Friday, December 25, 2009

Message from William Leong, PKR Treasurer

William Leong is the Treasurer of PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and younger brother of ex minister, Paul Leong. Practising in law for 20 odd years before going into politics...

All Malaysians are duty bound to help each other to achieve a better life in our Country. With the performance of the UMNO/BN for the last 52 years, especially the last 28 years, the country has been raped by politicians and their cronies. You know how arrogant they are? Let us have look:

1. They are extending the APs to 2015. They are giving themselves free money. This is daylight robbery. We are talking big bucks, billions.

2. The taxes and duties on cars continue to be high to protect Proton but we the public pay through our nose. If the PR government comes into power we can expect prices to drop by at least 50% for imported cars. Why are we paying these cronies our hard earned money so that they can drive around in their new and latest Ferraris, BMWs etc.

3. Have you noticed that they appoint themselves to high paying jobs and positions where they can also earn additional side income? Again these side income run into billions.

4. The Accountant General reported that RM 28B was wasted by you know who and for who. These figures probably do not involve the highly secretive arms contracts which run into billions.

5. Look at the way they snatched the Perak State government.

6. Look at the way they treated Teoh Beng Hock.

7. Look at the way they are trying to get Anwar.

8. Look at the Lingam's Royal Commission.

9. Look at the PKFZ delaying tactics, get one report after another, and then another and if necessary another and then only the small fish get caught and hauled to Court.

What a way to fool us? Either they are stupid or we are stupid. The abuse and cheating has been going on for far too long. Only you and I and together with all Malaysians who care can stop them. Between now and the next General Elections we have to campaign now as if the GE is just 6 months from now. Not only do we campaign, we must get our friends to get others and others to do the same. Let us not be fooled again and again.

Please start now, if 10 of us can each get 10 we will have 100 and if each of the hundred gets 10 we will have 1000. If we keep going, we will reach more than 10M active Malaysians to force a change. This is a legacy we must give our children/grandchildren, they deserve better. The alternative is too horrendous to look at.

Look at Indonesia, Japan, S. Korea and Taiwan, all their old and corrupt parties have been replaced, Malaysia is next.

What Independence? On this August 31st, we shall celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the British leaving our country. I did not say we are celebrating the 52nd anniversary of our independence. This is because our people have not enjoyed real liberty, democracy or justice. Without liberty,democracy or justice there is no independence. . In these 52 years the oppressive rule of a foreign colonial master has been replaced by the oppressive rule of a local master. They rule with an iron fist.

They use the same instruments of oppression as the British did. They use the ISA, the Sedition Act, the Printing Press & Publications Act and detention without trial. The freedom of assembly, the freedom of expression and the freedom to live a life of dignity free from fear and oppression are illusions. In these 52 years the yoke of a foreign colonial master has been replaced by the yoke of a local master. They use the same policy of “divide and rule”. They survive by feeding off racialism. They survive by fostering divisiveness. They survive by preaching religious intolerance.

What Teoh Beng Hock died for Malaysians will not know real independence, will not be free and will not enjoy democracy unless this oppressive regime is thrown out. They must be thrown out just like Teoh Beng Hock was thrown out from the 14th floor of the MACC office. We must not forget Teoh Beng Hock. We must not forget what he stood for. More importantly, we must not forget what he died for. He lived to help Malaysians in the struggle against corruption and oppression. He died so that our struggle can live. He died fighting for justice.

What Justice? Without justice we cannot say we have liberty or democracy or equal rights. We cannot say we have liberty or freedom when Tamil schools have no tables and chairs. When in Sabah and Sarawak , schools have no electricity. A child that is illiterate is not free. We cannot say we have democracy or equal rights for women, when a Chinese girl with 9A1s cannot enter a university.. A girl without a job has no rights. We cannot say we have freedom of choice when a man cannot feed his family.

A starving man has no choice. Liberty , democracy and freedom are meaningless words when there is no justice. Justice is political liberty. Justice is economic independence. Justice is equality. There is no political liberty when you vote out of fear. There is no economic independence when you give your support out of fear your son’s scholarship will be withdrawn or your license will be withdrawn.

There is no freedom of choice when you elect a party out of fear for your contract or your business. This is what has been happening in these 52 years and this will continue if we do not act. There will be many more Teoh Beng Hocks and many more Port Klang Free Zones if we do not stop them.

What One Malaysia? Najib says he wants One Malaysia.

Teoh Beng Hock’s death has shocked us back to reality.

We cannot just listen to rhetoric. We must look at the deeds.

When we look, we see what has been done is a far cry from what has been said. The Perak government has been stolen from its people.

Najib has now declared his intention to grab the Selangor government.

The MACC is a tool. It is used to de-stabilize the Pakatan Rakyat government. Teoh Beng Hock was interrogated throughout the night.

He was grilled for buying RM2,400 worth of Malaysian flags.

No one has been grilled when PKFZ loss RM12.6 billion.

The MACC officers are raiding the Pakatan Exco members’office so often they are becoming fixtures. Cars and cows and Malaysian flags have become a fixation of the MACC.

MACC has not shown the same enthusiasm when it comes to BN assemblymen who used up their annual allocation of RM500,000 in 2 months before the general elections.

The MACC has also not shown any interest in the trips by the former chief minister and his family to study the river system in Disney Land.

There is no investigation into how the former chief minister can afford to purchase a multi-million ringgit mansion that is beyond the means of a chief minister’s salary. Barisan Nasional machinery is now on the move.

Books attacking Anwar Ibrahim and Khalid Ibrahim are being distributed.

The authors of these books are sowing the seeds of hatred and contempt.

They desecrate the Hindu’s sacred cow in a protest filled with bigotry.

They protest against a Hindu temple built 150 years ago when the area was a plantation that today, just like its devotees, the estate workers, had been left behind by development.

They have forgotten Muslims were invited to practice their religion amongst the people of Yathrib. They are beating the drums of race and religion and the tone is becoming harsher with each beat.

The people must now decide.

There cannot be any fence sitters.

There is no middle ground.

When Teoh Beng Hock was thrown out, the people of Malaysia was thrown together with him into the sea of political troubles.

Whether Malaysia will sink or swim is now up to the people.

The people must decide once and for all what is right and what is wrong. There cannot be a neutral ground.

Dante said: “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.”

Today in Malaysia there is no place for neutrality. Malaysians must make their choice now. If we want to know what is evil and what is right, we must use our moral compass. It is only when we know the direction where justice lies can we know where we must stand. Do we want to choose liberty and justice which are always right or do we want to choose corruption, hatred, arrogance and oppression which are always wrong?

The choice is clear.

Every Malaysian must make his stand.

When you stand for liberty we stand with you.

I want to tell you that when you stand for liberty, we will stand with you.

When you defend democracy, we will be your shield.

When you fight for justice, we will be your sword.

We will always be with you.

They assaulted *Anwar Ibrahim.

*They threw him in jail for 6 long years.

They call him a traitor and worse. But Anwar will always be here to fight for you.

They hounded and harassed *Lim Kit Siang. *They detained him in Kamunting.. But Lim Kit Siang will always be here to stand by you.

They attacked *Tok Guru Nik Aziz *and tried to humiliate him. But Tok Guru Nik Aziz will always be here to protect you.

We have been tested. They have thrown everything they have at us but we are still standing and we are still here.

We were here in November 2007 when a sea of yellow marched for a free and fair election. This was *BERSIH*. We were here in December when thousands in orange marched for equality. This was *Makal Sakthi*.This was the ripple that started the tsunami. Barisan Nasional was swept out of 5 states. Since then Barisan Nasional has become more extreme in their policies. They have become more brutal with the people. When we Hope So on 1st August, the lovers of justice and liberty marched again. Again Barisan Nasional responded with violence and brutality. 638 people including women and children were arrested. Despite the police shutting down the city, despite the many road blocks and barricades, despite the arrest of those wearing black, the number who succeeded in gathering far exceeded my expectations.

But the size of the gathering cannot be bigger than my hope for Malaysia . My hope is for every one that braved the tear gas and water cannons there will be many thousands more.

We want hundreds of thousands to march with us.

We will march from under the shadow of fear into the light of justice.

My hope is that the flame burning in each who gathered that day will kindle the hearts and minds of many thousands more.

Malaysians will find the courage to standup for principles and convictions.

We must stand up for what is right.

This is my hope and this is the hope of all Malaysians.

Truth, love and justice will prevail over the forces of hate and oppression. This will only happen when the silent majority refuses to remain silent anymore. This will only happen when the voice of the majority is finally heard. We must be confident that oppression and corruption cannot endure. We must take comfort that truth and justice will always prevail. But this can only be achieved if we fight for it.

We must fight today for a better tomorrow. Looking Back in the Future Do not let our children look back and say that these are dark days. Let them say that these are great days. These are the most glorious days that our country ever had. These days will be remembered as the days when we were called, we answered. We stood up. We stood together shoulder to shoulder irrespective of race or religion. We fought and we prevailed. Each of us played our part according to our strengths.

Our children and their children will look back on these days and celebrate it as the days we became *ONE NATION*.

These days will be etched in our Nation’s history as the days we won over injustice and oppression.

These will be the days we celebrate *THE TRUE MERDEKA.*

Thank you, Xie xie , vanakam..

Saturday, December 5, 2009

‘BTN taught me the Chinese are the Jews of Asia’

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — I am one of the privileged few to have attended a local public university and learned the meaning of hate, thanks to the ever popular Biro Tata Negara.

All undergraduates were forced to attend this programme or else they would not be eligible for graduation.

The BTN under the Prime Minister’s Department brought in “intellectual” speakers who were supposed to enlighten the students about the meaning of being a Malaysian but instead it felt more like a communist propaganda camp brainwashing those attending about the importance of “Ketuanan Melayu”.

The camp would usually take place during the weekends. Students would have to register early in the morning and the programme would last the whole day.

The organisers were always on their guard, asking participants to show their student identification cards each time they entered the hall, fearing the presence of outsiders.

In the hall, students were asked to turn off their mobile phones.

During the lectures, questions were planted among the audience and the students were advised not ask raise any questions.

One speaker began with the history of Malaysia and how much the country had gone through, always emphasising the May 13 riots.

He stressed the point of how much the Malays had sacrificed and how the community should be united especially from outside threat — the Chinese community.

He said that the Chinese community were “the Jews of Asia” and were just itching to take over when Malays were disunited and broken.

The speaker also revealed a greater Chinese conspiracy where the Chinese Malaysians were working together with Singapore to topple the Malay government.

“Do you want to become like the Malays in Singapore?” he asked.

He also went so far as to criticise Malay girls for dating boys from other races.

He added that they should not be cheap and embarrass their families.

Once, a student told the speaker that as Muslims, we should also respect other races who are also Muslims.

“All Muslims are Malays so it does not matter if they are Chinese or Indians. If they are Muslims then they are Malays,” the speaker replied.

This is why I was relieved when I learned that the Selangor government had moved to ban its civil servants, employees of state subsidiaries and students at state-owned education institutions from attending any BTN courses with immediate effect.

However I believe racism in varsities does not end at BTN because classrooms have also become victims of ignorant scholars.

My friend was verbally abused during his sociology class when he did not agree with the points made by his lecturer.

“You must be DKK,” the lecturer told him.

“What is DKK?” he asked.

“You must be darah keturunan keling (descendents of Indians),” the lecturer said, pointing to his dark skin.

My Saudi friend was also shocked by the comments made by his lecturer in his Islamic civilisation class.

“We should save our Orang Asli from the Chinese people. They are like the Palestinians and the Chinese are Israel. We must fight the Jews,” the lecturer told his students.

The lecturer even failed one of his students in his oral exam when he quoted a Western scholar in his presentation.

“You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a Muslim and should only use Islamic scholars,” he scolded the student.

I was personally saddened when my Islamic law lecturer compared Christianity to Head & Shoulder’s 3 in 1 shampoo in referring to the religion’s Holy Trinity.

I feel that racism has been institutionalised in our country and that BTN is only the tip of the iceberg.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended BTN yesterday and claimed that it was not racist but is line with the 1 Malaysia concept.

I have to humbly disagree and would like to suggest maybe the ministers should bring their overseas children home and let them have a taste of what BTN is.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


(KUANTAN, Friday) The Syariah Court today has today declared that the
late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong was a Muslim more than 10 years ago when he
passed away, in 2007. The Syariah Court also ruled that since no
non-Muslim is allowed to inherit any part of a Muslim's assets or
wealth, the inheritance of Lim's property by his non-Muslim children
are invalid and unlawful.

"Therefore, the assets should be immediately returned to Tan Sri
Lim's name, and then redistributed to his Muslim heirs (if any)
according to Syariah law. If he has no Muslim heir, then the assets
shall be given to the Islamic authorities and they can do whatever
they wish. The non-Muslim children are disinherited." The Syariah
Court ruled.

Dato' Zakaria Lim Abdullah, 35, the late Tan Sri Lim's only Muslim
child and the 20th of his 20 offsprings, is now poised to become the
Chairman of Genting Group, 1 of Southeast Asia's richest companies
worth RM2 trillion as at press time. (He would have inherited only
1/20 of Tan Sri Lim's assets if Tan Sri Lim was not declared a
Muslim.) However, he refused to confirm whether he would stop the
gambling business of Genting even though it is haram under Islamic

"Are you saying that our Hadhari government should refuse to collect
taxes from gambling, alcohol, pork and other haram businesses?" Dato'
Zakaria replied, perhaps rhetorically.

Dato' Zakaria has also said that his shall honor his pledge to donate
1/10 of his newly inherited fortune to Jabatan Agama Islam Pahang and
UMNO in equal share if he won the case, made 3 days before the
Syariah Court decision.

"Business Reasons"

"My late father wanted to keep his conversion secret because he was a
gambling tycoon, and he did not want to jeopardize his gambling
empire or make his shareholders lose confidence in Genting," said
Dato' Zakaria during the hearing in Syariah Court. The Syariah Court
felt that "this is most likely true because of the huge business
implications. It is very normal for Chinese to do this. We can accept

As to the testimonies of Tan Sri Lim's 19 other offsprings in the
Syariah Court, who unanimously disputed the alleged conversion, the
Syariah Court said, "Even though it is 19 to 1, but because the
non-Muslim witnesses refused to swear on the Qur'an before they
testified in court, we could not consider their testimonies. In any
event, even if they did swear on the Qur'an, the non-Muslims would
still carry less weight when compared to the testimony of 2 Muslim
men. It is not about the number, it is about quality of the

The other witness supporting Dato' Zakaria's claim to have witnessed
Tan Sri Lim's conversion is Ustaz Abdul Rahman Ganinah Abdullah, 23
year old. The Ustaz would have been only 13 year old at that time of
the conversion, but the Syariah Court said that,"Being a righteous,
God-fearing Muslim, we have no reason to suspect that the Ustaz told
any lie. In any event, he has reached the age of puberty at the time
(of the conversion) so he was qualified to witness the conversion."

"Answer To God" It Depends

The Syariah Court has also ruled that the overwhelming evidence of
Tan Sri Lim drinking alcohol, praying to pagan idols, celebrating
pagan religious festivals, eating pork and gambling in his own
Genting Casino and generally behaving like a non-Muslim all his life
until his death was irrelevant. "Once you have converted, you are a
Muslim till you die, no matter what you did before your death. You
will answer to God for all your sins."

However, on the same kind of "answer to God" argument made by the
non-Muslim children that:"By the same logic, the Deceased himself
should answer to God for concealing his alleged 'conversion' from his
family and resulting in him not being buried as a Muslim and his
assets distributed among his non-Muslim children; it's not up to the
Islamic Authority to insist on his assets being inherited under
AN INFIDEL (AND HE MIGHT BURN IN HELL), still didn't want to tell his
family to bury him as a Muslim and distribute his assets like a

The Syariah Court said "you cannot say he must answer to God for
everything. Sometimes he also has to answer to us, the Islamic
Authority and Syariah Court. If we say he has to answer to us, then
he has to. When it comes to God's law, logic has nothing to do with
it. Why is it so difficult to understand?"

"New Conversion Policy" vs New Economic Policy

The case to declare one of the richest Chinese in the world (at his
death) as a Muslim was started 2 years ago (8 years after his death),
1 month after another non-Muslim Malaysian tycoon's Muslim son was
able to exclusively inherit his father's global business empire worth
RM80 billion at that time by proving in Syariah Court that his father
had "converted in secret," resulting in his mother and all 9 other
siblings losing the right to inherit any part of the tycoon's wealth,
leaving him the sole heir to the huge fortune.

There are currently at least 200 more cases of the same nature
pending before the Syariah Courts nationwide involving deceased
non-Muslims who were wealthy during their lifetime and left behind a
huge personal fortune. Rough estimate suggests that 50% of them were
started by 1 of the Muslim children of the deceased (99% of them
newly converted as Muslims), and the rest by the Islamic Authorities
seeking to disinherit all non-Muslim children.

If all of the cases succeed, it is estimated that the ratio of equity
held by Muslims in Malaysia would jump from the meagre 19% as at 1
January 2018 to 76%, a whopping 3-fold increase.

The Perak Mufti, who applauded the Syariah Court's ruling, said that
this wave of after-death declarations of conversions is the new
approach taken by the Islamic Authority to speed up the
Islamicization of Malaysia, butis also designed to achieve the
government's goal to redistribute wealth among the races which the
government could no longer do (and failed repeatedly to do) under the
now abolished National Economic Policy

"By creating real economic incentives for the dhimmis to become a
real citizen of the Islamic state, we expect more of them to embrace
the true path, and this will mean that we no longer have to rely on
the NEP to achieve such noble socio-economic goals of the government.
Besides, this is more effective because to take money away from
living people will create a lot of noise, but a dead person will not
make any noise, right?" He said.

However, it is not clear whether the non-Muslim children would still
be able to keep their inheritance if they convert to Islam
immediately. The Mufti of Perak, when consulted on this issue, said,

"If that could bring them to Islam, then it would be good, so the
Syariah Court should allow that. But then it might be unfair to those
children who converted into Islam earlier perhaps we can still allow
them to inherit only 30% of what an "early bird" Muslim heir would
have been able to get, to provide some "early bird bonus incentives"
for them to convert earlier. When we are dealing with Chinese, such
bonus incentives are very important, if you know what I mean. Anyway,
we'll think about this in the next National Fatwa Council meeting.
But rest assured that we shall continue to our struggle until the
Kingdom comes (literally)."

Chinese Beginning to Be Concerned

The Chinese community has now taken this matter very seriously and
are brainstorming on the options to overcome this problem. They have
also called for an end to the practice of declaring a person's status
as a Muslim after his or her death, a radical change from their usual
attitude to shy away from controversial political and religious
issues. Analysts believe that this is because this is threatening
their economic interests.

Supporters of the now semi-defunct Malaysian Chinese Association,
Gerakan and Malaysian Indian Congress, still part of the ruling
Barisan Nasional coalition, have called on the top BN leadership to
put forward a plan to resolve such controversial and provocative
religious issues once and for all and in a manner which is fair to
the non-Muslims. An MCA leader who declined to be named told our

"We fear a backlash. Most NGO and opposition leaders have called on
the non-Muslims to boycott BN if no fair solution is put forward
before the upcoming general election. These issues have been around
since at least the Moorthy controversy in 2005 but still remained
unresolved. The are now affecting the basic security and fundamental
well-being of the non-Muslims."

This is a very serious issue for all non-muslim Malaysians to think
over since several recent cases have been unjust and unfair, and the
basic constitutional RIGHTS been taken away from them. It's no longer
a safe country to live.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Malays & UMNO should read this!

By Hussein Hamid

With the Chinese it usually take about three generations for whatever money that has been made to be gone – wasted away. The Malays – just one generation!

Many Malays have allowed avarice and a liking of the good things in life to cloud their judgment in doing what is right.

I have met many Malays who, within less then one generation, came into richness way beyond their wildest dream. How do you adjust from driving a beat up old Mercedes to being able to get (not afford but able to get!) a Range Rover and the latest Mini Cooper –complete with a driver and machai riding shotgun with you everywhere you go? Then he have to take a crash course on how to play Golf - when before a game of Sepak Takraw would be his means of relaxation over the weekend! Five Star Hotels are now his play ground. Cigars, High Tea a bit of the hard stuff every night. …All par for the course for these so-called shakers and movers from UMNO. Their families are left at the starting point. No way can the wife or children adjust. Soon he starts with his late nights, outstation trips and even goes off to Perth for Golf – always with a sweet young thing in tow or stash away at some condominium in Bagsar or Damansara.

All this looks good on the surface. A Malay enjoying the good life because he is a loyal servant of UMNO. But his strength is because he is a ‘sahabat’ of Pak Lah. What happens when Najib took over? This Malays goes back to his beat up old Mercedes because his Range Rover and Mini Cooper were repossessed (they cost over $6000 per month on the never never – five years hire purchase arrangements!) Then he is again reduced to begging for scraps and running errands now for Najib’s sahabats. And this vicious circle continues to trap many Malays into a never-ending search for easy money and the good life - but without the ability to hang on to it.

What of UMNO’s leaders now ruling our country? What of them? I see spoilt brats brought up in luxury and the good life becoming spoilt Ministers lacking compassion and depth. Without the ability to emphasize or sympathize with those that they are lord over. And they take the role of being Lord literally. Look at Din – a classic nerd or geek in his young days. Now by a freak of birth and happy circumstance – he is a Minister. A Minister without ability and compassion – unable to understand that he is in Public Service – and his duty is to serve – not wave a Keris in the air or throw his weight around bullying people who cannot fight back. A sad excuse for a human being.

Najib and Rosmah have money. They now want power and more money – and they go about getting both unashamedly without reservations or respect for morals or decency. The public see these leaders as thieves and liars and this self fulfilling prophecy is further enhanced by their actions. We know what they do. Time cannot keep secrets. Time will tell us all what was done during the era of Mahathir, Abdullah and Najib.

How long will UMNO continue to curse the Malays with their way of doing things? Malays unable to cope with the massive influx of wealth, families’ wreck asunder, husbands taking mistresses and girlfriends? In the end this will spell the end of UMNO and also the end of many Malays unable to understand any other way of life then what they have been taught to do under UMNO.

The very rich in UMNO will have enough to last for two or three generations of their family. For 90% of UMNO the fall of UMNO will create much pain and sufferings. So wait for an orgy of money politics as UMNO rides into the sunset at the next General Elections. They will all try for that one big Negotiated Tender or Project that will hopefully keep them and their family going until UMNO makes a comeback. If UMNO does not then they go back to their beat up old Mercedes Benz and dream of their glory days when UMNO’s President was King. Let us hope that Anwar has seen enough of this while he was in UMNO to not repeat the same mistakes with Pakatan Rakyat. Or is that too much to hope for from Politicians?

Cry My Beloved Malay Soul

A B Sulaiman |

When Alan Paton wrote 'Cry The Beloved Country' he was lamenting over the inhumanity of man over man, of how the whites can devise, construct and implement race- and colour-based social and economic injustices over the blacks in apartheid-era South Africa.

The whole world had condemned this practice; we were among the loudest screaming against it.

South Africa has moved on since then, and today it is one shining example of an emancipated, open and progressive country, enjoying a respectable place in the community of nations. It has thrown apartheid into the bins of its history.

Here in Malaysia, yes we condemned apartheid, and quite rightly so. But in the same breath we were and are still its major proponent of our version of apartheid.

We do not call it apartheid; of course not. We call it instead 'Ketuanan Melayu' under the guise of 'championing Malay rights,' and implementing it under the New Economic Policy.. It's smart, right? In none of them does the word 'apartheid' appear!

Yes, we are smart. We do not blatantly call it apartheid, we merely perfected the process of social separation. First of all, we ensure the great majority of civil servants, the police, and the military are manned by Malays (the target benefactors). We give them good salaries, good perks and assured employment. We then devise rules and regulations, and even laws, to ensure the NEP's easy implementation.

We then brainwash our Malay brethren with the notion 'untuk agama, bangsa dan negara' that there is a higher ideal beyond performing a duty with professionalism and dedication, and that is doing things in the name of religion and race.

We devise rules and regulations, and even laws, to ensure the NEP's easy implementation.

Then we design and implement social and economic policies like channeling lucrative government contracts, separate education streams, housing rebates, banking and financial support, in favour of, you guessed it, the Elite Malays.

It does not stop there. We devise measures to prevent the people from raising too much objections to all these by introducing or continuing legislation and religiously implementing them.

The Sedition Act for example stops people from talking too much about language and religion. The Official Secrets Act prevents people from gaining access to government files.

Students and lecturers are not allowed to discuss and make public any subject that would appear to be critical to government (yes, government, not political) policies and philosophies.

All publications must, first of all, get operating licences. Newspapers must not only get a licence before publishing but it must be renewed every year.

Sacrifices conveniently forgotten

The king of all of the suppressive and oppressive laws is the Internal Security Act, when a citizen can be put under detention without the benefit of any charge!

All said and done, we sacrificed the rule of law in favour of rule by private individuals. To show that we are really smart, we pooh pooh the loyalty and patriotism of the non-Malay segment of the population.

We call them pendatang or immigrants bearing the stigma that they are social discards from their forefathers' country of origin, similar to rogues, rascals, refugees, mercenaries and scoundrels. We just ignore their proven talent and ability in wealth creation and economic productivity, as well as to their demonstrated loyalty and patriotism.

Many of such pendatangs have made ultimate sacrifices, as military personnel defending the country and its security, risking and losing their lives, during the Emergency, the Indonesian Confrontation, and as policemen while policing the social environment.

They have contributed and are continuing to, in sports and the arts. Their record as loyal and patriotic Malaysians is quite impeccable. But we do not really care.

The perplexing thing is that despite these attributes and positive records of the non-Malays, we are still going about championing and implement apartheid principles - aggressively pursuing the Malay agenda. Is this fair especially to the East Malaysians who joined us to become the single nation of Malaysia?

In this new year, perhaps we can do with a little reflection: why are we doing all this?

We do this apparently to recover our lost soul. We perceived that we have been victims of colonization when the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonizers all but butchered the Malay entity, psychology and culture. In the process we perceived that we have lost our Malay identity.

With independence, we thought we could recapture the lost glory of Malay suzerainty by becoming masters of all facets of a nation, especially its commerce, and economy. We found out that the Chinese community had beaten us to it, in every way.

We felt the Chinese had capitalised on our weakness and captured the economic initiatives (and wealth) as well as the social characteristics of the country. We lost 'face'.

Now we want to regain the mertabat or dignity and pride of the Malay race!

Yes, we feel that we have to recover our soul and it is here that we are reminded of Paton's book title, but in this case suitably paraphrased to – "Cry My Beloved Malay soul."

Our Malay soul needs to cry for doing the right thing for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing for the right reason; even for the wrong thing for the wrong reason, but not for the right thing for the right reason.

To start with, colonization is really not an excuse for our psychological malaise and ineptitude.

Colonization has been a feature of human history and felt all over the world. There are very few countries that have not been colonized in the world, where western powers took advantage of the situations then.

It is thus a neutral concept in human social and economic development. It is certainly not an impediment to social or economic progress as we want to portray it. We should dump this notion that we hold so dear into the bins of history.

Rethinking our way of thinking

Just look at the records. The Koreans were once colonised by the Japanese, but today Korea is an industrial power house. Singapore was once colonized by the British and was indeed a part of us, and today we see this tiny country being a solid financial, trading and industrial entity.

Most pointedly of all, the US was once a British colony and today it is the mightiest nation in the world.

Our second grouse - that the Chinese have cornered every of the economic sector of the country also needs re-looking into, on two counts.

First, the Chinese did not become successful based on any conscious and concerted economic programme to economically marginalise us Malays.

We did this self-inflicted wound ourselves. As proof, we have to note that most of the Chinese came to our shores with only their feet, hands, guts and brains and perhaps a bundle of clothes, nothing more.

They become successful for their hard work, both physically and mentally and for the sacrifices they were prepared to make and had undertaken. They were successful for having the mental fortitude to seek opportunities, grab those that come along and worked extra hard to realize the potentials of these opportunities.

Secondly, we have been given a chance to be equal with them, both under numerous 'special privileges' enshrined in the Constitution, as well as under its NEP implementation programe.

The special privileges have always been in the constitution while the latter began in 1970. In short, we have been given the chance - the opportunity - many times over, to better our Malay polity.

Whereas the Chinese had to struggle just to find and identify the opportunities, in our case they were handed to us on a silver platter!

Thus far we have failed to capitalize adequately on them. It is rather shameful that we are missing out on these chances specially created for us in the first place.

Either way, the root cause of our weaknesses and the strength of the Chinese lies in two words - positive thinking. Our thinking is mired with so many dos and don'ts, so many musts and musn'ts, so many cans and cannots, may and may nots, plenty enough to created and internalize doubts and fears in our minds.

So much so that we have doubts over what we can and what we can't do, what is allowed and what is not. We spend a lifetime looking for these highly complex cans and cannots, musts and must nots, that we have hardly any mental energy left to develop and garner our self-confidence to get on and face the realities of life.

Let's refer to this case as the 'can't don't and won't syndrome'. The Chinese by the way are not encumbered by such syndromes. What appears to have happened is that this syndrome has affected our mental ability to conceptualise. We see things on the straight and narrow. We accept wisdoms handed down to us by our elders as the gospel truth.

Blinded by sentiment

We do not see that things can be seen and interpreted in many alternative ways. We feel we have the monopoly on truth; we therefore think that we are right all the time and other people are wrong all the time. Witness the way we see religion for example.

We think that we as Muslims are right and other people who profess other religions are wrong, all the time.

We need to cry for thinking that we can and have doctored the way the people think and do things. We have been intimidating the people with what they can read or write or think and do.

We seem to be saying "you can think anything, do anything, write anything so long as it does not criticise or condemn the government".

Soul-searching and resuscitating is not or should not be about pointing accusing fingers at some bogeys. That would be a most negative thing to do. It would be better for us to be open-minded and be able to identify our own strengths and weaknesses.

We improve upon our strengths and dump our weaknesses. Mainly we must be able to develop the awareness that we have both the strengths and weaknesses in the first place.

To illustrate, the NEP has proved many times over as a failed strategy for our socio-economic advancement. Let us be aware of this in the first place and move on seeking other ways with better chances of success.

How about secularizing the Malay mind? It might make for a good start for we can see many of the don'ts, can'ts, musn'ts dissipating into the wind.

In the meantime, here we are in the early days of a new year. We should begin by realising that whatever 'smart' moves we had undertaken all this while have not really been that smart after all..

The joke is on us. Everybody says so – the liberated Malays, the non-Malays, our neighbors and the rest of the international community. Only those of us basking in our closed mind and benefiting from the profits of the status quo say it's alright.

Happy New Year all the same and here's hoping this year we can get a good perspective as to what propagating a good mertabat really means. It's long overdue.

In the meantime, cry my beloved Malay soul.

Made in Malaysia

The following are true stories:

A Malaysian politician had heart surgery in Singapore.
The operation was successful. During his recuperation, the politician wanted
to thank his three skilful doctors, including an anaesthesiologist.

He said: "Thanks to Singaporean doctors..."
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm from Malaysia," interrupted one doctor.
"Me too."
"Me as well."

When a Malaysian company wanted to develop a new township abroad, it
entrusted the project to a Singapore multinational company.

The first time when they met, the Singapore company sent a team of seven
people, including the chief executive officer, chief architect and chief financial officer.
The meeting went smoothly. They relaxed and chatted.
The Malaysian company's director said: "Durians from my hometown Kuala
Pilah, Seremban taste the best. I'll treat you all next time when you come."

"Really? What area in Kuala Pilah? I'm from Kuala Pilah, too!" said the
Singapore company's chief executive officer.

Next, one by one, the other six from the Singapore team revealed their
"I'm from Malacca."
"I'm from Kuala Kangsar, Perak."
"I grew up in Segamat."
"My hometown is..."
And all of them were actually "made in Malaysia".

There are countless similar stories around us.

And there is always another story behind each story.
Some were rejected by domestic universities while some were rejected by the
government scholarship.
They couldn't get it even with 10 As while others got only 10 Bs. As leaving
might be better than staying, they just went to a different world after crossing the Causeway.

There is a deep feeling for every story.

According to Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) statistics, about 785,000
Malaysians are currently working abroad and 44 per cent of them are working in Singapore while the rest are
working in other countries, including Hong Kong, China, Australia, Britain and the United States.

And two-thirds of them are professionals.

At the same time, most of the two million guest workers in Malaysia are from
Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Vietnam.

They are engaged in work which does not require a high educational
background but just a little bit of brains. Low skill, low knowledge and, of course, low wages.

Malaysia has become a country that exports brains while importing labourers,
resulting in a serious deficit in the knowledge trade.

The government started to lure our talent abroad in 2000 by offering a
variety of incentives, including tax concessions and other conditions.

It has been nearly 10 years but only 770 people responded, with an average
of 80 talents returning a year.
The 770 are just a small number of the total number of people working

However, many of this small group of people still choose to leave again.

While many young people are not able to realise their dreams here and thus,
they are packing and preparing to pursue their dreams in unfamiliar countries.

And they said that Malaysia wants to become a high-income country.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Failure of Nur Who Scored 17 A's!

The Failure of Nur Amalina (who scored 17A's)

I was really shocked and speechless to be informed about Nur Amalina Che Bakri.

Nur Amalina had held briefly the record of the most A's scored in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. Upon the announcement of results of SPM 2004 on 26 March 2005, she received 17 1As - a record for number of A's received by a student in the history of Malaysian education back then. She was sponsored by Bank Negara Malaysia to study medicine in the United Kingdom, and did her A-levels at the Cheltenham Ladies College in the UK.

Now I am informed that she had failed her second year medical study at the University of Edinburgh. What went wrong?

Could English language be the problem? We are going back to Malay medium again and that means trouble.

Another article by Dr. Hsu

I was told that one of the girls with the most number of A's, 17 A1's, in SPM and who is currently on a scholarship in UK to study medicine failed in her second year examination.

While passing and failing examination is part and parcel of a student’s life, this case is particularly alarming, as this is supposed to be our cream of the cream. There may be other reasons why she failed , but this case typifies the trend of many of our so-called ‘top scholars’ failing in overseas universities.

I have mentioned before that among my daughter ’s year doing medicine in University of Auckland, there were many JPA's scholars (more than 10). Only one graduated with the class. The rest have failed along the way and have to repeat the year which they have failed. Some have failed one year, passed on second attempt and then failed again in another year. It is not uncommon to have someone who failed a few times along the way.

These scholars are supposed to represent the cream of our students, and yet they struggled to get through the course.

We must find out the reasons why so many of these scholars fail when they are supposed to be the our top students.

Granted that in an examination, even a good student can do badly sometimes, but to have a disproportional high failure rate among the so called top students is alarming and cannot be attributed to ‘luck’ or the lack of it. Compare this with those on their fathers’ scholarship, very few of the latter group failed.

Is it because our marking system is at fault? Is there any differential markings of papers? Is our education system at fault?

I think the time has come to have a thorough re-examination of the whole education as well as the examination system.

It really reflects badly on our country when scholarship holders fail in their examinations at an alarming rate.

P.S. When a scholarship holder fails and has to repeat a year, it would cost the Country a lot of money which can actually be used to finance more students for study. Scholarship holders also live a life of relative luxury, compared to self-fnanced students, and they normally stay in the best hostels and many of them have cars and so on… SO the whole system of awarding scholarship should be reviewed too…

If the students scores an exemplary number of distinctions (A's in Malaysia) in a public exam, they are considered the pinnacle of what the Country's education system is capable of producing. They are expected to go through tertiary education anywhere in the world with flushing success. So what could possibly have happened if they fail abroad?

Malaysia's education system has always been a laughing stock. Based purely on numeric superiority and mindless rote learning methods that even the British has long abandoned decades earlier, Malaysia continues to believe that the more A's the students attain, the better equipped they are. It doesn't matter how they get the A's so long as the aim is to get them and get as many in the process. So if the students were to labour over numerous past year exam papers in the library, memorise the answers and focus only on what the teacher 'suggests' are likely to come out for the exam, that's all right by everyone. The education system doesn't teach the students to UNDERSTAND the material. It doesn't encourage proactive teaching methods that encourage students to discover knowledge but to merely be taught.

When a student with 17 Distinctions fail in the real world, it is not a surprise. Perhaps it is to many Malaysians, but it's a system that is waiting to reward its students with spectacular failure when they leave the shores and compete overseas or when they enter the workforce. Many organisations in the private sector have continued to be horrified at the performance of such students during interviews. Communication skills are absent. Standard ethics are absent. Common courtesy codes are absent. Presentation skills as well as personal grooming are absent. What has the education system taught them?

If Malaysia continue to embark on the road of plain numeric superiority instead of to challenge the students to think, provoke them to create their own opinions and to communicate expressively, to eloquently define their standing in the world, there can never be an international leader in any field or industry emanating from Malaysia. It never produced one in the last 20 years. It never will for the next 100 years.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Car Prices in Malaysia Are Sky High!

By Syed Akbar Ali

In the USA, a brand new Toyota Camry 2.4L sells for RM69,396.00 (and not RM170,000), Toyota Altis for RM46,000 (and not RM112,000), Honda Jazz for RM36,000 (and not RM108,000). Want more?

DIGEST this article, after that, you may need to vomit. What is the Malaysian Government doing all these while. Ripping off our Rakyat for the last 30 year with AP's designed to benefit a few well connected Bumis, the UMNO/BN have robbed millions of citizens in this fiasco, under the pretext of protecting our local industry.

The Government has forgotten we Malays are the largest customers in the country. What is the NEP policy doing? Ripping off the Malays (which forms 65% of the consumer base) to benefit a few UMNO politicians!

BMW 535i sells for RM178,000 in the US

In the United States of America (a developed country which we are also aspiring to become by the year 2020) a 2009 model BMW 535i Sedan is selling for about USD50,367. This is only RM178,000, about the price of a Toyota Camry 2.4L here in Malaysia. The same BMW sells in Malaysia for about RM450,000!.

BMW 328i sells for RM155,000 in the US

The 2009 model BMW 328i 2 door Convertible sells for USD44,014 or RM155,369.00 in the US. In Malaysia the same car sells for over RM460,000. This is an untenable situation.

Audi A4 2.0T Cabriolet Convertible sells for RM142,000 in the US

The 2009 model Audi A4 2 Door 2.0T Cabriolet Convertible sells in the US for USD40,328.00 or RM142,357. In Malaysia the same car would sell for about RM265,000.

VW GTI 2.0T sells for RM85,000 in the US

In the US the 2009 model Volkswagen GTI 2.0T sells for USD 24,039 or RM85,000 only. In China the same car will cost around RM60,000. Over here the same VW car sells for about RM200,000.

And the 2010 model Toyota Camry 2.4L sells in the US for USD 19,659.00 or RM69,396 In Malaysia the 2008 Toyota Camry 2.4L sells for RM170,000. Toyota Camry 2.4L, 2010 model but only RM69,000 in the US.

Car prices in Malaysia are about three times higher than the prices in the United States. We are a developing nation. Our land and labour costs are so much cheaper than the US. Why are our cars so expensive? It does not make any sense. ‘Tak masuk akal.’

Then here are some car prices from our neighbour Indonesia. The Toyota Altis sells in Indonesia for about RM46,000. The same car sells here for around RM 112,000. Again we are three times more expensive than Indonesia.

The Honda Jazz sells here for RM108,000. In Indonesia the Jazz sells for RM 36,000. Three times more expensive.

We are paying ridiculously high prices (and actually impoverishing the Malays, who are the largest buyers of cars in Malaysia) to support an out of date, out of touch with reality motor car policy.

We are paying the highest car prices in the world to support the Proton and other locally made cars as well as support a mind boggling AP policy which only benefits a relatively few rich Malays. A disproportionately large number of Malays and other Malaysians are being impoverished to subsidise the wealth of a few inefficient rich.

26 million Malaysians have to pay three times more for their cars just to support Proton and 120,000 people who are directly and indirectly involved in the motor sector in Malaysia and the AP holders. That is a ratio of 216:1.

This ratio of 216:1 is too skewed. 26.0 million happier people can contribute many more votes than 120,000 members of an inefficient motor industry. 26 million unhappy people can change a Government. (The maths is not really difficult here)

And this outdated policy is impoverishing the Malays more than anyone else.
Our motor car policy is forcing Malaysians to subsidise Proton so that Proton can sustain major inefficiencies in the Malaysian economy. This is not a good thing at all.

We have to unwind this situation. Set a target of 18 months from now to unwind all protection for our motor industry. Remove the impoverishing AP policy also in 18 months. Let Malaysian car prices reflect world market prices for the same makes of cars.

If a BMW 535 sells for RM178,000 in America , it should sell for a little less here in Malaysia (our rentals and salaries are cheaper).

The Ministers continue making pronouncements about the car industry as though nothing has happened. I hope everyone will please wake up. The Government has a real chance of getting thrown out of office in about three years. The people will not accept inept answers anymore.

The ridiculous car prices in Malaysia is an issue that is just beginning to get more attention and publicity. It is going to become a really big issue in the near future. Be forewarned!.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Places of Worship

Places Of Worship - By Syed Akbar Ali

Many, many years ago circa 1997 when I wrote a column in The Sun newspaper, I wrote once about our temples, mosques and other places of worship getting too noisy. My article was reproduced by some nut from PAS in the Harakah or somewhere. He was asking people to get angry at me.

At that time we lived on a 17th floor condo in Pantai Hillpark. Nine years before in 1988 my wife and I (with our baby son) lived for a while in a rented flat in Subang Jaya.

In both places we lived close to mosques and suraus.. In Subang Jaya there was a surau immediately behind our flat. Early each morning about 5 a.m. they would start blasting the chanting and recitations etc on their loudspeakers. Our baby son would start crying from his sleep.

(Most recently my good friend Jahamy keeps sending me sms'es at about 6:00 am in the morning. When I asked him why so early, he said there is a masjid nearby which wakes him up too!)

In Pantai Hillpark, the local mosque would have their ceramah – sometimes up to 9 pm and beyond. Even 17 floors up the condo and some distance away, we could hear their chatter.

I also worked at Maybank (Menara Maybank, Jalan Tun Perak). In the evenings after work, my colleagues and I would sometimes adjourn for tea at our foodcourt. Just nearby, as you come up the small road from Jalan Pudu, there is a Hindu temple at the corner. In the evenings this little Hindu temple would incessantly ring its very loud bell. It used to really rattle my ears. I would have to strain my ears to hear my friends talking.

In other countries you keep your noises inside your temples, churches and mosques. I think that is a very Islamic and civilized thing to do. In Germany church bells can only be heard inside their own walls and not beyond their compound. Neighbours have a right to complain about noise pollution from church bells. The same applies to the call for prayer or azan from mosques in Germany .. All sounds must remain within the
four walls of your place of worship.

I am sure if there are Hindu temples in Germany , their bells must also abide by the same rules. Its called curbing noise pollution.

Here I would like to point out that the loudness of the ceramah at the mosques or the loudness of the call to prayer has got absolutely nothing to do with their religious fervour.

Instead it has got everything to do with the inventive genius of “kafir” sound engineers in Sony of Japan or Samsung of Korea. As the “kafir” Japanese and Korean sound engineers become more inventive, so do the mosques around the world become louder. The religious fervour is not linked to the faith but to the power of the latest sound systems from Sony, Samsung and LG.

The relevant question to ask would be: what kind of religious fervour is that? To be true to the faith, the call to prayer should be made using the human voice alone, unaided by 100MW or 250MW “Made In Japan” loudspeakers.

I really feel that all our places of worship inside Malaysia (of all religions) must be governed by zoning laws pertaining to noise pollution. Keep it down. Don’t make noise and disturb the neighbourhood.

My view is also that compared to our population now - there are far too many mosques and suraus, far too many temples and far too many churches in our country. There are thousands of Hindu temples, there are far too many suraus and mosques being built and there are also too many shophouses being converted into churches. The Calvary Church people are building a huge RM160.0 million worship centre close to my house in Bukit Jalil. Do we really need so many places of worship?

If you go to Kuala Kubu Bahru, they have built a huge mosque in the town. I think this mosque can accommodate all the inhabitants of Kuala Kubu Bahru town, including the non Muslims. It rarely has a full house in the congregation.

In Putrajaya the immensely beautiful Putrajaya Mosque also suffers emptiness most of the time. Only on Fridays and the Hari Raya there is a large congregation. On other days few people attend this mosque. Yet just about a kilometer away the latest testimony to religious hubris – a spanking new RM200 million stainless steel mosque also known as the “Masjid Besi” - with a capacity of 20,000 worshippers - has just been opened. This “masjid besi” is going to remain empty too.

But the saddest of all mosques is the huge and beautiful mosque that has been built just outside the KLIA. You cant miss it when you drive to the KLIA. The huge mosque stands alone with hardly anyone stopping over for prayers. It is totally out of the way.

I was in Kedah, driving through the gorgeous paddy fields beyond Alor Setar when suddenly out of the green paddy loomed this huge brand new yellow painted mosque with a huge dome. I am sure that mosque too could also have absorbed all the men, women and children in the surrounding village and still have space to spare.

There is a reason why mosques are getting so huge and so many. They are lucrative construction contracts – Government contracts. So if you are a local politician and you need to pass out some goodies in your precinct, a mosque contract would do the job just right. Plus the bigger the mosque the better it is and who will dare oppose the building of a larger mosque because building mosques begats ‘pahala’ or blessings.

And unfortunately many mosques have now also become a rebut kuasa place for the political animals who wear turbans and gorilla facial hair. They use the mosques to sow hatred and divide the community further. Here are some interesting verses from the Quran.

Surah 9:107 “There are those who abuse the masjid by practicing idol worship, dividing the believers, and providing comfort to those who oppose GOD and His messenger. They solemnly swear: "Our intentions are honorable!" GOD bears witness that they are liars.”

Surah 9:108 “You shall never stand in such a masjid. A masjid that is established on the basis of righteousness from the first day is more worthy of your standing therein. In it, there are people who love to be purified. GOD loves those who purify themselves.”

The same goes for temples and churches. Temples and churches also generate ‘money’ at the donation box. They provide other “services” like solemnizing marriages, “blessing” babies, blessing a new car, blessing a new business premise etc etc.

All this generates money. That is indeed a powerful aphrodisiac to lord it over the worshippers. Temples and churches are not exempt from feuds, squabbles and fighting over money.

Religion does divide people. This is a scientific fact. It is a necessary requirement for religion. If you join one religion, you must leave another. It is mutually exclusive. If you accept one type of holy spirit, then all the others must become unholy. You simply cannot have two holy spirits. They would start arguing with each other.

No apologies offered but these views of mine do not extend to the “deen” of Islam of my choosing – “deen” being a way of life. I am referring to the Islam that is kept safe and secure in the Quran. I am happy to note that even the non Muslims have begun to understand what is in the Quran and use the knowledge to good effect.

Recently a Guna something being an Editor of the Star wrote an article about the Karthika Dewi Shukarno affair. Guna wrote that the ‘scholars say that the Quran does not prescribe any punishment’ for consuming alchohol.

I am glad that Guna knows the content of the Quran pertaining to punishment and consuming alchohol.. I also hope he will get to know much more about the Quran. This is useful information.

The Islam that I have come to know and appreciate is the same Islam that compels me to write these views today about mosques, churches and temples. The Islam that I have come to know is far removed from the hate and divisiveness that is ordinarily
potrayed on tv and in the media (and also in Shah Alam on Friday).

I am a Muslim. I am NOT one of them (or maybe one of YOU).

“Religion” (as opposed to the “deen” or way of life of Islam) is indeed the opium of the masses. Religion has too often been thwarted to become one of the most divisive forces ever created by mankind. More wars have been fought over religion and more people have been killed over religion than anything else. Religion is like radioactivity. You touch it you sure “kena”.

If we claim to be sensible people all of us must seriously consider if we really need any type of too intrusive (or pervasive) religion in our lives?

Ponder the following. Compare spending one hour in your place of worship with spending one hour in the library. Compare spending an hour in “devotions” with an hour taking a brisk walk. Compare spending an hour listening to a religious sermon with an hour listening to classical music or listening to a professional speaking about something useful.

Now please answer me this:

Which activity can lead you to carrying a severed cow’s head to insult someone?
Which activity can lead you to say that your neighbour believes in unholy spirits?
Which activity can lead you to be inconsiderate of your neighbours right to peace and quiet?
Which activity can lead you to hate your fellow man based on caste or sect?
Which activity would cause you to like or dislike a person because of his dietary preferences (pork or non pork eating, beef or non beef eating, vegetarian or non vegetarian)?

Do answer honestly. I hope it will help you get a better idea of the common variety of “religion”.

As I said before, I am a hardcore, fundamental, extremist Muslim. So to end this, here are some quotes from my favorite book the Quran:

Surah 9:31 “They have set up their priests and religious scholars as lords, instead
of GOD. Others deified the Messiah, son of Mary. They were all commanded to serve only one god. There is no god except He. Be He glorified, high above having any partners.”

Surah 9:34 “O you who believe, many religious leaders and preachers take the people's money illicitly, and repel from the path of GOD. Those who hoard the gold and silver, and do not spend them in the cause of GOD, promise them a painful retribution.”

How true. Sadaqallaah – God has spoken the truth.

p.s. If you wish to comment on this topic, please keep it civil – otherwise I will not let your comments through and the world would be deprived of your insight, your genius, your wisdom and your spin. And that would be a terrible waste because the more we share our ideas, the richer we become.

Monday, September 21, 2009

To What Extent Will UMNO Be Prepared To Go To Keep Power And Control?

... I received an email which asked me the question:

“Have I not heard that there were people within UMNO who have argued that UMNO should look towards getting themselves “ready” for what is to come – if their position was threatened? – Especially in the light of the last GE”.

My immediate response was to ask, “What does he mean by getting ready?”

... Logic tells me that what UMNO will do first and foremost is to see what they can do to counter the tsunami that hit them in the last General Election.

If they need to change leader they will do so. This they have done with the dismissal of Pak Lah.

Then they go for the opposition. Go for Pakatan Rakyats leaders. Hit Anwar. They have done so through the Judiciary and through any underhand tactics they could muster. Hit Karpal Singh. If they could they would have physically harm him outside Parliament when those brave Pemuda UMNO confronted that old man in his wheel chair. Harass Lim Kit Siang – but nothing much they could do to this man – he is too seasoned and able to take care of himself. Love your enemies to death – they tried that with PAS – no can do!

Now UMNO know the tide is really turning against them. The Rakyat are beginning to show their contempt and disgust too – demonstrations, the web and that “out-with-UMNO feeling” that you just know is sweeping through the nation has started to make everyone wake up and do their personal best to keep the momentum of that “feeling” to continue to embrace us all across the nation.

Now this is the part that we all worry about. What will UMNO do now that they know they might (a big might!) not be able to be the first to get across the finishing line at the next General Election?

This is where the “readiness” factor comes in. Would there be another May 13? Would an emergency be declared soon to ensure that UMNO would maintain control over all things Malaysian? I have discussed all these in previous postings.

Now I want to ask you all this? To what extent will UMNO be prepared to go to keep power and control? ... One of our readers questioned what those illegal buying of arms meant – this is something we need to think about...

I just want you to start to think of the possibilities. Desperate people will do desperate things ... Is UMNO going militant? Are they establishing links with Pakistan, the Middle East – with like-minded organization where the only justification of what they do is that the ends justify the means? What will UMNO say to these matters?

These are very disturbing questions that I ask. But understand this – we need to think these thoughts through carefully and rationally. Remember there are just too many of us who are for justice and fairness in Malaysia to allow for any Party – even UMNO – to impose their will upon us – if we chose not to allow them to do so. Think and reflect. Tell me what you think. Amen.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

All Immigrants

Syed Imran, an Arab-Malaysian born in Penang, Malaysia, an ex-Bernama journalist (1971-1998) and former press secretary to the Minister in PM's Department, posted a great blog days ago, which was translated into English, reporduced below:

The main issue brought up by Ahmad Ismail, the head of the Bukit Bendera, Pulau Pinang UMNO Division, revolves around the question of "squatters", that is, that Chinese Malaysians are squatters in this country. It had hurt the sensitivity of the Chinese Malaysian community.

I don't know Ahmad Ismail personally, but I was quite close to his late elder brother, Abdul Rahim Ismail, the owner of Rahim Construction Company that was once famous as an "Earth-Prince" (Bumiputra) construction firm in Pulau Pinang. I don't know what has happened to the company after Abdul Rahim passed away.

Personally, I don't agree with what Ahmad Ismail said for the following reasons:

To me, nearly 90 percent of Malaysians, especially those in the Peninsula, are immigrants, and all of us are actually squatters in the land of Allah anyway.

For example, I come from a family that squatted in this blessed land.

My paternal grandfather and grandmother migrated from Mecca and Brunei, while my maternal grandmother came from Hadramut, Yaman. We are immigrants and squatters, as are almost everyone else in this country.

As for Ahmad Ismail, he is also an immigrant having descended from an immigrant's family who squatted in this country. Ahmad Ismail cannot deny the fact that his grandfather and grandmother moved from India to this country in search of a better life in this blessed land.

It is also the case with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi whose maternal grandfather hailed from Guangdong in southern China. In short, Pak Lah's grandfather, Allahyarhamah Kailan, whose name was Hasson Salleh or Hah Su Chiang, was an immigrant. He moved to Tanah Melayu from Guangdong in the mid-19th century. He stayed in Bayan Lepas as a rubber estate worker, a padi farmer and later became a diamond trader.

Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, is also a descendant of an immigrant Bugis family that came from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Hishammudin Hussein cannot escape the fact that there is Turkish blood running through his veins.

The Malacca Malay Sultanate was founded by an immigrant coming from Sumatra -- Parameswara, a prince who practised Hinduism.

A reading of the history of Malay Sultanates would reveal that some of them were founded by Bugis immigrants, while others were of Hadramut and Minangkabau parentage.

Almost all Malays living in this country are from outside Tanah Melayu, but are defined as "Malay Race" by the Federal Constitution. We are "Malay" in definition by the Constitution, that is, we are Muslims; we practise Malay customs and speak the Malay language. Unfortunately, the Malay language itself seems to have been killed by the Malays in UMNO when they named it the Malaysian language (Bahasa Malaysia).

Therefore, Arabs like Syed Hamid Albar and myself, Achehs like Sanusi Junid, Indians like Kader Sheikh Fadzir and Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Bugises like Najib, Minangs like Rais Yatim, Jawas like Mohamad Rahmat, and others from Madura, Pulau Buyan, Siam, Myanmar, Yunnan (China) and the Philippines are conveniently categorized as Malays.

They are accepted as Malays regardless of whether they speak Malay or otherwise at home like those of us who speak Arabic, the Jawas that speak Jawa, the Minangs that speak Minang, or the Mamak that speak Tamil..

These languages are anything but Malay if we look at it from the perspective of the Federal Constitution, so they should never have been declared Malays. But for the sake of political correctness, all of them are accepted as Malays and "Earth Princes" (bumiputra).

It is grossly unfair to point to the Chinese as immigrants when the Arabs, Indians, Achehs, Minangs, Bataks, Mandailings, Jawas, Maduras, and Bugises are immigrants no less in this country. We cannot deny the fact that most of the Chinese's grandfathers and grandmothers migrated to this country in the days of the Malacca Malay Sultanante, some of whom did so during the period of Kedah Sultanate, Terengganu Sultanate and Kelantan Sultanate respectively. After Francis Light wrested Penang from the hands of the sultan of Kedah in 1786, more Chinese had arrived here.

We are all immigrants squatting in this country. Only the Negrito, Jekun, Semang, Jahut, Orang Laut, Orang Darat, Senoi, and other indigenous people groups (like the Kadazandusuns, Ibans and Bidayuhs) can be correctly considered the original inhabitants of this country.

We must never forget the contributions and sacrifices made by all the races in building our nation in all its aspects, including the economy, social structure, national defense and, most importantly, national unity. We are all taxpayers whether or not we are descended from immigrants or squatters.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Melayu By a Malay

- Syed Imran

There are many scholars of yesteryear's, Malays, who will tell you that the only original words in the Malay language are "Tanah" and "Melayu".

Melayu is derived from the Javanese word Melayu. In Javanese the word Melayu means running away, or a runaway, that is why if you go to Java and ask a Javanese if he is Melayu he will feel very insulted.

These people, the runaways whether in Sumatra or in the Malay Peninsula referred to themselves as orang Melayu, it is therefore no coincidence that the word orang is placed before Melayu, people who ran away so to speak.

In the Malay Peninsular, it was gradually accepted as the word to describe the Javanese, the Bugis, the Menang, the Achinese etc. and even the Kelantanese who are actually Yunanese and have their origins in China, because they recognized the fact that at the end of the day they were all Melayu, or Run Aways from their respective homelands the word was accepted by all these communities to describe themselves.

In fact, before the formation of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), it is a fact that all the people in the country had referred to themselves as Menang, Achinese, Bugis, Javanese etc. etc. and we all know that the Kelantanese used to treat the other Melayu, that is the Menang, Javanese, the Bugis etc. as foreigners.

Well, for that matter, even Mahathir Mohammed was registered as Indian in King Edwards College where he studied medicine.

The Malay therefore very much like the Indians, and later the Chinese are Melayu in the very true sense of the word because they all left their respective countries to come to this location in South East Asia called Malaysia today.

The real natives of the country are the Orang Laut, the Jakun, the Kadazaan, the Iban, the Senoi and the rest, and not the so called Orang Melayu, because these people are actually Javanese, Achinese, Bugis, people from the Mollucas islands, and other parts of neighbouring Indonesia, including those from Cambodia and even China (Yunanese). That explains the word Melayu in various parts of Sumatra too.

For Malay citizenship and for permanent residence reasons, the Orang Java, be they Sundanese, Orang Java Barat, Orang Java Tengah or Orang Java Timor, or any other Indonesian for that matter recognises the fact that the day he becomes a Malaysian citizen, he is now an Orang Melayu that is a new word coined by Malaysians of these origins to legitimise their Bumiputraism.

And to become Bumiputra this way, that is by becoming a Melayu, he has to profess the Islamic faith. This privilege is not extended to Dayaks, from Kalimantan, or Christian Filipinos, or for that matter Christians from among the peoples of Sumatra, Java or any other Indonesian Islands.

The irony of all this is the fact that if you look at the real Orang Asli of Malaysia as a whole you'll find out that the majority of them are not from the Islamic faith, and that is one of the reasons why in Sabah the registration department of the Federal Government legitimised and gave citizenship and permanent residence status to hundreds and thousands of illegal Fillipina immigrants from the Southern part of the Philippines.

I therefore disagree with your attempt to legitimize the term Orang Melayu as a race, it is not and never will be. The so-called Melayu must own up to their own heritage the way the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia proudly do.

And if we are to use this word called Melayu, it should be a term used to refer to all Malaysians except the ethnic Malaysians who are orang Asli.

The term Bumiputera was coined and the Malay placed in that category to legitimize the fact that he is ethnic when he is not.

It is a shame, and in fact a disgrace that they are the only group of people who by this very act, show the world that they are ashamed of their own heritage.

And who else can be so? Only those who run away or are banished from their own lands, for it is only such people who are ashamed of their own heritage.

Even the customs, the traditions, the dressings, the architecture etc. point to the fact that the so called Orang Melayu of Peninsular Malaysia are actually not one and the same people.

The Arrogance of Power

By Hussein Hamid

When you are in power for over fifty years, every now and then there is that temptation to bend the rules and sometimes even the truth to suit the political needs of the moment. You can be forgiven if this inclination does come up once in a blue moon – though the colour of the moon can be said to be blue every month if you are powerful enough to want it to be so. So here lies the problem. When this inclination becomes the norm where does that put good governance?

Almost daily now we are subject to the painful and most uncomfortable sensation of having our leaders take us for fools. They boldly stand in front of us through the medium of their Television Stations, their Media or even at times in person and proceed to tell us what they want us to know – not what we should know. Is there nobody amongst them that can tell them that what they are doing is like peeing into the wind?

Have the educated, intelligent and rational generation of Malays all left UMNO leaving our nation without some of its best people in government even when we need them most?

Najib is in a world of his own. He lacks the ability to make sense of what is happening around the country. Surviving day to day is hard enough for him.

UMNO has sworn blood oaths that they will defend themselves from PAS, from DAP from Keadilan from everybody – no matter what. In desperation they have ventured into territory where they violate all democratic conventions almost on a daily basis. When we question the legality of their actions their answer is that ‘might is right’.

When the court initially finds in favor of the opposition as in Perak – they appeal its decision confident that the Judiciary is ultimately theirs to instruct and manage. When a death in custody happens the usual suspects are paraded. A commission, an inquiry, no stones unturned….and then slowly but surely nothing will come of it.

They play the Judiciary as if it was their own – and why not when the Chief Justice is indeed their own. Whenever a situation arises that will give problems to them they no longer even have the decency to pay lip service to placate the Rakyat – nowadays it is deny, deny deny.

Deny there was ever any intention to humilate the Hindus in the cow-head incident. Deny that there was any reason to not renew the IGP again and again. Deny that there was anything wrong in the caning sentence of Kartika but nevertheless no less a person then the Prime Minister himself has asked her to appeal for a reduction in her sentence.

Arrest 16 people for carrying yellow candles and red and white roses who were seeking freedom of religion in this country and yet deny that Muslims stepping on the sacred head of a cow is doing anything to incite another race.

They invoke the name of ALLAH at their whims and fancies and see no sin in promoting the very sins that Islam frowns upon. For surely corruption and greed is also corruption and greed whether in Mecca or Malaysia?

That all this has become the norm for UMNO frightens me. This is the arrogance of power that I am talking about. Perhaps the most outrageous example of this arrogance is their inability to understand that there are other points of view to be considered rather than their own.

To them any deviations from their point of view is a conspiracy to undermine their ability to hold on to power – no matter what.

I try to do this. By my writing if I can turn one person against UMNO – just one – then we are one person ahead towards our ‘brand new beginning’.

Do as I do. Go talk to one person and bring him or her into our fold – then one by one we will slowly but surely build up our strength and strike down UMNO and Barisan. Go do it now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

UMNO Youth to Undergo Commando Training

Remarkable that the very disturbing announcement by none other than the Defence Minister himself below seemed to have been bypassed by Pakatan Rakyat and other right-thinking parties and NGO's.

Another Hamas in the making? This is sheer provocation. What if PKR, DAP & PAS Youth leaders also get commando style training? Civil war?

Umno Youth leaders to get military-style training

JASIN, Aug 9 — Umno’s training bureau will soon organise a course for Umno Youth division chiefs based on a commando-type training module, Umno vice-President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

Ahmad Zahid, who is the bureau’s chairman, said the course would enhance resilience and competitiveness among Umno Youth leaders.

“For them to win back the young voters, they need to be resilient and this can be achieve through the commando-style training,” he told reporters after opening the Jasin Umno delegates’ meeting at the Dewan Alamanda, here today.

He said the course would be carried out by the Umno Youth movement, National Civics Bureau (Biro Tatanegara) and the Malaysia Veteran Commandos Club.

“This was the kind of course we had when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the youth chief.

“Camaraderie needs to be instilled in today’s youths; that is why (Umno Youth Chief) Khairy Jamaluddin and his executive council members have agreed to take part in the course, to be held soon,” he said.

The training bureau would also provide a course with a different module for Wanita and Puteri Umno leaders, he said. — Bernama

Monday, September 7, 2009

Exams Are Set To Be Passed! - Dr. Agoes Salim

The objective of STPM is to pass people?

How do you explain the fact that 87% of the students passed the exams of the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) recently, when during your father's time only 10%would have passed?

Are students getting smarter? Or are STPM questions getting easier?

Let me put things in their proper perspective.

During your grandfather's time, they would ask exam questions like:

"In what year did Parameswara founded the kingdom of Melaka?"

The correct answer was "1402", and they found that only 10% of the students managed to answer the question correctly. This didn't go down too well with the authorities, because the objective of the exams was to pass people.

I mean, what's the point of having exams if people fail?

So later, they found another way to ask the same question:

"Parameswara founded the kingdom of Melaka in the year:

(a) 2001

(b) 2004

(c) 1986

(d) 1975

(e) 1402

Tick the correct answer."

The results were better in that 20% of the students passed. But it was still not good enough, so the authorities tried a different tactic a few years later.

"Parameswara founded the kingdom of Melaka in the year 1402.
True or false?"

Well, half of the students guessed "True" and the other half guessed "False".

Fully 50% passed.

The results were getting pretty acceptable by now but still not good enough. Most other countries would be satisfied with a 50% passing rate, but not us.

We are a better country, because we are a boleh country. The authorities then cracked their heads and then came out with this one:

Read the following sentence carefully.

"Parameswara, the cousin of Proton-Iswara, founded the kingdom of Melaka in the year 1402. Underline the name of the person who founded Melaka."

60% underlined "Parameswara", 30% underlined "Proton-Iswara" and 10%
underlined "1402".

Yeah!!!!....60% managed to pass! So krever!

But for some reason, the authorities were still not contented. So last year, they came out with this gem:

"One day in the year 1402, Parameswara founded the kingdom of Melaka.
Then he went home to have dinner. What did he eat?"

13% (smart students) handed in blank answers, 57% wrote "Maggi Mee",
10% wrote " Kentucky Fried Chicken" and 20% wrote "Nasi Lemak".

The correct answer was anything concerning "Food" of course!

After the marking was over, it was found that 87% of the students had passed.

87%!!!!! that's pretty impressive!

So it's true. So now the authorities are very happy that the students are indeed getting smarter?

Well done Boleh-land!

Perhaps, this is why we have a host of students with an impressive string of 'As' who can hardly construct a decent sentence!

Neow mind, our super-duper gomen can find a job for us one.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Malaysians Are Cry Babies!

They cry and cry. Boo hoo hoo, the people of Sabah and Sarawak are being badly treated. Then they give both the state governments plus 30 of the 31 parliament seats in Sarawak and 24 of the 25 parliament seats in Sabah to Barisan Nasional. Then they cry: boo hoo hoo we are being badly treated.

Malaysians should stop crying. Whatever predicament they are in is their own doing. Stop complaining about this, that and the other. You are in the predicament you are in because of your own doing.

Umno can’t form the government without the 30 parliament seats from Sarawak, 24 parliaments seats from Sabah, 15 parliament seats from MCA, and 5 parliament seats from MIC and Gerakan. That comes to 74 seats in all out of the 139 that Barisan Nasional controls. Without these 74 seats Umno is a dead duck. It will only have 65 seats in parliament. 65 out of 222 means Umno will be sent into the Opposition aisle. So stop crying like cry-babies. It is your decision to allow Umno to rule. And it is your decision to allow Umno to treat you badly.

Stop crying and stop blaming the Malays. This has nothing to do with the Malays. The Malays are more upset than the Chinese and Indians or the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. The Malays blame the Chinese and Indians and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak for giving Umno the political power that they now have. Without the Chinese and Indians and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, Umno would have been kicked out by now. So stop crying about how badly you are being treated. You deserve what you are getting. You deserve the treatment you are receiving. And I just hope Umno will continue doing what they are doing, plus much worse, to teach you all a bloody lesson.

And the Malays should also stop crying about how economically backward they are. So the Chinese ‘stole’ all the wealth of this country. So what? It just shows that the Chinese are better than the Malays when it comes to business, although the Chinese are stupid when it comes to politics. It also shows that Umno has failed you. Umno conned you. Umno took you for a ride. Don’t blame the Chinese for being clever. Blame yourself for being stupid in trusting Umno.

There are 15 million eligible voters in Malaysia. But only half of them voted. In fact, from the half that did not vote, about 4 million did not even register as voters. This means less than 4 million from 15 million eligible voters voted for the Opposition. 11 million voters either voted for the ruling party or did not vote or did not register to vote.

So stop crying. No more boo hoo hoo. You are what you are because of your own doing. That is the long and short of it all. If the fire is too hot then get out of the kitchen. If you don’t dare fight then hand this country to Umno and Barisan Nasional and shut up. No more boo hoo hoo I have been badly treated. It makes me sick when those who cry boo hoo hoo did not even vote or are not registered voters.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

University Malaya Racist circular letter---- approved and cleared by MU!

This is a letter from University Malaya 's head of Graduates to all the students (maybe of a certain race only).

For those not bothered with stressing your brains too much in understanding the written malay, I'll do the translation:

Therefore, I as the Head of Graduates of University of Malaya would like to advise all our fellow graduates of University of Malaya to combine forces and prepare ourselves together with all the necessary knowledge and preparation before we continue our fight in the actual battle field.

This advice applies mainly to our Malay Graduates. We must treasure the sacrifices made by our ancestors who tried so hard to ensure that Tanah Melayu ( Malay Land ) is free from the intrusion of alien races.

We must not fall into the category of those who forget their roots until they will be taken over by other races.

Graduates must prove themselves that we are capable and the best choice to take over the throne of governing the country in the future. This means with the theme of MPMUM Progressive, Dynamic, Professional.

There is nothing more important that can be compared to our always-sensitive and improving Graduates. I also would like to advise all Malay Graduates to prepare ourselves in facing all sorts of unpredicted challenges that may occur in near future, relating to the rise of our fellow citizens, in particular to the non-Malay races.

Don't let ourselves slack and allow our 'enemies under the blankets to attack us' (direct translation from the Malay idiom). Don't allow our Malaysia to fall into the hands of those who are irrelevant.

Monday, August 31, 2009

‘Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!’ … from what?

Ketuanan Melayu has brought the country to the brink of disaster, and so when its leaders asked Malaysians to show their patriotism over the Merdeka weekend, some citizens declined to wave the flag.

In the last two weeks or so, the government has been exhorting us citizens to hoist the Jalur Gemilang to mark the nation’s independence anniversary. Show your patriotism, they said, show your appreciation to the freedom fighters for having successfully fought the hated colonial masters. Show that you love this country!

Now that this auspicious day has passed, I have a confession to make. I did not put a flag on the top of my car, nor in front of my house, or at the office building where I work. Patriotism (or the lack of it), appreciation of past leaders and love for the country have nothing to do with it. It’s the lethargy and despondence of the spirit that has been responsible.

The truth of the matter is that I have plenty of patriotism: I pay income tax, contribute positively to the economy, respect my fellow Malaysians irrespective or race, religion or creed, obey the laws of the land, visit Malaysian holiday destinations, and ‘buy Malaysian’ whenever possible. I voted in the last general elections.

I have a lot of appreciation for our past leaders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tan Siew Sin and V. Sambanthan.

I was born in this country and like a salmon loyal to its stream of birth I have a natural love and affinity for it. So far I have not done anything that might compromise its dignity, welfare and prestige. In short, I am quite patriotic, proudly so, and don’t anyone ever doubt it.

The lethargy and despondence come from the not-so-sudden realization that, yes, we have been independent from the yoke of British imperialism since 1957. In theory we secured our freedom since that date. We should then be free to taste and practice the basic human freedoms as contained in the universally accepted UN Declaration of Human Rights like for example, freedom of expression, of worship, of seeking my own happiness. I am free to do ‘my own thing’ so long as I do not inconvenience others or break the laws of the land.

But of late this has not happened. Something else has for the last 52 years. I have been denied my basic freedoms by the very institution that had the responsibility of securing them from the British colonialists. I have come to realize that my own national leaders have slowly tried to stifle my individuality, my freedom, my private space, and my well-being; in favour of their selfish interests. They’d want me to subscribe to their perception and understanding of what I should be, and how I should behave. They want me to subscribe to their perception of truth. Once they succeed then they’d do anything and everything to realise their selfish personal targets, like for instance milking the treasury dry.

Islamic state

All these also on account that our Ketuanan Melayu political leaders have elected to convert Malaysia into an Islamic state. Unfortunately under Islamic philosophy ‘freedom’ has a subtle twist in its meaning from the universally accepted one.

In Islam, freedom is the ability to do things that God has allowed me to do, but not to do what He has forbidden. This falls under the ambit of the religious mantra amri bil ma’aruf nahi an almunkar (do good, but if you can’t do good, do not do bad). In this-worldly terms, it falls under the ambit of the ‘Islamic Declaration of Human Rights’ (which I shall abbreviate as IDHR), the Islamic version of the more universal UNDHR.

Among the ‘good’ things I am allowed to do under the IDHR are of course the five daily prayers, fasting and the other three of five pillars of Islam. Among the ‘bad’ things I am not to do are like eating non-halal meat, drinking liquor, and having sex outside marriage.

Freedom in Islam therefore of a limited kind: I am free to do what I am told to do, and not free to do what I am told not to do. That’s freedom? I wonder.

And then this ‘freedom’ is tied with the elements of reward and punishment: if I do what I am supposed to do, then I get rewarded by getting ‘pahala’ or merit points. If I still do what I am not to do, then I incur a ‘dosa’ or demerit points. In the Hereafter I go to heaven should my pahala merit points total more than my dosa points.

The possibility of going to hell has its own feature, it strikes fear in my mind and underlines the coercive and compulsive nature of Islam.

And alas, the political leaders of today have learned a lesson from the coercive nature of religion and the fear element that it entails. By skillfully utilizing them, they mould my mind in the manner they want. I am to think in the manner they want me to think. I am to behave in the manner the government wants me to behave. I am encouraged and indeed molded to be conservative, conformist, and to pay a lot of attention to the Hereafter. I am not allowed to think creatively,
originally, analytically and confidently!

We have all sorts of rules and regulations that are designed to infuse fear into the minds of the people -- like the ISA, OSA, and a string of others. These laws have one common message: “Watch your words, or else!”

The ‘or else’ is the coercive part and the part that instills fear. I might be put under detention for lengthy periods (like a few years) without the benefit of any charge, due process and hearing at all!

Put all these together and it’s mind-boggling and most disturbing.

In other words, the otherwise secular government has gotten into the act of inserting and emulating elements of coercion and fear in its day-to-day management and governance. Today we are not to mention the name ‘Altantuya’; of making comments pertaining to religion (read it as Islam); of worship (as recently built temples and churches are ‘hidden’ in factory sites, shop houses, and terrace houses). We are not to wear black or yellow shirts in places designated entirely at the discretion of the police. We are not to read many books, periodicals, magazines, even watch certain films and videos banned by the authorities.

We are not to do many things the authorities deem dangerous to the security of the country, like holding demonstrations. Muslims can’t buy or sell beer from the neighbourhood convenience store like 7-Eleven. Nizar Jamaludin, the displaced chief minister of Perak was chastised for carrying a candle at a funeral.

The number of ‘can’t do’ things increase by the day so much so that there can come a time when there are more ‘can’t do’ than ‘can do’ things in this country.

There is another reason why I had this despondency and lethargy over the Merdeka weekend. It relates furthermore with the continued Islamisation of the country. It pertains to the Islamic way of defining morality and law.

Morality and law

To me morality is the empathy felt by one individual towards another individual like one healthy and wealthy man noticing a beggar sitting and waiting for alms on the road side. The man ‘feels’ for the beggar, takes out his wallet, draws one ringgit, and deposits the money into a bowl or cup the beggar has put in front of him. That’s morality.

The good thing about morality is that

1. it is a feeling of empathy and even sympathy by one person for another.

2. This feeling is expressed in some way, like by way of the man giving some money to help improve the welfare of the beggar.

3. Mainly, the act of charity is entirely voluntary in nature.

4. No punishment will befall the man had he not felt any sympathy and had not given any money to the beggar.

5. Morality can change from time to time and from one culture to another.

Morality in the universal understanding is therefore a voluntary act made by one person in favour of another person. Law is different from morality. Mainly it is legislated, i.e. it’s debated and discussed in a legislative assembly (like our Parliament).

Take the case of income tax to illustrate the point. The country’s income tax structure is debated in Parliament, and when voted into law will be applicable to all citizens.

Being so, law has the following features:
i) It is applicable to all citizens.
ii) All citizens are obliged to pay their taxes.
iii)Non-payment is an offence.

Law is different from morality in one important sense, that it is legislated, meant to cover not one individual but the entire country, is mandatory and punitive. But the law can be changed. Should any citizen be unhappy with any law, he can then inform his elected representative in the law-making body. The citizen’s representative will then bring up the matter for debate. Decisions to rescind or continue the law will then be taken.

The law is therefore flexible and reflects the ‘good’ things enjoyed by the citizens. Even so, law is an act of Parliament that everybody must follow. The voluntary element does not exist in law. Compulsion has taken its place.

Within this universal context, morality cannot be legislated. For once morality is legislated, it automatically becomes law.

Islamic morality and law

This brings me to the question of morality and law within the Islamic philosophical ambit. Morality in Islam is different. Good morality in this case has nothing to do with the empathy of one person in favour of another. Instead it is not doing a thing that God (through the Syariah law) has decreed a person not to do.

For example, a woman is not to expose her ‘aurat’ apart from her face and palms. So she is dressed pretty much in a loose robe, like the women of Taliban fame. Should she uncover even a bit of her elbow for example, then she is deemed immoral. Wearing a skirt, a sleeveless blouse, not covering her hair are all immoral acts. There is no voluntary act, empathy and even a second party involvement in Islamic reckoning of morality.

In Islam, both law and morality are under the ambit of amri bil ma’aruf nahi an almunkar as stated above. This means that all good things are moral and legal, and all bad things are immoral and illegal.

Under this perception, a good moral act like giving charity is of equal status and meaning to a good legal act, i.e. law is morality and morality is law.

The common features of Islamic morality and law are summarized thus:

• They are centrally determined. In other words all the ‘good’ things have been pre-determined by God as have all the bad ones.

• They are not passed by any house of Parliament.

• Mankind has no say in the principles and contents of the centrally determined ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things.

• Being centrally determined by God, they are inflexible.

• The people are compelled to accept and practice Islamic morality and law.
We see the application of morality being equitable with law in the case of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, caught drinking alcohol a year or so ago. This act is immoral in the eyes of the Islamic guardians. She is therefore guilty of contravening

Syariah law, and to be punished by caning.

Kartika made the admission that she has been guilty of a religious offence and is willing to submit to six strokes of the rotan. But she made a request for this to be done in public.

The matter caught the attention of the sentinels of human rights and the international press and news institutions like BBC and CNN, and suddenly the secular government was caught flat-footed. Malaysia, a moderate Islamic state and spectacularly successful on the economic front (or at least this is the image it has always tried to portray) and now caught applying a law more fit for the days of old!

In the era of computers and the Internet, of stem-cell engineering and the International Space Station, the ‘progressive’ and Islamic Ketuanan Melayu regime is strangely regressive.

Confusion quickly reigned:

i) Najib Tun Razak the prime minister told Kartika not to accept the punishment so willingly but instead to make an appeal. This prime ministerial ‘opinion’ smells of damage control: doesn’t it have the connotation that she’d be let off upon the appeal?

ii) Hishamudin Hussein the Home Minister admitted that the country knows little about the ‘technicalities’ of religious caning, like for example how thick the cane should be, how hard the stroke and how high the arm of the punisher is to be raised above the elbow line.

An expert on religion, Musa Awang vice president of Pembela the coalition comprising Islamic NGO's, however, pooh-poohed this item (Malaysiakini / August 27, 2009) claiming that there are in fact many qualified caners around. He further reportedly said that leaders should not exploit the matter to gain political mileage. He did not name the leaders and the nature of the political mileage.

iii) Harussani Zakaria the mufti of Perak, the ulama usually having the absolute last word on things of this nature, stated that the caning should rightly be for 80 strokes. So the sentencing of Kartika for six strokes has been a very good compromise.

iv) Pembela reportedly slammed the government for deferring the execution of the judgment. Syariah Lawyers Association president Mohamad Isa Ralip representing Pembela further reportedly said "We want all executive powers to stop interfering in the judiciary be it Civil or Syariah matters. The government, especially Muslim women ministers, should not challenge, insult or question the Syariah Court's decision." He said, in effect “Prime Minister Najib, go fly kites!”

All said and done, this sad episode more than justifies my despondency over the Merdeka weekend – the Ketuanan Melayu leadership doesn’t seem able to do things right even with religion, the thing they hold dearest in their heart and mind. They therefore would not be able to do things right with other technical things in the modern world, like managing the country and steering it to prosperity; or, in managing Malaysians of different creeds and background; or, to maintain and strengthen the competitiveness of the country’s industrial economy to meet with the stiff competition from abroad.

This is only one of the latest demonstrations of the ineptitude of the Ketuanan Melayu leadership. There have been many in the past, all at different levels of magnitude and with devastating consequences. The breaking down of the judiciary, the implosion of the education system, the depletion of foreign investments, the tremendous outflow of knowledgeable and skillful human resource due to emigration, and the expanding schism between the ethic groups being the more obvious ones. In short, Ketuanan Melayu has brought the country to the brink of disaster.

So when the leaders asked me to show my patriotism over the Merdeka weekend, I said ‘Please excuse me’. I did not shout ‘Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!’ nor did I plant any flag. It was my show of protest against their sorry performance as leaders of this country that I am otherwise patriotic about and dearly care for, always.

- AB Sulaiman - Centre for Policy Initiatives