September 18th, 2013

Apakah ahli UMNO akan ikut nasihat Tun Dr. Mahathir?

SEBAIK-BAIK sahaja selesai membaca rencana tulisan Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad "Masa depan UMNO'" (Utusan Malaysia, halaman 16, Isnin 16 September 2013), soalan yang terlintas dalam kepala saya apakah 3.5 juta ahli UMNO seluruh negara akan dengar dan ikut nasihat beliau?

Tun Dr. Mahathir mula dengan menyatakan beliau kini "berasa serba salah". Katanya beliau setia pada UMNO tetapi hakikatnya parti itu kini "menghidap sakit tua dan akan maut kerana sudah tua".

Beliau telah mencuba "sedarkan UMNO akan usianya yang sudah lanjut". Tun Dr. Mahathir menggesa agar parti "diperbaharui" dengan penerimaan ahli serta "kepimpinan daripada generasi muda". Hanya dengan kemasukan generasi muda ini perjuangan UMNO dapat diteruskan.

Sambil menghargai "sumbangan pengasas UMNO" dulu yang pada ketika itu masih muda, Tun Dr. Mahathir menyatakan bahawa ramai mereka kini sudah tua, dan "masa mereka sudah terlanjut". Pemimpin yang sudah lanjut usia ini mesti "sedar akan pentingnya mereka tidak melampaui masa mereka".

Kata Tun Dr. Mahathir lagi: "Lambat laun orang akan berasa bosan, bahkan naik meluat akan pemimpin yang sudah lapuk dan ketinggalan zaman tetapi masih tidak terima kebenaran".

Selain menegur pemimpin parti yang sudah lanjut umur dan "melampaui masa mereka", Tun Dr. Mahathir juga menegur pemimpin yang mengamalkan rasuah.

Tegas beliau "Percayalah jika ahli memilih perasuah sebagai pemimpin, mereka akan amalkan budaya penerima rasuah semasa menjadi pemimpin. Kuasa mereka akan disalahgunakan. Kita dan bangsa kita akan rugi … Negara akan hancur. Maruah bangsa akan luput."

Selain isu UMNO sudah tua dan isu rasuah, Tun Dr. Mahathir juga turut menyatakan: "Kita harus akui bahawa UMNO sekarang tidak lagi dipercayai oleh ramai orang Melayu". Lantaran itu ramai yang telah menubuhkan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan bergerak di luar parti.

Di peringkat akhir tulisannya, Tun Dr. Mahathir menyatakan "Sesungguhnya perjuangan orang Melayu belum selesai". Beliau menyeru agar ahli UMNO mengetepikan kepentingan diri, menerima masuk dan memberi tempat kepada orang muda, dan " tolaklah yang sudah tua".

Nampaknya tidak semua pemimpin UMNO yang setuju dengan pandangan Tun Dr. Mahathir. Antaranya Ahli Majlis Tertinggi (MT) UMNO Dr. Mohd. Puad Zarkashi yang menyatakan parti itu telah wujud untuk sekian lama, dan mengalami "pelbagai penyakit" sejak zaman Tun Dr. Mahathir sendiri dari 1981 hingga 2003 - antaranya perpecahan, tidak menumpukan perhatian sewajarnya kepada perjuangan parti, dan politik wang (rasuah).

Dr. Mohd. Puad menyangkal pendapat Tun Dr. Mahathir bahawa parti UMNO akan mati kerana kepimpinan yang ada sekarang bekerja keras mengatasi pelbagai masalah yang ada dan serius menjalankan transformasi politik negara.

Turut berbeza pendapat adalah Ahli MT Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin. Menurut beliau, kehadiran pemimpin muda seperti Datuk Mukhriz dan Khairy Jamaluddin adalah bukti bahawa parti memberi tempat kepada generasi muda.

Bung Mokhtar berkata pemimpin muda menganggotai sayap parti, Pemuda dan Puteri, dan bila ini meningkat umur 40 tahun, mereka boleh menyertai MT dan mengambil alih kepimpinan parti. Barangkali Tun Dr. Mahathir telah terlepas pandang kepada proses pembaharuan yang sedang berjalan dalam parti, kata Bung Mokhtar lagi.

Seorang Ahli MT lain, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, berkata Tun Mahathir sepatutnya mengakui proses transformasi sedang berlaku dalam UMNO. Di bawah sistem lama, hanya 2500 perwakilan layak mengundi bagi memilih kepimpinan tertinggi parti. Di bawah sistem baru, 146,500 perwakilan secara terus akan memilih kepimpinan bahagian dan MT. Tersirat dalam kata-kata Shahidan itu adalah harapan bahawa perwakilan di akar umbi akan memilih pemimpin yang lebih muda sebagai pengganti pemimpin lama.

Bagi ketua UMNO Bahagian Tapah, Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan, usaha meremajakan UMNO akan gagal jika 'orang lama' masih tampil menawarkan diri bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden pada pemilihan parti bulan depan.

"Masa golongan veteran sudah berakhir. Jika mereka masih merebut jawatan Naib Presiden, saya bimbang akan ada ahli UMNO yang meluat terutama orang muda," katanya lagi.

Bagi Setiausaha Agung UMNO, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan, pesannya mudah sahaja. "Yang dah lama dan pernah kalah tu, tak payahlah bertanding".

Ketua Menteri Sabah, Datuk Seri Musa Aman, akhirnya mengumumkan dia tidak akan bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden UMNO. Selain itu dia juga tidak akan mempertahankan jawatan ahli MT yang disandangnya sekarang.

Ketua UMNO bahagian Masjid Tanah, Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop juga memutuskan tidak akan mempertahankan jawatannya sekarang. Kekosongan itu menyebabkan beberapa muka lama menyatakan hasrat mereka bertanding merebutnya - antaranya Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik (bekas Ketua Menteri Melaka) dan Exco kerajaan negeri sekarang, Datuk Ismail Othman.

Bagi Pengerusi Felda, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad, gesaan pelbagai pihak agar veteran UMNO tidak lagi menyertai pemilihan parti bagi memberi laluan kepada pemimpin muda hendaklah "dilihat dari perspektif lebih meluas".

Veteran UMNO ini berpendapat gandingan muka lama dengan muka baru akan "mampu merencana inisiatif dan pelbagai agenda parti", sekali gus menarik sokongan muda dan tua. Padanya penyertaan orang lama pada pemilihan nanti tidak menimbulkan sebarang masalah.

"Saya masih akan bertanding jawatan Naib Presiden untuk memantapkan parti terutama bagi menghadapi PRU-14 nanti," katanya.

Bagi Datuk Seri Ahmad Said, Menteri Besar Terengganu dan penyandang jawatan ketua UMNO Bahagian Kemaman, dia "tidak kisah" akan dicabar oleh Mat Dalam Awang, kerana "ini demokrasi, dan sesiapa pun boleh bertanding". Mat Dalam adalah bekas Pengerusi Tetap UMNO Bahagian Kemaman.

Ketua UMNO Bahagian Cheras Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee berkata pemimpin muda hendaklah diberi ruang menjadi barisan pelapis. Beliau berpendapat Menteri Besar atau Ketua Menteri pemimpin lain "yang telah lama memegang jawatan, tak payahlah tawar diri, biarlah muka baru... Bantulah Presiden transform parti."

Veteran UMNO dari Johor Bahru, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, berpendapat semua pihak perlu diberi peluang sama rata untuk bertanding apa-apa jawatan asalkan mereka yakin layak untuk menerajui parti. "Tidak ada masalah...terpulang kepada masing-masing kerana sekarang siapa pun boleh tawarkan diri untuk bertanding," katanya lagi..

Sementara itu, seorang veteran UMNO lain masih lagi berteka-teki mengenai keputusannya untuk bertanding dalam Pemilihan UMNO Oktober nanti. Tengku Razaleigh dipetik sebagai berkata dia masih berhasrat untuk bertanding tetapi masih belum memutuskan jawatan mana yang akan dipertandingkan.

"Hasrat tu ada untuk bertanding jawatan tapi belum buat apa-apa keputusan lagi. Tunggu hari pencalonan 21 September nanti. Kalau ada, adalah. Kalau tiada, tiadalah," katanya.

Kesimpulannya, sementara Tun Dr Mahathir membangkitkan tiga isu penting dalam tulisan terbarunya (UMNO sudah sakit tua, politik rasuah, dan UMNO tidak dipercayai lagi), reaksi segera daripada kalangan ahli parti hanya menyentuh isu pertama. Dan itu pun tidak ada kata sepakat.

Tidak dinafikan masih ada lagi pemimpin lama parti yang menolak pandangan beliau. Kesannya, sukar bagi pemerhati meramalkan apakah langkah meremajakan parti itu akan terlaksana sepenuhnya dalam tempoh yang singkat ini menjelang PRU-14.



Salleh Buang ialah penganalisis undang-undang.Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 20130918

Bahaya 'tukang cucuk' dalam UMNO

''Orang boleh menilai saya berdasarkan apa yang dilakukan tetapi masalahnya ada yang membuat penilaian berdasarkan keadaan sekarang dan ia dipanaskan oleh 'tukang cucuk' atau pihak-pihak tertentu yang ada kepentingan.''

Itulah reaksi Naib Presiden UMNO Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein apabila ditanya berhubung pelbagai persepsi terhadap diri beliau yang ditimbulkan menjelang pemilihan UMNO bulan depan.

Hakikatnya, bukan Hishammuddin sahaja merasai bahang mainan politik 'tukang-tukang cucuk' ini malah ramai lagi pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO di semua peringkat berada dalam situasi yang sama.

Semua itu berlaku kerana ada ahli-ahli UMNO yang mungkin antara mereka bertaraf pembantu, pegawai khas, pengikut dan penyokong yang bersikap begitu kerana mahukan bos mereka bertanding dalam pemilihan kali ini.

Bagi mereka, pemilihan dalam parti adalah 'lubuk' atau peluang untuk mereka meraih keuntungan sebanyak mungkin, maklumlah di musim perayaan ramai pemimpin akan menjadi 'pemurah' demi mencapai cita-cita politiknya.

Dalam meyakinkan seseorang pemimpin itu, pelbagai andaian, gambaran dan laporan mereka berikan kononnya kalaulah bos mereka bertanding, kemenangan pasti memihak kepada beliau.

Puak-puak ini sudah pastilah tidak akan mengizinkan bos mereka mengukur baju di badan sendiri sebelum membuat pengumuman sama ada hendak bertanding atau tidak.

Sebaliknya, mereka akan memberi asakan dan desakan supaya pemimpin mereka itu akan membuat keputusan yang mereka sukai. Motifnya mudah kalau bos mereka berjaya, maka mereka pun boleh 'tumpang semangkuk'.

Inilah sikap yang pernah ditegur oleh Presiden UMNO Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak dalam perhimpunan agung parti itu tahun lalu. Kelompok seumpama itu tidak meletakkan kepentingan parti mengatasi segala-galanya.

Bagi mereka, biarlah apa pun hendak terjadi kepada parti, apa yang penting kalau pemimpin yang mereka 'hasut' bertanding dan menang maka mereka akan mendapat labanya.

Hakikatnya, mainan politik 'tukang-tukang cucuk' ini tidak boleh dipandang ringan khususnya oleh mana-mana pemimpin UMNO yang mahu bertanding, begitu juga ahli-ahli UMNO yang akan membuat pemilihan.

Bagi pemimpin, mereka perlu bijak menilai apakah asakan atau desakan yang mahu mereka bertanding sesuatu jawatan akan menguntungkan parti atau hanya membawa keburukan kepada parti.

Manakala kepada ahli-ahli UMNO mereka perlu mengkaji adakah berita atau cerita berhubung seseorang pemimpin itu satu kebenaran atau ia sekadar persepsi mahupun tohmahan.

Apa yang perlu difahami dalam politik tidak ada musuh dan kawan yang kekal, yang ada hanyalah kepentingan peribadi.

Begitulah juga 'tukang-tukang cucuk', kesetiaan mereka tidak akan terpahat kepada seorang pemimpin sahaja, sebaliknya ia bergantung kepada kedudukan pemimpin itu.

Sebab itulah apabila ada peluang untuk mereka meraih keuntungan, maka mereka akan merebutnya dengan menjadikan pemimpin yang kononnya mereka sokong itu sebagai taruhan.

Sememangnya politik licik seumpama ini tidak boleh dibenarkan berlaku dalam pemilihan UMNO kali ini, cukuplah ia dikatakan melanda beberapa kawasan Parlimen dan Dewan Undangan Negeri dalam pilihan raya umum lalu.

Kajilah bagaimana mainan politik 'tukang-tukang cucuk' ini telah mengakibatkan UMNO kalah di banyak kawasan terutamanya di Selangor.

Segala-galanya berlaku apabila kelompok yang menjadi 'tukang-tukang cucuk' tersebut kecewa apabila pemimpin yang mereka sokong tidak menjadi calon.

Oleh itu mereka menjalankan gerakan untuk memastikan calon yang terpilih turut kecundang, kesudahannya yang menerima akibat adalah UMNO dan Barisan Nasional (BN).

Fenomena yang sama tidak boleh dibiarkan berlaku kerana pemilihan UMNO kali ini dianggap cukup penting bagi menentukan survival politik parti itu dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Jika seseorang pengikut, penyokong atau pembantu kepada pemimpin itu ikhlas maka mereka perlu memberi pandangan yang jujur dan bukannya menjadi 'tukang cucuk' yang akhirnya hanya akan merosakkan UMNO.

Kalau betul kehadiran pemimpin yang mereka sokong bertanding sesuatu jawatan boleh mendatangkan kemudaratan kepada pemimpin itu dan parti maka lebih baik mereka melarang beliau berbuat demikian.

Tetapi biasalah 'tukang cucuk' dan 'tukang kipas' ini terdiri daripada kelompok yang hanya memperjuangkan agenda peribadi semata-mata, mereka tidak peduli apa yang akan berlaku kepada parti.

Malah demi mahu meraih keuntungan sementara juga, mereka bersedia memberi laporan yang 'molek-molek' sahaja kepada bos mereka, segala laporan negatif akan disembunyikan kerana bimbang akan dituduh tidak buat kerja atau bos mereka akan membatalkan niat untuk bertanding.

Atas sebab itulah, bagi seorang pemimpin kebijaksanaan menangani 'tukang-tukang cucuk' ini amat penting. Mereka tidak harus membiarkan diri dihanyutkan dengan pujian, sanjungan atau sokongan yang belum pasti keikhlasannya.

Sebaliknya, apa yang boleh mereka lakukan ialah berfikir dengan semasak-masaknya setiap keputusan yang hendak dibuat serta menilai kesannya sama ada kepada karier politiknya atau lebih penting kepada parti.

Kalau kehadiran mereka bagi merebut sesuatu jawatan dalam pemilihan kali ini hanya merosakkan parti maka adalah lebih baik mereka membatalkan sahaja hasrat itu.

Kegigihan untuk memberikan sumbangan kepada parti bukan bergantung sama ada kita mempunyai jawatan atau tidak, sebaliknya ia bersandarkan kepada kejujuran dan keikhlasan.

Tambahan pula, UMNO perlu memberikan contoh yang baik kepada rakyat khususnya orang Melayu kerana kalau 'rumahtangga' UMNO sendiri sudah kelam kabut bagaimanakah rakyat hendak yakin kepada parti itu.

Berdasarkan hakikat itulah, kelompok yang memainkan peranan sebagai 'tukang cucuk' ini tidak harus dibenarkan terus bermaharajalela dalam UMNO.

Mereka bukanlah kelompok yang setia sebaliknya hanya perosak kepada parti. Jika mereka ikhlas sudah tentu mereka tidak akan menjadi 'tukang cucuk' yang meletakkan kepentingan peribadi mengatasi kepentingan parti.

Apa pun pemilihan UMNO kali ini menjadi tumpuan ramai khususnya orang Melayu. Mereka ingin melihat sejauh manakah 150,000 ahli UMNO yang diberi hak memilih barisan kepimpinan akan menggunakan kebijaksanaan dalam membuat keputusan.

Jika ahli-ahli UMNO tersilap membuat percaturan manakala si pemimpin pula terpengaruh dengan 'tukang cucuk' maka orang Melayu akan menghukum parti itu dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Justeru berhati-hatilah dalam keseronokan menjadi 'tukang cucuk' atau menerima pujian daripada golongan berkenaan kerana akibat daripada perbuatan seumpama itu masa depan parti dan nasib orang Melayu menjadi taruhan!



ZULKIFLEE BAKAR pengarang@utusan.com.my Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 20130918

Mengukuh integrasi dalam Persekutuan

Selamat menyambut hari Malaysia yang ke-50. Sekiranya dilihat kepada angka 50 itu mungkin ada yang berasakan ia satu masa yang sudah panjang. Tetapi, dalam aspek pembentukan identiti dan pembangunan negara mungkin kita boleh katakan angka 50 itu masih lagi satu jangka masa agak pendek. Saya tidak bertujuan menimbulkan polemik di sini.

Perkara yang saya mahu sampaikan ialah kita tidak boleh membandingkan usia manusia dengan usia sebuah negara. Lebih tuntas sekiranya kita bandingkan usia negara atau pembinaan tamadun kita dengan pembinaan tamadun atau jati diri negara bangsa yang lain.

Walaupun begitu, pada sambutan Hari Malaysia ini kita dengar banyak lagi kenyataan sinis mengenai pembangunan negara terutama pembangunan fizikal, kesihatan dan pendidikan bagi Sabah dan Sarawak.

Pada pemerhatian saya, dalam apa juga sambutan, sama ada hari merdeka atau Hari Malaysia, kita sentiasa mendengar kenyataan sinis begini. Pada 31 Ogos lalu kita lihat kenyataan mengenai hari merdeka bukan untuk semua bahagian Malaysia. Hari kemerdekaan itu dikatakan tidak termasuk Sabah dan Sarawak.

Pada Hari Malaysia ini pula ditimbulkan mengenai pembangunan yang dikatakan tidak berlaku di Sabah dan Sarawak. Dalam hal berkaitan, sekiranya ada pihak yang mengenengahkan tindakan kerajaan memperbaiki atau menambah baik keadaan itu, ia biasanya dilihat sebagai propaganda politik untuk kerajaan memperoleh sokongan politik. Saya tidak pasti apa yang dimahukan oleh mereka yang berkata sebegini. Elok saya tinggalkan persoalan ini kepada pembaca untuk menilainya.

Penambahbaikan

Walau apapun, yang jelasnya, kesejahteraan Malaysia secara umumnya telah terbukti. Bagi Sabah dan Sarawak, walaupun masih memerlukan penambahbaikan dan pembangunan perlu diperbaiki, tidak seharusnya menafikan pembangunan yang berlaku sepanjang 50 tahun ini.

Dari aspek kesepaduan, peristiwa Lahad Datu membuktikan keserasian atau integrasi antara negeri-negeri dalam Malaysia. Tiada negeri yang mempersoalkan kejituan tindakan mempertahankan kedaulatan Sabah.

Kesediaan kita dalam mengharungi segala pancaroba sebuah negara Persekutuan dan menghadapi pelbagai halangan membuktikan gagasan yang dibina 50 tahun dulu adalah terbaik bagi kepentingan negeri-negeri terbabit.

Namun begitu, kepayahan menjalankan pentadbiran sebuah negara Persekutuan dalam sistem Persekutuan bukan calang-calang. Secara teori, negara Persekutuan dibentuk dengan gabungan beberapa negeri merdeka dan berdaulat. Negeri-negeri berkenaan mempunyai identiti tertentu dari segi latar belakang dan sejarah. Negeri-negeri itu juga mempunyai keinginan tersendiri. Malah warga negeri juga mempunyai pertalian tersendiri dengan tanah air negerinya. Walaupun hubungan antara negeri berkenaan diisytiharkan oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan sebagai sebuah perjanjian, realitinya kesannya berbeza kepada negeri-negeri kerana antara lain, faktor yang disebutkan.

Penyumbang sumber ekonomi

Bagi tujuan gabungan dan keserasian sebuah negara Persekutuan, banyak perkara perlu dikorbankan oleh negeri-negeri serta penduduknya. Inilah cabaran yang saya maksudkan dengan bukan calang-calang cabaran itu di alam realiti sebuah negara Persekutuan. Ini lebih lagi bagi Sabah dan Sarawak yang menjadi negeri penyumbang sumber ekonomi negara.

Dari segi hak negeri, pembentukan Malaysia 1963 lebih tersusun berbanding Perjanjian Persekutuan 1957 di antara negeri-negeri di Semenanjung. Ini yang menjadikan hubungan antara Sabah dan Sarawak dengan Persekutuan berbeza jika dibandingkan dengan negeri lain di Semenanjung. Malah ada yang menyebut Sabah dan Sarawak mendapat perhatian yang lebih. Tetapi, hakikatnya bentuk negara Persekutuan yang diamalkan di Malaysia ini adalah satu bentuk persepakatan yang mengambil kira semua perkara, termasuk budaya dan sejarah.

Jika disingkap sejarah juga, sebermulanya Malaysia, satu kes undang-undang difailkan oleh kerajaan negeri Kelantan. Kerajaan negeri Kelantan memohon kepada mahkamah supaya Kelantan dibawa berbincang mengenai pindaan Perlembagaan Persekutuan bagi tujuan pengiktirafan kepada Sabah dan Sarawak. Kerajaan Kelantan juga membawa hujah bahawa sekiranya diputuskan perjanjian Malaysia itu sah, maka sebagai pilihannya Kelantan tidak terikat dengan perjanjian berkenaan. Kesan daripada hujah ini agak mendasar yang mana ia akan menyebabkan Kelantan tidak lagi sebahagian daripada Malaysia.

Sebagai rumusan, sempena 50 tahun Malaysia ini kita harapkan kepada perpaduan dan integrasi yang lebih lebih padu antara negeri dalam Persekutuan, tidak semestinya bagi Sabah dan Sarawak saja.

Shamrahayu A Aziz ialah Prof Madya di Kuliyyah Undang-Undang Ahmad Ibrahim UIAM. Berita Harian Online Rencana 17/09/2013

Chin Peng tiada kaitan kemerdekaan negara

Kuala Lumpur: Perjuangan ke arah kemerdekaan negara dicapai melalui hasil usaha tokoh kemerdekaan dan anggota pasukan keselamatan yang sanggup mempertaruhkan nyawa bagi mempertahankan kedaulatan negara.

Dakwaan bahawa bekas Setiausaha Agung Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM), Chin Peng adalah penyumbang ke arah kemerdekaan negara adalah tidak benar sama sekali, malah ia hanya membangkitkan kemarahan rakyat.

Ketua Timbalan Kluster Sejarah, Warisan dan Sosio Budaya, Prof Dr Yahaya Ibrahim, berkata perjuangan Chin Peng banyak membawa kemudaratan kepada masyarakat tempatan pada waktu itu serta perjuangannya juga bercanggah dengan tuntutan negara yang mempunyai sistem Beraja.

Beliau yang juga Naib Canselor Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) berkata, pengiktirafan dalam apa bentuk sekali pun tidak wajar diberikan kepada Chin Peng kerana perjuangan dia berlandaskan komunis dan ideologi yang dibawa juga amat bertentangan dengan agama serta budaya masyarakat Islam.

Komunis lebih kejam

“Perjuangan komunis yang dibawa adalah lebih kejam daripada British kerana kumpulan itu membenarkan rakyatnya beragama,” katanya ketika dihubungi BH, semalam.

Sementara itu, Timbalan Ketua Kluster Politik, Keselamatan dan Hal Ehwal Antarabangsa Majlis Profesor Negara (MPN), Prof Dr Jayum Jawan berkata, pengiktirafan yang selayaknya diberikan kepada Chin Peng adalah pengganas komunis yang cuba menjatuhkan kerajaan yang sah pada ketika itu.

Beliau berkata, Chin Peng tiada tempat dalam perjuangan kemerdekaan, sebaliknya cuba mewujudkan sistem komunis yang banyak mengorbankan rakyat.

“Pengiktirafan sebagai pejuang kemerdekaan terlalu tinggi kedudukannya, adakah kita mahu mengangkat beliau setaraf dengan Tunku Abdul Rahman?

“Biarlah dia pergi bersama sejarahnya dan isu untuk membawa pulang jasadnya juga tidak perlu kita pertimbangkan,” katanya.

Berita Harian Online Nasional 18/09/2013

Al-Kisah Melayu Malaysia 'mewafatkan' mayat Chin Peng ... Melayu 1

CHIN Peng sudah mati. Namun, segelintir rakyat Malaysia juga mati fikiran mereka. Mereka mahu supaya mayat komunis itu atau abunya dibawa pulang dan diberi penghormatan.

Ramai pula Melayu dalam laman sosial yang menangisi pemergian pemimpin komunis itu. Ada yang berkata Chin Peng sudah wafat! Mereka mahu mayatnya dikebumikan di tanah air ini.

Seorang lagi pemuda Melayu semasa 'bertwit' menulis: Mayat Chin Peng akan dibawa pulang? Kami anak muda sedia sahut dan urus jenazah pejuang itu!

Tidak pasti apakah budak itu sedar apa yang dia cakap? Atau hanya mahukan perhatian murahan.

Sedarkah dia berapa ramai orang kampung dan askar-askar Melayu dan kaum lain terbunuh dan dibunuh angkara kezaliman komunis di zaman itu.

Budak itu adalah pengikut tegar PKR. Adakah para pemimpinnya Anwar Ibrahim (yang kini sudah terlalu senyap) atau isterinya Wan Azizah juga berfikiran sama seperti budak itu?

Kita cabar Anwar dan Wan Azizah nyatakan pendirian mereka terhadap Chin Peng. Apakah pendirian mereka juga sama macam budak itu?

Persoalannya di sini bukan untuk membincangkan mengenai kematian komunis itu, tetapi kesanggupan budak itu, bekas pelajar UiTM, yang tergamak membuat kenyataan sedemikian.

Dia bukanlah budak bodoh, tetapi sengaja cuba membuat provokasi dengan keadaan itu.

Dia mahu supaya pengikutnya, termasuk Anwar dan Wan Azizah menyokongnya dan dalam masa yang sama mahu supaya satu lagi pihak menghentamnya.

Kita juga tidak pasti apakah itu juga pendirian ibu bapa yang melahirkan anak itu ke dunia ini.

Persoalannya, mengapa hanya Chin Peng? Mengapa mereka hanya mendesak mayatnya dibawa pulang ke Malaysia, bagaimana pula dengan komunis Melayu yang lain, yang juga mati dalam buangan. Tak dengar bising pun meminta komunis Melayu yang mati di luar negara itu dibawa pulang!

Malangnya, budak-budak Melayu itu hanya menjaga pak turut daripada mesej yang ditiup oleh orang lain. Sedihnya.



Zaini Hassan Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 20130918

Al-Kisah Melayu Malaysia 'mewafatkan' mayat Chin Peng ... Melayu 2

SUDAHLAH Melayu ditekan orang asing kata kita bodoh, tak competent, tak cekap. Ironinya seorang Melayu, peguam Dr. Azmi Sharom sendiri berkata agenda ekonomi bumiputera yang diperjuangkan kerajaan tidak mengikut Perlembagaan (unconstitutional)?

Nampak gaya nasib Melayu dah tak lama. Kalau Melayu ini mati, barulah orang-orang ini akan berpuas hati.

Baca beritanya di dalam: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najibs-bumi-agenda-is-unconstitutional-says-law-professor.

Mereka yang bercakap ini bukan orang miskin, mereka sudah tentu orang senang yang tidak tahu orang Melayu kampung mahu pun bandar masih memerlukan bantuan.

Orang putih di Britain pun, tanpa bantuan kerajaan dengan agenda kesihatan percuma (NHS) dan perumahan, mereka juga akan mati dan mengamuk. Bukan semua orang putih di UK dan di England itu kaya.

Samalah juga dengan orang Melayu di sini. Mereka perlu dibantu. Jika mereka dibantu apa salahnya? Adakah itu salah? Jika kita mahu keluarkan mereka daripada kemiskinan, apakah itu menyalahi Perlembagaan?

Sudah tentulah kedudukan kaum-kaum lain tidak dikecualikan, tapi keutamaan haruslah kepada kumpulan majoriti yang besar ini. Kerana jika yang besar ini mengamuk, buruk padahnya.

Namun, saya angkat tangan menyerah kalahlah jika ada orang Melayu macam lawyer Dr. Azmi Sharom berpandangan sebegini. Kita tahu Azmi ini juga bukan bodoh, dia ini bijak pandai.

Tetapi siapa Azmi ini? Menurut carian saya, dia ialah pensyarah di Universiti Malaya (UM). Seorang yang gemar menentang kerajaan. Anti-BN.

Jika diklik dan mencari namanya di YouTube dia banyak memberi kuliah kepada pelajar IPTS mengenai Perlembagaan.

Antara komen yang pernah disampaikannya juga ialah mengenai kebebasan beragama.

Dia juga ialah kolumnis akhbar The Star. Masih mengajar di Universiti Malaya dan mempunyai pengikut yang besar oleh kalangan bukan Melayu dan belia-belia Melayu Liberal, khususnya, pelajar undang-undang.

Dia mendakwa sebagai autoriti dalam Perlembagaan Malaysia.

Mungkin pensyarah lain tidak sehebat Azmi, kerana mereka tidak sevokalnya, atau tidak menulis dalam bahasa Inggeris di akhbar Inggeris, atau tidak memberi kuliah kepada para pelajar IPTS atau tidak berceramah mengenai Perlembagaan!



Zaini Hassan Utusan Malaysia Online Rencana 20130918

Ex-police chief forgives him

PETALING JAYA: If anyone is still nursing a grudge against the communists, it should be Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng. The former special branch officer was shot in the chest by them back in 1951.

Members of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) even tried to kidnap Yuen’s daughter when he became the Perak police chief in 1975, an event that led him to send her to the United Kingdom for the sake of her safety.

Yuen, 86, however, has chosen to forgive them and said he respects Chin Peng as a man who has died.

“If anybody has a good reason to hate them, I should be one of those people, but I am born to be more forgiving. I believe you cannot have too much resentment and anger in your heart,” said Yuen who spent 34 years in the police force, the bulk of them fighting the CPM.

According to Yuen, despite what the communists did to him, he had even tried to convince them to come out of the jungle and rejoin society.

Not surprisingly, he believes that the ashes of Chin Peng should be allowed home, but recognises that it would not be easy as there were many people who were killed by the communists.

“Families would find it very hard to forget that their husbands, brothers and sisters were killed,” he said, adding that political realities would also not allow the former secretary-general of CPM to be laid to rest in Malaysia.


Yuen spent the bulk of his 34 years in the police force fighting the CPM

“The man is dead and I believe every religion teaches people to be forgiving. Yet when politics comes in, we ignore our own respective religions,” said Yuen, who nonetheless stressed that while the communists were fighting for independence, they were doing it to form a communist state.

Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) national chairman Dr Nasir Hashim holds the view that Chin Peng was one of the pioneers in the struggle for independence as he fought against the colonial masters – first the Japanese, and then the British.

“If history is rewritten, he has a place in the country’s history in the struggle for independence. His struggle for independence was more genuine,” said Dr Nasir, who believed the Malaysian Government backtracked on its initial agreement to allow him home after they signed a peace treaty in December 1989.

Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar said Chin Peng’s death marked the end of an era.

“He was a resourceful leader in difficult times,” he said, adding that whatever Chin Peng did was for the greater good of the people.

“He did not intend to make himself or his cronies rich. It was for the benefit of the country,” he said, reiterating that if there was no armed struggle, the British might not have given Malaya independence.

Former special branch deputy director of operations Datuk Dr Leong Chee Woh declined to say whether Chin Peng’s remains should be allowed back, but was unequivocal in his pronouncement that he was a traitor.

“He might have fought against the Japanese and British, but he also fought against the country after it achieved independence. He wanted to give it to Communist China,” he said.


RASHVINJEET S. BEDI NEWSDESK@THESTAR.COM.MY The STAR Online Home News Nation 17/09/2013

The significance of dialogue

Ikim will continue to play its part in not only explaining the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ of dialogue in the religious context via the intellectual mode only, but also providing opportunities for ‘real-life’ experiences of ‘living together’.

IT was a beautiful sunny morning with a gentle breeze.

We were surrounded by acres of open rice fields in a local village famous for its homestay industry called Kg Sungai Haji Dorani in Kuala Selangor.

We were listening to Ikim’s workshop with young multiracial participants on “Malaysians Living Toge­ther”, sharing what their impressions were of the three days and two nights of being together and what values and lessons they thought they had imbibed.

Present together with the course organisers were also their “proud” foster Malay rice farmer parents.

What and how the students shared through their presentations really made us feel that an honest interfaith/intercultural dialogue really did take place among the youths who were of different religious backgrounds.

Listening to the young participants’ description of their activities together, the opportunity to understand and appreciate how rice farming families live their lives, and the “new” understanding they had of each other’s religion and culture made what Daisaku Ikeda said about dialogue sounded real.

He said: “Dialogue is a heart-to-heart symphony. It can produce a dynamic rhythm of progress, a harmony of mutual trust, and a melody of fresh creativity.”

In the same vein, Danish educator Hans Henningson also declared: “Dialogue has meaning precisely because or when opinions, views and personalities are different from each other.”

It takes courage to initiate a dialogue actually, and this was the role of the workshop organisers – to provide the opportunity, and when we do so, we open the way for fresh understanding and agreement/convergence of commonly accepted ideals.

Through their group activities, (laden with purpose and meaning) which included catching catfish in the mud with their bare hands, pounding padi the traditional way (which increases appreciation of the rice we eat from our plate everyday), batik designing, doing the kuda kepang dance (whilst understanding the purpose and meaning behind the movements), eating together kampung style, night walking in the rice field with a natural torch to observe the night fauna and night sky with the full moon and brilliant stars, the youths and their facilitators truly experienced “living together”, which inevitably resulted in mutual care, mutual respect, mutual appreciation of not only one another but also of the lifestyle of the farming community (most participants were urban dwellers), and the unique natural, albeit man-made environment of the padi fields.

The students’ presentations included skills in public speaking, singing and composing, pantun, drama and comedy and each group exhibited the spirit of teamwork and esprit de corps, which to the observer seemed such a vital asset for Malaysia now and in the future.

The ease with which the students marshalled creativity together was amazing to watch, especially when they had to rely a lot on their spontaneity which itself bespeaks their honesty.

One group gave itself the name Wu Xian which means “infinity”, and judging by the laughter and spirit of togetherness that were displayed, everyone seemed to not only be able to cope with diversity but was actually enjoying it.

For Muslims, at least, understanding of others is a virtue as the Quran says: “O men! Truly We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you might get to know (and be kind to) one another. The noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the one most deeply conscious of Him among you (not in accordance with the nobility of lineage or ethnicity). Truly, Allah is Most Knowing, Most Aware (of your state and deeds) (Surah al-Hujurat, 49:13).”    

Moving away a little bit from interfaith and interreligious dialogue per se, if we think more seriously what is more basic in living a harmonious life in a diverse society is multicultural understanding.

In fact, what we need more of these days of so-called increasing polarisation is multicultural literacy, which is the capacity to understand each others’ culture.

People are born, in a sense, culturally illiterate and we know that cultural (religious) conflicts cannot disappear by us ignoring them.

This in effect is what is happening by us not doing anything to promote a “living together” with consciousness.

The difference between the workshop and our everyday “multicultural encounter” perhaps lies in the element of being conscious of how we are affecting the “other/others” through our words and actions.

How do we build cultural literacy? To begin with, we may be unconscious of our cultural imcompetence due to our ignorance.

After understanding and accepting our incompetence we should start to learn non-judgmentally about “the other” with the spirit of humane honesty.

We should then become competent and able to move spontaneously “across” sets of cultural norms with appropriate skills as we also become more aware of the fact that the world is full of diversity, but yet is increasingly connected.

More so than before, because of our increased exposure to different cultures through rapid advances in communication and transport technologies, it is essential for us to maintain a healthy multiculturalism in the context of our work and life as a plural society.

We need to be aware of and take seriously the fact that there are alternative ways and skills all around us, and that our ways and our skills that are personally and culturally appropriate for our group, may not be applicable to other groups/people.

Ikim will continue to play its part in not only in explaining the “whys” and “wherefores” of dialogue in the religious context via the intellectual mode only, but also providing opportunities for “real life” experiences of “living together” especially for young Malaysians who may otherwise lack the opportunity to have the platform for engaging in dialogue.

Perhaps the “module” for such workshops should be fine-tuned to be used more widely to complement courses such as TITAS (Tamadun Islam Tamadun Asia), which is taught in all government universities in Malaysia, which also aims at intercultural understanding among young Malaysians.

DR AZIZAN BAHARUDDIN views expressed are entirely the writer's own. The STAR Online Home Opinion Columnist IKIM Views 17 Sep 2013

Educate but don’t spoil the kids

THE problem of dirty and vandalised school toilets can be resolved by getting students to look after the toilets, instead of installing CCTVs. This idea was floated by a writer in the media recently.

She suggested that classes take turns to spruce up the toilets and this could be done with a proper timetable. She proposed incentives such as a prize for the class that is judged to be the best in this community effort.

I fully agree with the idea that students should be taught to keep the toilets clean (not merely sprucing up) by involving them actively.

This should not mean decorating the toilets with flowers and posters, but the actual cleaning of the toilet bowls, urinals, sinks, floor and walls.

However, I disagree that there should be any kind of reward for doing this.

Once rewards are given, they become the objective and not part of character development.

The job is then done with the reward in mind and not in the job itself. And when the rewards stop coming, the job no longer becomes worth doing.

Discontentment can also arise when rewards are given. How is the evaluation done? Is there consistency in the evaluation? Is there favouritism?

Teachers will have to come up with a checklist of things to look out for.

Awarding prizes for something that should be part of our character is an approach that has hidden negative consequences. Children then begin to expect rewards for anything they do.

The worst negative consequence of this method of “motivating” children is to sow the seeds of seeking gratification in adult life and that means corruption.

A reward is not only expected but is felt to be a right for doing something. This does not help in creating a society that abhors the giving and taking of “presents” for doing one’s job.

Volunteerism is what we need to sow in our children. They need to be taught to do things without expecting any reward.

In school it means keeping their own classroom floors, the corridors and drains outside their classrooms, flower pots (if any) and the field clean of any bits of paper and food wrappers.

Only then would they learn social responsibility.

Adults do not realise the long-term negative consequences of giving “rewards” to children to motivate them to do something. This is because it takes many years for the children to grow up and show their character in adult life.

Receiving of presents for doing a civic duty becomes a habit that grows with them. Thus the connection between the giving of “rewards” for them to do something during childhood, and their demanding of “rewards” for doing their work in adult life, is lost.

Children who grow up in a culture of getting rewards for doing what is their social responsibility, will be corruption prone in adult life.

Being children, they do not understand the concept of “social responsibility”. As such, the adults around them, the parents and teachers, have to teach them this by making them do things like keeping their own classrooms, the school compound and toilets clean.

Similarly at home, they should be keeping their rooms clean. They should be made to pick up their toys and store them neatly, etc. This is the prescriptive approach.

Let us not sow the seeds of corruption through the wrong approach of getting children to do the proper things by “motivating” them with “rewards”.

Children on their own do not expect material rewards. Depending on a child’s age, a smile from the parent or teacher can be rewarding and make a child happy.

A word of appreciation, a pat on the shoulder, a handshake or a hug are also great rewards for children.

Prizes should be reserved for things like essay writing competitions, for debates, for winning during the school sports and for excelling in some games.

So let us educate our children and not spoil them through our good intentions that lead to the inappropriate actions of unknowingly sowing the seeds of corruption.

Ravinder Sing The STAR Online  Home Opinion Letters 18/09/2013

Exiled Chin Peng well received by Chinese government

I FIRST met Chin Peng as a little boy in Beijing. It was in the courtyard of the house where my family and I lived. He was beaming and in good spirits.

Even at a tender age, I knew he was the number one man in the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and believed that he was closely tied to the fate of Malaysia.

He struck me as a wise yet inscrutable leader.

In 1970, my family and I left Beijing to move to Hunan province in southern China. Chin Peng came to bid us farewell at the railway station.

I remember him standing outside our coach, talking to my parents.

My parents, Shamsiah Fakeh and Ibrahim Mohammed, were Chin Peng’s comrades who left Malaya to live in exile in China in 1956.

They were CPM members before 1968. I was born in Beijing, the youngest of three siblings.

Chin Peng arrived in Beijing in early June 1961 and began his 30 years of exile in China.

He adopted the name Hong Tao, a metaphor for “huge revolutionary surge”, and became known to the ordinary people as Mr Hong or simply Lao Hong.

His life and work in China was rarely reported by the Malaysian media.

Many Malaysians think he spent most of his life in the jungle but, as a high ranking CPM leader in China, Chin Peng was well received and treated by the Chinese government.

He lived comfortably and remotely commanded and controlled the CPM guerillas in southern Thai-land.

Over the years, the CPM split into three factions: the Marxist-Leninist faction, the revolutionist faction and the central or Chin Peng faction.

Many of the revolutionist guerillas were killed by their own comrades. All that came to an end when the Peace Treaty between the Malaysian Government and the CPM was signed in 1989.

CPM members finally moved out of the jungle.

In reality, the Malaysian Govern­ment had no issues about the contribution of the CPM in our nation’s history.

However, the CPM was later demonised for political reasons.

The paradox now is that both Russia and China have long abandoned the ideo­logy of socialism and Malaysia has become closer with China.

Regretfully, our Government missed an opportunity for national reconciliation.

If it had graciously allowed Chin Peng’s return to Malaysia, if it had respected and acknowledged the CPM’s contribution to the nation’s independence, it would probably be applauded by the Chinese community who has complicated emotional ties with the CPM.

As for the rightists in our society, retired police and armed forces officers, their hatred towards the CPM is not as intense as depicted.

The demise of Chin Peng marks the end of an era – the CPM era.

History should teach us to grasp the value of life and to respect our predecessors, to love and cherish our lives and the land we live in.

Jamaluddin Ibrahim spent 32 years in China before returning to Malaysia in 1994. The views expressed are entirely his own. The STAR Online Home News Nation 18/09/2013

Samad Said's secret

PETALING JAYA: Not many know it, but national laureate A. Samad Said has the most distinguished looking beard and moustache by chance.

It occurred back in the 1980s when he was admitted to the hospital.

“The doctor advised to do nothing but just rest. After two or three weeks I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a different me. I came to like it and from that day adopted the look,” he told the Star Online in an interview at a coffee shop in Bangsar.

When asked about the maintenance of his beard, he laughed before saying he shampoos it once a week.

With his notable look, Pak Samad as he is fondly known has a celebrity-like status wherever he goes. People want to take pictures with him or shake his hand.

“I live around here so people recognise me,” said Samad who is often seen around the Bangsar LRT station.

When asked what he would like to drink, Samad dressed in all white declined, as he is fasting.

In fact he fasts every alternate day following the practice of prophet Daud. He has been following this for the past three to four years now.

“Most of my life, I have been fasting but I only used to fast three days a month. Now with old age, I am closer to he grave and closer to the next world. I have to be more holy,” says the 81-year-old who was awarded the Sasterawan Negara title in 1986 for contributions to literary heritage.

He is in the National Mosque every Tuesday and Thursday and on Fridays he is usually at the KLCC mosque. A lot of his time is spent on prayer and reading the Quran.

“I want to be in the mosque when I die,” says Samad who was born in Malacca.

Religion and old age keeps Samad going on in his quest for a better Malaysia. While he has always been known for his literary work, he is now seen as a face of activism, especially for his work with Bersih. He has been a co-chairperson of the coalition since 2011.

“What’s happening disturbs me and makes me sad. I was just a poet and an observer all the while. I wasn’t in the midst of things.

I look back and see that I could have done more. I should have done it from the beginning. I was with people like Ahmad Boestaman before. The pen is not enough. I think now money is mightier than the sword,” he says in reference to government handouts.

Samad is unhappy with the state of the economy and claims that the government is irresponsible in it’s handling of finances. He also bemoans the recent price hike in fuel.

“It’s not true to say it doesn’t hurt the people on the streets. Some goods have increased in price,” he says.

Samad says he is affected by increasing prices as he doesn’t have a specific income.

“People think I am a national laureate and I get paid but I don’t. It’s just a title, which has become a burden now,” he says.

Malay rights groups Perkasa and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung  (GPMS) had called for his literary title to be stripped for allegedly being involved in a gathering where the Sang Saka Malaya flag was flown.

“I’m a religious person. Worldly titles don’t mean anything to me, although I respect the title because the people gave it to me,” he says.

He also rejects suggestions that Bersih is using him because of his public persona.

“I’m 81 years old. Who can use me? I have written 72 books. Am I that stupid to be used as a tool? If I like them, I will be with them consciously,” he said.

Datuk S. Ambiga recalls the Bersih 2.0 rally in July 2011 when Pak Samad was together with her in the tunnel when they were tear-gassed. In the ensuing melee he lost his slippers, but still walked all the way to the palace.

“Pak Samad has a lot of endearing qualities not least of which are his principled stand on issues, integrity, courage and humility. He never threw his title of Sasterwan Negara around. He never did anything for personal gain in his time in Bersih,” she says.

There are certainly no airs about Samad who speaks his mind and believes that everybody should be treated equally.

He does not like it when most politicians use race, religion and even the Malay language to gain mileage. He is also against the witch-hunt against the communists.

“If you’re a communist, you’re bad. That’s not always the case because Chin Peng was a hero for fighting the Japanese during the emergency. The British gave him a big medal. Later he fought the British because they are colonists. You can’t say he’s a terrorist. He’s a freedom fighter and should be allowed home,” said Samad interestingly just a few days before Chin Peng passed away.

Samad added that the likes of Rashid Maidin, Abdullah CD and Mat Indera all fought for freedom and were not traitors.

“The people in power now are all enjoying the fruits of freedom, also due to the efforts of these people,” he said.

One thing that Samad has always championed is the Malay language. He has written 72 books and numerous numbers of essays and poems Salina, Cinta Fansuri and Hujan Pagi are among his more notable novels.

When asked why he didn’t write anything in English, Samad said he wanted to enrich the Malay language through literature.

“I choose to write in Malay, but it doesn’t mean others should write in Malay. Others can write in Tamil or Chinese. The most important thing is the content,” says Samad whose favourite authors include Russian Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Indonesian Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

Samad still journals his thoughts in a diary every day and tweets short poems on what’s happenings in the country. He has almost 125,000 followers on the social networking platform.

Besides literature, Samad is also a movie buff. His favourite movie of all time is the 1950s classic 12 Angry Men because of the intense discussions that takes place among members of the jury over a murder case.

He watches movies in all languages in the cinemas. One of the movies he watched recently was the Hindi film Chennai Express. He also watched the controversial Tanda Putera.

“It’s Tandus (barren) Putera for me as I’m concerned. The movie is not healthy and doesn’t help. Art should help instead of destroying,” he says.


RASHVINJEET S. BEDI AND DINA MURAD The STAR Online Home News Nation 17/09/2013

It's a divine gift that he died on Malaysia Day

LEARNED Muslims believe that the Angel of Death visits and stares at the face of every living mortal on earth 70 times a day, or every 21 minutes, to be exact, to check out and execute a person's death warrant.

There is no stay of execution. Not even for a second when your "number is up". Meaning, a Muslim has to adhere to the full demands of the faith round the clock, for death will come anywhere and anytime.

That is why, when my son Naj-muddin, a news editor at the New Straits Times, called me up just after noon to tell me that Chin Peng had died, it left me quite numb, very numb in fact.

Not that I cared for the state of faith that Chin Peng was in when his life was snatched. Just that I was plainly astonished and dumbstruck at the timing of it all -- Sept 16.

Chin Peng, who (according to the official version), had ordered for my father, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, the third inspector-general of police, to be gunned down like a vermin in the streets of Kuala Lumpur in the morning hours of June 7, 1974 -- died on Malaysia Day!

Having asked the basic questions and gotten the answers from my son, I sat back in my chair to let it all sink in.

You know, given that Chin Peng had met his Maker a couple of decades ago, when my blood would still be boiling, I would have whooped, thumped the table and spewed forth a stream of expletives deserving of the critter.

But, today, at a somewhat more mellowed but not necessarily hallowed 65 years of age, I simply soliloquised: "Today is Monday, Sept 16, Malaysia Day. The significance of it all. This is surely a divine 'gift' for me, my mother, my siblings, my children who never got to know their 'wan' (northern term for grandfather), relatives and friends for 39 years of heart tugging, wrenching hurt."

Then, I think about the families of the 10,000 Malayan and Commonwealth troops, policemen and civilians killed during Chin Peng's 12-year murderous, bloody campaign (1948-1960) to establish a communist state in the country.

I think of them all. Fellow Malaysians who had lost fathers, husbands, brothers and sons to Chin Peng's murderous streak.

Theirs is an anguish that I could easily relate to and share with. And because we are of a kind, Chin Peng's death is also divine justice for all those tortured souls.

Jumping from my reverie, my mind raced towards my mother. Mother! I felt quite guilty. How can I not call her first?

She, who never fretted whenever father, during his Special Branch days, would pack his pillow and blanket to sleep in the office; she who seemed bemused when father came home one evening driving an old Austin 7, wearing a false beard and moustache capped with an oversized sunglass -- as disguise for a raid on a communist cadre-churning Chinese school; she who was always watchful whenever father dined in public places, and she who had mourned very quietly on the day a 9mm bullet took his life.

Over the phone, I broke the news to mother. Her reply, in a voice that clearly belied her 88 years, was simply, "Baguslah. Tak payah risau lagi." (Good. No need to worry anymore).

The "no need to worry anymore" part sort of stumped me a bit. Worry? Worry about what?

But she just left it at that. End of conversation.

I could come up with a hatful of theories to decipher mother's Dan Brown-like labyrinthine puzzle, but that would cloud the clear message that Chin Peng's death delivers: that there are lessons to be learnt from the past, a bloody and painful chapter of history has been closed, that there is absolutely nothing to be gained by extremism of any kind in this country, that we need to learn to trust one another again, and that it is time for us to move on.

Achieve that and there will be nothing for us Malaysians to worry about.



Najib Rahman is the son of Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, the third inspector-general of police, gunned down by the communist The New Straits Times Online Columnist 17 September 2013

He tried to convince people with bombs

BLOOD ON HIS HANDS: Chin Peng was master of mayhem, bent on destroying democracy

IN his memoir, the late Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng suggested that his beef with Malaya, and then Malaysia, was largely ideological in nature. And in the thick tome, one would be hard-pressed to look for a single incident of bloodshed.

This attempt at rewriting and re-interpreting history is common in self-serving biographies, but, unfortunately for Ong Boon Hua, which was his given name, there were also other books, such as The War of the Running Dogs, as well as thousands of anecdotal evidence that suggest his and CPM's quest for political control was in effect a reign of terror.

His was a desire to make Malaya, and later Malaysia, a communist satellite state, beholden and subservient to foreign powers. And he tried to convince the citizenry with bullets and bombs.

Let it be known that the Emergency, which officially began in 1948 when three European planters were killed in Sungai Siput, Perak, by CPM, was for all intents and purposes a war.

However, for insurance reasons, perhaps to lower the premium for the scores of mines and plantations in Malaya, the British government decided to call it an "Emergency".

This description decidedly dulled the perception of the situation then, and now, too, especially among revisionists, who argue that some people are making too much of the ideological scuffle with CPM.

Yet, considering the fact that the colonial government then had to mobilise troops from the Commonwealth, from as far as Fiji and Nepal, not to mention Britain, Australia and New Zealand; that Britain spent a million pounds a day to fund the Emergency; and, of course, the true measure of arms conflict being the casualties, with reports suggesting that the 12-year Emergency saw 10,000 or so Malayan and Commonwealth troops, policemen and civilians killed, the new nation was indeed at war.

Even after the Emergency officially ended in 1960, CPM continued to terrorise, including assassinating then inspector-general of police Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim in 1974 and Perak police chief Tan Sri Khoo Chong Kong a year later.

Yet, there are those who continue to claim that Chin Peng is a national hero on the account that he was a member of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army during the Japanese Occupation in World War 2.

Yes, he was, but so were tens of thousands of others who resisted the Japanese, as well as those who later sought independence from the British government.

Yet, they did so without seeking to undermine a fragile Malaya that had just gained independence. Chin Peng and CPM, on the other hand, tried to destroy the democratic and political foundations that formed the basis of the newly independent country. He did so by murdering and terrorising the citizens of Malaya.

Chin Peng decided on another path for the country. He had a different vision of what it should be and he believed in convincing the citizens through the barrel of a gun.

In 1989, when a treaty was signed between CPM and the Malaysian government, CPM members were offered amnesty if they applied to come home within a year. More than 300 former communists did, but not Chin Peng, for whatever reasons he had.

Even if the scales of history are charitable to Chin Peng's legacy, it will surely weigh heavier on the fact that he was a menace to the country.

He was the architect of destruction and master of mayhem, bent on destroying democracy.

It would be just for history to judge him unkindly as he and CPM had blood on their hands. Now that he is dead, the debate that he is a hero or not, has resurfaced. Some genuinely believe him to be so, while others, letting politics rule their senses, merely goad on rivals.

Yet, let his death be a closure of sorts for the dark period in the country's history. The man has such a divisive effect on us that there is not much to be gained by bringing him up again, or his ashes to these shores.

Undoubtedly, he is part of our history, warts and all. Now that he is dead, let us close the chapter and move on.



Zainul Arifin Md Isa zainul@nst.com.my is the head of Media Prima’s new media arm The New Straits Times Online Columnist 18 September 2013

Malaysia Education Blueprint: Give time for plan to work

THE focus of the Education Blueprint to produce a generation of all-round pupils is much lauded.

The blueprint not only aims to bridge the gap in the academic performance of urban and rural pupils, but also focuses on decreasing disparities caused by socio-economic and gender factors.

We are expected to see a significant transformation by the end of its 13-year course (2013-2025).

This blueprint is part of the backbone of the overall national programme that aspires to meet challenges of the increasingly competitive global environment.

The blueprint, designed to propel education to the next level, has three objectives:

FIRST, understanding the performance and challenges faced by the school system, focusing on improving access to education, raising standards, closing achievement gaps, promoting unity among students and maximising system efficiency;

SECOND, establishing vision and aspirations for the education system and students for the next 13 years; and,

THIRD, outlining a comprehensive transformation programme for the system, which will include key changes to the ministry to meet demands and expectations.

The above reforms will be conducted in three "waves":

WAVE 1 (201 - 2015) will focus on short-term initiatives to improve written, taught and assessed curricular activities individually, while laying the groundwork for more fundamental reforms;

WAVE 2 AND 3 (2016-2025) will see the introduction of the Kurrikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah, a revised Kurrikulum Standard Sekolah Rendah and the development of alternative models to allow for more learning at the students' own pace; and,

WAVE 3 will see the evaluation of these initiatives to develop a road map for more innovation.

While the reforms are admirable, 13 years is too short for a significant transformation.

I agree with Dr Azahari-Karim in his letter (NST, Sept 14) that the "what" and "how" issues in the blueprint have been well explained, but the "why", which is to gear the education system to meet the needs of a distinct national identity, has been kept vague.

Why do we need to see changes drastically, when we know for a fact that we cannot change overnight?

There are a lot of minor issues that need to be addressed before we can even talk about a new reform.

Take for example the issue of addressing the proficiency of our students in English. Increasing the contact hours for teaching English is not enough.

We have to look at other issues, such as whether those teaching the subject are trained to teach English, or whether the teachers are required to teach English because their language proficiency is slightly better than the others in that particular school.

We also need to look at English as a skill and not as a subject. Have the students been able to use the English language in class and outside of class?

What kind of environment are the students in? Are they from the rural or urban areas? Students in the rural areas do not have the opportunity to use the language outside the class at all.

I have no qualms that the blueprint will work, but we need to give time for the changes to materialise.

Let's learn from past mistakes, for example the PPSMI (Teaching of Maths and Science in English), which was scrapped before we could see results.

The batch that underwent PPSMI will finish their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia only this year.

Another mistake is the abolition of Penilaian Menengah Rendah. It was implemented without any pilot study.

Other issues such as maintaining quality in about 20,000 secondary schools have not been addressed initially.

On top of that, the briefing to teachers was only done four months after the announcement.

We need to be extra careful this time if we really hope to see a significant change in 13 years.

The Education Ministry, the Education Departments, headmasters, head of departments, teachers, parents and students need to play their roles in ensuring the success of this education blueprint.

Wan Norliza Wan Mustapha,Associate professor, Academy of Language Studies, UiTM, Shah Alam, Selangor. The New Straits Times Online Letters to the Editors 18 September 2012