Thursday, October 23, 2014

What the ulama’ should focus on


Over the last few weeks we have been seeing quite a bit of controversy regarding the Oktoberfest beer festival and the ‘pat a dog’ event. A number of mufti and ulama’ have spoken out against these on the argument that these may mislead Muslims, and that it insults Islam, and so on.

We have to be very careful with how we position Islam in Malaysia. While we can argue that Malaysia is not really a Secular country in the full sense of the word where there is separation of church and state, Malaysia is not an Islamic State either.

For all intents and purposes, Malaysia is something in between while, according to the Federal Constitution, Islam is the religion of the Federation. Hence we need to seek a balance where Muslims must comply to the Sharia while non-Muslims must not be denied their rights to practice their religion, customs, traditions and culture.

The beer festival was meant for non-Muslims so it does not really affect Muslims. On the argument that dogs are haram for Muslims, different ulama’ have different views. While some ulama’ argue that dogs are haram to Muslims, others argue that dogs are not haram but just unclean and if you touch a dog you can always clean yourself with no harm done.

And we must remember that one mufti of Terengganu actually owned a dog and took it for walks every day. This shows even muftis do not always agree on what is allowed and not allowed in Islam. Hence we must differentiate between what is Islam and what is merely the opinion of certain religious people.

Nevertheless, this is not really the point. The point is while beer and dogs may be issues that need addressing, these issues are not really as critical as the more important issues that are plaguing the Muslim world.

We are currently seeing an increase in religious extremism in the Muslim world. Take what is happening in places like Libya, Iraq, and many other places. Even Malaysian Muslims are going to join what they perceive as the jihad being fought by the Islamic State and the numbers are increasing and becoming quite alarming.

Back during the days of the Iraq War, Malaysian Muslims were wearing Saddam Hussein T-shirts while, during the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York, Malaysians were cheering.

This is more worrying than the issue of beer festivals and dogs.

The mufti and ulama’ should focus on these issues and come out with statements warning Malaysian Muslims regarding religious extremism. If this state of affairs is allowed to continue there will come a day when religious fanaticism will become a problem for Malaysia.

The other worrying problem is regarding racism, which appears to be increasing by the day. No ulama’ or mufti has yet come out with any statement to say that in his last sermon or kutbah the Prophet Muhammad has declared racism as contrary to Islamic teachings and is forbidden under Islam.

I am not saying that religious scholars must not talk about beer and dogs. However, there are more crucial issues that need addressing and the religious scholars are remaining silent regarding these. If religious extremism and racism are not kept in check, the damage done to Malaysia will be far worse than the issue of non-Muslims drinking beer or Muslims patting dogs.

Friday, October 17, 2014

When the rakyat are treated like fools


The new Secretary-General of PKR has issued a directive asking Anwar Ibrahim’s supporters to assemble in front of the Federal Court in Putrajaya on 28th and 29th October 2014.

PKR’s Youth Movement said in the event that Anwar is jailed they will be organising peaceful protests. But how can they assure us that the protests will be peaceful when in the first place it is going to be an illegal assembly?

All protests all over the world start as peaceful protests but they do not always end peacefully. And if the Malaysian government clamps down on what would be regarded as an illegal assembly the protestors will accuse the government of not respecting democracy and freedom of assembly and so on.

This is nothing short of an attempt to provoke the government and an attempt to trigger unrest. And the government will certainly not allow this to go unchallenged.

However, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should not fall into this trap because this is precisely what they want the government to do. Najib, therefore, has to carefully consider how to respond to this challenge while maintaining law and order and yet not allowing them to exploit this as an example of a draconian course of action.

The issue of the Bahasa Malaysia Bibles in Selangor is another volatile issue that the opposition is exploiting. Christians in Sabah and Sarawak should not fall into the opposition’s trap and become emotional about the matter.

Even PAS, the Islamic party, has not opposed the use of Bahasa Malaysia Bibles in Sabah and Sarawak. They just oppose its use in Selangor and even then because there are certain laws in Selangor that forbids its use.

Instead of putting the blame on the federal government, the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government should pass a bill next month in the Selangor State Assembly to amend or abrogate this law.

If Selangor refuses to repeal this law how can the federal government be blamed for this? After all, religion is a state matter so Selangor has to take action to rectify this.

Let us see whether next month Selangor makes a move to remove this law. Nevertheless, whatever happens next month in Selangor does not affect Sabah and Sarawak so the Christians here need not be worried or react to what is happening in Selangor.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The way forward for the PM


The defeat of PAS in the Pengkalan Kubor by-election yesterday shows that PAS cannot go solo and without PKR and DAP it would not be able to become a political force in Malaysia.

And the same goes for PKR and DAP as well. On their own they would become insignificant other than merely playing the role of the opposition in parliament and all the state assemblies.

However, that is, unfortunately, also the case with Barisan Nasional.

Umno, on its own, will not be able to hold on to power. It needs its other partners in Barisan Nasional, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak considering that MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP are more or less spent forces, at least for now.

This puts to rest the fallacy that since 2008 Malaysia has finally seen the emergence of a two-party system. Malaysia does not have a two-party system. What it has is a two-coalition system.

But coalitions are messy and are no guarantee to lasting power. This is because a coalition is made up of many parties with differing ideologies, doctrines, aspirations and cultures.

Hence the different parties within that coalition could actually be working against one another. And this is very visible of late in the case of the Selangor MB crisis.

Pakatan Rakyat will need to focus on repairing its marriage over the next three years before the general election expected around 2018 or so. And so will Barisan Nasional if it does not want to see itself ousted from power.

The Prime Minister can no longer adopt an arms-length manner of running the country. He will have to identify around 165 parliament seats that Barisan Nasional has a good chance of winning and micro-manage these seats over these next three years.

Barisan Nasional should not waste its resources on those seats that will go to the opposition whatever you may do. Focus on just those 165 seats that Barisan Nasional can win and which will keep the ruling coalition in power.

Pakatan Rakyat’s problems are far from over even if it has resolved the Selangor MB crisis. In fact, its problems have just begun. So Barisan Nasional should take advantage of this by strengthening its public image, which is taking a beating due to attacks by Umno dissidents led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

You cannot please everyone. For sure you cannot please the opposition supporters or those dissidents in Umno. Hence you have to please those who can help you stay in power.

At the moment, until MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP recover their lost fortunes, it looks like Barisan Nasional will have to depend on Sabah and Sarawak to stay in power. Hence the Prime Minister needs to ensure that the voters in Sabah and Sarawak are happy.

There are some issues that the citizens of Sabah and Sarawak are unhappy about. These need to be addressed and are not really that difficult to address. All it needs is political will and micro-managing the expectations of Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


TUMPAT: Timbalan Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Salleh Tun Said turut membantu kempen Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Pengkalan Kubor.

Pada Sabtu, beliau yang juga Speaker DUN Sabah bersama-sama pimpinan Umno Sabah membantu kempen di daerah mengundi Jering.

Dalam PRK ini, calon BN  Ustaz Mat Razi Mat Ail ditentang calon Pas, Wan Rosdi Wan Ibrahim dan seorang calon Bebas, Izat Bukhari Ismail Bukhari.

Sementara itu, penampilan calon Barisan Nasional (BN), Mat Razi Mat Ail berjubah dan berserban bukan dibuat-buat, malah ia adalah pakaian yang sering digunakannya sejak zaman kanak-kanak lagi.
Perkara tersebut didedahkan oleh ibunya, Habsah Ismail, 65, ketika ditemui oleh pemberita di rumahnya di Kampungan Simpangan di sini hari ini.

Malah Habsah menegaskan, anak sulungnya itu tidak pernah lekang daripada membaca al-Quran sejak usia muda lagi dan beliau tidak pernah berubah terus kekal dengan keperibadiannya itu sehingga kini.

"Mat Razi seorang anak yang baik dan taat, selain mempunyai pegangan agama yang cukup kuat.
"Sejak kecil dia (Mat Razi) banyak menghabiskan masa membaca al-Quran selain menjadi tonggak keluarga dengan sentiasa membantu adik-adik yang lain," kata Habsah lagi.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Oleh SSK

1. PERBEZAAN pandangan dan perselisihan pendapat adalah perkara lumrah. Ia biasa berlaku dalam mana-mana organisasi, kelompok mahupun antara individu. Kerana tidak semua dilahirkan dengan tahap pemikiran yang sama. 

2. Manusia bukan seperti kereta yang dibina di satu kilang yang mesti mengikut spesifikasi ditentukan. Sebab itu, fizikal manusia tidak akan sama antara satu sama lain. Ada tinggi rendah, kecil besar. Demikian juga dalam pemikiran, ada tinggi rendah akhlaknya dan kecil besar otaknya.

3. Inilah rumusan saya terhadap polemik yang dicetuskan oleh Datuk James Ligunjang berkaitan isu tahun kemerdekaan.

4. Jika pun Datuk James Ligunjang tidak setuju dengan pandangan mana-mana pihak, terhadap apa isu sekalipun, dia sepatutnya tidak menggunakan bahasa sedemikian. Penggunaan bahasa dan perkataan-perkataan itu menggambarkan keperibadian seseorang. Dan dalam hal ini, apabila seseorang menggunakan perkataan yang tidak sepatutnya diungkapkan oleh siapapun, apatah lagi seorang bergelar Datuk, maka itu mencerminkan kecelaruan fikirannya dan emosi yang tidak terkawal.

5. Datuk James Ligunjang sepatutnya kena terima hakikat bahawa perbezaan pendapat dalam mana-mana isu adalah perkara biasa. Kita jangan emosi, sebaliknya kita kena kawal diri.

6. Kita boleh berbahas berdasarkan fakta masing-masing, bukan dengan kata nista. Dan akhirnya biar khalayak yang buat penilaian. Kita tidak boleh paksa orang lain terima pandangan kita bulat-bulat. Kita kena memahami konsep `agree to disagree'.

7. Sebenarnya, pandangan saya itu (berhubung tahun kemerdekaan) adalah reaksi kepada soalan pemberita dalam satu majlis baru-baru ini, sebagai response kepada kenyataan Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek sebelum itu yang menyatakan bahawa mulai tahun depan tidak perlu disebut tahun ke berapa kemerdekaan negara bagi mengelak kekeliruan fakta.

8. Malahan, YAB Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, telah pun mengumumkan perkara ini pada sambutan Hari Malaysia di Miri, Sarawak pada 16 September lepas. 

9. Secara peribadi, dan sebagai seorang sarjana politik, saya mendukung konsep `agree to disagree' kerana di gelanggang politik, perbezaan pendapat tidak boleh dielakkan. Ia lumrah dalam setiap pertubuhan politik. Lebih ramai ahlinya, maka lebih banyak pandangan dan pendapat.

10. Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad juga pernah tidak menyetujui pendapat saya berkaitan isu 1MDB. Beliau (Dr Mahathir) melihat dari perspektif hutang dan saya melihat dari sudut CSR. Jelas ada perbezaan pendapat. Masing-masing menghormati pendapat masing--masing, tanpa hilang rasa penghormatan. Tanpa menggunakan bahasa emosi.

11. Satu lagi contoh perbezaan pendapat ialah berkaitan isu tanah di Tenom yang dibangkitkan oleh Naib Presiden Umno, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Pendapatnya disanggah banyak pihak dan saya turut mengulas, akhirnya mencetuskan polemik. 

12. Perdebatan berdasar fakta masing-masing dan dari sudut berlainan tanpa menggunakan bahasa yang tidak sepatutnya.

13. Yang penting, kita jangan jadikan perbezaan untuk berbalah secara peribadi. Perbezaan sebenarnya sesuatu yang menarik kerana akhirnya akan membawa kita bersatu atas kebenaran. Natijahnya, raikan perbezaan pendapat.

Thursday, September 18, 2014



Today, PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang was forced to deny that PAS was talking to Umno to form a unity government. He was also forced to reiterate that PAS would stay with Pakatan Rakyat and not go to bed with Umno.
This rumour was started by PKR to coincide with the PAS assembly this week, which saw a lot on internal squabbling between the ulama’ group and the so-called professionals a.k.a. the Anwarists. The rumour was clearly meant to undermine the ulama’ faction that is said to be talking to Umno.
Malaysians have very short memories because it was as recent as December last year that PKR Secretary-General, Saifuddin Nasution, met Umno Vice President, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in London to discuss a unity government between Umno, PKR and PAS.
PAS leaders Abdul Hadi, Mustafa Ali and Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man were also in London at that time and Saifuddin invited them to join the talks with Ahmad Zahid.
Abdul Hadi, however, declined the invitation and only Mustafa and Tuan Ibrahim went. Abdul Hadi did not want to endorse the meeting and his decline of the invitation was the message he was sending to Saifuddin and Ahmad Zahid that he is not in favour of such a unity government.
Today, this whole thing has been twisted to say that Abdul Hadi is the one who wants to make a deal with Umno when he intentionally absented himself from the meeting for the very reason he does not want to make a deal.
Anyway, that matter is now going to be overshadowed by new developments.
On Tuesday, 23rd September 2014, the new Selangor Menteri Besar is going to be sworn in. So far no names have been mentioned but reports say that whoever it may be it is not going to be Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
So, at the moment, it is still merely speculation with some saying it is going to be Iskandar Abdul Samad from PAS while others are saying it is going to be either Azmin Ali or Dr Idris Ahmad from PKR.
What can be confirmed, though, is that Khalid Ibrahim’s last day as Selangor MB is 23rd September 2014. And, depending on who the candidate for new MB is, expect another round of internal bickering between PAS and DAP/PKR.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

DAP the winner in the Selangor MB Crisis


While Malaysians remain focused on the Selangor Menteri Besar Crisis, what many may have not noticed is that DAP is facing an internal crisis of its own. And this crisis is regarding its 2012 party election and the 2013 re-election that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) has classified as unconstitutional.

DAP is challenging the RoS in court so in the meantime nothing is going to happen. However, if the court rules that the RoS is correct and that DAP did, in fact, violate its own party constitution, the party may be facing deregistration like what happened to Umno some years back.

The Selangor MB Crisis is basically between PAS and PKR. DAP appears to be quite silent about this matter and for good reason. DAP is hoping that if this crisis is not resolved then the Selangor State Assembly may be dissolved to make way for new state elections.

Umno is not too keen on new state elections and neither is PKR and PAS. In 2008, Umno won 18 seats and MCA two, giving Barisan Nasional 20 seats in the 56-seat State Assembly. In 2013, Umno dropped to 12 with zero for MCA.

Hence if new state elections are held Umno can only win between 12-18 seats, most likely 15 at best. So it is of no benefit to Umno to participate in a state election it is never going to win anyway.

Pakatan Rakyat will contest all 56 seats and most likely win 40-41. The question here would be how would PKR, DAP and PAS divide the seats?

Out of the 56 seats, about half are Chinese-majority seats and the other half-Malay majority. Hence DAP has the potential to win about 28 seats.

DAP is preparing to contest 20 seat with 18 each for PKR and PAS. While DAP is able to win all the 20 seats it will contest (like what happened in Penang where DAP won all the sates it contested), PKR and PAS will have to ‘share’ their seats with Umno.

Hence PKR and PAS can win only about 20-21 seats combined with PAS getting lesser seats than PKR. And this would make DAP the largest party in the Selangor State Assembly.

This time around DAP will field about three to five Malay candidates. And this would mean DAP can claim the post of Selangor Menteri Besar, something they could not do in 2008 and 2013.

So it is to the benefit of DAP that the Selangor State Assembly is dissolved and new state elections are held because there are enough young Malay professionals ready to contest the election, especially when that could mean they would be given the post of the new Menteri Besar of Selangor.