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Monday, March 2, 2015

Selaraskan bantuan bantu peladang: Salleh

BEAUFORT: Kerajaan Pusat menerusi pelbagai kementerian dan agensinya menyediakan peruntukan yang besar untuk membantu masyarakat peladang di Sabah, kata Presiden Kehormat Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Sabah (PPNS) Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, penyelarasan harus dilakukan oleh semua pihak berkaitan untuk mempercepatkan proses pelaksanaannya.

"Langkah ini bertujuan memastikan agar peruntukan yang disediakan itu sampai kepada golongan sasar di negeri ini," katanya ketika berucap merasmikan mesyuarat agung tahunan ke-37 Pertubuhan Peladang Kawasna (PPK) Beaufort di sini hari ini.

Hadir sama Pengerusi Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri (PPNS) Datuk Mohd Nazri Abdullah dan Pengerusi Pertubuhan Peladang Negeri Perak, Datuk Seri Dr Raja Ahmad Zainuddin.

Beliau berkata penyelarasan dari segi penyaluran peruntukan penting agar ia memenuhi matlamat dan objektif diharapkan.

"Kita harap kerajaan memikirkan mekanisme terbaik di mana boleh pelaksanaan dari segi penyaluran bantuan ini dikendalikan oleh kementerian atau agensi negeri," katanya.

Dalam pada itu, Salleh yang juga Speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Sabah mahu golongan peladang meningkatkan ilmu pengetahuan berasaskan teknologi baru, termasuk membabitkan diri dalam pertanian organik.

Beliau turut meminta supaya golongan muda dilibatkan dalam bidang pertanian dan menjadikan ia sebagai pekerjaan, seiring falsafah pertanian sebagai satu perniagaan.

Katanya, sektor pertanian menjanjikan pulangan lumayan, justeru golongan belia tidak harus berasa rendah diri jika menceburi bidang ini sebagai kerjaya mereka.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The possible partial-autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak

By SSK

No one would deny the fact that Sabah and Sarawak are Barisan Nasional’s ‘fixed deposits’. Politicians from both sides of the political divide have openly admitted this, even the Prime Minister himself. Sabah and Sarawak are the Kingmakers and without these two states we would see a hung parliament in Peninsula Malaysia and neither Barisan Nasional nor Pakatan Rakyat would be able to form the federal government.

This is not something odd because the UK saw the same thing in 2010 and would most likely see this happening again in May this year. In 2010, Lib Dem was the Kingmaker and this time around it may even be UKIP, unless they continue to blunder with their ‘white supremacy’ statements.

So Malaysia is not far behind the UK and if Barisan Nasional wants to avoid what happened in the UK to also happen in Malaysia it will have to take care of its ‘fixed deposits’, namely Sabah and Sarawak.

Sabah and Sarawak do not really want independence as what some people are propagating. We must admit that there were some benefits for Sabah and Sarawak to become part of Malaysia and if it had not been Malaysia it would have been some other regional power that annexes East Malaysia.

Nevertheless, what is of concern to Sabah and Sarawak is the federalisation of the state government and the loss of its autonomy in deciding some matters. We are not talking about independence as a nation-state. That is not even a subject that requires discussion. We are talking about independence in decision-making, or at least in some of the decision-making.

Currently, the federal government not only decides on the development expenditure but also controls how, what and when development is implemented. This causes delays, wastage and overlapping of functions between the state and federal agencies. Many times the state is left out entirely in the decision-making process.

Once the state approves the projects and the federal government approves the funding for these projects the federal government should transfer the funds to the state and allow the state to implement those projects the way it sees fit. The present system of the federal government practically running the states does not go down well with states that are supposed to enjoy a certain level of autonomy.

This would be a good first step for Barisan Nasional to prove to the Sabah and Sarawak voters that it respects their autonomy and honours the spirit of the Malaysian agreement and the 20/18 Point Memorandum.

Sarawak will be facing its state elections in about a year or so from now followed by Sabah probably two years later or maybe even earlier. Hence it is crucial that this matter be considered in the not too distant future.

Sabahans and Sarawakians must be made to feel they are partners in Malaysia and not servants of West Malaysian colonialists. Whether this is the correct perception or not is another matter but we must not deny that this is how many Sabahans and Sarawakians feel.

The bone of contention here is the manner in how these funds are managed and how much say the states have in how these funds are utilised. Hence this is a fair request from Sabah and Sarawak and can only strengthen Barisan Nasional in Sabah and Sarawak when Sabahans and Sarawakians are made to feel that they do have some say in their own destiny.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Qur’an project not what was reported

By SSK

There were loud protests from the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) regarding the Islamic Information and Services Foundation’s (IIS) “One Soul One Qur’an” project that was launched by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently.

“We have not distributed any Qur’an yet. It has not started. It will not be distributed randomly among non-Muslims but through religious organisations. It's up to non-Muslims to take them or not. We are also not taking down their personal information,” said IIS in its statement clarifying what is really going on.

Actually, back in 1998, IIS had a similar project called “Hotel Qur'an Project” in which it distributed Qur’ans to hotels all over Malaysia to be placed in hotel rooms side-by-side with the Gideon’s Bible. That project was approved by JAKIM with the endorsement of the then Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim.

This project of 17 years ago was announced in all the newspapers and was even covered by the primetime TV news. Somehow it did not receive the loud protests that it is receiving now. I suppose it was because the announcement then was that the Qur’ans would be placed side-by-side with the Gideon’s Bible so they could not protest the plan to place the Qur’an in hotel rooms without also protesting the Bibles.

It looks like the negative response was a bit too premature and was based on the misconception that the move was aimed at converting non-Muslims to Islam, which IIS has denied. Their aim is merely to allow non-Muslims to understand Islam to dispel the notion that Islam is a violent religion that preaches extremism and radicalism.

I have heard many comments from people asking as to why the moderate Muslims, what we would probably call the silent majority, remain silent and do not speak out against extremists, especially in light of what is going on all over the world involving extremist Muslims.

Well, here we now have moderate Muslims attempting to do precisely that, and an effort that is supported by Dr Mahathir, someone who has spoken out against extremist Muslims and radical Islam. I feel we should give IIS the benefit of the doubt and allow them to embark on this project of information and see what they go from there.

We always condemn extremist Muslims as being misguided and ill informed about what ‘real’ Islam is. We also always blame the education system for breeding extremist Muslims.

And then when a moderate Muslim organisation like IIS takes up the challenge to counter extremist Muslims and radical Islam we also condemn them and refuse to lend them our support.

I suppose this reminds me of that 1960s song, ‘Give peace a chance’, and what IIS is asking for is just to give peace a chance. I would support them until and unless it is proven that they have an ulterior motive other than bridging the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims by better educating everyone regarding Islam.

Monday, February 23, 2015

AGAMA BUKAN JADI ISU DI SABAH

Oleh SSK


Nampaknya isu hudud antara DAP dan Pas semakin memuncak dan mengancam memecah belah pakatan pembangkang, khususnya Pakatan Rakyat. PAS berkeras untuk mengajukan pembentangan undang-undang Hudud yang dicadangkan manakala DAP telah memberi amaran bahawa jika PAS benar-benar berbuat demikian maka ia seolah-olah membayangkan era Pakatan Rakyat akan berakhir.

Apakah mesej kemelut ini? Pada dasarnya ia memperjelaskan bahawa kerajaan negeri Kelantan mempunyai kuasa terhad dan tidak boleh berbuat apa-apa melainkan Parlimen meluluskan pelaksanaan Hudud di Kelantan. Ini bermakna perkara berkaitan agama terletak di bawah bidang kuasa negeri namun negeri-negeri di negara ini perlu mematuhi peruntukan Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan tidak boleh melanggar atau (meluluskan undang-undang) bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan.

Ini juga bermakna isu-isu Sabah yang membabitkan agama terikat dengan undang-undang negeri Sabah yang turut dihadkan oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Sabah tidak boleh sesuka hati meluluskan sebarang peraturan baru mengenai agama tanpa mengambil kira undang-undang negeri dan Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Situasi di Sabah tidak sama dengan negeri-negeri lain di Semenanjung. Di Sabah, rakyatnya telah mengamalkan konsep 1Malaysia sekian lama sebelum istilah itu diwujudkan. Mungkin belum ada lagi perkataan atau konsep seumpama itu di Sabah pada ketika itu tetapi semangat 1Malaysia sudah lama wujud di kalangan rakyat Sabah.

Orang-orang Kristian atau bukan Islam di Sabah menyakinkan bahawa arena politik, sama seperti isu perkauman, tidak pernah dijadikan senjata politik bagi parti-parti yang bertanding untuk mendapatkan kuasa. Mana-mana parti politik yang menggunakan isu bangsa dan agama untuk meraih sokongan akan ditolak oleh pengundi. Sebab itu, gaya politik Semenanjung tidak dialu-alukan atau tidak diterima oleh masyarakat kita di Sabah.

Religion is not an issue in Sabah

By SSK


It looks like the issue of Hudud has peaked and is threatening to break up the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat. PAS is adamant about pushing ahead with the tabling of the Hudud proposal while DAP has warned that if they do so then this more or less signals the end of Pakatan Rakyat.

What does this tell you? Basically this tells you that the Kelantan State Government is powerless to do anything unless Parliament approves the implementation of Hudud in Kelantan. And this means that religion is a state matter but states have to abide to the Federal Constitution and cannot violate or contradict the Constitution.

Hence this means that in Sabah issues regarding religion are bound by Sabah state laws and are restricted by the Federal Constitution. Sabah cannot at its whim and fancy pass new rules regarding religion without taking into consideration state and federal laws.

Sabah is not like the other states in West Malaysia. In Sabah we have been practicing the concept of 1Malaysia long before the term was even invented. We may not have had a word for it yet at that time but the spirit of 1Malaysia has always been with us.

The Christians and other non-Muslims in Sabah can reset assured that politics, just like racism, will never be political ammunition for parties vying for power. Any party that uses the race and religion card is going to get rejected by the voters. And that is why West Malaysian style politics is not welcome here in Sabah.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chinese ‘pendatang’: how East Malaysia looks at the issue

By SSK


In his Chinese New Year message today, the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, said a most sensible thing regarding the Chinese ‘pendatang’ rhetoric that is straining race relations in Malaysia.

He also thanked the Chinese for their contribution to the state and added that the community should rightfully regard Malaysia as their home. “You call Sarawak your home, and indeed this is your home, just like for those from many other races,” said Tan Sri Satem.

What Tan Sri Satem said would apply to Sabah as well. And we from Sabah have said the same thing many times in the past: that Chinese are as Malaysian as any other race or ethnicity.

It is probably time to put this matter to rest and no longer argue about who is more Malaysian and who came to this country first. Instead, we should discuss how to face the challenges ahead of us, especially the economic challenges and the bigger worry of terrorism that, according to the IGP, threatens to land on our own doorstep.

We have Malaysian Chinese who are descendants of those who came to this country more than 500 years ago and Bumiputeras whose ancestors came here only about 100 years ago or less.

Hence how do we measure who has more right to this country if the date your ancestors came here is used as a yardstick to determine who is more Malaysian?

The yardstick to use is: once Malaya gained independence in 1957, or once Malaysia was formed in 1963, whoever was already in Malaysia, especially those who were born in Malaysia, are Malaysians and equal to one another.

Anyway, if the reason for this rhetoric is because the Bumiputeras feel threatened, then rest assured there is nothing to worry about because the Federal Constitution of Malaysia protects the special position of the Bumiputeras.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

BAHAYA INDOKTRINASI AGAMA

Oleh SSK


Kerajaan Malaysia telah menyatakan kebimbangannya tentang hasrat segelintir penganut Islam di negara ini yang ingin berlepas ke Timur Tengah untuk menyertai perjuangan kumpulan militan Negara Islam (IS). 

Malah, terdapat umat Islam dari seluruh dunia, termasuk negara-negara Barat dan Australia, yang mahu melakukan perkara yang sama.

Kerajaan mungkin tertanya-tanya mengapa orang Islam begitu mudah terperdaya dan mudah dipujuk untuk mengangkat senjata selain mempertaruhkan nyawa dalam mengejar misi yang berbahaya, namun kejadian itu sebenarnya bukanlah sesuatu yang misteri. 

Saya lebih cenderung menyalahkan pendidikan agama yang dipelajari umat Islam terbabit. Malah, isu ini kadang kala boleh dikaitkan denga indoktrinasi agama. Umat Islam diajar bahawa jihad adalah wajib untuk semua umat Islam, dan umat Islam turut diingatkan bahawa jika mereka mati ketika berjihad maka mereka dianggap mati syahid dan dijamin masuk syurga.

Oleh itu apa yang mereka lakukan adalah sesuatu yang mereka percaya sebagai kewajipan agama yang mana ganjaran yang bakal diperolehi ialah syurga. Masalahnya terletak cara umat Islam dididik. Apabila agama dilihat terlalu mudah dan jihad diterjemahkan kepada memperjuangkan Tuhan dan Syahid sebagai ganjaran untuk berbuat demikian, maka ramailah orang Islam pergi ke Timur Tengah untuk berjuang sama seperti Kristian lakukan semasa Perang Salib kira-kira 1,000 tahun yang lalu.

Pendidikan agama tidak boleh terlalu mudah sehingga umat Islam memperolehi maklumat yang salah. Tidak dinafikan jihad adalah sebahagian daripada ajaran Islam namun jihad hanya terpakai atau wujud dalam keadaan tertentu. Keadaan semasa di Timur Tengah yang menyaksikan berlakunya perang saudara di kalangan umat Islam menganut mazhab berlainan, tidak boleh ditafsirkan sebagai perjuangan mempertahankan Islam terhadap keganasan bukan Islam.

Umat Islam tidak boleh lupa bahawa perang saudara yang pertama antara umat Islam pada zaman Khalifah Madinah telah memecahbelahkan umat Islam dan sehingga hari ini isu itu masih menjadi masalah di negara-negara Islam di seluruh dunia. Ini bukanlah perjuangan yang dimaksudkan jihad dalam erti kata yang sebenar.

Tanggungjawab kini terletak kepada pihak berkuasa agama untuk menyemai atau menyampaikan ajaran Islam yang sebenar kepada umat Islam di Malaysia. Islam tidak seharusnya dipolitikkan sehingga umat Islam keseluruhannya di Malaysia dianggap sebagai militan dan berfikir bahawa perjuangan seumpama itulah yang telah diperintahkan Allah.Seperti yang kita katakan dalam dunia akademik, "tidak ada pelajar yang jahat - apa yang ada hanya guru jahat". Jika orang Islam menjadi sesat kita harus menyalahkan guru dan bukan pelajar. Oleh itu kerajaan perlu mengambil berat tentang apa dan bagaimana cara terbaik mengajar umat Islam supaya rakyat Malaysia tidak dilihat terlalu militan dan berfikir mereka berjuang untuk menjayakan misi murni melalui kegiatan militan.