kita datanglah!" Apa maksudnya ini jika tidak diistilahkan sebagai 'pengikut politik gila-gila."

Nyatalah ramai mereka terutama generasi muda semakin tidak faham apa yang mereka cari sebenarnya apabila bercakap tentang politik negara. Tidak usahlah pula ditanyakan erti penghargaan kepada pemimpin-pemimpin yang memperjuangkan kemerdekaan dan membangunkan negara. Saban waktu ada-ada saja cemuhan, tohmahan, atau bibit-bibit kebencian dan kutukan dihambur kepada barisan kepimpinan negara.

Tidak dinafikan pengaruh ini dibawa menerusi media sosial. Tetapi tidak banyak pihak cuba memandu golongan ini agar faham dan mampu menghayati aspirasi sebenar politik Malaysia. Tertanya ke mana peranan guru, pensyarah, pemimpin tempatan hatta ibu bapa sendiri. Apa lagi mahu dikata, jika terdapat anak-anak muda Melayu yang tidak faham istilah Dasar Ekonomi Baru. Malah ada antara mereka langsung tidak mempedulikan istilah 'keistimewaan bumiputera' di bumi merdeka ini.

Jauh sekali untuk menerima kenyataan bahawa banyak kemudahan yang dinikmati mereka itu tertampung oleh 'tampalan subsidi kerajaan'.

Bezanya - kerja mereka mengutuk sementara pada masa yang sama pemimpin negara berhempas pulas berusaha memakmurkan kehidupan rakyat. Barisan kepimpinan kerajaan sentiasa mencari jalan untuk atasi gejala jenayah. Mereka juga berbincang bagaimana untuk mengekalkan kestabilan ekonomi dalam keadaan ekonomi global yang tidak menentu.

Di Kelantan, rakyat yang memerlukan bantuan mencari wakil rakyat BN atau Ketua-Ketua Bahagian UMNO bukan wakil rakyat Pas atau pemimpin-pemimpin tempatan Pas. Ini termasuk untuk mendapat bantuan tambang kapal terbang atau bas kerana mahu hantar anak-anak ke pusat-pusat pengajian tinggi. Di musim sekolah pula, mahu bantuan untuk beli seluar baju anak-anak, beg sekolah.

Pujian patut diberi kepada pemimpin-pemimpin Pas Kelantan kerana rakyat tidak cari mereka untuk bantuan. Mereka pandai meletak 'label' di hati rakyat bahawa mereka kalangan pemimpin yang miskin, susah dan berpendapatan amat terhad. Lalu orang ramai tidak minat menemui mereka untuk mendapat bantuan.

Kita tidak bermaksud rakyat Malaysia tidak perlu 'menghiraukan politik', tetapi berpolitiklah secara berhemah, faham dan tahu arah haluan bangsa dan negara. Bagi sesama umat Islam, bersengketa hanya semata-mata berbeza fahaman politik tentu lebih dikesalkan.

Kenapa kita harus 'terpisah kemesraan' kerana politik? Berpolitik untuk siasah mencari 'kuasa' untuk mentadbir urus negara dengan baik. Manfaatnya untuk kepentingan semua. Bukan untuk tidak bertegur sapa atau caci mencaci. Cubalah tanyakan apa erti merdeka jika fikiran masih kusut, celaru hanya kerana tidak memahami untuk apa sebenarnya 'berpolitik'.

Kita tentunya masih tidak 'merdeka' jika hanya berpolitik secara 'suka-suka', 'ikut-ikutan' , 'taksub', penuh emosi dan sentimen… namun tidak mengerti ke mana penghujungnya. Satu sudut lagi 'berpolitik' yang boleh membahayakan ialah untuk memperjuangkan semangat perkauman sempit.

Mereka mahu apa yang "mereka mahu" tanpa ada konsep "sedia menerima" struktur negara yang seadanya. Jika boleh mereka mahu generasi baru tidak perlu fikir dan tidak perlu tahu sejarah tanah air. Mereka barangkali tidak dapat menerima hakikat bahawa negara tidak stabil selagi "emosi orang Melayu terganggu".

Mari kita sambut ulang tahun kemerdekaan negara yang ke-56 dengan penuh rasa muhibah, saling memahami dan menghormati dan menghargai peranan, sumbangan dan jasa masing-masing.



ESPUTRA MUKHTAR ialah penganalisis politik Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 16/08/2013

Singapura maju kerana Malaysia

SAYA begitu teruja untuk mengulas pendapat Lee Kuan Yew ketika melancarkan buku terbaharunya bertajuk, One Man's View of the World pada 6 Ogos 2013.

Sebelum itu, nasihat saya bekas Perdana Menteri ini, beritahu anak, jagalah orang Melayu Singapura baik-baik ketika usia emas ini. Pastikan mereka boleh duduk sama rendah, berdiri sama tinggi dengan Cina di sana. Tidak perlulah banyak komen sangat tentang keadaan politik di Malaysia sehingga menuduh kerajaan Malaysia sanggup korban talent (bakat) semata-mata untuk menaikkan orang Melayu. Ketuanan Melayulah yang menyebabkan Malaysia mundur, kehilangan bakat dan sebagainya.

Asyik-asyik salahkan Melayu. Saya pun ada hak untuk menyalahkan ultra kiasu Cina Singapura, yang menyebabkan Melayu di sana dan Malaysia dikhianati. Tanpa Malaysia, Singapura tidak ke mana-mana jua. Justeru, berterima kasihlah kepada Malaysia.

Sejak dahulu, Kuan Yew tidak pernah berubah, sering menjadi isu hak istimewa orang Melayu atau ketuanan Melayu untuk menghentam Malaysia. Pada beliau, inilah yang menjadi Malaysia tidak maju seperti Singapura. Alah, sekadar menguruskan negara sekangkang kera, sesiapa pun boleh buat. Justeru, janganlah terlalu bongkak. Apa yang berlaku di Singapura, mempunyai kaitan yang rapat dengan kita di Malaysia.

Apa yang menjadi masalah dengan hak istimewa Melayu atau ketuanan Melayu? Adakah dengan hak dan ketuanan ini, bukan Melayu merempat dan menjadi hamba? Tidak juga. Malah, siapa yang lebih hebat hari ini? Melayu yang bergelar 'tuan'? Atau Cina yang bergelar 'hamba'.

Sedarlah isu ini tidak ada apa-apa, melainkan soal kedengkian dan soal hati untuk memadamkan sejarah negara. Sebab, setiap negara ada asal-usulnya. Setiap bangsa ada tanahnya. Jika tidak, tidak adalah nama-nama seperti Tanah Melayu, Tanah China, Tanah India dan tanah-tanah yang lain mengikut bangsa.

Lagi soalan saya kepada Kuan Yew, jika benar-benar mahu mengangkat Melayu, sudah tentu institusi Islam seperti madrasah (sekolah agama) dan masjid diberikan perhatian. Ini tidak, jika umat Islam Singapura tidak mengambil inisiatif sendiri, sudah lama kedua-dua institusi ini terkubur.

Itupun kedudukan institusi Islam semakin menghimpit. Pihak berkuasa Singapura memaksa institusi ini mengikut kehendak mereka. Jika tidak, ia akan ditutup. Tanah akan dirampas. Berapa banyak tanah Melayu telah dirampas (beli) dan dijadikan tanah Cina Singapura?

Akhirnya, untuk mengelakkan keadaan menjadi lebih buruk, mahu tidak mahu, institusi Islam terpaksa mengikut pihak berkuasa Singapura. Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa. Orang agama yang bekerja di situ sudah mati kemelayuan dan keislaman. Cari makanlah katakan. Jika tidak percaya pergilah buat kajian di Madrasah Wak Tanjung. Dengar rintihan mereka.

Bakat-bakat Melayu yang menjadi pak turut disimpan dalam kerajaan. Manakala talent Melayu yang cuba membela Melayu dan Islam Singapura, dibuang jauh-jauh. Ke manakah talent seperti Dr. Lily Zubaidah? Kenapa beliau tidak diberikan tempat?

Kenapa banyak sangat orang Islam yang bukan berwajah Melayu (India Muslim) yang mendapat tempat di Singapura? Hanya Kuan Yew dan anaknya sahaja yang boleh menjawab. Janganlah terlalu menonjolkan diri sendiri hebat. Tanpa Malaysia, Singapura tidak akan ke mana-mana.

Itupun nasib baik saya bukan menjadi PM dalam menyelesaikan isu perebutan Pulau Batu Putih. Jika tidak, pasti saya tidak akan membawa perkara ini ke Mahkamah Antarabangsa (ICJ). Penyelesaian pertikaian pulau ini adalah perang. Malangnya, kita sudah terlepas. Dunia telah menyaksikan hilangnya sebuah pulau milik Melayu terlepas kepada ultra kiasu. Di manakah maruah Melayu? Hari ini Melayu dihina lagi, kita terus diam.

Tersangat jauh bezanya antara layanan kerajaan Malaysia terhadap SJKC dengan kerajaan Singapura terhadap madrasah dan masjid. Jika umat Islam di sana tidak mengambil inisiatif sudah lama institusi ini ditutup. Lihat di Malaysia, SJKC bukan sahaja diberikan keutamaan setanding dengan Sekolah Kebangsaan (Agama).

Hatta, kita pula terpaksa tunduk kepada SJKC. Niat kerajaan untuk menambah masa Bahasa Melayu bagi memandaikan anak Cina terus ditentang. Termasuk Pelan Induk Pembangunan Pendidikan 2013-2025 (PIPP). Dong Jiao Zong sedang aktif untuk mendapatkan tandatangan orang Cina seluruh negara bagi menentang PIPP.

Di Singapura, sesiapa yang tidak mengikut arus kebangsaan, bukan sahaja tidak relevan, malah akan dihumban ke penjara. Kita pula asyik melayan kerana mahukan undi dan mengekalkan kuasa kononnya. Apa hasil yang kita dapat? Dapatkah undi dan kuasa itu?

Jika Kuan Yew sangat menginginkan talent dari Malaysia, ambillah orang seperti Namewee, Alvivi dan sebagainya. Malaysia tidak perlukan orang yang kononnya mempunyai talent tersebut.

Kita mahukan talent yang membina bukan talent yang menghancurkan negara. Talent yang mempunyai semangat partriotisme yang tinggi. Bukan talent yang merosakkan negara dan membocorkan rahsia negara. Saya amat bimbang dengan trend pegawai kerajaan yang bekerja di bahagian keselamatan, kerana ramai juga orang seperti Si Kitol dan Mandaliar. Mereka ini ultra kiasu.

Si Kitol dan Mandaliar inilah yang telah melakukan khianat dan membentuk negara Singapura. Mereka tipu pemimpin kita dengan membuat perjanjian air yang tidak langsung munasabah. Atas sangka baik, kita bersetuju. Sehingga kini, air yang dijual kepada Singapura adalah wang Malaysia 0.03 sen setiap 1,000 gelens (4,500 Liter) sehingga tahun 2061. Perjanjian yang amat tidak masuk akal. Bayangkan ketika pemisahan tahun 1965, kita putuskan air, apakah Singapura wujud hari ini?

Berbanding kerajaan China menjual air kepada air kepada negara bangsanya sendiri Hong Kong, suatu ketika dahulu pada harga AS$5.8 setiap 1000 gelen. Saya ringkaskan, Melayu jual kepada Cina air pada kadar 0.03 sen setiap 1000 gelen. Manakala China menjual air kepada Cina pada kadar AS$5.8 setiap 1000 gelen. Siapa sebenar yang baik? Siapa sebenar yang tertipu? Apakah bangunan mereka boleh berdiri megah dengan menggunakan air masin? Sudahlah Kuan Yew, bertaubatlah kamu di akhir usia ini.

Kenapa Malaysia (Melayu) begitu bermurah hati? Inilah soal hati Melayu. Hati mulia Melayu yang saya amat kenali setelah lama berdamping dengan mereka. Hatinya terlalu baik sehingga orang lain mengambil kesempatan. Yang paling saya bimbang, kebaikan hatinya nanti akan menyebabkan negara ini tergadai.

Baru-baru ini, di bulan Ramadan, saya terserempak dengan bekas pegawai tinggi kerajaan sedang berjumpa dengan sekumpulan peniaga Cina pada jam 1.00 pagi di sebuah restoran di ibu kota. Dalam hati sudah dapat mengagak, apa lagi agendanya kalau bukan mahu menjadi 'pak pacak'. Maka akan dilantik menjadi pengerusi syarikat itu dan ini, dengan elaun puluhan ribu ringgit sebulan, bagi tujuan mendapatkan tender atau kontrak kerajaan.

Inilah dilema orang Melayu. Apabila sudah pencen, kerja tiada. Maka mereka akan mencari jalan pintas. Mereka tidak fikir bagaimana membangunkan Melayu. Mereka hanya fikirkan perut. Ultra kiasu akan menggunakan segala ruang dan peluang untuk memanipulasikan keadaan.

Kita hanya boleh berbangga menjadi pengerusi syarikat ini dan itu di bawah telunjuk syarikat Cina. Bila dapat projek kerajaan bernilai jutaan itu, siapa kaya? Melayu menjadi sekaya mana? Apakah kita akan dihargai selepas itu? Inilah pemikiran Kuan Yew.

Lihatlah perjanjian air antara Malaysia-Singapura, langsung tidak boleh diubah. Jika Malaysia bercadang untuk menaikkannya mungkin keadaan lebih buruk akan terjadi. Apakah Singapura atau Kuan Yew pernah berterima kasih kepada kita?

Apa sebenarnya yang Kuan Yew mahu? Beliau tidak pernah berhenti bersuara supaya Malaysia menghapuskan hak istimewa orang Melayu dalam keadaan usia emas beliau? Jawapannya, apabila hak ini dihapuskan dalam Perlembagaan, ketika itulah tidak mustahil, Singapura akan menawarkan diri untuk masuk semula ke dalam Persekutuan Malaysia.

Nasihat saya, Malaysia tidak bodoh lagi. Bakat-bakat di Malaysia sudah tidak boleh lagi dipermainkan dan diperbodohkan.



PROF MADYA DR. MOHD RIDHUAN TEE ABDULLAH ialah penganalisis sosio politik Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 16/08/2013

Abdullah nafi tulis, taja buku

KUALA LUMPUR 12 Ogos - Bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi menafikan terlibat dalam penulisan, penajaan, penerbitan dan pelancaran buku bertajuk Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia.

Menurut beliau, persetujuannya untuk diwawancara oleh penyusun-penyusun buku tersebut iaitu Prof. James Chin dan Prof. Bridget Welsh adalah berlandaskan kepada prinsip keterbukaan yang menjadi pegangannya.

Sehubungan itu, Abdullah meminta semua pihak tidak membuat andaian kononnya buku itu ditulis beliau yang bersubahat dengan pakatan pembangkang untuk menentang UMNO.

"Ini sudah memesong fakta dan menjadi fitnah. Apa juga teguran yang diberikan dalam wawancara saya yang dimuatkan di dalam buku ini dibuat kerana saya ingin melihat UMNO terus diberi mandat dan kepercayaan oleh rakyat.

"Saya tidak pernah meninggalkan UMNO dan insya-Allah, bila tiba masanya nanti, saya akan menghembuskan nafas terakhir dengan masih lagi sebagai ahli UMNO yang cintakan negaranya," katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Buku Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia mencetuskan kontroversi selepas beberapa kandungannya dilihat menjurus kepada kritikan terhadap UMNO termasuk menyentuh mengenai hubungan Abdullah dengan bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Tambah Abdullah, pembabitannya dalam wawancara bersama James dan Welsh pada 2011 lebih tertumpu kepada menjawab soalan yang dibangkitkan penulis-penulis yang menyumbang kepada buku berkenaan serta memberi ruang kepada beliau menjelaskan beberapa perkara.

Menurutnya, walaupun dimaklumkan buku itu bakal memuatkan rencana yang kritis dan kurang menyenangkan tentang kepemimpinannya, namun beliau tetap bersetuju diwawancara atas semangat keterbukaan demi perdebatan yang seimbang dengan mengambil kira semua sudut pandangan.

Beliau berkata, analisis yang dihasilkan ahli akademik tentang sejarah politik negara adalah perkara biasa dan era pentadbirannya juga tidak terlepas daripada kajian ilmiah.

Dalam masa sama, ujarnya, beliau tidak tahu, tidak diberitahu dan tidak bertanggungjawab atas mana-mana jemputan untuk membincangkan atau melancarkan buku tersebut.

"Berita yang mengatakan pemimpin daripada parti pembangkang dijemput melancarkan buku ini di Singapura, kalau pun benar, adalah keputusan penerbit buku, bukan saya," katanya.

Selain itu, Abdullah menegaskan, beliau tidak merancang menghadiri pelancaran buku berkenaan kerana tidak mahu orang ramai membuat andaian buku tersebut ditulis atau ditaja beliau.

"Saya cuma menjawab soalan yang ditanya. Biarlah jawapan-jawapan saya menjadi tumpuan pembaca," katanya.



HUSSAINI AMRAN pengarang@utusan.com.my Utusan Malaysia Online Politik 13/08/2013

We need true and principled people to lead

IN the article “Ruling multiracial Malaysia” by June H.L. Wong (The Star, Aug 14), the writer has comprehensively outlined the do’s and dont’s of leaders in multiracial Malaysia.

Effectively, the writer is talking about the qualities of principle-centred leadership that are absolutely needed to bring peace, stability and prosperity to all Malaysians.

But, sadly, the leaders that we have today are far from being principle-centred.

On the contrary, most are self-centred and that is why we are now experiencing political, social and racial upheavals like never before!

In fact, we are exactly at the opposite and the wrong end of the spectrum.

Right now, we are mired in disagreement in educational policy, safety and security threats, religious bigotry, disparaging racial remarks, unhealthy politics, blasphemous and sacrilegious remarks and activities.

The sad thing is that this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

The good news is that everybody knows what to do to correct the situation but the bad news is that nobody wants to do it!

Only with the emergence of true and principle-centred leaders do we have any chance of realising our dreams of a truly stable, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia.

Robert Lim Alor Gajah The STAR Online Opinion 16/08/2013

Ruling multiracial Malaysia

There’s no need to wonder who should rule in Putrajaya: what’s more important is how they rule.

LEE Kuan Yew got it right. Whether it is Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat in Putrajaya, this country will still be under Malay rule.

So what, this aunty would like to ask?

For this citizen of Chinese descent, it is a given due to our history, racial composition and politics.

To quote Deng Xiaopeng, it doesn’t matter if it is a black or white cat, as long as it can catch the mice.

Similarly, I can accept Malay rule, regardless which side is in power, as long as it provides good government.

But as a voting citizen, I do have my hopes and expectations from my leaders.

You see, I am fine with Malay rule as long as the leaders cherish and respect the Constitution and continue to abide by the provisions in this document and not to tinker with it as they like.

I have no problem with Malay rule as long as those in power upholds Islam’s position as the official religion but will also respect other religions and protect the rights of all Malaysians to practise their faiths without discrimination, harassment or fear.

I am really okay with Malay rule as long as those who rule are not afraid of the past; who understand history should not be reinterpreted to make one community look better than others and who will acknowledge the contributions of other races in the building of this nation.

I will defend a leadership that will not use other races to invoke fear in the Malays by insinuating that these ungrateful interlopers are greedy and grasping and will steal the nation from under them if they are not careful.

I will support leaders who are strong and courageous to stand firm against those who preach hate and divisiveness and punish them appropriately, regardless of who these hate-mongers are.

I will cherish a Malay-led government that is fair to women and believe in gender equality; that will end all laws that continue to discriminate against women and treat them like simple-minded creatures.

I will admire a leadership that recognises the competition is beyond our shores and if we don’t stop bickering among ourselves and trying to frighten each other, our country might be left far behind, even within the region as all our neighbours get their act together and grow from strength to strength.

Hence, I will rejoice to have leaders who embrace meritocracy and will fight to nurture and retain all its talented citizens to benefit our society and nation and give us the edge on the international front.

I am all for a principled government that upholds the rule of law and that means, as defined by thefreedictionary.com, the government exercises “its power in accordance with well-established and clearly written rules, regulations, and legal principles” and “no branch of government is above the law, and no public official may act arbitrarily or unilaterally outside the law”.

In other words, a leadership that enforces laws with fairness, morality and justice.

I will support those in power who believe in educating and empowering its people and not keeping them stupid and poor in order to control them and making them dependent forever.

I will happily live under a leadership that nurtures a thinking society and does not fear dissent or those who challenge its authority through peaceful expressions be it in words, or through art, performances, music and film.

I will cherish a leadership that is inclusive with a consistent message to all, actively promotes true racial accommodation and acceptance and not play lip service to mere tolerance.

That is simply intolerable.

I will be in awe of leaders who can articulate and defend their policies by speaking with intelligence, backed up with quality research, facts and figures, and not insult the intelligence of others, especially those who question them.

And I can cheer them on proudly when they promote or defend Malaysia’s interests abroad because they can speak in crisp, clear English with authority, knowledgeably and wittily.

I will respect leaders who understand that becoming Yang Berhormats does not automatically elevate them to a status that demands obeisance from others.

Rather, they understand they are the people’s servants and respect must be earned.

I will honour a government that is led by leaders who are morally clean and upright, with zero tolerance for corruption and will not use underhanded means to enrich themselves and to keep themselves in power.

I am all for Malay rule as long as my leaders are committed to and believe in a multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia and want to keep it this way.

Aunty hopes August, being our Merdeka month, will be a good time to remember our shared history. Feedback to junewong@thestar.com.my or tweet #JuneHLWong. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

JUNE H.L.WONG The STAR Online Home Opinion Columnists 14/08/2013

Open house, open heart

ON the third day of Raya, my cabbie said to me: “Working today? Most people took the whole stretch off.”


“News never sleeps,” I joked, nodding my assent while taking in the latest updates on my phone.


My jovial driver - let’s call him L - is a chatty fellow, and always has a good story to share. The last time I taxi-ed to an assignment, he warned me about a new abduction scheme.


Apparently, rogue drivers dangle a tiny bottle of special perfume from the rear-view mirror. It releases a scent that induces sleepiness in their unlucky passengers.


So if you feel woozy during the journey for no obvious reason, get out of the cab at the nearest opportunity - receiving a text or a call “changing the meeting point” is useful - and regain your senses before hailing another one.


That aside, our conversation that day took on a more festive turn.


Almost everyone I knew was out visiting friends, so I asked: “Did you go to an open house?”


“Of course! I took yesterday off just to visit all my old neighbours, and brought my mother along,” L beamed.


Though the former Puchong resident has since moved away from the area, he faithfully renews old friendships every year.


“Their kids are all grown up. They have families of their own now, and when everyone comes back for Raya, it’s very meriah (merry). I like the atmosphere,” said L.


It was most tempting to ask if he had received any queries of the dreaded “Bila nak kahwin?” (when are you getting married?) variety, but restraint was exercised as it’s not much better than asking the question itself.


But I did think it was a fine thing to still keep in touch with one’s old neighbours, and promptly told him so.


“We were the only Chinese family there then. People said it was dangerous to live in an all-Malay neighbourhood, but I really don’t think so,” he said of his childhood home.


“Of course, there were some who just wouldn’t talk to us. But many others did, so it didn’t matter,” shared L.


One incident in particular had reaffirmed his colour-blind beliefs. Once, his family had accidentally left their home unlocked for an entire day.


Upon their return, a neighbour told them: “Tadi ada orang cuba masuk rumah lu. I cakap pada dia: kalau you masuk rumah dia, saya patah kaki lu!” (Someone suspicious tried to enter your house. I told the person: if you break in, I will break your legs!).


In an extraordinary display of good judgement and common sense, the would-be-thief chose to keep his legs in working order and walked away, leaving L’s home safe and sound.


By the time he was done with his story, our short journey was over.


“Happy working. I hope you get to go to an open house soon. It’s important, you know,” he said before driving away.


L was right. Open houses are a Malaysian must-do during any festival.


On the first day of Raya, I was tasked with collecting social media updates on that unique local custom.


Tweeters and Instagram users had posted everything from beautiful #ootd - the popular Outfit Of The Day hashtag was used to showcase new Raya threads and ayu (demure) selfies - to pictures of tables laden with delicious traditional food.


Most heartening was how many added “Jemputlah hadir” in an open invitation to their homes.


Whether I was viewing updates from the massive event hosted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak - 15 cakes and no less, said a colleague at the scene - or witnessing the simple joy of welcoming friends and family to one’s home, it was a most enjoyable glimpse of celebrations throughout the country.


Having studied in a Malay-medium national school throughout my primary and secondary schooling years, I remember everyone inviting each other to open houses for every major festival.


Sometimes, it turned into a basis for (friendly) competition, as good friends would tease one another about having ‘more’ open houses to attend.


If anyone took offence at not receiving an ‘official invite’ to someone else's do, the host would exclaim playfully: “Eh, it’s called ‘open house’ lah! You don’t have to wait for an invite, everyone is welcome!”.


So if you haven’t attended one yet, maybe you don’t have to wait around for an invitation.


Just turn up at the next one you know of with some buah tangan (gifts) for old friends or family members, break into a smile as the host greets you happily, and get ready to be told your presence is present enough.


After all, aren’t open houses just another form of our national pastime, which is to enjoy good food with good friends?

Michelle Tham The STAR Online Home News Opinion 16/08/2013

Power of the human mind

Many are still unaware of the uniquely human ability to think and that imagination is the most refined faculty possessed by man. The link between the two is what leads to innovation and invention.

HUMAN creativity, whether exemplified as invention or innovation, is essentially about new ideas and has a large role in thinking.

What many Muslims of today have been unaware of – but which a number of past Muslim scholars such as ibn Sina and al-Ghazzali have elaborated on – is the close relation that exists between thinking as a peculiarly human faculty and imagination as the most refined faculty possessed by man.

To the aforementioned scholars, acts of human imaginative faculty (al-quwwah al-mutakhayyilah) are mainly of three types.

The first consists of its associating (or composition) as well as dissociating (or decomposition) of various images and meanings that are already in one’s memory.

One is thereby able to “create” numerous imaginary objects and events such as unicorn, fiction and fairy tales, and the like.

The second type comprises resembling and likening, resulting in various kinds of symbolism.

Hence, when one’s intelligence divides something into branches, one’s imagination likens such a portioning to the branches of a tree, or when something is ordered in different degrees, one’s imagination likens such a hierarchy to a ladder-like structure.

The third type pertains to mediacy in human recollection such that something which one has forgotten becomes recollected.

Such is the case because one’s imagination, being by nature active, keeps scrutinising the many images (or forms) preserved in one’s memory, moving from one form to another one, until it comes across that form by means of which one’s mind comes to remember a forgotten meaning.

The relation of that form to the arrival of the meaning which is associated with it is like the relation, as discussed in formal logic, of the middle term of a syllogism to its conclusion; for through its presence, one is prepared to receive the conclusion.

In fact, the aforementioned is precisely what mnemonics and mind-mapping as refined memorisation techniques and devices have capitalised on.

Yet, one may still wonder, how does imagination relate to thinking?

Thinking, as we had explained on several occasions before, was considered by such scholars to be “the mental act of (1) arranging into correct and meaningful order, (2) what one has already known in order to, (3) attain what one is still ignorant of”.

It is clear that there are three central and constitutive elements embedded in such a perspective.

One such constituent, indicated by (1) above, obviously relates to the way one mentally organises those units of knowledge which one is currently attending to, resulting thus in certain patterns or arrangements in one’s mind.

It is the manner one relates one unit with another unit, or a group of other units of knowledge, in order to prepare one’s mind to be inspired with new units of knowledge.

It concerns the numerous active compositions (or associations) as well as decompositions (or dissociations) of such units in one’s mind.

This constituent of thinking is hence considered to be the “form”, or “structure”, of thinking, which is actually the dimension of thinking that formal logic as a discipline of study is singularly concerned with.

In fact, it is in this structure-forming act of the mind that one easily finds the defining role of human imagination.

So instrumental is imagination to thinking that it has also been termed “cogitative faculty” (al-quwwah al-mutafakkirah, or al-quwwah al-mufakkirah).

In other words, cogitation as a mental act is carried out with the assistance of the imagination, in the course of intuiting more composite and higher cognitions and intelligibles.

In this particular performance of the intellect, the imagination is used to acquire the middle term of a syllogism by means of its associating and dissociating of the units of knowledge one has already had.

The intellect, by God’s leave, will then intuit the conclusion of such a syllogistic composition.

This logico-intellectual operation of the human mind actually multiplies as one progresses in knowledge.

As such, and given the prevalent tendency among today’s pundits of creativity to assign imagination a pivotal role in invention and innovation, that there be close connection between imagination and thinking as recognised by such Muslim luminaries of the past and as herein outlined is particularly significant.

Dr Mohd Zaidi Ismail is Senior Fellow/Director at Ikim’s Centre for Science and Environment Studies. The STAR Online Home News Opinion IKIM Views 11/06/2013

A virtuous, spiritual journey

Ramadan is a month for Muslims to retrain, re-educate and rejuvenate their souls, minds and manners and ‘graduate’ as better persons.

THE month of Ramadan holds immense importance for Muslims. Highly venerated in Islam, it is distinguished from other months of the Islamic calendar by a number of characteristics, privileges and virtues.

Fasting is made compulsory throughout Ramadan on all Muslims who have attained the age of puberty and of sound mind.

While fasting, Muslims are not only prohibited from eating or drinking anything from dawn till dusk, but are also required to observe some other added prohibitions, in words and actions, which are otherwise allowed without much restriction outside the sacred month.

Ramadan is a month for Muslims to retrain, re-educate, rejuvenate – in greater intensity – their souls, minds and manners. A good external manifestation of one’s behaviour reflects a refined internal condition of one’s heart and soul.

That explains why Ramadan is regarded by Wahbah al-Zuhayli, in his celebratedFiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh, as a “great school of ethics”, where people are expected to graduate as better persons.

The Noble Qur’an and the authentic prophetic traditions (ahadith, sing. hadith) have expressed the virtues of Ramadan in abundance.

One hadith states that rewards for any act of worship performed during the blessed month is manifold – seventy times compared to other normal times.

Under certain circumstances, some other reliable ahadith relate that the rewards could even be multiplied almost beyond imagination.

If Muslims were to properly understand these virtues, it would provide tremendous motivation and encouragement for them to perfect their fasting, purify their souls in earnest, seeking the promised multiplicity of rewards and the pleasures of Allah.

Realising this, no good Muslim would ever attempt to abandon fasting during Ramadan.

Among the virtuous acts recommended during Ramadan is the performance of umrah (minor hajj/pilgrimage) for those Muslims who have the means to do so financially and physically.

Briefly, umrah includes visits to the two Forbidden Cities (al-haramayn), namely Medina and Mecca, with a number of prescribed rituals especially in the latter.

As a form of worship, two most important pillars of umrah are circumambulation (tawaf) around the House of God (Baytullah) or Kaabah, and the brisk walking (sa’i) between Safa and Marwah.

Muslims are encouraged to perform umrah prior to hajj because of various reasons. Among them are economic and/or health constraints as hajj requires more energy, time, money and is physically more challenging. Not all Muslims are bestowed with good health and wealth simultaneously in all situations. Two most prominent scholars on hadith, Imam al-Bukhari and Muslim, reported in their respective Sahih that Prophet Muhammad said, “When Ramadan comes, go for umrah, for umrah in (that month) is equivalent to hajj,” or in another narration, “is equivalent to having performed hajj with me!”

“Equivalent to hajj” means the reward to which hajj is eligible. It does not mean that umrah will serve as a substitute for hajj and absolve able individual Muslims from the obligation to perform it.

Hence, any Muslim who vies for such a reward of hajj may perform the umrah during the blessed month.

Other than the promised rewards, Muslims should also feel motivated to perform umrah during Ramadan in light of other virtues as described by the following ahadith:

“There is no city on earth through which Allah multiplies one good deed by a hundred thousand except Mecca.” (Sahih Bukhari, lbn Hibban).

“Whosoever offers a prayer in Mecca, then that prayer is enhanced a hundred thousand fold over.” (Sahih Muslim/Sunan an-Nasai).

“Whosoever gives one dirham in charity in Mecca, Allah writes for him the reward of having spent a hundred thousand dirhams in charity.” (Sunan Tirmizi).

“Anyone who completes the recitation of the entire Quran once in Mecca, AIIah records for him the reward of a hundred thousand full recitations.” (Baihaqi, lbn Majah).

“Whosoever glorifies Allah once in Mecca, for him is recorded the rewards of having glorified Allah hundred thousand times elsewhere. Every good deed which a servant enacts in the Forbidden City is equivalent to a hundred thousand deeds enacted elsewhere.” (Sunan an-Nasai).

“Each pious deed performed in Mecca is multiplied a hundred thousand fold.” (Sunan Abu Dawud).

“Anyone who observes the fasts of the month of Ramadan in Mecca, Allah records for him the reward of a hundred thousand months of fasting in any other city.” (Sunan Ibn Majah).

“The prayer offered in Masjid al-Haram is increased by a hundred thousand prayers.” (Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim).

“Anyone who falls ill in Mecca for one day, Allah renders his body and his flesh forbidden from the fire of Jahannam/Hell.” (Sahih Bukhari)

All the prophetic traditions mentioned above do not constitute religious superstition. On the contrary they form and become part and parcel of religious teachings transmitted by reliable scholars whose trustworthiness and authorities are hardly questionable.

The climax of Ramadan is the attainment of “the Night of Power” (laylah al-qadar), or the Night of Honour and Glory, achievable during the last nine days of the month. Its virtue(s), as conclusively carved in the Quran, is better than a thousand months of good life (al-Qadar, 97: 2-3). It is equivalent to 83 years of worship to Allah!

Considering all the understanding and knowledge aforementioned are in the minds and hearts of Muslims, it’s truly heartening to see millions of them flock and converge on Mecca every year during Ramadan to perform umrah and other acts of devotion – obligatory or recommended – and improve them in quantity and quality, to reap the magnificent harvests.

Their spiritual salvation is virtually complete if they are fortunate enough to capture the laylah al-qadar in the Holy Land, securing forgiveness, blessings and pleasures from Allah the Almighty.

Dr Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad is Director/Senior Fellow of The Centre for Shariah, Law and Politics. The STAR Online Home News Opinion Columnist IKIM Views 06/08/2013

Integrity the key to progress

The concept of integrity in Islam is not exclusive to whom one leads but is a moral value that each of us must internalise in our heart and manifest in our daily lives.

WITH the election fever in full pitch, some Malaysians, coincidentally, are busy dealing with their tax filing obligations at this time.

Why should we be concerned with both the elections and our tax obligations? What has the elections got to do with tax in the first place?

The answer, inextricably, lies within another question: who will run and how will he manage our country after the elections?

As responsible citizens cum taxpayers, we have every right to know how and where our money is spent by the elected government.

We also reserve the right to the information about how the government spends the wealth of the nation for the benefit of whom it rightfully belongs.

Such concerns, although typical, are valid. They occupy our minds simply because of our desire for this country to prosper both socially and economically.

The higher the economy, the better is the nation’s prosperity as expressed in the Quranic verse 15 of Surah Saba’, “baldantunthoyyibatunwarabbunghafur” or “a good land and a Forgiving Lord”.

In this regard, the integrity of elected leaders as well as the government plays a key role in the pursuit of social and economic prosperity. People or leaders of integrity will practise integrity in everything and will act consistently with full accountability and responsibility in any situation and to different types of people.

However, the concept of integrity in Islam is not exclusive to whom one leads. In fact, it is a moral value that each of us must internalise in our heart and manifest in our daily lives. As such, a person of integrity will only cast his vote for a candidate of integrity, for he knows that a nation can only excel if it is headed by a trustworthy leader.

On the other hand, a corrupt leader will only look out for his own personal interest rather than that of the public. He will draw around him people of his ilk, resulting in the proliferation of corruption in the nation.

Then, another question that comes to our mind is: how to fight corruption and nurture a culture of integrity in our lives?

As a complete way of life, Islam aims at the attainment of righteousness and goodness (solah) in the world. IbnAshur (d.1973) explains that what is meant by righteousness is setting things right in worldly conditions and social affairs. Corruption, on the other hand, is something that Islam is against as it affects the welfare of the entire world.

In the process of materialising the above objective, the concept of jalb al-maslahah and daf’ al-mafsadah (promoting man’s well-being and preventing harm) serves as the principal guideline put forward by Islam for everyone to follow.

So well-encompassed and universal in nature is the concept that it can be applied to all aspects of the human life at all levels, be it individual, communal or organisational.

In other words, for an individual to achieve success in this world and the Hereafter, he must abide by the Syariah laws.

On the contrary, all predicaments we face in our lives are the prima facie evidence that we are not rulecompliant. If we examine further the root cause of these quandaries, it points to none other than our disobedience to Allah’s command to uphold justice as underlined in the Quran.

In the concept of justice or ‘adl, Islam gives due emphasis to its importance. Many Quranic verses expressly state the command to do justice. Perhaps, the often-cited one is the following from Surah al-Nahl which seems to be de rigueur in most Friday sermons.

“Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and he forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; he admonishes you that you may be mindful.” (16:90)

In essence, ‘adl or justice means to place everything, every action and every thought where Allah has specified. By this, the Islamic concept of justice is highly comprehensive in its scope. Not only does it transcend the boundaries of colour, caste and religion, it also requires fairness and equality in words as well as actions.

This includes our daily habits of making comments, passing judgments, handling differences of opinions or treating others regardless of their background or relationship to us, be they our family, friends or foes.

Thus, in dealing or carrying out our responsibilities to others, we must ensure that it is executed within the parameters of fairness and equality. The concept of ‘adl or justice should remain the utmost principle that will guide us.

For one thing, each of us is a leader. By internalising the concept of justice and manifesting it through our actions may bear success in whatever we do. With all the intensity currently focused on the upcoming general election, the function of the concept of justice becomes all the more apparent, for a nation can only progress further if the leaders are trustworthy and bears integrity.

In a hadith narrated by al-Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad pronounced that among the early signs of the nearness of the Day of Judgment is when leadership is entrusted to undeserving people.

Indeed, Muslims believe in the concept of the Day of Judgment when the universe and all its contents will be destroyed. More significantly, we can take the Prophet’s pronouncement as his warning of the magnitude of destruction that could possibly befall on any nation if corrupt practices were prevalent among its leaders.

Nonetheless, the severity of the pronouncement can be mitigated by exercising our electoral rights in voting for only leaders with integrity and good leadership qualities.

As such, we should utilise our voting rights responsibly.

The election process can, in fact, turn out to be a concerted effort for Malaysian citizens to detoxify corrupt practices from our country to thrust it forward in a more holistic manner.

In this regard, the fall of ancient and modern governments could serve as a good lesson for us to learn. The Arab Spring phenomenon has revealed that countries with leaders who let self-interest and favouritism precede their good sense of justice would only jeopardise the chance of the nation to grow to its full potential. Such a scenario is definitely something we neither want nor need in Malaysia.

Muhammad Hisyam Mohamad is a Fellow at Ikim’s Centre for Economics and Social Studies. The STAR Online Home News Opinion IKIM Views 23/04/2013

The trust of leadership

Betrayal of trust of leadership, abuse of public funds and having no concern for the welfare of the economically needy renders even one’s religious rituals and profession of faith hypocritical.

ISLAMIC history is rich with traditions and anecdotes which contain sufficient counsel for people of power and holders of authority.

According to al-Ghazali, in his work Nasihat al-Muluk, how effective those traditions are depends on the strength of their faith. If faith is firmly established in the heart of those people of power, then these traditions will be impactful and influential to their behaviour and conduct.

If those religious traditions are not effective, however, this will be because the heart is devoid of faith. Indeed, nothing remains of it except profession of faith with the tongue. In reality, merely talking that one has faith is one thing, but true faith that is receptive to religious counsel on trust and leadership is another thing altogether.

On his administrative experience, al-Ghazali recorded in his work Kimiya al-Sa‘adat, “I do not know what sort of faith really exists in the heart of a Finance Officer who holds the treasury in trust for the people but instead gives the money away only to some (undeserving) individuals. This action is an utmost limit of neglect of God’s commands and un-Muslim conduct.”

In contrast with the notion of sociopolitical leadership as trust is the notion that politics is “who gets what, when, and how”, with all forms of power play, manoeuvring and machinations.

Indeed, there is the Prophet Muhammad’s reminder that there are three signs of amunafiq (hypocrite): “When he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he breaks the promise; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust, even if he ritually observes canonical fasting, prayers, haj (pilgrimage), umrah (lesser pilgrimage), and asserts that he is a Muslim.”

As the Caliph ‘Umar b. al-Khattab reminded, “Don’t let a man’s humming prayer during the night deceive you. A true man is the one who keeps his trust and returns it to its owner, and from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe.”

Another prophetic tradition on additional signs of hypocrites is, “When he gets financial opportunity, he acts unfaithfully in taking from the property; when he is commanded in religious matters, he disobeys; and when he encounters challenging situation, he becomes a coward.”

Betrayal of trust of leadership, abuse of public funds and having no concern for the welfare of the economically needy renders even one’s religious rituals and profession of faith hypocritical.

Having political power is an immense trust because if the power is conducted in a just way, it is the vicegerency of God on the earth (khilafatullah fi al-ard). Indeed, it is an objective of Islam to establish an ethical and a just social order.

Having considered all relevant religious texts, al-Ghazali concluded that “there is no act of religious worship greater to God than just governance.”

Prophet Muhammad said: “One day of justice by a just ruler (or leader) is better than the continual worship of sixty years.”

The Prophet declared that “the man most beloved and closest to God is the just leader, and that the man who is most hateful and contemptible in the sight of God is the unjust leader”.

The Prophet once said to his Companions, “The best of leaders are those who like you and whom you like, the worst of leaders are those who hate you and whom you hate, they curse you and you curse them.”

But al-Ghazali warned that if the power is devoid of justice and compassion, it is the vicegerency of Satan.

While countless people have died in the history of mankind, the Quran makes a special mention of the death of individuals like Pharaoh or Korah, because their political and economic injustice means destruction of their right to exist in a socio-historical context.

There is no greater cause of corruption than the injustice of a leader.

On the one hand, there is a tacit undertaking of a leader, defined as “he who has commanding authority or influence” over his subjects.

Leaders must neither neglect nor be ignorant of the rights of their subordinates, but ought rather to be just, righteous and equitable, and act in the best interests of all.

Most importantly, leaders must be able to liberate human capabilities, so that every citizen can participate positively in the system of governance. Governing the Community is indeed a collective responsibility (shura).

Leaders need to remind themselves that the governed possess the right to be governed as free men.

Human beings are governed by consent; even for the minority or dissenting groups, there must be the protection of their rights as long as they act in a peaceful, civil, and legitimate way according to the due process of law within the framework of the basic laws of the community.

What is most important is that a leader ought to prepare his people to contribute through their intelligent and meaningful participation as citizens, in peaceful cooperation.

Leaders must be mindful that for a nation to be prosperous there must be a fair distribution of income as well as a just distribution of power.

Just as there is the human right to security and the right to peace, there is also the right to earn a decent subsistence and the right to a decent livelihood.

If and when gross socio-economic disparities are found at the heart of social discord, a leader must be persuaded that it is imperative to execute specific social reforms for the benefit of the weaker segments within a community, whoever they are.

On the other hand, there is also a tacit undertaking of people to be sincere in manners towards their leaders.

It alludes to the fact that armed rebellion is not the manner preferred. God also forbids mankind from deceiving their leaders through flattery for self-interest.

On the contrary, the sincere conduct refers to being helpful and loyal as far as it is just, and to advise them towards goodness and to enjoin them to be truthful and equitable.

Dr Mohd Sani Badron is Senior Fellow/Director, Centre for Economics and Social Studies. The STAR Online Home News Opinion Columnist IKIM Views 28/05/2013    

Best Home Minister? Tun Ismail was a giant but Zahid & Hisham mere PYGMIES!

Someone wondered the other day: who was Malaysia's best Home Minister?

The question was in response to the increasingly irrational behaviour of Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who has only one move in his playbook: use the sledgehammer to pummel and bully his way to hero status in Umno.

Justice, fairness, moderation are words that have no place in Zahid's small world, crowded out by grandstanding.

The question was also in response to a growing sense that the country is in a tailspin, buffeted from every side by worsening race relations, intolerance, a crime epidemic and in serious need of a firm but fair hand.

So who was the best Home Minister? Was it Ghazali Shafie? Was it Musa Hitam? Was it Dr Mahathir Mohamad? Was it Abdullah Badawi? Was it Syed Hamid Albar? Surely you remember Syed Hamid - he detained a journalist under the Internal Security Act to protect her, he said! What about Hishammuddin Hussein? He who was taking a serious view of this or that while crime was unravelling on the streets.

But seriously, on stature, standard and principle, none of the above comes even close to Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman. This Home Minister was called into action following the May 13 riots, when feelings among the different races were raw and legitimate questions were being raised whether the nascent democracy of Malaysia had gone up in smoke. This was a dangerous time: lives were lost, property destroyed and talk of a land of milk and honey almost foolish to entertain.

Dr Ismail could have played the race and religious card and become the most popular politician in Umno. He didn't.

Instead he went on television and delivered a stark message, edited by his friend Robert Kuok, on the death of democracy. It was his way of telling Malaysians that this would be the outcome for the country if people didn't put away their prejudices and work with the government towards reconciliation.

With the carrot came the stick. He ordered the arrest of troublemakers with no regard to their race, Malay, Indian or Chinese. And warned Malay ultras to expect no mercy if they agitated. Once he remarked that he would arrest his own mother if she did anything illegal.

Former deputy prime minister Musa Hitam watched the television broadcast and recalled "a sense of relief came over us, the sheer force of the man's reputation for fairness was magic".

Chet Singh of Penang Development Board remembered feeling comforted on hearing news that Tun Dr Ismail was returning as Home Minister.

This is how Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah described the Home Minister's performance during the darkest period in Malaysian history: "Ismail was a principled man - and was seen that way by the different races... once he decided on something you could be sure that he had gone through the relevant details and studied them. What is confidence unless it is based on the people's belief in the leader?"

Kuok said: "He was a lovely man with the strength of character, high principles and a great sense of fairness. In my opinion, he was probably the most non-racial, non-racist Malay I have ever met. Doc was a stickler for total fair play, for correctness."

Going through the excellent book, "The Reluctant Politician" by Ooi Kee Beng and culling information from various other articles on Tun Dr Ismail, these words crop up: firm, fair, principled, moderate.

Till today, older Malaysians across the racial and political divide remember Dr Ismail with rare affection. And then fall into a valley of despair when they compare him with the likes of Hishammuddin and Zahid.

He may have ticked off the dog trainer of the video clip fame but no way would he have agreed to have her remanded like a common criminal. Similarly he would have frowned on the Singaporean resort owner who allowed a Buddhist group to use the surau for meditation but you can't see him stoking the fires by talking about stripping the Singaporean of his permanent residence.

Why? Because those who knew him intimately said he never seemed interested in cultivating a loyal group of followers. Or, as Ooi Kee Beng wrote: "His style of politics, infused with the reluctance he had felt about going into politics, did not involve populist tactics."

In short, he did not grandstand at the expense of fair play or audition for a higher position in Umno as Zahid Hamidi seems to be doing on a daily basis.

These days there is little care that the take-no-prisoners approach of Zahid Hamidi and other Umno leaders is creating a them-versus-us undercurrent in Malaysian society. There is little sense of fairness or proportion to how Government reacts to a prickly situation.

Umno politicians have the slogans but few of them understand that fairness and justice are critical building blocks of nationhood.

The end result: a lack of respect among the public for the moral standing or competence of government leaders. And a growing sense of desperation for that one leader who can halt the country from sliding further into the abyss of despair with that combination of firmness, fairness and moderation.

This is what Abdullah Ali said about Tun Dr Ismail in the book, The Reluctant Politician: "He believed fully in the oneness of Malaysia, and worked on that belief. He did not care whom he had to fight. He was absolutely neutral. When you had to deal with him, you knew you would get fair treatment."

Best Home Minister? Without a doubt. A towering Malaysian. What a shame we only have pygmies today.



Full article: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=145891:best-home-minister?-tun-ismail-was-a-giant-but-zahid--hisham-mere-pygmies&Itemid=2#ixzz2c8WODBmQ
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