December 13th, 2014

Appreciating Malaysia’s historical legacy

SOME three weeks ago, I was invited by the British High Commission to be a panel member for a debate on Malaysia’s historical legacy.

The event was called “The Great Debate – Penang edition: Is Malaysia’s historical legacy a hindrance to the country’s future development?” and was jointly organised by the High Commission, the University of Nottingham in Malaysia and the Penang Institute.

On the panel with me was YB Zairil Khir Johari, Joe Sidek, Rebecca Duckett, Himanshu Bhatt, while the debate was moderated by Sharad Kuttan. It was a great panel and we enjoyed the conversation. It was less of a debate and more of an exchange of views on Malaysia’s historical legacy and how we can learn from the lessons of history to shape and mould a Malaysian future where every Malaysian is a Malaysian first.

I found myself being educated on Malaysia’s history by Rebecca Duckett, a former member of the Penang Heritage Trust, on the challenges the founder of Penang, Sir Francis Light faced when he established a multi-ethnic colony on the island close to 300 years ago. The fact that many of the challenges still persist today is a sobering reminder that the task is not yet complete that we have to continually manage our diversity and face the challenges that it presents.

Himanshu Bhatt, a veteran journalist from Penang, talked about the Bujang Valley civilisation and how we must be more accepting our of historical legacy. I agree with him on this point because history must be studied and accepted in its totality and the fact that we had such an advanced civilisation over 2,000 years ago is a matter of great pride and testimony to our historical legacy and the sophistication of Malaysian society.

History, according to Napoleon, is “the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon”. While to some this may be a tongue-in-cheek remark, to me it is a sobering reminder on the need for history to be fair and balanced and for all quarters to come together to ensure it happens. In this respect, Gerakan has stated on many occasions – and this was a central part of our declaration at the 42nd National Delegates Conference in 2013 – that the teaching and understanding of history must be fair, frank and devoid of any bias. Hence there is more work to be done to ensure this aspiration is realised.

The panel also agreed that independence was the best gift after over 446 years of colonisation and that it was up to all Malaysians to make the country work by contributing in thoughts, ideas and deeds to make Malaysia better. Malaysia can only be a better country if Malaysians become a better people. The first step is to confront our own inherent prejudices and learn to accept our differences and leverage on it to further our economic, social and political interests.

As expected, I did not agree with all that Zairil said in his extensive remarks but we formed common ground on the need for moderates and the silent majority of peace loving Malaysians to stand up and be counted. I strongly believe that constructive politics based on debates and discussions on issues and policies is the way forward. I was pleased that none of us took any “pot-shots” at one another and the discussion was centred on a healthy exchange of ideas on moving Malaysia forward

I am an optimist and I choose to see the glass as half-full. The work for a better and more perfect Malaysia is unremitting. And it is the duty of all Malaysians to get involved in this process. I am also heartened by The Star’s strong stance on moderation and inclusiveness via its Bold and Brave Views campaign. This shows that there are everyday heroes amongst us who are willing to speak up for what they believe in, for moderation and inclusiveness. As a plural society, that is the only way forward and with the rise of extremism and intolerance in Europe and the Middle East, we must heed the Prime Minister’s call for moderation and sobriety.

According to the Pew Research Centre’s survey that was released recently, eight in 10 Malaysians remain optimistic about the future of the country and this is good news for all us. We must never stop believing in the ideals of a just and equitable Malaysia.

That ideal keeps me going every day and I for one will not rest because that is the essence of Gerakan and my personal political struggle.

Using our brain power

DUA telur setengah masak dan satu kopi-o, kurang manis.

This is one phrase that first-time visitors to our country will find most useful if they truly want to enjoy the real Malaysia.

My breakfast menu, in my growing-up years, was exactly that – two half-boiled eggs and a cup of kopi-o (black coffee). I would crack the eggs into a saucer, add the soya sauce and a dash of pepper. After gulping it down, it was tradition to pour the coffee onto the saucer and drink the coffee from there.

The eggs were guaranteed fresh because they came from the chickens we raised in our backyard.

As a kid, it never occurred to me that it took some skill to make sure the eggs were cooked correctly.

My mother or my sisters just poured boiling water into a mug and somehow they instinctively knew when to remove the eggs.

There was no such thing as a half-boiled egg maker at that time.

And then the Newton egg maker came along.

Thanks to the Metro section of this newspaper, (“A half-boiled idea pays off,” The Star, Nov 13), I now know about the man who created this marvellous invention.

Datuk Hew Ah Kow is an amazing man with many an amazing story to tell. As a young man working as a bulldozer operator in the jungles of Kelantan in 1973, he was entrusted to prepare breakfast for the crew.

He used a simple Ovaltine tin to work out the right volume of water to go with the right number of eggs, and how to make the water flow out at the correct speed.

Over a year, his colleagues had to bear the brunt of his failed experiments when the eggs came out either too soft or too hard.

But he got it right eventually. By a twist of fate, a direct-selling agent took shelter in their camp because of a storm and was impressed with the contraption.

And he was honest enough to buy Hew’s idea for RM7,000 (surely a princely sum in those days to a young bulldozer operator) and re-marketed it in the trademark yellow and white plastic gadget that was the Newton egg maker.

Reading Hew’s story, one must admire his perseverance in coming up with the perfect egg maker, and also many other interesting inventions that have paid good dividends throughout his life.

The late Tan Sri Dr Noordin Sopiee, who was my boss at one time, used to say that while it may appear unfair that some countries are blessed with valuable resources below their feet (like gold, oil and gas), God is very fair because there is always equal distribution of what we have between our ears (meaning our brains).

Creativity cannot be stifled by geographic boundaries, nor by one’s status in life or academic credentials.

Hew only studied up to the primary level, but his academic limitations were never an obstacle. He simply made good use of his thinking skills to solve problems.

Unfortunately, today most of us rely on others to solve our problems. Which is why political leaders and captains of industry are willing to pay lots of money to consultants to figure out solutions to their challenges.

Which is well and good, except it does mean that for some of us, the brain power we are blessed with may well be under-utilised.

I have resolved that the next time I have a conundrum to figure out, I will try working through it with my own brain capacity. I am confident I can do it – I just have to think like Hew.

Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin finalised this column after a nice walk on a lovely stretch of beach in Port Dickson, where he went with his better half to celebrate her birthday. The views expressed are entirely the writer's own. The STAR Sunday Starters December 7, 2014

Charting through choppy waters

Removing fuel subsidies will go a long way to further reduce national deficit and respond to the needs of poor households

THE last couple of weeks have gotten the goat of some Malaysians. I have read comments by the well-intentioned on the Cabinet decision to implement the “managed float” pricing mechanism for diesel and RON95 petrol which went into effect recently.

A managed float mechanism will give the country time and space to dampen volatility, particularly upward volatility.

It is not easy to wean ourselves off subsidies after years of dependency. The event of subsidy removal is a historic move by the Government to unwind our subsidy culture, especially when it comes to our sense of entitlement over petrol subsidies. I feel it is worth taking a step back to reflect on this.

Any ambitious nation in pursuit of growth must be anchored on rock solid fundamentals to succeed over time. As a society, we have a collective interest in Malaysia pursuing her high-income goals in a sustainable and inclusive manner.

Sustainability extends beyond mere concern for the environment. We must also equally address the country’s finances to secure the well-being of ourselves, our children and our children’s children.

As a nation of just under 30 million people, only one million (out of 1.7 million registered taxpayers) pay income taxes. Over the long-term such a narrow tax base is certainly unsustainable. After much debate over the past several years, we are now introducing consumption tax or goods and services tax in a necessary step to broaden the tax base. This is a bold bid towards more equitable revenue collection.

Securing sustainable growth also means the Government has the unenviable task of re-evaluating subsidies. The decision to rationalise subsidies was not made overnight or taken lightly. We understood the magnitude of its impact especially on the vulnerable and poor. Cabinet discussions on subsidy rationalisation were often robust and heated.

Internal meetings alone were not enough. We also took this conversation to the ground after concluding the six weeks subsidy rationalisation lab in early 2010. Members of the public and stakeholders were then consulted via an open day to seek views on how the Government should tackle the subsidy conundrum. This was further augmented by SMS blasts to open the dialogue as broadly as possible.

As a citizen, I was personally gratified with the response. About 90% of the 1,899 attendees and 61% of 191,152 text respondents accepted the importance of subsidy rationalisation – but asked that the process be conducted gradually to avoid shocks to households.

We listened closely, and in July 2010, kick-started the process by moving RON97 petrol to a managed float pricing mechanism. The subsequent four years have allowed plenty of time to understand public sentiment as well as retail dealers’ adaptation to the mechanism.

Maybe it was divine intervention that global crude oil prices have fallen over the last two months. Brent crude oil prices dipped to the average of about US$80 per barrel (from an average of higher than US$105 for the past two years). The day before the managed float mechanism for diesel and RON95 petrol was announced, Brent crude oil slid even lower at US$71.89 per barrel.

New mechanism

Under this new mechanism, RON 95 and diesel price will be market driven yet managed on a monthly basis per the Automatic Pricing Mechanism. Consumers and industry have a one-month lag time to adjust without the hassle of a daily yo-yo on pump prices if we introduced full float mechanism.

When we switched to managed float in December, RON 95 pump price slid to RM2.26 compared to RM2.30 in November whilst RON 97 pump price fell to RM2.46 from RM2.55. However, as the reduction in average global market price for diesel in December was lower than the amount of subsidy on this product in November, its price at the pump increased by three sen per litre.

Removing fuel subsidies will unlock RM19bil annually from Government expenditure (based on Budget 2015 allocation of RM21bil and after removing RM2bil for liquefied petroleum gas), going a long way to further reduce national deficit and give us room to respond to the needs of poor households.

What can fall can also rise. Global crude oil prices can go up in a free market, although industry forecasts do not anticipate it happening anytime soon. A managed float mechanism gives us the time and space to dampen volatility, particularly upward volatility.

To make it easy for the public to understand how it works, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Finance Ministry will provide a detailed exposition on the managed float mechanism.

Integrated transport system

As an avid proponent of an integrated urban public transportation system, I am confident the line-up of commuter trains and buses, the light rail transit, monorail, as well as the upcoming mass rapid transit and high-speed rail network criss-crossing cities will make a palpable difference to our lives.

We will no longer need to depend on our cars or stress over fluctuating fuel prices. Families will have the options to live in suburbs where property prices are cheaper, and daily commute will not mean sitting choked in traffic watching your fuel gauge go down.

We are tackling head-on the challenges of maximising the well-being of Malaysians in a sustainable fashion. Staying afloat – while countries in Europe and Asia struggle with debt and instability – will go a long way in helping us chart through choppy waters for a prosperous and resilient Malaysia.

Datuk Seri Idris Jala is CEO of Pemandu, the Performance Management and Delivery Unit, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Fair and reasonable comments are most welcome at

Are we really free to talk?

Although extremists must be countered, something inside many moderates may be saying we should restrain ourselves.

THE tradition of political foundations is something that we are not very familiar with in Malaysia. But in quite a few countries around the world, usually those that are more developed and more democratic, political foundations are a norm.

Generally speaking, a political foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that is set up for a political purpose. This could be promoting a certain set of values, building the capacity of political parties through training programmes, upskilling civil society organisations and community activists, and more.

The “political” nature of their work makes them different from most other non-profits that normally avoid being political.

These political foundations operate differently from one country to another. In the United States, for example, the names of the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute may create the impression that they work for the Republican and Democratic Parties respectively.

In reality, their relationship with the political parties is not as direct as many would imagine.

In Germany, politician foundations are directly linked to a particular political party and funded by taxpayers based on the amount of votes received by their parties. To simplify, the German political foundations exist to promote the values and principles of the parties that they are linked to.

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) has been one of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (IDEAS) main funders since before we were launched in 2010. They are closely linked to Germany’s Free Democratic Party and label themselves as the foundation for liberal politics.

In mid-October, the FNF organised an important regional event called the “Freedom Week”. Together with other FNF partners in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea, IDEAS took part in this one-week campaign for freedom in the region.

Among others, a short film competition was held in Thailand, an expert meeting on religious freedom was held in Indonesia, a discussion on the experiences of Korea and Germany in conflict and reconciliation was held in South Korea, a group cycling to rural high schools was held in Cambodia to campaign for freedom to get education, and thousands of people took part in an anti-corruption freedom run in Manila.

For our part, my colleague Tricia Yeoh and I held an online “Freedom Conversation” via Twitter. That was a completely new experience for me and I greatly enjoyed it.

We invited questions from those who follow our @IDEASMalaysia Twitter account. Over the course of one hour, people could ask us anything that they wanted without any restrictions. We certainly got what we bargained for.

The questions thrown at us covered many topics. They ranged from the extremism of some right-wing, non-governmental organisations to the sudden about-turn by the so-called “progressive” Umno leaders on the Sedition Act, the limits of freedom and liberty, authoritarianism in PAS, redelineation of electoral boundaries, and even the role of the monarchy as well as what I, as a liberal, thought of the royalty.

The thing that struck me most about all these questions was how restrained people were. The only ones who tried to be provocative were close friends who were playfully teasing me with their questions. However, no one asked any difficult or hard-hitting questions.

When I say that “people” were restrained during the session, I actually include myself too. Looking back at the list of questions and my answers, it was obvious that even I was very cautious with my answers, making sure they were “safe”.

For example, one of the questions I had to answer was whether religion has played a negative role vis a vis freedom in Malaysia.

My answer was: “If I answer you honestly, tomorrow I will be arrested. So my politically correct answer is we have seen some good uses and some awful abuses of religion in Malaysia.”

When I was typing the answer, I probably had only a few seconds to think about it because the online conversation was happening quite fast. But looking back, I realise that my impromptu answer was actually quite telling.

With the benefit of hindsight, and if I reflect honestly on the Freedom Conversation session, I must admit that there was an element of self-censorship at play throughout that one hour.

As much as I wanted to speak up, subconsciously I was stopping myself from being totally frank.

Personally, I find that rather troubling. Especially so because at the same time, I also feel that we cannot afford to do otherwise in this current environment. Isn’t that a shame?

I wonder how many people out there share my predicament. You know that there is a dire need to speak up. You know that there are so many clowns out there spewing hatred. And you know that for the sake of our country, these extremists must be countered.

Despite all that, something inside says that you should restrain yourself. While the extremists are safely protected, you feel vulnerable despite being on the right, liberal and moderate side.

Our Rukun Negara says that we as a country are committed to “guaranteeing a liberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions”.

As we come to the close of 2014, I cannot help but wonder if the liberal spirit of the Rukun Negara actually means anything anymore.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs ( The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own. WAN SAIFUL WAN JAN The STAR Thinking Liberally Tuesday December 9, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Returning to rationality

Amidst the pessimism and cynicism, both the old and the young are looking for constructive ways to stop the rot.

PERHAPS it is just me, but I get the sense that the prevailing mood in Malaysia is one of pessimism and uncertainty. Right now, I do not know where the country is headed and I am not optimistic that we are going in the right direction.

The Rukun Negara is famous for its five principles but as a preamble to those principles, the document lays down what was deemed to be the aspirations of the country and they are: to be a democratic, progressive and modern nation with an equitable sharing of wealth and a liberal approach towards our multiculturalism.

It is a very forward-thinking list of aspirations. Yet at the moment, it does not feel like we are moving forward at all. In fact, the converse is true – we appear to be inexorably moving backwards.

The price of living is going up and yet for the vast majority of us, income does not appear to be matching this rise.

Faith in institutions of governance is low, as can be seen in the cynical responses towards the Commission of Inquiry (its royal status seems to be a matter of some confusion) regarding the so-called “Project IC” in Sabah.

Divisive and downright nasty voices of extremism, bigotry and racism appear to have carte blanche to spread their poisonous ideology without even a whimper of protest from the powers that be.

In fact, some of those voices appear to be coming from the powers that be themselves.

Repressive and oppressive laws are not only embraced with gusto, but are going to be made even more repressive and oppressive. And the voices that support them use such noble words to defend these laws – words like “security” and “unity”.

Yet they do not provide one iota of proof as to how these laws, which are incidentally selectively used, are going to achieve all these wonderful ideals.

My worry, therefore, is that we are headed towards becoming a poorer nation. Poorer in the sense of material security, human freedom and dignity, progressive thinking and peace.

I see no sign whatsoever that those whose hands we have given the power to govern care one jot about this. All that they seem to care about is maintaining the status quo.

But the status quo is not working. The way things are done in this country is not going to help us grow and develop.

The status quo will prevent us from nurturing progressive ideas with which to provide the intellectual vitality needed to thrust us into the 21st century.

In fact, it will keep us in a state of division, superstition, feudalism and backwardness.

In the beginning, I said perhaps I am the only one who feels this way. I do not think so.

I see a hunger for improvement amongst the young. Our youths today are miles ahead of youths twenty years ago.

They have access to information and methods of communication that my generation can only dream about. And many of them realise that things cannot remain as they are.

I also see the older generation despairing at the direction this nation is taking, to the point that they are willing to put name to paper in a desperate call for a return to values of rationality and moderation.

I see many ordinary Malaysians who are tired of feeling helpless, looking for constructive ways to stop this rot.

In short I see pessimism, but I also see a definite conviction to say enough is enough. It is time to reclaim this country from the divisive, small-minded and retrogressive.

It is time, and many are ready.

Azmi Sharom ( is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own. The STAR Brave New World Wednesday December 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Dazzling diversity

While some believe in shared ideals, others argue that ‘universality’ is a cunning justification for preserving Western hegemony.

DEC 10 is International Human Rights Day and the immortal words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) should be remembered: “… recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.

In the era in which we are living, it is generally conceded in the East and the West, the orient and the occident, the South and the North that human rights has a central place in human flourishing. Yet, on a host of issues, the reflections of the East and the perceptions of the West do not always show congruence. In this article some such areas of discord will be outlined.

Universality: Are human rights universal or does context determine content? Are values so relative that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet”? In a dazzlingly diverse world can anything be truly universal?

One view is that there is a high, common ground of shared ideals. The assertion of “Asian values” is a camouflage by Asian elites for perpetuating the unjust status quo and maintaining their feudal, authoritarian grip over political and economic processes.

The other perspective is that the human rights ruse is a cover for neocolonial intervention in the affairs of third world countries by the West. The “universality argument” is a cunning justification for preserving Western hegemony over the rest of the world by a civilisation that is used to domination.

Origin: What is the seminal source of human rights – God, nature, reason or intuition? Further, did human rights emanate from the West? Or did the ancient religions of the East supply the fountains from which flow our concepts of justice, equality, fairness, mercy and compassion?

Many Asian scholars point out that in a historical perspective, the West has a horrendous record of human rights. It acquired a human rights ethic only in the last century and that, too, hesitatingly and mostly in its dealings with its citizens but not in its relations with the “lesser” parts of the world.

Socio-economic rights: Is food as important as freedom and bread as necessary as the ballot box? Are socio-economic rights as indispensable as civil and political rights? Modern theory accepts that no such dichotomy exists and human rights are interconnected. As Amartya Sen points out, it is the availability of civil and political rights that permits the articulation and redress of our socio-economic needs.

Electoral democracy: Is the instrumentality of electoral democracy suitable for bringing about transformative, structural changes? Or is it the case that democracy is good for incremental changes but quite incapable of systemic, radical transformation?

Market economy: Does the instrumentality of a free market accentuate problems of socio-economic injustice? Can the dominant values of the consumer society be applied to societies that have very little to consume?

Religion: Must the human rights discourse take note of religious restraints on freedoms? Can any Declaration like the UDHR justifiably claim universality when its content makes no reference to the Creator? Can any theory of human rights claim moral legitimacy if it ignores the concept of sin?

Communitarianism: Are individual rights less important than collective, communitarian rights? Can the Western-dominated, radically individualistic view of people, emphasising freedom from interference by the state, be made compatible with a communitarian ethic?

It is submitted that an equilibrium between individualism and collectivism is possible and already exists in the UDHR. Articles 29 and 30 permit imposition of limitations for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedoms of others and the meeting of the just requirements of morality, public order and general welfare in a democratic society.

Responsibilities: Human rights are inseparable from human responsibilities. Duties to the family, community, nation and the broader global world are just as important as fighting for one’s own rights.

Rights or dignity? Is “human dignity” more important than “human rights”? Human dignity generates duties both to oneself and to others. A human being with dignity should not instrumentalise herself or violate her duty of self-esteem. There should be no human right to beg or sleep on the streets; become a sex worker; lease out one’s womb for surrogate parenthood; do drugs; or gamble away one’s wealth. The right of self-determination is secondary.

State paternalism: Western theory emphasises protection of the individual against the arbitrary powers of the state. In Asia and Africa the state is viewed not as a predator but as a protector and provider to shield the oppressed against hunger, want, poverty, illiteracy and sickness.

In the face of rampant private sector tyranny and endemic structural injustices and oppressive hierarchies, citizens need protection against feudal, customary and religious oppression. Human rights require protection from the state as well as protection of the state.

Cross-border violations: Far from protecting the weak, the regime of international law exposes the third world to predatory actions by international centres of power. Despite political independence, most Third World societies remain hopelessly susceptible to economic, political and social domination by cross-border agencies and institutions and processes owned by the West.

Whether it is predatory and heartless, commercial corporations like the one in Bhopal, exploitative trade practices, arm-twisting international pacts, neocolonial economic institutions like the IMF and World Bank, Western-manufactured civil wars as in Syria, Ukraine and Libya to bring about a regime change, threats of bombing or nuclear annihilation, trade embargoes as against Cuba and Iran, the reality today for Asia and Africa is that the international order is not emancipative but enslaving.

Such differences between the East and the West should not, however, be exaggerated. On core issues there are many commonalities that unite us. Our challenge is to separate the core from the fringe; show unwavering commitment to the paradigm but permit relativity at the outer edges of the human rights discourse.

Shad Faruqi, Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM, is a passionate student and teacher of the law who aspires to make difficult things look simple and simple things look rich. Through this column, he seeks to inspire change for the better as every political, social and economic issue ultimately has constitutional law implications. He can be reached at The views expressed here are entirely his own. The STAR Reflecting on the Law Thursday December 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Rahsia kejayaan tokoh perbankan

BUKU ini adalah biografi tokoh perbankan, Tan Sri Azman Hashim, 75, yang kini menjawat jawatan Pengerusi Kumpulan AmBank. Walaupun terkenal kerana memajukan Kumpulan AmBank, banyak lagi kejayaan beliau yang dibesarkan di Setapak dan Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur yang tidak diketahui ramai.

Penulis dalam pendahuluan buku berkenaan, menyifatkan Azman sebagai usahawan perbankan yang mempunyai ciri-ciri sebagai pengurus bank profesional dan ahli perniagaan berani.

Walaupun berstatus bilionair, tokoh berkelulusan bidang perakaunan dari Australia berkenaan mengamalkan cara hidup sederhana termasuk tinggal di rumah sama yang dibinanya lebih 30 tahun lalu.

Beliau juga seorang pendiam dan tidak sukakan publisiti. Penerbitan biografi adalah satu peluang yang jarang diperoleh oleh orang ramai bagi mengetahui rahsia di sebalik kejayaan beliau yang dikenali dengan gaya pengurusan tersendiri.

Satu lagi sifat beliau ialah sentiasa menegaskan segala kejayaan yang dikecapi adalah hasil daripada kerja berkumpulan dan bukan dirinya seorang sahaja.

Antara faktor kejayaan beliau adalah sikap keyakinan diri tinggi yang ditonjolkan sejak muda lagi termasuk menceburi sektor perbankan yang pada satu waktu dahulu dikuasai bukan Melayu.

Beliau antara segelintir individu dari Tanah Melayu yang berjaya lulus sebagai akauntan berkanun sebelum berusia 21 tahun. Berita mengenai kejayaannya telah disiarkan dalam akhbar New Straits Times pada 1960.

Azman yang mempunyai darah campuran Jawa daripada sebelah ibu dan Jepun daripada nenek sebelah bapa ini mewakili segelintir bumiputera yang sanggup menanggung risiko bergiat dalam bidang berkenaan berbanding orang Melayu lain yang memilih jalan selamat untuk berkhidmat dengan kerajaan.

Sikap tidak takutkan cabaran dan tidak mudah mengalah berpunca kerana beliau dibesarkan bersama-sama 12 adik-beradik yang saling bersaing antara satu sama lain.

Anak ketiga dalam keluarga itu bercita-cita besar sejak kecil dan pernah ketika berusia enam tahun pada 1945 terserempak dengan taikun, Low Yat dengan kereta mewahnya, lalu terus terpacul ungkapan: “Saya mahu kereta seperti itu.”

Sifat tidak mudah mengalah itu juga berpunca kerana beliau sentiasa berpegang kepada prinsip: “Jika kamu tidak mendapat apa yang dimahu, kamu ditakdirkan untuk mendapat sesuatu yang lebih baik.”

Prinsip itulah yang dipegangnya apabila tidak berjaya memiliki Kwong Yik Bank yang kemudiannya ditebus semula dengan mengambil alih AmBank mulai 1982.

Kerana sikap tidak takutkan cabaran, beliau terus melamar bakal isteri yang mempunyai status jauh berbeza iaitu kerabat diraja Negeri Sembilan, Tunku Arishah Tunku Maamor hanya setelah dua setengah bulan berkenalan.

Tunku Arishah ialah cucunda kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agong pertama, Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad. Azman pula daripada keluarga penjawat awam. Bapanya, Hashim Yusof pernah berkhidmat dengan Lembaga Letrik Negara (LLN) manakala ibunya, Zabedah Shahid ialah seorang guru besar.

Satu lagi sifat beliau ialah tidak suka membuang masa dan mahukan segala sesuatu dilakukan dengan pantas jika peluang sudah berada di depan mata.

Sikap mementingkan masa menyebabkan beliau yang ketika itu berusia 50 tahun tetap menguruskan AmBank dari katil hospital setelah terlibat dalam kemalangan kereta pada 1989.

Antara punca lain kejayaan membangun AmBank kerana sifat Azman yang kuat bekerja. Paling awal beliau pulang ke rumah adalah pada pukul 7.30 malam.

Rutin itu jarang berlaku kerana beliau mempunyai banyak acara yang perlu dihadiri pada waktu malam yang selalunya beliau akan pergi terus dari pejabatnya.

Beliau tidak pernah mengeluh walaupun perlu bekerja sehingga lewat malam kerana sentiasa berpegang kepada prinsip jika seorang itu menggemari kerja yang dilakukan, dia tidak akan ada perasaan tidak senang hati.

Azman sentiasa berusaha menjadikan pekerja seronok untuk bekerja dengan bank berkenaan dan bagi mewujudkan suasana ceria beliau telah mendapatkan khidmat kartunis Lat untuk melakarkan segala gelagat pekerja dan aktiviti bank berkenaan.

Sebenarnya banyak lagi rahsia kejayaan tokoh ini yang hanya boleh diketahui dengan membaca buku berkenaan, antaranya bagaimana beliau berupaya mengambil alih sebuah bank dengan cara bersaing di pasaran terbuka.

Beliau antara tokoh yang berjaya tanpa mengharapkan sokongan daripada Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB). Dalam interviu penulis dengan Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, bekas Perdana Menteri itu menyifatkan Azman sebagai individu yang perlu dicontohi oleh semua orang Melayu.

Menurut Dr. Mahathir: “Azman membuktikan jika orang Melayu meletakkan matlamat untuk melakukan sesuatu dan berusaha bersungguh-sungguh, mereka boleh berjaya.”

Demi kedaulatan dan keselamatan

SESEORANG presiden atau perdana menteri adalah ketua eksekutif keselamat­an nasional. Mereka bertanggungjawab memelihara kesejahteraan, keharmonian dan perpaduan rakyat serta mempertahankan keselamatan dan kelangsungan negara. Fungsi ini termaktub dalam pelbagai karya keselamatan, cabang utama Pengajian Hubungan Antarabangsa.

Fungsi di atas merangkumi negara maju dan membangun. Antara huraiannya adalah dalam tulisan R.D. McLaurin (1988), William W. Newmann (2001), Sam C. Sarkesian, John Allen Williams & Stephen J. Cimbala (2008), Stephen Lobell (2009) serta Roger Z. George & Harvey Rishikof (2011).

Dalam konteks ini, kuasa Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak selaku Perdana Menteri untuk memelihara keselamatan nasional Malaysia adalah setaraf dengan kuasa Pre­siden Barack Obama untuk memelihara keselamatan nasional Amerika Syarikat (AS), walaupun AS global superpower atau adikuasa sejagat.

Seseorang perdana menteri atau presiden memainkan fungsi di atas bersumberkan konsep kedaulatan. Menurut David Held & Anthony McGrew (1993), kedaulatan adalah konsep undang-undang yang didefinisikan dalam sistem negara pasca Westphalia.

Konsep ini melegitimasi atau mengabsahkan kewujudan sesebuah negara, monopolinya terhadap kegunaan kekerasan, menentukan haknya untuk membentuk dan melaksanakan pelbagai undang-undang, peraturan, tatacara, dan dasar-dasar keselamatannya dan untuk mencorakkan hubungannya dengan negara-negara lain di dalam sistem antarabangsa.

Konsep kedaulatan juga merujuk kepada kuasa mutlak negara untuk menguruskan hal ehwal dalamannya dan untuk menangkis sebarang campur tangan luar terhadap hal ehwal kenegaraannya.

Ini sebabnya Barry Buzan (1991) menyatakan, kedaulatan bermaksud self-government atau kerajaan sendiri yang membolehkan negara menjadi kuasa pembuat keputusan yang terunggul di dalam wilayah pemerintahannya dan ke atas rakyat jelatanya.

Memang konsep kedaulatan dikatakan rapuh, terutama sekali di era pasca Perang Dingin. Tetapi, pihak-pihak yang menggugat kedaulatan negara adalah aktor bukan negara seperti kumpulan badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan lain-lainnya.

Namun Stephen D. Krasner (2001) menegaskan; “Pihak yang mengisytiharkan kematian kedaulatan negara kerana autonomi dan entitinya yang merdeka sedang runtuh akibat ancaman organisasi kewangan, CNN, rangkaian internet dan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan, adalah pihak yang gagal untuk mentafsirkan sejarah secara tepat.”

Ini disebabkan; “...negara-bangsa mempunyai naluri yang jitu untuk mempertahankan survivalnya, dan sehingga kini, sudah berjaya menyesuaikan kewujudannya de­ngan cabaran-cabaran baru, waima cabaran daripada globalisasi.”

Maka, jika hakikatnya adalah se­perti di atas, jelaslah bahawa tidak ada negara, waima AS, berhak untuk mempersoal, mempertikai atau campur tangan terhadap corak dan bentuk undang-undang keselamatan yang dikuatkuasakan di Malaysia.

Ini kerana pelbagai instrumen undang-undang, serta keutamaan dan pendekatan keselamatan yang dikuatkuasakan oleh Malaysia bukan sama seperti AS. Malaysia adalah negara kecil, membangun, majmuk, pelbagai agama dan berbilang sosiobudaya.

Ciri-ciri ini menyebabkan nilai-nilai teras yang mendefinisikan keselamatan dan mencorakkan instrumen undang-undang keselamatan Malaysia berbeza dengan nilai-nilai teras dan instrumen undang-undang di AS.

Malaysia dituntut untuk meminimumkan keterdedahan dalamannya, terutama sekali mengenai permasalahan kaum, perpaduan rakyat dan keharmonian agama. Jika tidak, perpaduan rakyat dan keharmonian beragama menjejaskan kemantapan politik dan mengancam kesejahte­raan rakyat, kemakmuran ekonomi, keselamatan dan kelangsungan nasional Malaysia.

Para pemimpin tertinggi AS serta para diplomatnya arif mengenai hakikat di atas kerana konsep ke­selamatan nasional adalah dipelo­pori oleh AS pada tahun 1946. Oleh sebab itu falsafah, matlamat, objektif dan dasar keselamatan AS hingga sekarang adalah berpaksikan kepada permasalahan kenegaraannya.

Lantas alasan, motif, hak atau dasar apakah yang menghalalkan tindakan Naib Presiden AS dan Duta Besar AS di Kuala Lumpur untuk mempersoalkan ketegasan Najib mengekal dan mengukuhkan Akta Hasutan 1948?

Naib Presiden dan Duta Besar AS di Malaysia juga mengetahui bahawa tugas memelihara keharmonian, kesejahteraan dan perpaduan rakyat di sesebuah negara majmuk merupakan satu daripada tuntutan ke­selamatan yang perlu diutamakan.

Jika tidak, Edward E Azar & Chung-in Moon (1988) tidak me­negaskan bahawa antara prasyarat keselamatan yang utama di negara majmuk adalah untuk mengelakkan konflik etnik.

Pengurusan keselamatan di sesebuah negara membangun, kecil dan majmuk seperti Malaysia juga adalah berdasarkan landskap, ancaman dan keterdedahannya yang tersendiri. Ini sebabnya McLaurin (1988) menegaskan, pengurusan keselamatan di negara-negara membangun tidak boleh mengikut piawaian keselamatan barat.

Konsep, pendekatan dan instrumen undang-undang keselamatan nasional di negara-negara membangun seperti Malaysia juga perlu berlandaskan kepada objektif pembinaan negara atau state-making.

Lantaran itu Mohammed Ayoob (1995) menyatakan bahawa permasalahan keselamatan di negara-negara membangun adalah berkait rapat dengan permasalahan pembentukan negara dan permasalahan politik domestik.

Maka, ini sebabnya Ruhanas Harun (2009) menyatakan bahawa sejak merdeka para pemimpin Malaysia memfokus dan bekerja keras untuk memelihara serta mempertahankan perpaduan rakyat dan membentuk sebuah negara yang benar-benar bersatu-padu.

Hakikatnya demikian kerana me­nurut Arjunan Narayanan & Kamarulnizam Abdullah (2012), hubungan kaum “merupakan permasalahan api dalam sekam dalam konteks pembinaan negara-bangsa di Malaysia. Permasalahan hubungan kaum (juga) merupakan salah satu teras utama (core values) Malaysia mempertahankan keselamatan nasionalnya.”

Dengan ini jelas Malaysia menitikberatkan permasalahan-permasalahan di atas kerana ia mahu membangun, maju, kukuh dan makmur. Menurut Barry Buzan (1988), sesebuah negara yang lemah mudah terdedah kepada campur tangan politik dari luar.

Kesimpulannya, pentadbiran Na­jib mengekal dan mengukuhkan Akta Hasutan 1948 untuk memelihara perpaduan rakyat serta mempertahankan keselamatan dan kelangsung­an nasional Malaysia. AS, walaupun adikuasa sejagat, tidak berhak campur tangan dalam urusan ini.

Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad ialah mantan Ahli Parlimen Parit Sulong, Johor, yang 
sedang melanjutkan pengajian di peringkat Ph.D dalam bidang strategi dan keselamatan 
di Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Utusan Malaysia Rencana 12 Disember 2014

Jangan biar pembunuh bermaharajalela

SEMALAM satu lagi kes pembunuhan kejam dilaporkan di negeri ini. Daripada siasatan awal, mayat lelaki berusia dalam lingkungan 30-an yang ditemui itu dipercayai warga asing kerana tiada suntikan BCG di bahunya.

Penemuan terbaharu itu meni­ng­katkan lagi kebimbangan pen­duduk di negeri berhubung ke­jadian pembunuhan ngeri membabitkan warga asing khususnya dari Myanmar.

Sejak awal tahun ini, sebanyak 18 kes pembunuhan warga Myanmar dilaporkan di negeri ini. Jumlah itu adalah sebahagian daripada lebih 50 kes pembunuhan yang dilaporkan di negeri ini bagi tempoh sama - angka yang cukup membimbangkan orang ramai.

Dalam kes pembunuhan warga Myanmar ini, trend pembunuhan juga menunjukkan perubahan ke arah yang lebih ganas.

Jika sebelum ini mayat mangsa hanya dikafankan dan diletakkan di tepi jalan, tetapi sejak kebelakangan ini mayat mangsa diperlakukan dengan kejam.

Ada yang dipotong tangan dan kaki malah dipotong kepala dan dibuang merata-rata. Lebih mengejutkan, warga Myanmar ini menjadikan rumah sewa mereka sebagai lokasi menyembelih mangsa seperti yang ditemukan di Machang Bubuk baru-baru ini.

Sudah semestinya perlakuan kejam ini menuntut tindakan segera daripada pihak berkuasa. Meskipun kejadian pembunuhan itu lebih cenderung kepada pergaduhan sesama warga Myanmar kerana faktor yang dibawa dari negara asal mereka, namun itu bukan alasan untuk perlakuan kejam tersebut dibiarkan begitu sahaja sehingga meresahkan penduduk tempatan.

Perlu diingatkan komuniti warga Myanmar di negeri ini bukan sedikit. Dalam kalangan pemegang kad Pertubuhan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu Bagi Orang Pelarian (UNHCR) sahaja terdapat sekurang-kurangnya 20,000 warga Myanmar di negeri ini.

Jumlah itu sebenarnya berlipat kali ganda jika ditambah dengan warga Myanmar yang masuk secara haram. Selain Selangor, negeri ini sememangnya terkenal sebagai destinasi kepada pendatang asing termasuk dari Myanmar untuk mencari rezeki.

Malah, ada yang sudah lama bertapak di negeri ini sehingga boleh mengusahakan perniagaan kebiasaannya menjual makanan di gerai-gerai.

Paling membimbangkan apabila warga Myanmar ini membentuk komuniti sendiri di beberapa lokasi di sekitar di negeri ini dan hanya bergaul sesama mereka.

Komuniti itu pula dibentuk berdasarkan sentimen yang dibawa dari negara asal seperti susur galur keturunan dan kampung kelahiran.

Faktor-faktor ini menyebabkan kes pergaduhan sesama mereka kerap berlaku di negara ini kerana turut terbawa-bawa dengan perkembangan di kampung mereka terutama pergaduhan antara kumpulan berbeza.

Apa yang dibimbangkan apabila terdapat warga Myanmar yang masuk ke negara ini dan memohon kad UNHCR bukan untuk mendapatkan perlindungan, tetapi bagi menjejak warga mereka sendiri untuk melunas dendam.

Bayangkan bagaimana sekiranya pergaduhan sesama mereka itu merebak dalam komuniti yang besar sehingga menimbulkan rusuhan? Siapa yang boleh memberi jaminan terhadap keselamatan penduduk tempatan sedangkan warga Myanmar itu hidup berjiran dengan penduduk tempatan?

Sebelum menjadi lebih parah, pihak berkuasa perlu memastikan kumpulan pembunuh warga Myanmar ini diburu habis-habisan. Apatah lagi difahamkan kejadian itu dilakukan secara berkumpulan dengan satu kumpulan sedang bergerak bebas ketika ini.

Selain meredakan keresahan penduduk tempatan, kumpulan pembunuh warga Myanmar itu juga perlu dihapuskan sebagai mesej jelas negara ini mempunyai undang-undang yang bukan hanya terpakai kepada rakyat tempatan, tetapi warga asing supaya tidak sewenang-wenangnya melakukan perbuatan jenayah. MOHD. KHUZAIRI ISMAIL Utusan Malaysia Rencana 12 Disember 2014 1:07 AM

Legenda Puteri Saadong

Mengikut mitos purba, nama Bukit Marak muncul setelah seorang ahli sihir dihumbankan ke atas puncak bukit itu lalu muncul api yang menyala. Ahli sihir terbabit sebelum itu dikatakan melakukan pelbagai kejahatan dengan menggunakan ilmu hitamnya.

Menjejaki Bukit Marak yang terletak kira-kira 20 kilometer dari Kota Bharu.

Sehinggalah pada suatu hari, muncul seorang lelaki yang mematahkan sihir lelaki berkenaan dengan ayat-ayat suci al-Quran. Ahli sihir itu kemudiannya ditangkap dan ditempatkan di atas puncak Bukit Marak. Pada ketika itu, muncul api yang marak dari arah bukit tersebut. Berdasarkan cerita itu, maka muncullah nama Bukit Marak.

Pendapat lain pula ada mengatakan nama bukit berasal daripada perkataan burung Merak dan diubah menjadi Marak. Sungguhpun terdapat pelbagai cerita mengenai asal-usul Bukit Marak namun menurut Kamus Dewan, perkataan marak bermaksud bernyala besar atau bernyala dengan hebatnya.

Terletak di jajahan Bachok, Bukit Marak cukup sinonim dengan legenda Puteri Saadong. Bila menyebut tentang puteri jelita itu, sudah tentu Bukit Marak menjadi salah satu daripada legendanya yang termashyur dalam kalangan rakyat Kelantan sehingga hari ini.

Sesuatu yang menarik mengenai bukit tersebut apabila dikatakan terdapat kesan peninggalan sejarah Puteri Saadong seperti tapak kaki Awang Selamat, batu hampar besar, batu asah, gendang batik, perigi dan bilik persolekan peninggalan puteri legenda tersebut.

Menyelusuri sejarah Puteri Saadong, wartawan S2, ROZIANAH RISMAN bersama jufutoto NUR AISHAH MAZALAN dan WAHIDIN SALIM

Puteri Saadong bersemayam 
di Bukit Marak

Bukit Marak merupakan sebuah bukit yang agak tersohor kerana mempunyai hubung kait dengan sejarah Kesultanan Negeri Kelantan. Puteri Saadong yang merupakan anak angkat kepada Che Siti Wan Kembang dikatakan pernah bersemayam di Bukit Marak yang terletak di daerah Bekelam, Bachok, setelah kemangkatan suaminya, Raja Abdullah pada tahun 1671.

Menurut Ahli Jawatankuasa Pertubuhan Kerabat Raja Jembal Kelantan (PKRJK), Raja Sulaiman Raja Hassan, sebelum berangkat dan bersemayam di Bukit Marak, berlaku pertengkaran di antara Puteri Saadong dengan Raja Abdullah.

“Perbalahan antara suami isteri itu terjadi setelah Puteri Saadong mendapat tahu Raja Abdullah berkahwin lain. Puteri Saadong sebelum itu telah menyerah diri kepada Raja Siam yang terpikat dengan kecantikan wajahnya bagi mengelakkan peperangan bertambah dahsyat sehingga membunuh lebih ramai rakyat dan memusnahkan harta benda. Ketika hendak bertolak ke Siam, Puteri Saadong telah berpesan kepada suaminya agar menunggu kepulangannya semula ke Kota Mahligai.

“Sepanjang berada di Siam, dia yang tidak mudah tunduk pada kehendak dan pujukan Raja Siam mengatur strategi bagi menyelamatkan diri. Dia menggunakan helah dengan mengatakan tubuhnya tidak boleh disentuh Raja Siam sehingga terpaksa disediakan sebuah istana untuknya bersemayam. Ketika Raja Siam diserang penyakit kudis, Puteri Saadong berjaya menyembuhkan penyakit Raja Siam dan membuat permintaan supaya dia dihantar balik ke Kelantan.

“Namun, sekembalinya ke Kota Mahligai, dia menjadi berang dan marah dengan tindakan Raja Abdullah yang memungkiri janjinya untuk setia menantinya. Pertelingkahan yang berlaku akhirnya menyebabkan kemangkatan Raja Abdullah,” ujarnya.

Berhubung kemangkatan Raja Abdullah, menurut Raja Sulaiman, terdapat beberapa pendapat yang dikemukakan mengenai punca yang menyebabkan kematian suami Puteri Saadong itu.

“Ada pendapat mengatakan wujudnya konspirasi atau pakatan yang dilakukan oleh pihak tertentu yang sengaja mencetuskan ketegangan di antara suami isteri itu yang seterusnya menyebabkan Puteri Saadong menikam Raja Abdullah. Kematian Raja Abdullah seolah-olah dirancang supaya takhta raja tersebut dapat dirampas.

“Ada pendapat lain pula menafikan Puteri Saadong menikam suaminya dengan menggunakan cucuk sanggul akibat mengikut perasaan marah dan cemburu kerana dia disifatkan sebagai seorang yang mempunyai pegangan agama dan berperibadi baik, mana mungkin dia sanggup membunuh suaminya. Jadi, kematian Raja Abdullah dikatakan tiada kaitan dengan Puteri Saadong.

“Pendapat seterusnya mengatakan Puteri Saadong tanpa sengaja tertikam Raja Abdullah dengan cucuk sanggulnya yang akhirnya menyebabkan suaminya terbunuh. Berdasarkan kesemua pendapat ini, kita tidak tahu mana satu yang tepat,” katanya.

Selepas kemangkatan Raja Abdullah, Puteri Saadong membawa diri ke Bukit Marak bersama dayang-dayangnya termasuk seorang pengawal yang dikenali Awang Selamat.

“Meskipun Puteri Saadong bersemayam di bukit itu, namun perhubungannya dengan raja-raja Jembal tidak terputus. Setiap kali majlis keramaian diadakan, dia pasti diundang untuk hadir bersama,” ujarnya.

Beberapa bulan kemudian, Raja Abdul Rahim (adik Raja Abdullah) dilantik dan ditabalkan sebagai Sultan Kelantan pada 1671 (dengan gelaran Sultan Abdul Rahim) atas kehendak Puteri Saadong sendiri yang membuat keputusan untuk turun takhta.

Namun, sepanjang pemerintahan Sultan Abdul Rahim, pelbagai bentuk kezaliman berlaku menyebabkan rakyat terpaksa mengadu dan merayu Puteri Saadong di Bukit Marak supaya campur tangan dalam usaha mengembalikan semula keamanan di Kota Mahligai.

Kebangkitan rakyat yang menentang kezaliman akhirnya mengakibatkan Sultan Abdul Rahim terbunuh di tepi Tasik Lelayang. Pendapat lain pula mengatakan bahawa Sultan Abdul Rahim mati dibunuh atas arahan sepupunya, Raja Kechil Sulong.

“Dengan kemangkatan Sultan Abdul Rahim, maka berakhirnya kerajaan yang berpusat di Kota Mahligai dan selepas itu wujud kembali kerajaan Jembal di bawah pemerintahan Raja Umar yang bergelar Sultan Umar pada 1675. Sultan Umar merupakan adik kepada Raja Loyor (Sultan Adiludin) iaitu bapa kepada Puteri Saadong.

“Sepanjang pemerintahan Sultan Umar, tiada sebarang permusuhan mahupun pergaduhan tercetus di antara negara jiran, malah rakyat hidup dalam keadaan aman damai. Bapa saudara Puteri Saadong itu juga melakukan pelbagai bentuk pembangunan termasuk membuka kawasan tanaman padi yang luas dinamakan Padang Jembal, melakukan lawatan kerja ke seluruh kawasan dan jajahan takluk dan membina hubungan diplomatik dengan kerajaan luar seperti Patani, China dan Jawa,” katanya.

Dalam pada itu, berita mengenai Puteri Saadong tidak diketahui lagi selepas kali terakhir dia didakwa berpindah dari Bukit Marak ke Gunung Ayam yang terletak berhampiran Sungai Nenggiri, Ulu Kelantan.

Merajuk, bawa diri ke Gunung Ayam

SELEPAS berpindah dari Bukit Marak ke Gunung Ayam, berita tentang Puteri Saadong sudah tidak diketahui lagi. Di gunung tersebut, Puteri Saadong dikatakan bertindak menghilangkan diri dan tidak dapat dikesan.

Gua yang didakwa menjadi tempat bersemayam Puteri Saadong di Bukit Marak.

Ada pendapat mengatakan Puteri Saadong berpindah ke Gunung Ayam bersama ibu angkatnya iaitu Che Siti Wan Kembang selepas sering merasa tidak tenteram berada di Bukit Marak.

Pendapat lain pula mengatakan Puteri Saadong membawa diri ke Gunung Ayam kerana merajuk dan makan hati dengan sikap segelintir penduduk kampung yang tidak bertanggungjawab dan tidak menepati janji dalam memulangkan semula pinggan mangkuk yang dipinjam daripadanya.

Menurut Setiausaha Pertubuhan Kerabat Raja Jembal Kelantan (PKRJK), Raja Yusof Raja Abd. Rahman, ketika bersemayam di sebuah gua di Bukit Marak, penduduk kampung sering datang ke gua itu untuk meminjam pinggan mangkuk apabila mengadakan majlis jamuan.

“Di dalam gua tersebut, dikatakan tidak ada sesiapa pun yang dapat melihat wajahnya dengan jelas. Puteri Saadong akan mengarahkan dayang-dayangnya menyerahkan barang-barang yang ingin dipinjam penduduk.

“Dayang-dayang yang menyerahkan barangan tersebut juga tidak menampakkan diri melainkan dua tangan sahaja yang kelihatan dihulurkan keluar dari pintu gua, sementara anggota badan yang lain disembunyikan di sebalik gua,” katanya.

Namun, selepas menggunakan pinggan mangkuk tersebut, mereka tidak memulangkan semula barang-barang yang dipinjam untuk diserahkan semula kepada Puteri Saadong.
Malah ada juga yang nakal sengaja memegang tangan dayang-dayang ketika mereka menghulurkan barang-barang yang hendak dipinjam.

“Keadaan ini menyebabkan Puteri Saadong marah dan bertindak meninggalkan Bukit Marak lalu berpindah ke Gunung Ayam. Bagaimanapun, tidak dapat dipastikan kebenaran cerita tersebut kerana terdapat pelbagai pendapat mengenai Puteri Saadong yang menghilangkan diri tanpa diketahui di mana pengakhiran kisahnya,” ujarnya.

Isytiharkan Bukit Marak tapak warisan

Bukit Marak perlu diisytiharkan sebagai tapak warisan memandangkan nilai sejarah yang terdapat di lokasi itu sudah melebihi 100 tahun.

Mohd. Yudin Mat menjejaki gua yang dipercayai pernah dihuni oleh Puteri Saadong suatu ketika dahulu di Bukit Marak.

Menurut aktivis budaya dan sejarah Mohd. Yudin Mat, usaha itu perlu dilakukan bagi memastikan warisan dan sejarah Puteri Saadong dapat dikekalkan dan menjadi tatapan generasi akan datang.

“Berdasarkan sejarah, Puteri Saadong pernah bersemayam di situ dalam jangka waktu tertentu dan meninggalkan beberapa kesan yang menjadi bukti keberadaannya di Bukit Marak. Sehingga kini, apabila bercakap mengenai Puteri Saadong, pasti ia akan dikaitkan dengan Bukit Marak.

“Justeru, mengapa tidak lokasi itu dijadikan sebagai tapak warisan memandangkan usianya sudah menjangkau kira-kira 300 tahun. Pengisytiharan sebagai tapak warisan amat penting bagi mengelakkan monumen peninggalan Puteri Saadong terancam oleh kemusnahan atau hilang sehingga menyebabkan kepupusan warisan dan budaya tempatan.

“Bagi mengelakkan kepupusan berlaku dan kehilangan warisan kita, maka kita perlulah mengambil langkah memulihara warisan yang ada pada hari ini,” katanya.

Hapuskan petualang rasuah

ISU integriti penjawat awam khususnya pegawai dan anggota agensi penguat kuasa terus mendapat perhatian. Pelbagai pihak memberi reaksi meminta kerajaan mela­kukan sesuatu bagi menghapuskan gejala rasuah dan penya­lahgunaan kuasa melibatkan agensi tersebut.

Sama ada diakui atau tidak, dalam keadaan gempak-­gempita berikutan pendedahan media mengenai penyele­weng­an yang dikaitkan dengan amalan rasuah, sehingga ke hari ini penulis masih menerima maklumat menyatakan ada kalangan anggota agensi penguat kuasa masih terus mahu menjamah wang haram.

Ia bukanlah tuduhan melulu sebaliknya berdasarkan maklumat yang penulis yakin ada kebenarannya. Soalnya sejauhmanakah siasatan akan membuktikan perkara itu? Apa yang pasti gejala rasuah masih lagi menjadi ‘virus perosak’ dalam agensi-agensi kerajaan. Mereka yang mempunyai kedudukan dan kuasa seolah-olah menjadikannya ‘tiket’ untuk hidup mewah.

Siapa yang tidak mahu kalau segalanya diuruskan? Ada ‘wang tambahan’ setiap bulan, kereta atau motosikal kita pakai tetapi orang lain bayar, mahu bermain golf di kelab-kelab mahal di dalam dan luar negara dan kalau mahu mengadakan majlis bila-bila masa ada yang sedia menaja.

Persoalannya sampai bilakah kita harus membiarkan budaya hidup mewah melalui cara haram dalam kalang­an segelintir pegawai dan anggota agensi penguat kuasa berterusan? Janganlah berdolak-dalik lagi, akui sahaja bahawa gejala rasuah ini masih berleluasa.

Justeru sudah tiba masanya kerajaan mencari pendekatan terbaik bagi membendung gejala ini khususnya melibatkan agensi-agensi penguat kuasa. Cadangan Kongres Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Di Dalam Perkhidmatan Awam (CUEPACS) supaya seseorang pegawai dan anggota agensi itu tidak ditempatkan melebihi lima tahun adalah idea yang tepat.

Ini memandangkan apabila seseorang itu sudah berada di satu-satu kawasan terlalu lama apatah lagi dengan kuasa menentukan segala-galanya maka tidak mustahil individu tersebut boleh terlibat dalam penyalahgunaan kuasa dan rasuah. Sebab itulah kita sering mendengar cerita bagaimana di sesetengah kawasan, ada pegawai penguat kuasa bagaikan `taiko’ sehingga ikan pun ada orang hantar ke rumah.

Kerajaan perlu mengkaji cadangan CUEPACS dengan serius kerana ia salah satu cara paling berkesan menangani amalan rasuah. Walaupun sedikit-sebanyak mendatangkan masalah dari segi logistik tetapi itu lebih baik daripada kita membiarkan ‘virus’ rasuah terus mendominasi pentadbiran kerajaan.

Selain itu, kaedah pengambilan pegawai dan anggota agensi penguat kuasa juga harus diubah. Bukanlah sesuatu yang mustahil kalau dipertimbangkan agar semua pegawai dan anggota terlibat khususnya beragama Islam mengangkat sumpah jawatan dengan bersaksikan al-Quran. Biarpun agak ekstrem bunyinya tetapi apa salahnya jika mampu memastikan mereka yang mempunyai kuasa dan kedudukan benar-benar melak­sanakan tanggungjawab dengan penuh amanah dan berkesan.

Apa pun pokok pangkal ialah individu itu sendiri. Sepatutnya mereka tidak mengkhianati amanah yang diberikan, apatah lagi apabila melibatkan undang-undang negara.

Apa akan berlaku jika mereka yang bertanggungjawab melaksanakan undang-undang sanggup bersekongkol de­ngan sindiket atau penjenayah asalkan mereka mendapatkan habuan. Tidakkah mereka juga boleh dianggap ‘berjiwa penjenayah’ kerana bersedia melanggar undang-undang?

Apa yang perlu difahami, antara kelompok paling jahat di muka bumi ini ialah mereka yang diberi tanggungjawab menegakkan undang-undang, menggadaikannya demi untuk hidup senang dengan menjamah wang haram.

Oleh itu, gejala rasuah dalam kalangan agensi penguat kuasa tidak harus dipandang ringan. Sesungguhnya tiada yang mustahil dalam soal penegakan undang-undang. Apa yang penting adalah kesungguhan dan keazaman untuk memastikan petualang-petualang tidak bermaharajalela sehingga akhirnya meruntuhkan negara.

Kata-kata hakim Zheng Yunzhan di Guanzhou China, ketika menjatuhkan hukuman mati ke atas seorang bekas pengarah syarikat di negara itu kelmarin mungkin elok dijadikan renungan: “Kita mesti mengenakan hukuman yang keras ke atas orang yang mengambil kesempatan daripada jawatan yang disandangnya kerana itu sifat keji dan menyebabkan kemusnahan kepada negara,” katanya.

Zul Bakar Utusan Malaysia Rencana 13 Disember 2014

Apabila kejahatan dibalas salam persahabatan

TAHNIAH Harimau Malaya! Walaupun tidak banyak harapan diberikan untuk mara ke pertandingan akhir setelah tewas 1-2 pada perlawanan pertama separuh akhir di tempat sendiri, skuad negara membuktikan semangat mengatasi segala-galanya. Mereka menang untuk melangkah ke final. Semoga semangat yang sama dapat dikekalkan dalam perlawanan akhir pada 17 dan 20 Disember ini.

PENYOKONG Vietnam `mengajar’ penyokong Malaysia tentang semangat kesukanan menerusi kain rentang yang digantung pada perlawanan separuh akhir kedua Piala AFF Suzuki 2014 di Stadium Nasional My Dinh, kelmarin.

Perlawanan di Stadium My Dinh, Hanoi malam tadi berlangsung tanpa sebarang insiden buruk. Para penyokong pasukan tuan rumah mengo­takan janji untuk tidak membalas dendam atas apa yang mereka alami di Stadium Shah Alam, Ahad lalu. Segelintir samseng bola sepak Malaysia menyerang dan mencedera­kan beberapa penyokong pasukan Vietnam dalam perlawanan pusingan pertama.

Perbuatan tidak itu dikutuk dan mendapat kecaman seluruh rakyat Malaysia. Perlakuan buruk mereka sangat memalukan. Lebih memalukan mereka bertindak hanya kerana Malaysia tewas dalam perlawanan itu. Keseronokan menonton bola sepak musnah kerana perbuatan samseng-samseng ‘mental’ seperti itu.

Semoga pihak polis dapat me­nge­­­san dan menangkap kesemua sam­­seng terlibat sebelum perla­wa­nan akhir pusingan kedua 20 Disember depan di Stadium Bukit Jalil. Semalam sembilan daripada mereka sudah dikenakan perintah reman selama lima hari. Samseng yang berselindung di sebalik nama penyokong tegar bola sepak negara tidak layak duduk di stadium. Mereka lebih layak dikurung ‘di dalam.’

Apa yang mengharukan, rakyat Vietnam mengetepikan insiden buruk yang berlaku di Malaysia tempoh hari. Ketika insiden tersebut tersebar dengan meluas di media-media sosial, para penyokong dan rakyat Vietnam memberi reaksi sangat berbeza. Mereka tidak membalas dengan mesej kemarahan dan kebencian. Sebaliknya mereka memberi satu jaminan. Penyokong Malaysia tidak akan menerima layanan sebagaimana yang mereka terima di Stadium Shah Alam.

Dan mereka membuktikannya dalam perlawanan di Stadium My Dinh, Hanoi malam semalam. Tidak ada kejadian buruk. Sekumpulan penyokong Malaysia yang hadir juga tidak diganggu. Penyokong Malaysia sebaliknya berseronok sepanjang perlawanan tersebut. Mereka merasa selamat dan tidak ubah seperti bermain di tempat sendiri.

Para penyokong Vietnam me­nunjukkan semangat kesukanan yang tinggi. Banyak kain rentang dinaikkan di stadium tersebut bagi membuktikan keikhlasan mereka. Antara yang menarik berbunyi ‘Football helps us become friends. Do not do the opposite.’ Pelbagai mesej persahabatan lain juga disebarkan dalam media sosial. Kelihatannya seolah-olah tidak ada apa yang berlaku sebelum ini.

Sedangkan penyokong pasukan Vietnam ada sebab yang kuat untuk membalas dendam. Penyokong mereka diserang sehingga ada yang tercedera. Malam semalam pula mereka tewas ketika sebelah kaki sudah berada di gelanggang perlawanan akhir. Mereka sudah tentu kecewa. Tetapi mereka tidak terbawa-bawa dengan kekecewaan itu. Mereka masih ada kewarasan. Tidak seperti perbuatan segelintir samseng bola sepak Ahad lalu.

Begitu mudah mereka melupakan kejadian itu. Begitu senang mereka memaafkan. Tidak ubah seperti lirik lagu ‘Kemaafan dendam yang terindah.’

Samseng-samseng yang memukul dan menyerang penyokong Vietnam pada hari tersebut patut merasa amat malu. Pasti ada kalangan samseng yang terlibat menonton siaran langsung perlawanan tersebut. Tidak ada kejadian tidak diingini dicetuskan oleh penonton tuan rumah. Kalau mereka masih tidak merasa menyesal dan malu, manusia jenis apa yang patut dikategorikan mereka ini!

Dalam satu-satu perlawanan bola sepak, penonton atau penyokong memainkan peranan penting. Selain memeriahkan sukan tersebut, penonton adalah ‘pemain ke-12’ bagi sesebuah pasukan.

Penyokong setia pada waktu menang dan kalah boleh menambahkan semangat juang para pemain.

Kata-kata provokasi, ejekan, kecaman dan maki-hamun yang dihamburkan penonton juga memberi kesan kepada satu-satu pasukan bertanding. Pada masa yang sama juga, penonton boleh memusnahkan keindahan sukan tersebut.

Ada banyak kelab bola sepak ter­kenal dunia yang terpaksa berlawan di stadium kosong gara-gara penontonnya sendiri yang bertindak liar. Pergaduhan sesama penonton, rusuh­an, penghinaan berbaur perkauman dan perbuatan vandalisme banyak kali mencemarkan keindahan sukan bola sepak.

Perkara seumpama ini sudah mula menular ke dalam dunia bola sepak Malaysia. Sebelum ini sudah ada banyak kes pergaduhan sesama samseng bola sepak dalam liga tempatan. Semoga mereka yang terlibat dalam kejadian memukul penyokong Vietnam didakwa dengan segera. Memang amat wajar sebuah persatuan pasukan bola sepak negeri mengharamkan mereka daripada memasuki stadium seumur hidup. Walaupun tidak pasti bagaimana mekanisme yang akan digunakan untuk mengenal pasti samseng-samseng terlibat, sekurang-kurangnya langkah ini memberi mesej jelas bahawa samseng bola sepak tidak ada tempat dalam dunia bola sepak negara.

Jadilah sebagaimana pasukan sorak Ultras Malaya. Penyokong tegar pasukan kebangsaan ini sangat­ agresif dalam memberi sokongan padu kepada pasukan bola sepak negara. Kumpulan ini menyemarakkan gelanggang perlawanan setiap kali ada pertandingan bola sepak. Pasukan sorak ini menambah keseronokan dalam menonton perlawanan yang melibatkan pasukan negara.

Mereka sanggup mengiringi pasukan negara bertanding termasuk di luar negara. Kumpulan penyokong yang dibentuk atas dasar kecintaan kepada sukan negara ini bagaimana­pun menjaga disiplin dan nama baik negara. Mereka tidak bertindak agresif seperti samseng bola sepak walaupun pasukan kebangsaan tewas.

Ahli-ahli Ultras Malaya masih lagi boleh berseronok, berarak sambil menyanyi ketika melangkah keluar dari Stadium Shah Alam walaupun pasukan dokongan mereka kalah. Mereka sudah pasti amat kecewa dengan kekalahan pasukan negara. Bagaimanapun kekecewaan itu tidak diterjemahkan dengan cara yang salah. Tidak ada rusuhan apatah lagi membelasah penyokong pasukan lawan.

Mereka ialah penyokong sejati. Mereka ialah pemain ke-12 dalam pasukan kebangsaan yang sebenar-benarnya.

Malaysian expect yearly bonus

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is among the top five countries in the world where employees expect a good pay rise and year-end bonus, according to a survey.

That optimism, however, is not shared by Malaysian employers. They want employees to snap back to reality, saying companies here were unlikely to spend due to uncertain economic conditions.

The survey by international recruitment firm Randstad showed Malaysia ranked fourth in a list of 34 countries with the highest expectations for a pay rise after India, Argentina and Mexico.

Randstad’s Q4 2014 Workmonitor report also found that 83% of its Malaysian respondents were expecting a pay rise and bonuses this year, way ahead of the global average of 50%.

And six out of 10, or 62% of the respondents expect that the Malaysian economy is set to improve next year.

On expectations for a bonus payout, Malaysians also ranked third on the list, after Mexico and China.

The survey was conducted between Oct 23 and Nov 5 and Randstad Malaysia director Jasmin Kaur said with Malaysia gearing to become a high-income nation by 2020, employees here were shouldering a heavier workload and expected to be compensated.

Employers, however, are pouring cold water on such expectations, saying many companies are currently jittery due to global economic conditions and may choose to save instead of paying out higher salaries and bonuses.

Malaysian Employers Federation secretary Datuk Shamsudin Bardan said this year had been “very challenging” for companies and the Government.

“The revenue from petroleum is very much affected with the drop in the price of crude oil and the economic outlook is also not very good.

“Japan is in recession, and other major economies like China and Europe are not doing so well,” he said.

Shamsudin said although Malay­sia’s economy was still growing, there was still uncertainty and companies were currently worried about the future prospects.

“This will surely affect the quantum of bonuses and increments that the companies are willing to give out,” he said.

He added that companies involved in consumer products were bracing for a rough year ahead as consumers were expected to spend less next year.

“The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax next year will affect consumers spending as they will be inclined to save rather than spend as prices rise,” he said.

On employees’ expectations for remuneration due to increased responsibility at work, Shamsudin said Malaysia was still far behind.

Malaysia, he said, in terms of average productivity value was at about RM60,000 per employee per year, far behind Singapore which was at RM173,000 per employee per year.

“Productivity levels in countries like Japan, Korea and the US are about seven times more than us,” he said.

He said Malaysia’s skilled workforce was only at 28% and that employees needed to take more initiative to upskill themselves to seek better remuneration.

The Randstad Workmonitor, launched in 2003, covers 34 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US.

The study is conducted via an online questionnaire on respondents aged between 18 and 65 years with a minimal sample size of 400 interviews per country.