Friday, 20 October 2017

Mustang Sally


Melayu manakah pilihan kita untuk memimpin?

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Ada seorang Melayu dia ahli ekonomi, tidak rasuah, berkeupayaan, berhemah, berkelayakan, mampu lima bahasa, ramai girlfriend, awek Jepun, Korea, Israel dan suka minum whiski Hibiki 17 tahun. 
Ada seorang Melayu dia hanya menampilkan citra agama dan Melayu sahaja. Namun dia memang berpewatakan baik. Akan tetapi kita tahu dia hanya ahli bidang fekah sahaja. Tidak mendalami bidang lain. Tidak tahu ilmu ekonomi. Tidak tahu hal berkaitan polisi. 
Melayu manakah pilihan kita untuk memimpin?


A few years back, when I was working in a local Malaysian newsroom, an issue that became quite a debate in the media was the case involving the usage of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims in Malaysia.
At that time, one of my colleagues, a fellow news editor, came up to me to have a chat.
“Wow! Can you imagine that? There are churches in Malaysia that actually use the word ‘Allah’ as God,” he said.
“Yes, there are many churches that have services in Bahasa Malaysia and that’s exactly the word they use,” I replied.
“I don’t agree with that. If I were in a church and heard the word ‘Allah’ being used, I would probably feel very uncomfortable and disoriented.”
I didn’t how I was supposed to respond. He was a Malay Muslim and so was I. Yet, we had two very different opinions. I didn’t really want to get into an argument right then and there, so I just smiled, nodded and kept at my work without pursuing the matter further.
The issue with the word “Allah” being used by non-Malays has been a long-standing one. There have been protests, churches burnt, insensitive and irrational public statements brandished and even court cases surrounding it.
In fact, a court case is currently taking place, in which Sarawakian Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill is challenging the constitutionality of a Home Ministry circular that called for a ban of the word “Allah” in Christian publications for supposedly being a threat to public order.
Basically, the argument to ban the word from being used is because there is a fear that Malay Muslims who hear this might be at risk of being confused and persuaded to leave the faith of Islam, which I think is just ridiculous.
I support the use of the word by non-Malays because the word is not an exclusive nor Muslim word. It had been used to refer to God by many non-Muslims all around the world, even before the existence of Islam.
It really is just a word that means god in Arabic. Just like tuhan in Bahasa Malaysia, san in Cantonese, kadavul in Tamil and whatever else it is in any other language in the world. It is just a word, and I don’t see what the big fuss is about.
In my line of work, I have travelled extensively throughout the Middle East, and in that region, Arabic is one of the main languages. Guess what? Everybody there uses the word “Allah” regardless of whether they are Muslim, Christian, Druze or whatever. It’s just their language.
If you go to Sabah or Sarawak, almost all of the churches there hold services and publish materials in Bahasa Malaysia because it is, after all, our national language. And so they use the word “Allah” to refer to God. They have been doing so for decades.
There shouldn’t be any confusion because Malaysians should be intelligent enough to know the difference. If my former colleague had an ounce of intelligence, he would realise that he was in a Christian church and shouldn’t have been disoriented when he heard the word being used.
Now back to the court case with Jill Ireland. The case is still ongoing and yesterday, the court heard that “Allah” is not an exclusive word to Islam. Several local experts, such as Wan Ji Wan Hussin, Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, and even PAS’ Abdul Hadi Awang support this.
One of Jill’s lawyers even stated that revered Malay writer and literary icon Abdullah Munshi had translated the Bible into Bahasa Malaysia in 1852, and had actually translated the word “God” to “Allah” in his version.
So all this talk in Malaysia about banning the usage of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims is ridiculous, and really something that goes against basic human rights and also the country’s constitutional right of freedom of religion.
I feel deeply offended and embarrassed that those who are against the use of the word by non-Muslims, because it makes Malay Muslims seem ignorant and insecure in our own beliefs. As if our faith and understanding of Islam is so fragile.
To my former colleague and everyone who thinks they can be confused, maybe instead of trying to call for a ban and treating the symptom rather than the disease, they should obtain proper religious education and understanding to strengthen their faith instead.

Mariam Mokhtar : Malaysia’s Sultans Take on Religious Intolerance

Malaysia’s Sultans Take on Religious Intolerance

Malaysia’s Sultans Take on Religious Intolerance
Johor Sultan Iskandar
Putrajaya plunged into uncertainty by royal rebuke
Malaysia has been thrown into a royal shambles by a growing rivalry between the country’s nine religiously moderate sultans and its conservative mullahs, considered by many to be “nouveaux royals” vying for the attention of ethnic Malay Muslims.
Political and social observers believe that if the controversy is left unchecked, it could undermine the position of the corruption-scarred prime minister, Najib Abdul Razak.
On Oct. 10, the royals, who serve as the hereditary titular heads of nine of Malaysia’s 13 states and who even today have a deep reserve of loyalty from feudal rural Malays, called for unity and religious harmony after what they described as “excessive actions” in the name of Islam, a rare intervention into the public arena.
“It is feared that the excessive actions of certain individuals of late can undermine the harmonious relations among the people of various races and religions,” said the statement, signed by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, according to a report in the state-run news agency Bernama.  “The Rulers feel that the issue of harmony has deep implications if any action is associated with and undertaken in the name of Islam.”
Najib is normally swift to act against members of the Malaysian public who condemn the royal households, the Islamic institutions, or his administration. But last week, after the Malay rulers issued the royal rebuke, Najib was silent.
Leaders of the United Malays National Organization, the country’s biggest ethic political party, understand the potency of conservative Islam to manipulate ethnic Malays, who make up about 60 percent of the population. The other 40 percent are comprised of Chinese, Hindus, East Malaysian ethnic Bumiputeras, and others.
The nine royal households, who by tradition and the Constitution are the guardians of Islam in their respective states, are believed to oppose the implementation of hudud, or harsh Islamic law, and a bill before the parliament to enlarge the power of the Syariah Courts. They are also said to be alarmed about recent events like the banning of certain books and the arrest and deportation of authors and speakers including the Turkish academic, Mustafa Acyl.
A series of religious-related incidents has pitted the mullahs and the government against the royal households. Last month, the Kuala Lumpur City Council cancelled the annual Oktoberfest event, a Germany-inspired celebration of the passing of the seasons and of beer-drinking, and told the organizers that the event was a sensitive issue. They did not say who considered it sensitive or how it would affect Muslim sensitivities.
Days later, a launderette in Johor issued a statement saying that its services were only for Muslim patrons. The owner deemed that items belonging to non-Muslims would “contaminate” items of clothing worn by Muslims and invalidate their prayer.
The public were outraged by this act and the Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar waded in, warning the owner that the business would face closure by him if it did not stop operating as if it was in the Taliban portion of Afghanistan. After the dressing-down, the launderette owner apologized for his action and offered his services to people of different faiths.
The royals have thrown the ball into Najib’s court, but he has refused to play. His relationship with the Sultans is increasingly tenuous, but his reticence to make a stand is regarded as weakening his own position.
The nature of the sultans’ intervention is regarded as an indication that the royals are fed up and irritated as in fact are many of the country’s urban Malays by the erosion of community integration, as are many professionals among the Malay population, who say they are at the end of their tether with Najib and fundamentalist Islam. At a recent wedding, some even said they wouldn’t mind if a Chinese were to become prime minister, an astonishing heresy in the country. Many said they are openly encouraging their children to migrate. Nonetheless, the opposition as a political force remains splintered and a long shot against Najib and UMNO in an expected general election which must be called before the middle of 2018.
“The royals, too, feel their position is threatened. They may be Malay and act as the guardians of Islam, but many, when away from prying eyes, lead a very western lifestyle,” a political analyst told Asia Sentinel. “Some royals spend an appreciable amount of time in the west and enjoy a lifestyle that many of their Malay subjects can only envy. With rising Islamic conservatism, the ordinary Malays cannot emulate this western lifestyle in Malaysia.”
The royals are compelled to speak out before extremism takes root and undermines their royal status, another social critic said. “In Islam everyone is considered equal, and only in Saudi Arabia are kings above the law. The Malaysian royals are taking the initiative and acting before their own existence is questioned by the extremists.”
As an example, he said, in April 2016, the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stripped the state’s chief minister Ahmad Razif of all state-awarded titles because Razif had presented a controversial Indian zealot, Zakir Naik, with three islands.
Najib is not known for issuing retractions, denials or affirmations, as he has normally depended on a coterie of loyal supporters, most of whom belong to his inner circle, to lash out on his behalf.
However, the royal dressing down has thrown Putrajaya, the seat of government, into disarray and political observers wonder if Najib will order an immediate shakeup of the Department for the Development of Islam in Malaysia, known by its Malay-language initials JAKIM.
Several other religious experts including two influential muftis, Asri Zainul Abidin of Perlis and Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri of the Federal Territory also admonished the launderette owner in Muar and another “Muslim-only” launderette operating in Perlis.
In an unprecedented move, however, an Islamic preacher, Zamihan Mat Zain, fired back at the Johore sultan and the Perlis and FT muftis for their stance, claiming that Muslims were only trying to lead good lives.
In a YouTube video, Zamihan termed Malaysia an “Islamic state” and said that being clean was Islamic. He was shocked, he said, that the small issue of the Muslim-only laundrette had been blown out of proportion, and become a worldwide sensation.
At a graduation ceremony at the Tun Hussein Onn University, the Johor Sultan called Zamihan “an empty tin with no brains,” adding that he was “very arrogant,” “haughty” and someone who believed he was the only one who had the right to scorn people of other races.
The Sultan of Johor’s criticism was swiftly followed by a similarly worded statement from the Perlis crown prince, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail. The other Sultans delivered the Oct. 10 royal rebuke, saying Malaysians should focus on tolerance, moderation, and inclusivity for life in a diverse, multicultural Malaysia.
The statement, signed by the keeper of the ruler’s seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, said, “The rulers are of the opinion that the damaging implications of such actions are more severe, when they are erroneously associated with, or committed in the name of Islam.”
In a further development, the royal rebuke has finally forced Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD), who also heads JAKIM, into the open. JAKIM is under the control of the prime minister’s department, with an annual budget of RM1 billion (US$236.7 million). Calls for the accounts to be audited and made transparent have been ignored.
Jamil was silent when the issue of safety, teaching quality and the mushrooming of illegal tahfiz, or religious schools cropped up, but Zamihan, who took potshots at the Sultan, has forced Jamil to seek an audience with the Johor Sultan, who in turn ordered the state religious authority, JAIJ, to sever ties with JAKIM.
Zamihan initially denied he was attached to JAKIM, but it was revealed that he is an “Islamic affairs officer” who has been seconded to the Home Ministry’s publications and Koranic text control division. His videos and talks are often inflammatory. It is also alleged that preachers are paid about RM20,000 per month.
Anyone who thinks that this battle royal is just another religious incident that will soon blow over is wrong. Najib knows that clipping the religious preachers’ wings would seriously erode his powerbase, but he is caught in a dilemma of his own making. Rural, feudal Malays are making it crucial that Najib’s political future be determined by his ability to conciliate the royal households and the demands of the power-hungry, conservative Islamic clerics whom he has fostered. Najib has unleashed a hydra which he may be unable to control.  
Mariam Mokhtar is a liberal political commentator in Malaysia

Better Najib then Me!


cakap cakap.....Late nights, Umno, Zahid and "oomph!".

I had a very late night last night. Then was awoken at 5.30 am by that infernal electronic device we cannot live without and yet will not want to live with! The smart phone..and as a result of that, was drawn to my Mac to do some "work"...fell asleep again and was awoken at 11.15am by my son. We had to get my wife ready for the respite care lady was coming in at 12 noon. At 70 you can still push yourself to do do what you must....but the "recovery" phase takes a while. It is now 1.19 pm and I am recovered. In between the "recovery" I managed to do three postings...and that does not include the "cakap cakap...Dzul go take a cold shower" that I wrote around 5.55 am this morning. So all in all...a good morning to blogging in spite of waking up so late. Not bad for a 70 year...if I may say so of myself!

Ok enough of that chit chat! 

The skulduggery within Umno today is simply mind boggling! There is of course that most pressing of matters : the race for Dedak! Everyone from the President to that Ketua Cawangan are up to their necks in the filth! The president must have the lion share because he not only has to keep plenty for himself and his greedy wife...there is also the family, cohorts, sahabats and the whole damm gang in Umno to take care of. Najib needs billions to stay afloat....and so everyone in Umno has to defer to Najib. HE GETS THE LION SHARE!

Then there is the ever perplexing question of who will be the next president when Najib goes. When everyone knows that Najib can go at any time....tomorrow, next week....entah lah aku pon tak berani nak when the president can go at any time....that matter of who will replace him becomes a matter of urgency! For sure Zahid Hamidi is the designated number was Musa Hitam, Gaffer Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, Mahyuddin ...and maybe history might tell was Zahid Hamidi! And Zahid Hamidi does not want to just be a footnote in history! No Sir...that tempeh eating Jawa has other plans! And if I know Zahid Hamidi....he has gone through some tough times...and for him, when the going gets tough...the tough within him gets going. And believe you me times are really tough for Zahid today! Get your Teh Tarik, order your Roti Canai...sit down with friends...wait and see!

Tun Dr Mahathir has got his hands full just trying to steer Harapan to where he thinks it should go. This is very hard to do when he does not have the financial resources that najib has ...and more telling...when Tun Dr Mahathir will not use any financial resources that he has to "buy" any elections. Sybas Tun...that is the way to go!

I forgot that I have not had my lunch....and it is way past lunchtime....and so to lunch I must go. People tell me that I am of those "key board warrior" that are a dime a dozen on the Net. That we may be....but  this blogging "thing" gives an "oomph" to my existence....and so I blog. What gives you that "oomph!?".


Din Lives in Hope!

Who told you that Hishamuddin will be the crown prince of Umno? 
Not the Infidels for sure!
Not the non-Malays.
Not me!

Clown prince maybe......

But he lives in hope....

Malaysia Chronicle