Thursday, January 31, 2013

THE “ALLAH” CONTROVERSY

1. Malaysia is a multi-religious country where people can adhere to their own religion even though Islam is the official religion. For most of the time the followers of the different religions have lived in peace with each other. We do not see the kind of violence between the followers of different religions as found in Northern Ireland, Lebanon and the Indian sub-continent.

2. Malaysians respect each others’ religions and the rights of the religious practises of their followers. We avoid commenting on other people’s religion even though we may have furious debate within each religion.

3. Unfortunately now we have this controversy on the use of the name of God, Allah. Many years ago this controversy was settled through the acceptance that the Christians of Sabah and Sarawak could continue to use the word Allah in their Malay language bible and teachings but these should not be used in the rest of the country.

4. Unfortunately because some politicians want to get the support of Malaysian Christians, the demand is made that the Malay language bible be used in the whole country. Predictably the Muslims protest and the controversy is resurrected.

5. Christians and Jews know very well that in all their bibles, the Old Testament and the New Testament, and in the King James and other versions the word Allah had never appeared as the name of God. It is only after Islam and the Quran that the world became acquainted with the word Allah for God.

6. In their effort to spread Christianity in the Malay speaking world the Christian missionaries used the word Allah for reasons best known to themselves. Whatever, the word Allah for God is not derived from Jewish or Christian sources.

7. Among Christians in Malaysia, except for the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, the word Allah for God had never been used. In any case, the need does not arise as most sermons are not in Malay. Even when they were in Malay, the word Allah was to my knowledge never used.

8. Religious confrontations can lead to very serious consequences. It can lead to violence and killings even. This peaceful country will not be peaceful anymore if we have religious violence.

9. It is unfortunate that Ibrahim Ali should suggest burning the newly-printed bibles. That may be the way we rid ourselves of unwanted publications. It cannot be done for the Bible any more than it can be done for the Quran.

10. But what Ibrahim said does not reflect the views of UMNO. Unfortunately, some politicians would like to make it so in order to gain political mileage.

11. While UMNO believes that the word Allah is exclusive to Islam, it had never advocated burning the Malay language bibles which uses this word. I regard the attempt to imply Ibrahim’s support for UMNO to mean what he says is what is subscribed to by UMNO as mischievous. Ibrahim is not a member of UMNO. He may support UMNO but he is not a spokesman for UMNO.

12. We have lived together in relative peace and harmony all these years. Our country has developed fast because of this. While we can have political differences, we should not resort to our religious differences to win elections. It is a double-edged sword and those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.

13. Let this controversy be settled behind closed doors by responsible people. Let not the extremists take over and exploit religious issues.

14 It may be a denial of freedom of speech but freedom even in a liberal democracy have limits if we really want democracy to work.

15. I would like to appeal to all parties to stop trying to abuse this issue.




Monday, January 28, 2013

PENGUATKUASAAN SECARA AUTOMATIK AES (AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM)

1. Di negara-negara dimana terdapat kereta bermotor, undang-undang diadakan untuk menentu had laju kereta. Tujuannya ialah untuk mengurangkan kemalangan di jalanraya kerana memandu terlalu laju. Tidak ada sesiapa yang membantah terhadap penentuan had laju.

2. Malangnya ada pemandu yang tidak menghormati undang-undang. Mereka pandu dengan kelajuan yang kerterlaluan. Dan berlakulah kemalangan dengan kehilangan nyawa.

3. Undang-undang sahaja tidak mencukupi. Penguatkuasaan undang-undang diperlukan. Dan polis pun ditugas untuk mengesan kelajuan yang berlebihan kereta bermotor di jalan-jalanraya.

4. Apabila jumlah kereta bertambah dengan banyaknya, polis tidak dapat menjalankan tugas-tugas lain selain dari mengesan pencabulan had laju kereta di jalanraya. Lagipun agak sukar menentukan kelajuan dan kereta yang terlibat.

5. Berbagai jenis alatan dicipta untuk membantu polis. Tetapi jumlah kereta terus meningkat dan kemalangan dijalanraya turut meningkat. Maka diciptalah alat elektronik yang dapat bukan sahaja mengukur kelajuan tetapi mengenalpasti kereta yang terlibat. Alatan canggih ini lebih berkesan. Tidak ada siapa dimana-mana di dunia yang menentang kegunaan alat kesan laju ini.

6. Tetapi pihak berkuasa tidak sedar bahawa ini Malaysia. Malaysia bukan sebarang negara. Malaysia adalah negara politik; negara demokrasi. Politik demokrasi bermakna apa sahaja yang dilakukan pemerintah mesti ditentang.

7. Justeru itu usaha pemerintah untuk menyelamat nyawa, mengurangkan kemalangan di jalanraya, menurun angka kematian kerana kemalangan kebawah dari 6000 setahun, mesti ditentang.

8. Bukankah kemalangan ini adalah hak asasi manusia, hak asasi kita semua? Kenapakah pemerintah cuba rampas hak kami?

9. Sesungguhnya politik demokrasi negara tercinta ini sudah sampai ke peringkat yang cukup tinggi. Usaha untuk menyelamat nyawa pun boleh jadi isu untuk ditentang.

10. Bilakah akan kita kembali kesiuman kita. Apakah segala-galanya perlu dipolitikan, ditentang kerana kita berhak menentang. Sebenarnya pemandu kereta di Malaysia adalah diantara yang berbahaya sekali. Tanpa undang-undang yang menyekat kelajuan tiap tahun beribu akan mati. Apakah ini yang kita mahu? Apakah kita ingin tunggu sehingga semua kita akan kehilangan ahli keluarga di jalanraya baharulah kita akan terima AES ini?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ELECTION

The original Malay version of this article, which is at the end of this translated variant, was published in Mingguan Malaysia of Jan 20th 2013.


1. Everywhere I go, in Malaysia and in foreign countries, people ask me when the elections will be held.

2. I wish I know but the Prime Minister has not told me anything, and in practise only the Prime Minister can determine the date. Of course it cannot go beyond the 5-year term of Parliament.

3. The next question is whether the Barisan Nasional will win. My answer is that it will win. But the margin is important. Malaysia cannot afford a hung Parliament, nor can it afford a weak Government. Both would be bad for Malaysia as everyone would be focusing on politics and the economy and development would be largely neglected.

4. Many say that the Alliance/Barisan Nasional has been in power too long. I would agree. I believe in not overstaying one’s welcome. But I am not so sure now whether this should apply in every circumstance.

5. It is because the alternative to Barisan Nasional is frightening. It is led by a man who is obsessed with becoming Prime Minister, no matter how. I had wondered why he joined UMNO instead of PAS. Now I know. He would do anything at all to become Prime Minister. By joining UMNO instead of PAS, which had never produced a Prime Minister, he could become Prime Minister simply by climbing the ladder of its leadership. And so immediately upon joining UMNO he contested for the position of Chief of UMNO Youth. Then he went for the Vice Presidency and then the Deputy President’s post. The next move was to overthrow the President and become the Prime Minister. It was all very simple.

6. But the Prime Minister did not seem to want to go. And so he began an underground campaign to demonise the Prime Minister. The rest, as they say, is history.

7. Now he is leading the opposition and hopes to be installed in Putrajaya as Prime Minister after the next election. I honestly don’t think he would be good for the country. And neither would the hotchpotch collection of Pakatan incompatible partnership be good for the country. Apart from the “I want to become Prime Minister” party, it includes a racist party and a religious party. They will be quarrelling with each other at every turn. They are not a coalition. They only `pakat` (plot) to help each other win the election. Already they are quarrelling as to who should become PM. They don’t subscribe to the idea that the biggest party should lead.

8. But it is true that the Barisan Nasional has been in power a long time. So has PAS in Kelantan. Nobody can deny that the extraordinary development and prosperity of the nation today were achieved during the period Barisan Nasional was in power. One cannot say the same about the achievements of PAS in Kelantan.

9. The aging leaders of PAS and DAP have not changed for far longer than the leaders of Barisan Nasional and its components. Six Prime Ministers have led the Barisan Nasional Governments but during that time the DAP chief remained in place and refuses to let go. And the son will take over from him. There is a dynasty in the making.

10. The leaders of PAS have not changed during the Premiership of 4 Barisan Nasional leaders.
11. The leader of Keadilan styles himself as Adviser but installed his wife as President, with his daughter as Vice President. His intimate companion is the deputy. There is no indication of any change in leadership. Certainly not through the leaders stepping down.

12. Change must be internal as well as external. An external change alone is just window dressing. During the premiership of the 6 UMNO leaders, the policies followed by each were quite different. The Governments they led cannot be regarded as the same. Certainly their politics and economic creeds deferred greatly. And so do their foreign policies. In fact one can say that despite the name being the same, the Government of each Prime Minister is totally different from the others.

13. The Barisan Nasional which will contest the 13th General Elections will not be the same Barisan Nasional as those of the previous five. It will be a different Barisan Nasional. So there will be changes.

14. But still the Barisan Nasional keeps the same basic policies and principles. BN parties practise democracy within the party and in the country. BN believes in free trade and the initiatives of the private sector. BN believes in inter-racial cooperation and the sharing of power. BN believes in fair distribution of wealth between the races. BN is business-friendly without neglecting the interests of other members of society.

15. Then it keeps itself open to innovations and new ideas including responding to the expressed views of the people which have resulted in changes and transformations. Only the blind would fail to see the differences between the top leaders of BN Governments.

16. This is not a one-party state. The Barisan Nasional itself is made up of fourteen different parties. They can join and they can leave. There have been numerous parties formed in Malaysia during the time the Alliance and Barisan’s rule of this country. Some survive to this day despite not joining the Government coalition. Some, like the Socialist, disappeared. Some made it to Parliament while others never managed to get their candidates elected to Parliament or State Assemblies.

17. The surviving opposition parties never fail to win at least a few seats in every election. PAS has retained Kelantan though numerous elections and won twice in Trengganu. An indigenous party defeated the Barisan Nasional to set up a Government in Sabah. Penang was won by the Gerakan Party, then an opposition party.

18. Elections in Malaysia have never been dull. In 1969 the Alliance very nearly lost and of course in 2008 the Barisan Nasional lost in five states, one federal territory, and could not get a two-third majority at the federal level. Elections in Malaysia never result in the 99% support for the incumbent party. Indeed the opposition parties always won a considerable number of seats in every legislative body at state and federal levels.

19. How anyone can claim that Malaysia is a one party state is quite incomprehensible. True, the Alliance and the Barisan Nasional have won all federal elections. But this is a democratic country and if the people chose to re-elect the Government it is their democratic right. Electing the opposition to govern does not make Malaysia any more democratic nor would it constitute proof that we are a two-party state. The suggestion that electing the opposition in the next election would create a 2 party system in Malaysia is baseless. The opposition parties do not constitute one party, not even a coalition. They are only going to help each other win elections. They would remain distinct, each with its own policy and agenda. They may form a coalition Government but it would be a loose coalition without a coherent single agenda.

20. Barak Obama promised change when elected. But he couldn’t even close down Guantanamo Bay or pull out of Iraq or Afghanistan immediately. He had to implement the surge planned by his predecessor. By the time he steps down nothing would have changed in the United States.

21. In Japan a clamour for change resulted in the LDP being defeated. But now the LDP is back, after only one term by the Democratic Party of Japan. The change of government did not improve the performance of Japan.

22. The idea that change must always be for the better is not always true. Milton Obote was said to be a bad President of Uganda. So Idi Amin seized power. He was worse and had to be forcibly removed by a rebel army.

23. Iraq was ruled by Saddam Hussain as a dictatorship. He was said to be very cruel. The United States decided there should be a regime change. This involved killing 200,000 innocent Iraqis and destroying their country.

24. There is a new Government now but it is doubtful that it is any better than that of Saddam. Where there was no confrontation between Sunnis and Shia under Saddam, there is now violent confrontation between the two, each bombing and killing the other.

25. There are lots of examples of regime changes but mostly nothing changed when the change takes place. Very few indeed are the examples of a change giving better results. As the French say “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” (the more they change, the more things remain the same).

26. It is not necessary to change Government merely to establish a two-party system. Those who have a two-party system are not doing any better. They still have economic and financial crises, they still have recessions and they still face street demonstrations and strikes.

27. I have said before, better the devil you know than the angel you don’t. The Barisan Nasional is not exactly a devil. This country has developed very well under Barisan Nasional rule. And when it did not, it very quickly removed the failed leader.

28. The elections provide us with an opportunity to impress upon the ruling party the need for it to change within itself. The message will be delivered, the warning will be made, and there will be positive responses.

29. But in this country don’t gamble on the unknown and untried. The few opportunities that the opposition have been given have exposed their lack of skill and judgement. Kelantan has certainly not done well. As for Penang the little good that may be acknowledged is overshadowed by the many failures.

30. Elections are meant for the people to choose the party which will govern the country. The assumption is that the people know what is good for them. But in reality the majority of the people do not know. They vote either for their race, or party because of the propaganda they are exposed to. Only a small minority understand the issues and the quality of the parties contesting.

31. As a result, elections can result in the wrong party being elected to form the Government.

32. It is important, therefore, for the electorate to be given as much good information on the parties and their policies and records as is possible so they will make educated decisions.


PILIHANRAYA

1. Kemana sahaja saya pergi, di Malaysia atau luar Negara, saya akan ditanya bila pilihanraya akan diadakan.

2. Saya harap saya tahu jawapannya tetapi Perdana Menteri tidak memberitahu saya apa-apa, dan lazimnya hanya Perdana Menteri yang boleh menentukan tarikh tersebut. Sudah tentu tarikh itu tidak boleh melangkaui tempoh 5 tahun hayat Parlimen.

3. Soalan seterusnya ialah samada Barisan Nasional akan menang. Jawapan saya ia akan menang. Tetapi sebesar mana kemenangan itu sangat penting. Malaysia tidak boleh ditadbir oleh Parlimen yang berbelah-bahagi (hung Parliament) atau sebuah Kerajaan yang lemah. Keduanya tidak baik untuk Malaysia kerana semua akan tumpu kepada politik dan ekonomi serta pembangunan akan diketepi.

4. Ramai yang berkata Perikatan/Barisan Nasional telah berkuasa terlampau lama. Benar. Saya percaya bahawa sesuatu pemerintahan tidak boleh terlalu lama. Tetapi sekarang saya tidak begitu yakin pandangan saya boleh digunapakai untuk semua keadaan.

5. Ini kerana alternatif kepada Barisan Nasional adalah sesuatu yang menakutkan Ia dipimpin oleh seorang yang obsesi hanya hendak jadi Perdana Menteri tidak kira bagaimana sekalipun. Dulu saya tertanya-tanya mengapa ia menyertai UMNO dan bukan PAS. Sekarang saya faham. Ia akan melakukan apa sahaja untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri. Menyertai UMNO dan tidak PAS, yang pemimpinnya tidak pernah jadi Perdana Menteri, ia akan menjadi Perdana Menteri hanya dengan memanjat tangga kepimpinan UMNO. Sebaik sahaja menyertai UMNO ia bertanding jawatan Ketua Pemuda. Kemudian ia bertanding Naib Presiden seterusnya Timbalan Presiden. Langkah selanjutnya ialah menjatuhkan Presiden dan menjadi Perdana Menteri. Ia amat mudah.

6. Tetapi Perdana Menteri kelihatan tidak mahu berundur. Maka ia memulakan gerakan sulit memburukkan Perdana Menteri. Apa yang berlaku sudah menjadi lipatan sejarah.

7. Sekarang ia menerajui pembangkang dengan harapan akan dinobatkan di Putrajaya sebagai Perdana Menteri selepas pilihanraya ini. Saya berpendapat ini tidak baik untuk Negara. Begitu juga dengan koleksi caca-marba Pakatan yang cuma berpakat untuk tidak bertanding sesama mereka tetapi sebaliknya menyokong satu sama lain untuk memenangi pilihanraya sahaja. Selain parti “Saya mahu jadi Perdana Menteri”, turut sama ialah parti yang rasis dan parti yang memperalatkan agama. Mereka akan berbalah sepanjang masa. Mereka bukan satu gabungan. Mereka cuma berpakat untuk membantu masing-masing memenangi pilihanraya. Sekarang pun mereka sudah berbalah berkenaan siapa yang patut jadi Perdana Menteri. Mereka tidak berpegang kepada pendapat bahawa parti yang terbesar harus memimpin.

8. Memang benar Barisan Nasional sudah lama berkuasa. Begitu juga PAS di Kelantan. Tiada siapa boleh nafi kemajuan dan kemakmuran luar biasa yang dikecap di Negara dicapai dalam tempoh pemerintahan Barisan Nasional. Ini tidak boleh dinyatakan mengenai pencapaian PAS di Kelantan.

9. Kepimpinan PAS dan DAP yang sudah berumur tidak bertukar jauh lebih lama berbanding Barisan Nasional dan parti-parti komponennya. Sudah enam Perdana Menteri memimpin Kerajaan Barisan Nasional tetapi dalam tempoh itu Ketua DAP masih tetap ditempatnya dan tidak mahu melepaskan jawatan. Dan anaknya akan mengambil-alih. Sebuah dinasti sedang terbina.

10. Kepimpinan PAS juga tidak berubah dalam tempoh kepimpinan empat pemimpin Barisan Nasional.

11. Ketua Keadilan meletakkan dirinya sebagai Penasihat tetapi menobat isterinya sebagai Presiden dan anak perempuannya sebagai Naib Presiden. Teman akrabnya menjadi timbalan. Tidak ada tanda-tanda akan berlaku sebarang perubahan kepimpinan. Dan pasti tiada pemimpin yang akan meletak jawatan.

12. Perubahan mestilah dari dalam dan luar. Perubahan luaran hanyalah untuk mengabui mata. Semasa kepimpinan enam ketua UMNO, polisi agak berbeza diantara satu sama lain. Kerajaan yang dipimpin tidak boleh dianggap sama. Yang pasti prinsip politik dan ekonomi jauh berbeza. Begitu juga dengan dasar luar. Malah boleh dikata walaupun nama adalah sama, Kerajaan setiap Perdana Menteri itu berbeza satu sama lain.

13. Barisan Nasional yang bertanding dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke !3 tidak akan sama dengan Barisan Nasional dibawah kepimpinan lima yang terdahulu. Ia adalah Barisan Nasional yang baru. Dan perubahan akan berlaku.

14. Namun begitu Barisan Nasional tetap berpegang kepada prinsip dan polisi asas yang sama. Parti komponen BN mengamalkan demokrasi di dalam parti dan Negara. BN percaya kepada perdagangan bebas dan inisiatif dari sector swasta. BN berpegang kepada kerjasama antara kaum dan perkongsian kuasa. BN juga percaya kepada agihan kekayaan yang adil diantara kaum. BN mesra perniagaan tanpa meminggir kepentingan anggota masyarakat yang lain.

15. Ia terbuka kepada innovasi dan idea-idea baru serta mengambil-kira pandangan yang dilontar rakyat dan ini membawa kepada perubahan dan transformasi. Cuma yang buta sahaja yang tidak dapat melihat perbezaan antara pemimpin tertinggi Kerajaan BN.

16. Ini bukanlah Negara satu parti. Barisan Nasional itu sendiri adalah gabungan 14 parti yang berlainan. Mereka boleh bersama atau memilih untuk keluar. Banyak parti ditubuh di Malaysia semasa zaman Perikatan dan Barisan memerintah Negara. Setengahnya dapat bertahan walaupun tidak menyertai gabungan Kerajaan.Yang lain seperti Sosialis, terus hilang. Setengahnya berjaya ke Parlimen manakala yang lain gagal memastikan wakil mereka ke Parlimen ataupun Dewan Undangan Negeri.

17. Parti-parti pembangkang yang bertahan tidak pernah gagal untuk memenangi beberapa kerusi di dalam setiap pilihanraya. PAS kekal menerajui Kelantan menerusi beberapa pilihanraya dan pernah memenangi Terengganu dua kali. Sebuah parti tempatan pernah menewaskan Barisan Nasional dan menubuh Kerajaan di Sabah. Pulau Pinang dimenangi Parti Gerakan, ketika itu sebuah parti pembangkang.

18. Pilihanraya di Malaysia tidak pernah membosankan. Dalam tahun 1969, Perikatan hampir kalah dan dalam tahun 2008 Barisan Nasional kehilangan lima buah Negeri, satu Wilayah Persekutuan dan gagal mendapatkan majoriti dua pertiga di peringkat Persekutuan. Keputusan pilihanraya di Malaysia tidak pernah melihat parti yang memerintah mendapat sokongan 99%. Hakikatnya parti pembangkang selalu memenangi sebilangan kerusi di peringkat Dewan Undangan Negeri dan peringkat Persekutuan.

19. Sukar untuk memahami bagaimana seseorang boleh menyatakan bahawa Malaysia adalah Negara pemerintahan satu parti. Memang benar Perikatan dan Barisan Nasional memenangi semua pilihanraya Persekutuan. Negara ini negara demokratik dan jika rakyat memilih untuk mengundi semula parti Kerajaan itu hak demokratik mereka. Mengundi pembangkang untuk memerintah tidak menjadikan Malaysia lebih demoratik mahupun menjadi bukti kita mengamalkan system dwi-parti. Pandangan jika mengundi pembangkang dalam pilihanraya akan datang akan menjadikan Malaysia negara yang mengamalkan system dwi-parti adalah tidak berasas. Parti-parti pembangkang tidak mewakili satu parti, bukan pun satu gabungan. Mereka membantu satu sama lain hanya untuk memenangi pilihanraya. Mereka akan kekal bersendirian, setiap satu dengan dasar dan agenda masing-masing. Mereka mungkin menubuhkan Kerajaan campuran tetapi ia akan menjadi gabungan yang longgar tanpa satupun agenda yang jelas.

20. Barak Obama menjanjikan perubahan bila terpilih. Tetapi ia tidak berdaya untuk menutup Guantanamo Bay ataupun keluar segera dari Iraq atau Afghanistan. Ia terpaksa meneruskan tindakan yang dirancang oleh orang yang digantikannya. Apabila tamat edahnya tiada apa perubahan yang telah berlaku di Amerika Syarikat.

21. Di Jepun kehendak kepada perubahan membawa kepada kekalahan LDP. Sekarang LDP kembali berkuasa menggantikan Parti Demokratik Jepun yang kekal hanya satu penggal. Perubahan Kerajaan tidak meningkat kemajuan Jepun.

22. Pendapat bahawa perubahan semestinya membawa kebaikan tidak selalu benar. Milton Obote dikatakan Presiden yang tidak baik untuk Uganda. Maka Idi Amin merampas kuasa. Ia lebih buruk sehingga terpaksa diturunkan secara paksa oleh tentera yang memberontak.

23. Iraq diperintah oleh Saddam Hussein sebagai diktator. Ia dikatakan amat kejam. Amerika Syarikat membuat keputusan melakukan pertukaran rejim (regime change). Ini melibatkan pembunuhan 200,000 rakyat Iraq yang tidak berdosa selain menghancurkan negara mereka.

24. Terdapat Kerajaan baru sekarang tetapi disangsikan kebaikannya berbanding Kerajaan Saddam. Tidak ada pertelingkahan antara puak Sunnah wal Jamaah dengan Syiah di zaman Saddam, tetapi sekarang pertembungan ganas sering berlaku antara dua pihak ini, masing-masing mengebom dan membunuh pihak yang lain.

25. Terdapat banyak contoh perubahan rejim tetapi kebanyakkannya tiada perubahan yang berlaku hasil darinya. Amat sedikit contoh menunjuk apabila berlaku perubahan keadaan bertambah baik. Sepertimana dikatakan oleh orang Perancis “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” (lebih banyak perubahan, lebih banyak kekal sama).

26. Tidak perlu menukar Kerajaan semata-mata untuk menegak system dwi-parti. Negara yang mempunyai system dwi-parti tidak berkeadaan lebih baik. Mereka masih menghadapi krisis kekonomi dan kewangan, mereka mengalami kemelesetan, berdepan dengan demonstrasi jalanan dan mogok.

27. Saya telah nyatakan sebelum ini “better the devil you know than the angel you don’t.” Barisan Nasional bukanlah syaitan. Negara ini maju dengan jaya di bawah pemerintahan Barisan Nasional. Bila kejayaan tidak berlaku, Barisan cepat menukar pemimpin yang gagal.

28. Pilihanraya memberi kita peluang untuk menunjuk kepada parti pemerintah akan perlunya mengubah dirinya sendiri. Mesej ini akan sampai, amaran telah diberi dan tindakan positif akan diambil.

29. Jangan perjudi Negara ini dengan yang tidak dikenali dan yang belum teruji. Beberapa peluang yang diberi kepada pembangkang menunjuk kekurangan kemahiran dan pencapaian. Kelantan jelas tidak maju dengan baik. Pulau Pinang pula, kejayaan yang sedikit disertai dengan kegagalan yang banyak.

30. Pilihanraya bertujuan untuk rakyat memilih parti yang akan memerintah Negara. Ramai percaya majoriti rakyat tahu apa yang baik untuk mereka. Tetapi hakikatnya majoriti rakyat tidak tahu. Mereka mengundi samada berdasarkan kaum atau parti yang propagandanya terdedah kepada mereka. Cuma segelintir yang memahami isu-isu dan kualiti parti yang bertanding.

31. Akibatnya, pilihanraya mungkin menyebabkan parti yang tidak layak terpilih membentuk Kerajaan.

32. Kerana kemungkinan ini, amatlah penting pengundi diberi seberapa banyak penjelasan yang mungkin mengenai parti dan dasar serta rekod mereka supaya pengundi dapat membuat keputusan yang pintar.

Monday, January 14, 2013

LIBOR

1. The world is Eurocentric. We trust Europe and Europeans almost unreservedly. The standards are set by them and we follow these standards unquestioningly.

2. Thus banking! The so-called conventional banking system was invented by the Europeans. Today the whole world accepts and practices this banking system.

3. Lately the Islamic banking (no interest) system has been introduced. But it is no match for the Western initiated “conventional” banking system.

4. But we now know that the current financial crisis affecting the West is due to the Western banking system or more precisely its abuse. That it can be abused means that it is not the perfect system it is made out to be.

5. We have heard about sub-prime lending, leveraging, derivatives, securitisation, bundling and insuring etc etc.

6. Now it is the turn of the LIBOR – the London Interbank Offer Rate – the rate of interests which banks may be guided by.

7. We thought the rates were fixed in heaven and no one should question them. But now we read that a number of European banks had fixed the rates so they can increase their profits. And this is considered to be wrong, to be price fixing.

8. The banks involved are the big ones, the ones which cannot be allowed to fail, the ones which are supposed to be honest. They were cheating.

9. The press reports that they were fined. By whom? By the United States of America. And they have paid the fines to America.

10. The question is, is it only America which suffered and lost money due to the fixing of the LIBOR by the major banks of Europe. Do these banks lend money only to America? I don’t think so. The UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) lent money to Europeans and Asian countries as well.

11. If America lost money through the operation of the LIBOR surely other countries which borrowed money from the banks which fixed the rates must also lose money. But these other countries have not been paid by any of the banks which fixed the rates together with UBS. Why is America privileged when other countries are not-compensated? Why aren’t the other countries instituting legal action to find these banks guilty and fixing the fines that they must pay.

12. We in Malaysia, I believe are also guided in fixing interest rates by LIBOR. But I don’t think our banks participated in fixing the rates. Our banks may or may not have benefited from being guided by LIBOR. But they are not guilty. The borrowers have no claim on them.

13. Banking is a shadowy business. People do not really know what they are doing. We accept that the loans they give out help to create wealth. Certainly the amount of money in circulation is very much bigger than the money issued by the Government.

14. The banks’ rights to create and lend money are obviously necessary if the economy is to grow and wealth generated. But power corrupts and the right to create money is a very important power conferred on the banks. But banks need not be too secretive. We need to know the limits of their power. It is the unlimited power that banks exercise that lead to the sub-prime loans and the consequent financial crisis in America and Europe.

15. When banks abuse their power the public and the nations have to pay a high price. In the case of America and Europe four years have passed and we still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

16. If we are to avoid a recurrence of the crisis; if Malaysia wants to remain free of a similar crisis we need to know more about the rules of banking and the limits of their privilege.

17. I am writing this as a layman. I know my knowledge about banking and finance is negligible. But I feel the need to express the opinion of the ordinary man who may have to pay a high price while banks abuse the power vested with them.

Friday, January 11, 2013

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

1. Two things happened in the U.S. recently which are worthy of comment.

2. Firstly Obama’s candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, Susan Rice, announced her decision not to take up the post because of criticisms by the Republican Party over her comments and handling of the killing of the U.S Ambassador in Libya.

3. Although she claims she had done no wrong and Obama still wanted her to be Secretary of State, she decided not to accept the post. She felt that her appointment would damage Obama’s administration and the Democrats and she did not want this to happen even though she is innocent.

4. Perhaps there is a lesson here for Malaysian politicians of all hues. The love for the party and nation should be greater than love for oneself. One’s personal interest or ambition should not supersede loyalty to party and country. When the need arises, to sacrifice a little is far better than even to prove one’s innocence.

5. The second matter about the U.S that I would like to comment is the power of the lobby in America.

6. During my time Malaysia paid money to a lobbyist firm to lobby against the U.S negative propaganda about palm oil for food. We had to do it on the basis of doing in Rome what the Romans do.

7. We don’t have this lobby system in Malaysia. If we have I am quite sure we will be roundly condemned. But America is different. It can do just what it likes while taking the high ground to lecture to others.

8. Other than AIPAC (the Jewish lobby) the most powerful lobby in the U.S is the National Rifle Association. This lobby insists that it is a democratic right for citizens of America to carry arms, all kinds of arms, including assault rifles.

9. Every now and again we get reports of school children being massacred by gunmen. The latest one in Connecticut caused the death of 20 innocent school children and 10 adults. The Rifle Association will insist that this has nothing to do with peoples’ right to possess guns.

10. They say it is not the guns which resulted in these mass killings. It is the gunmen who have abused their rights. People must therefore continue to be allowed to carry guns.

11. When President Clinton proposed to ban possession of guns, he was roundly condemned by the NRA and threatened with losing their votes.

12. Apparently it has never occurred to the Americans that if you don’t have guns you will not be able to shoot and kill people.

13. In Malaysia it is an offence to carry any weapon. Certainly carrying guns is prohibited.

14. How many more children and adults in America must be shot to death by gunmen before America realises that carrying guns is dangerous. It may be legitimate for one’s defence when the Red Indian had to be killed so as to seize their land. The Red Indians (now called the First Nation) are no threat now.

15. It is about time the Americans rethink about the democratic rights of its citizens to carry guns.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BERTAUBAT

Artikel ini telah disiarkan di dalam akhbar Mingguan Malaysia pada 6 Januari, 2013.

1. Harun Din, pemimpin PAS menyuruh saya bertaubat kerana saya telah berkata dalam bahasa Inggeris “Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t”.

2. Mungkin kerana Harun Din tidak mahir dengan loghat pepatah Inggeris maka ia fikir ini bermakna saya sanggup bersama dengan syaitan. Makna sebenarnya pepatah ini ialah “lebih baik orang yang dikenali daripada orang yang tidak dikenali”.

3. Kalau Harun Din fikir saya bermaksud lebih baik saya bersama syaitan yang saya kenal daripada malaikat yang saya tidak kenal dan ini salah di sisi agama, maka dia bolehlah suruh saya bertaubat. Tak apalah.

4. Tetapi pada 24 Januari 1999, Nik Aziz berkata dengan jelas dalam bahasa Melayu yang saya yakin Harun Din tentu faham yang berbunyi seperti berikut, “siapa yang nak tolong Kerajaan Islam, kami sebagai pemimpin Islam mesti terima samada DAP, MCA dan MIC. Kalau nak tolong mengapa kita tolak. Jika DAP ikhlas nak tolong PAS saya terima. Usahkan DAP, syaitan pun boleh saya terima”.

5. Amat jelas dengan ini Nik Aziz sanggup terima pertolongan syaitan pun untuk Kerajaan Islamnya. Demikian pendirian Nik Aziz kerana kononnya begitu kuat perjuangannya untuk mendirikan Kerajaan Islam? Apakah jenis Kerajaan Islam hasil dari pertolongan syaitan sama-samalah kita fikir.

6. Harun Din nampaknya terima Kerajaan Islam yang didirikan dengan pertolongan syaitan. Sebab itu Harun Din tidak menegur Nik Aziz jauh sekali dari menuntut supaya ia bertaubat.

7. Saya tidak akan bertaubat kerana salahfaham Harun Din berkenaan dengan apa yang telah saya katakan. Sepatutnya Harun Din meminta maaf dari saya kerana salah fahamnya tentang apa yang saya perkatakan dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Dan saya akan maafkannya kerana manusia memang lemah dan tidak pernah bebas dari membuat kesalahan.

8. Orang Islam di Malaysia sebenarnya bernasib baik kerana kita semua menganggotai mazhab yang sama, iaitu kita dari mazhab Sunni yang berimam dengan Imam Shafie. Kita tidak sepatutnya berpecah seperti orang Islam di sesetengah negara Islam lain yang berpecah kepada Sunni dan Syiah dan sering bermusuh dan membunuh sesama mereka.

9. Malangnya persahabatan dan perpaduan orang Melayu Islam di Malaysia ini ditamatkan apabila Parti PAS ditubuh. Dalam keghairahan PAS untuk mendapat undi orang Melayu di Malaysia mereka sengaja menyalah tafsir agama Islam dan membuat dakwaan bahawa mereka sahaja yang Islam sehingga orang Melayu berpecah dan bermusuh sesama mereka.

10. Tuduhan yang pertama ialah orang UMNO kafir kerana mereka bekerjasama dengan orang kafir. Saya tidak percaya ada orang Melayu yang terima dakwaan ini. Ia tidak dibuat dengan cara yang mengikuti kehendak agama Islam. Tetapi rupa-rupanya tuduhan ini begitu berkesan sehingga berlaku sembahyang dua imam kerana kononnya imam orang yang tidak sokong PAS kafir, perkahwinan semula orang Melayu yang berkahwin sebelum PAS ditubuh, perkuburan berasingan bagi orang PAS kerana ibu bapa mereka sendiri yang dikebumikan di kubur lama dan orang UMNO tidak Islam, penolakan sembahyang jenazah orang UMNO dan penceraian serta perpecahan dalam keluarga kerana fahaman politik yang berbeza.

11. Kemudian Hj Hadi menokoktambah kepada perpecahan orang Melayu Islam dengan amanatnya. Hj Hadi mendakwa bahawa PAS menentang UMNO bukan kerana namanya UMNO tetapi kerana kononnya mengekalkan perlembagaan penjajah, kerana kononnya UMNO mengatakan politik suku agama suku.

12. Sesungguhnya perlembagaan itulah yang memberi kebebasan bersuara, berparti dan berpolitik kepada PAS. Dikebanyakkan negara yang diakui negara Islam tidak ada kebebasan seperti ini. Sepatutnya PAS menolak semua kebebasan ini. Tetapi sebaliknya PAS menggunakannya untuk memfitnah dan mengkafirkan orang UMNO. Islam menyuruh orang Islam setia kepada Allah, Rasul dan ulil amri, iaitu pemerintah. PAS sebenarnya tidak setia kepada ulil amri.

13. UMNO tidak pernah berkata politik suku agama suku. UMNO berpegang kepada ajaran bahawa Islam adalah Ad-deen, cara hidup. Cara hidup memang termasuk politik. Sebab itu UMNO berjuang untuk agama, bangsa dan tanah air. Habbul watan minnal iman.

14. Sebaliknya PAS sekarang menerima pemimpin orang kafir yang secara terbuka menolak negara Islam PAS serta pemimpin Pakatan yang percaya kepada kebebasan tanpa had serta pluralisme dalam agama dan kebebasan keluar dari agama Islam.

15. Tetapi UMNO tidak akan tuduh orang PAS sudah menjadi kafir. Selagi tidak ada dakwaan oleh tokoh-tokoh Islam yang tidak berkepentingan UMNO akan terima orang PAS sebagai orang Islam. Kita dalam UMNO masih ingin bersaudara dengan orang PAS seperti ditegaskan oleh agama Islam bahawa orang Islam itu adalah bersaudara. Perbezaan politik antara PAS dengan UMNO tidak bermakna pengasingan politik dari agama, atau agama suku politik suku. Perbezaan politik dikalangan orang Islam berlaku di mana-mana sahaja. Namun mereka semua masih Islam.

16. Tanpa bertaubat kerana berbagai kesalahannya disisi Islam, Nik Aziz telah memurtadkan tiga juta orang UMNO. Dakwaan ini dibuat olehnya tanpa usul periksa. Tidak ada kajian yang dibuat, samada secara ilmiah atau tidak. Ketidakadilan Nik Aziz jauh berbeza dari ajaran Islam yang menegas bahawa apabila kamu hukum, hukumlah dengan adil. Hakim tidak boleh terdiri dari orang yang teribat dan berpentingan. Memurtadkan orang UMNO adalah satu ketidakadilan disisi agama Islam.

17. Tetapi, Alhamdulillah, sudah ramai pemimpin dan ahli PAS yang sedar tentang kesalahan PAS dan pemimpinnya dari segi Islam.Mereka telah tidak lagi taksub dengan nama Islam yang diberi kepada Parti PAS. Mereka sedar PAS bukan berjuang untuk Islam. PAS hanya ingin memperalatkan Islam untuk kepentingan politik duniawi pemimpin-pemimpinnya.

18. Mereka yang keluar dari PAS ini berpeluang untuk benar-benar berjuang untuk agama Islam, berjuang untuk mengembangkan ajaran Islam yang sebenar, terutamanya untuk persaudaraan dalam Islam, tentang berpegang kepada tali Allah dan jangan bercerai-berai.

19. Saya tidak akan suruh Harun Din bertaubat. Tetapi Harun Din harus tanya hati kecilnya samada dia didorong oleh agama atau politik duniawi apabila menyuruh saya bertaubat dan tidak Nik Aziz.


Monday, January 7, 2013

AMANAT HADI AWANG

This article appeared in the New Straits Times on Jan 3, 2013


1. From its inception the leaders of the Pan Malayan Islamic Party (PMIP) now known as PAS (Parti Islam SeMalaysia), in their quest for support condemned UMNO members as infidels (kafir) for cooperating with non-Muslims. This was followed in April 1981 by Hadi Awang’s statement that UMNO members are kafir (infidels) because UMNO perpetuates the constitution of the colonialist, perpetuates the rules and regulations of the infidels, perpetuates the rules of the pre-Islamic Arabs, the Jahiliah. Because of these things the struggles of PAS constitute a jihad (holy struggle), their speeches are jihad, their donations (to PAS) are jihad. Because of their struggle (war) against these people (UMNO members), if they die they become syahids (Islamic martyrs) they die in Islam. He said that they don’t have to be a Jew, don’t have to be a Christian, don’t have to be Hindu or Buddhist, they become infidels if they separate politics from religion.


2. The effect of these two pronouncements is far more than is generally known. They have resulted in a deep split among the Malay Muslims who are all Sunnis and followers of the same Imam, Imam Shafie. Usually the splits within the Muslim community are due to the interpretations and teachings of different Imams. Thus the Sunnis and the Shiahs are so deeply divided that they regarded each other as non-Muslims. As a result they have been fighting and killing each other for more than a thousand years.


3. There was no such division among Malay Muslim until PAS was formed. Immediately PAS declared that those who did not join it are infidels (kafir). But the most potent cause of the split among Malay Sunnis is due to the pronouncement of Hadi Awang, presently the President of PAS. His diatribe against UMNO and condemnation of UMNO Malays as kafirs (apostates or infidels) has resulted in the rejection of PAS members of UMNO Imams during prayers. They would hold separate prayers behind their own Imam.


4. PAS members even build their own mosques, refuse to eat meat slaughtered by UMNO supporters, reject the validity of marriages officiated by UMNO kadis, and bury their dead in separate burial grounds.


5. Members of the same family who are UMNO followers are shunned by those who support PAS.


6. In fact PAS members truly believe that the 3 million UMNO members, their families and their supporters are not Muslims. They are all kafir or infidels and apostates.


7. Malays are not usually violent but there have been deaths such as those in Memali where police personnel and PAS supporters lost their lives. Because we don’t have the regular violence and killings as occurred in other Muslim countries where the Muslims are divided into Shiah and Sunnis, the split and animosities between the Muslim Malays are not so noticeable. It is only during elections that this split becomes a factor.


8. PAS members have become so fanatical in their support for the Party that even when the Party and the leaders breach their own injunctions they continue their blind support of the party. Thus after saying that UMNO is kafir because it works with kafir, now that PAS has done exactly the same, PAS members continue to support their party. Their fanaticism seem to blind them to the hypocrisy of their leaders.


9. It is perhaps worthwhile to examine the pronouncements of Hadi Awang because most PAS members look up to him as infallible and sinless (ma’asum). What indeed does Hadi mean when he made his amanat of 1981.


10. He said that PAS is opposed to UMNO because it had perpetuated the constitution of the colonialist. Which part of the constitution is he referring to?


11. The constitution adopted by Malaysia upon independence provides for :

a) A constitutional monarchy;

b) A parliament elected by the people;

c) An Executive Prime Minister and Cabinet from the party or representatives who have the support of the majority in Parliament;

d) The separation of power between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary;

e) The rule of law and equality before the law;

f) Trials conducted by the courts where the procedures include evidence by witnesses and also circumstantial evidence;

f) The monarch to appoint the Prime Minister or Chief Minister based on the support of the elected legislators but may not dismiss the Government so formed unless a vote of non-confidence has been passed against the Government concerned;

g) Freedom to believe in and practice other religions and

h) No imposition of Islamic law on non-Muslims.


12. There are elements of the western non-Muslims concepts of governance in all these and more. If PAS consider their acceptance make UMNO kafir, what would PAS replace them with. Would PAS want the:

a) Constitutional monarch to be replaced with an absolute monarch?

b) Would PAS wish to replace elected Parliaments with a Dewan made of nominees of the absolute ruler?

c) Would PAS accept a Prime Minister and his Cabinet appointed by the monarch even if they are not supported by the majority of the members of the Dewan?

d) Would the separation of power between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary be abolished?

e) Should there be no rule of law?

f) Should trials be conducted without need of duly-appointed judges in legally constituted courts?

g) Should courts only find an accused person guilty if there are four witnesses of high-standing to vouch for the facts of the crime?

h) Should constitutional evidence such as DNA and thumbprints be rejected?

i) Should the monarch be given the power to appoint and dismiss the Government at his whim and fancy?


13. To clear the air and to give the religions basis for the pronouncement of Hadi Awang that the constitution is colonial, he must explain how the Malaysian Constitutions has to be changed so as not to be a perpetuation of the colonial constitution.


14. I suspect he would answer that I am not qualified to question him as I am not a religious scholar. But I would be living under Hadi’s constitution if his PAS adorers were to give him victory in the 13th General Election. As a citizen I must know what I would be in for, even if the DAP and its supporters don’t want to know. And I believe many citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims would want to know.


15. DAP may believe that they would be able to handle Hadi and his “Amanat”, but the DAP struggle to do this will destabilise the country, preventing it from developing and growing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CHANGE

1. In his campaign to become President of the US Barack Obama promised change, “time for change”, he said.

2. He promised to close down Guantanamo Detention Camp.

3. He promised to stop trials of detainees by Military Courts.

4. He promised to pull out from Iraq and Afghanistan.

5. And many more.

6. Now four years into his first term he has failed to keep his promises.

7. Guantanamo is still holding so-called terrorists; still torturing them. No military courts but no trials by civilian courts either.

8. Instead of pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan he approved a “surge” in the troops sent to this area. Later he pulled out some troops but American soldiers are still in the two countries.

9. Making promises during campaigns for elections is easy. Keeping them is a different matter. The best hope is that people’s memory is short. They would normally forget the promises.

10. Now the opposition in Malaysia have copied Obama and is promising change.

11. Give them a chance they say. The BN has ruled this country for 55 years. It is time to change. They will change this into a welfare state. Everything will be free. No fees for education. No tolls. Large subsidy for petrol. 20% royalty to oil producing states etc..etc.

12. The Socialist and Communist have tried this welfare state idea. They failed. Malaysia has no ideology. But the reality is that all Governments need money in order to develop the country and to subsidise living cost for the people. But when Government foregoes taxes, tolls and fees, it will have less money. But it will still have to spend money on running and maintaining utilities, expressways, schools, hospitals, operational and development cost, pension, subsidies, etc.

13. So where does the Government get necessary funds.

14. Borrowing is okay if the money is invested and giving a return to repay the loans. But borrowing money in order to just spend will lead to non-payment of debts.

15. That’s what happened to Greece. It’s bankrupt now. The whole of Europe cannot put it back together again.

16. Admittedly the BN has ruled this country every since independence. But look at the record and compare it with other countries which gained independence at the same time. Compare it even with the developed West. They are in deep financial trouble and try as they might, they have not been able to overcome the crisis.

17. Remember 1997- 8 crisis. The then Deputy PM and Minister of Finance tried the IMF solution without the IMF loans. Banks and companies were faced with the threat of bankruptcy from non-performing loans. Imports cost more. Cost of living shot up.

18. The track record of the Minister of Finance then was bad although there is a fondness of claiming success brought about by other people as his success. PNB, UIA and Islamic banking were part of the claim.

19. Now as leader of the Opposition he is claiming to bring about change. What good change did he introduce when he was in the Government. All he was interested in was getting up the leadership ladder of UMNO in order to become Prime Minister. How he achieved his objective does not bear scrutiny.

20. Five years for the Anwar or Hadi-led opposition to govern is dangerous. Many things can be destroyed in five years. We have some experience of this. Besides the Opposition as Government will ensure there will be no return for the BN. Officer in the Government will be used to “gempar” (threaten) whoever tries to change Government. We know this has happened before.

21. Already we see this person who claims to fight for free speech suing and resorting to the courts to shut the mouths of his critics. Other powers of the Government will be similarly abused. Nepotism and cronyism will be employed as indeed they are in the party he now heads.

22. The record is there. Malaysians must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked as I was hoodwinked by the appearance of religious piety in the past.

23. The BN has listened to the people and has changed many laws and policies. All that the people need to do is to urge the BN to carry out whatever change the people desire. But changing the Government can and will result in this country becoming unstable and unable to grow.
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