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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 31 January 2010

Saving UMNO

You have to do two things:-

  • Replicate as much as possible the idealism driven climate of first generation leaders and

  • Put in place a system (not absolutely perfect , we know) that cultivates and seeks out capable and good leaders.
Our PM doesn't have the equivalent of Tun Razak's king Ghaz, orTun Razak's Tengku Razaleigh. He didn't have Tun Razak's Sardon Jubir for example who had the appearance of a pugilist ready to let go at any time. He doesn't have a Mahathir's Daim Zainudin or Mahathir's Sanusi. He has one minister whose outbursts are faster than Wyatt Earp's draw, an Easy Rider Minister who rides the big bikes living out some missing part of his adolescent life. He has a siren of an Information Minister. These are the qualities he has with which to champion his many agendas? Ayoyo!
Our PM may not even have a Tun Razak's Tun Dr. Ismail. Muhyidin was capable only of coming out with an uninspiring dismissive of Perkasa. The point is what is UMNO going to show the Malays that it can take the upper hand and become a better champion than Perkasa? Certainly not through giving out mere statements and claims. I think we have had enough of this hot air.
He has so many diffident ministers unsure and reluctant to exercise leadership. You have a minister in charge of religious matters deferring decision waiting signals from a PM not schooled in Islamic knowledge. You have a second finance minister who is afraid to assert given authority. A de facto 2nd finance minister who heads the EPU is calling the shots. 

First and foremost it's a leadership issue. Let's leave the issue until later.

Other than leadership, UMNO is suffering from diminished credibility- that element which caused rejection by over 1 million of its members and over 3 million of Malay voters.
The immediate way for UMNO to make itself believable again and regain people's trust is to achieve a huge success at something immediately. That would inspire confidence and trust. This plus do something for long term and strategic importance which is cultivating leadership.
In a previous article, I have talked about the necessity of restructuring leadership structure or leadership structural components at branch levels. That's the technical part of it. The technicians can reconfigure that leadership structure. That does not ensure and guarantee the emergence of leadership. That would still depend on the intrinsic leadership values of the person chosen or elected. We shall talk about that later too.
What's of immediate significance is the loss of credibility. Credibility comes in many approximating forms- trustworthiness, reliability, integrity, authority, standing and even the indefinable sincerity. When the PM handed RM500, 000 to the church that was torched, that action may indeed be genuine sincerity but it is still disputed by distrusting minds with political axes to grind. As such it's indefinable but not absolutely worthless. The PM's 40 advisers should be writing on this instead of smirking with satisfaction and patting themselves on the backs.
But like I said, those are approximating forms- still open ended. The PM needs to offer tangible results. Right now, the PM needs to find an immediate project of social, political and economic value that immediately establishes UMNO and the government's believability.
The PM has come out with certain priorities- tackling urban poverty for example, ridding our politics of corruption for example, making UMNO a truly democratic party and all those.
Example: corruption. What are the desirable tangible results? Bringing to book the big fish? Of course. Ministers ke, deputy ministers ke, powerful financial bankroller ke. Make examples of them. Show the rakyat you mean business.
PM shouldn't shy away in showing his seriousness in dealing with this scourge. He must be willing to make sacrifices- meaning he must have that leadership mettle and iron resolve to see big names universally suspected of corruption to be charged. As an example simpliciter- is there any fundamental reason not to haul in Khir Toyo for example? That diminutive former dentist can make a home more expensive than Tun Mahathir's? He is a Croesus or what?
Or to haul in the big names behind the PKFZ scandal. This financial mess is man-made. So far we have seen minions charged, but where are the big kahunas? UMNO and the government become disbelievable when they refuse or are seen as foot dragging when it comes to who the public perceives are corrupt. What the public wants, the public must get. That should make PM, his party and government believable.
What is another topical issue that can immediately elevate UMNO's integrity? By acting bona fide in dealing with the oil royalty issue. If the state of Kelantan rightfully deserves to get the oil royalty, restore that right to receive royalty. The PM loses believability trying to do a shuffle in distorting terms here and there. Wang ehsan means simply what the term means- something given out of the goodness of the heart-now that's different from a right. Goodness of the heart is personal to holder, while a right is claimable against the whole world. If the federal government wants to give ehsan money to Kelantan- take it because that acceptance honours the goodness of the heart of the giver. But that doesn't cancel out the right to which the state is entitled to. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah yesterday spoke to a very large crowd about this issue.

How does UMNO respond to that? By braying for blood even asking for his expulsion from UMNO. These kichi mayungs better don't waste our time by loud noises. The people who should be answering what Tengku Razaleigh said is DR Mahathir. Only TDM has the stature to debate on what TRH said. 
Out of nowhere comes our Information 'Change Mode' Minister. Can you trust our Information Minister who was once hanging by the financial coattails of Tengku Razaleigh when he was with Semangat 46? Even his deposit to contest elections then was paid for by Tengku Razaleigh. Rais is rust. Like Negeri Sembilan people say- MULO DAH DIO NAIK JOBO TU!
Restore that right and give wang ehsan at the same time- that makes The PM, his party and his government believable. We will believe what you say.


Thinking Leadership

One day a friend of mine met with the late King Ghaz, the elder statesman said.
Young man, will you nominate me as the Ketua Pemuda?
My friend let out a howl of laughter.
Mana boleh Tun, you walk pun dengan tongkat, kaki pun dah tak daya. Hishamudin( then Ketua Pemuda) muda dan kuat.
Young man, said King Ghaz- I will lead using my head, not my legs.
This is exactly the chief malady crippling UMNO- the dearth of a thinking leadership.
Think of the difference between first generation and the present and succeeding generations.
What did the first generation of Malayan citizens think of? They were basically thinking of how to rid of the colonialist yolk. They fought for independence. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and first generation leaders fought for displacing the colonial government. They had this external stimulus that brought out the best in them. In the course of ridding their society of the yoke of colonialism, men with leadership emerged naturally. You had many of them.
They got into politics. Politics to them was a means through which they could achieve an objective. Politics was a purposeful activity. Nowadays- people 'play' politics just to stay in power.
The second generation is different. In many aspects. This is our generation, and our successors'. They knew not very much about the ideals and motivation of the first. They have vague memory on this. Some may no longer know who Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak were. King Ghaz was almost forgotten and remembered only when he died last week. He has written a few books which I think many have not heard of. The man, who took over from him as Kuala Lipis UMNO division the last time, did not even know  where he lived. You know, UMNO leadership can be so hypocritical most of the times- they don't know how to treat previous leaders. They are full of crap sometimes.
This generation knows not of past struggles and the object of previous struggles- displacing colonial powers. They now know of these- poverty (rural or urban), ignorance, ineptitude, corruption and bad governance. These issues are more relevant to them.
So what kind of leadership is required first and foremost? It's the leadership that governs using their heads and not the legs. You need this kind of leadership that tackles poverty, bad governance, corruption and so forth.


Thursday 28 January 2010

Allah-watered down version, Sufi masters and the strange case of Aduka.

The National Fatwa Council should be more assertive in this issue. The fatwa council is the highest body to determine vexed issues concerning the religion of Islam. Even the PM is bounded to agree to the pronouncements of the national fatwa council. Thus far, the edicts that it issued on the Allah issue seem to have vanished into the black hole of indecision.

It acted with mercurial speed over a simple matter like certifying that Yoga was haram. But whenever political interests are involved, it displayed uncharacteristic indolence. Take for example, the issue on the canning of the model who was convicted by the shariah court for drinking alcohol. Until today, the canning hasn't been enforced.

It is therefore not surprising that the credibility of Islam in Malaysia is being disputed day by day. The very institutions tasked for safeguarding the sanctity of the religion are being undermined.

The PM even has a religious adviser and he should be accountable too. Instead he appears to wait for signals from the chief. The chief needs advice upon which he decides. You have a religious expert seemingly surrendering his assigned role waiting a decision on religion to be made by a person dependent on his advice in the first place.

The PM shouldn't be dragged into this issue at all had the Fatwa Council came out forcefully. Secondly, the person in charge directly over this issue is the minister in the PM's department in charge of Islam. He should have exercised leadership in this issue. Instead he has behaved like a eunuch.

If everything has to be decided by the PM, then he might as well run the country alone.

But, don't ask Khalid Samad- on Al Jazeera 101 East, he refused to accept the authority of the NFC alleging that it's the mouthpiece of UMNO. The edicts or fatwas declared are not UMNO edicts- they are edicts of Islam. There is only one Islam, NO PAS's Islam or UMNO's Islam. The people in UMNO and PAS pray to the same Allah. He is invested with the tauhid properties.

Susah lah itu macam- you dispute the legitimacy of the NFC on the flimsiest excuse that it hawks the views of the government. On that reckoning, if the Pakatan comes into power, Khalid Samad will reconstitute the NFC and thereafter, it will be opened for any UMNO politician to reject the pronouncement of the Pakatan NFC. Yes? It will also be opened for them to reject the edicts from the NFC because they are edicts of Pakatan. This is the same line of argument per Khalid Samad.

In this case, the NFC becomes a circus and there will be no finality. It's grossly unfair to imply the NFC is but a stooge to UMNO religious values. It insults the righteousness of Allah fearing individuals sitting in the NFC. By his condemnations, Khalid Samad has assigned the members of the NFC as religious trash.

Can Khalid Samad tell us, of the countless number of cases and issues decided upon by the NFC, how many in his opinion, were the extended 'religious' views of the ruling class? It's difficult to agree with an anarchist.

This issue has resolved into a credibility issue- the credibility of Muslims to defend their own religion. If Muslims here in Malaysia have forsaken their religion, who shall defend it?

What is being hawked here, promoted even by those remotely linked to this issue is a watered down version of Allah. The reasoning is akin to saying that it's ok for Muslims to drink wine because in essence wine is processed grape juice. It's the application of the same line of thinking on the Allah issue.

That's a watered down reasoning that justifies a position taken. It chucks out principles and is expediency-driven. Hence to justify drinking of wine, consider it processed grape juice.

The watered down Allah is the Allah that exists in all things. Allah exists everywhere- His Essence that is. You therefore have the Pantheism of Allah- his essence is invested into all beings ( makhluk). So to the enlightened and select few, they see Allah everywhere and hence have no problem in allowing Allah used by anyone or anything. The mountains and hills all worship Allah, so do the animals dispersed on this earth. You ask a goat and it can talk, the goat says it worships Allah. In all things ( makhluk) there is the essence of Allah.

Everybody it seems is a Sufi master able to see through their minds eye, the essence of Allah in everything. Here is the problem with many Muslims, they trivialize everything and thus Allah becomes commoditized. The majority of Muslims here are not the ascetic hermits able to comprehend the essence of Allah at the highest levels ( tasawwuf for instance). They submit to the edicts of shariah or Islamic jurisprudence. Not for them the luxury of philosophical contemplations or the luxury of disinterested and dispassionate interpretation of Allah. Islamic jurisprudence regulates the conduct and beliefs of the common Muslim man, not the lofty constructs of the Sufi master.

The second class of the select few, outside the circle of Tasawwuf masters has counterparts in our modern times. They are those who enjoy the luxury of disinterested and dispassionate interpretation of Allah. You can even say, they talk about Allah with an air of nonchalance.

Where do you find such special specie in these modern times? Look no farther. They are probably all the Muslims inducted in this year's little black book of Malaysia Tatler's society aka The List Issue. Ask any of the Muslim inducted there, whether they care whether Allah is used by non Muslims, the likeliest answer will be- they don't give a damn. Give us a merry time, anytime or so we die, is all that matters. Allah? The question probably begets the question, what Allah?


Has Rais Yatim done a volte face? A few days ago, he was insistent and voluble asking the government to arrest this bloke Aduka and punish him. Now, he is reversing himself by saying that a formal apology is sufficient.

I don't mean to offend our non Malay friends- but Aduka deserved to be punished for despoiling the institution of our Monarchy. If a Malay condemns his own cultural emblem, who then shall defend his race?

Please charge and punish him. The more severe, the better. We want to know the offence for which a legal remedy is now sought to bear on him. Legislate the punishable offence and have it applied retrospectively. That would mean, everyone, most notably Tun Mahathir Mohamad for carrying out the 'guillotinization' of the Monarchy must also be punished under the same offence. The damage done to the Malay monarchy during that time was far more irreparable.

Perhaps Herr Rais suddenly becomes aware of the implications of punishing Aduka? Or has he changed his mode?


Wednesday 27 January 2010

Judicial discretions and the rule of law

You can't shut off your mind from these things.

A mere statement by the 1st Respondent that the exercise of power was Necessary on the ground of national security without adequate supporting evidence is not sufficient in law....

Two mosques in Muar were torched. A number of churches were already burned down. Public anger is building up. The silent majority speaks in a language outside the comprehension of Mr Lim Kit Siang. The silent majority doesn't want to speak in M r. Lim's language.

Unfortunately for Mr Lim the silent majority of Muslims are not confident as imagined or as desired by the former daughter number one. We don't have to qualify our confidence level or our self assuredness in terms defined by daughter number one. We defined our confidence by not compromising on the fundamental elements of our faith.

So what about those burnings and torching here and there?

This is not possible. They can't be happening. The violence is simply indefinable in law. All the burning of churches, torching of suraus and mosques cannot be happening. How can these be happening when they are not within the contemplation of the laws by which the learned judge guided herself? Mere statements are not sufficient in law. The defendants' lawyers have failed to prove that the usage can lead to security problems.

The facts have since overtaken the neat premises of what is or what is not in law.

You must have evidence. Bad things, mayhem must take place first to support statements to qualify as sufficient law to exact the relevant remedy. Otherwise it's all worthless. It's the same as a murder must first take place, before a murder charge can be made.

Two mistakes took place here.

  • First the defendants stated their case in a very simplified manner- merely alluding to the possibility that public security can be breached. Malaysians you see, are not clever enough to stage an avatar requiring firmer legal redress.

  • Second, the court underestimated foundations of faith. It's not founded on logic or artful manipulation of arguments and so forth.

Now we heard pig heads were hurled into mosque compounds. To Muslims, this is sacrilege and is abound to stir up unbridled passions. The opposition parties are quick to point out that these are scare tactics used by unscrupulous politicians (read UMNO politicians of course). That's the same logic used in Anwar did a self injury.

That's utter nonsense! Just as the torching of the churches, using the perverted logic and reasoning accustomed by the opposition, the pig heads throwing must have been planned by Pakatan people.

It must be them. They need this issue to stay alive. Anwar needs this issue to divert attention.

How does it feel now, if these kind of perverted accusations are levied against you?

Just as the torching of the churches, the pig head throwing incidents were caused by common thugs.

But then, these things cannot be happening within the scheme of things that formed the basis of Justice Lau's judgment, can they? They can and already did.

Nik (and Pakatan) would replace NEP with a race-blind, need-based policy. I appreciate this sense of social justice but we must remind ourselves that good intentions alone do not make for effective policies. There are realities to consider.


Question: if this commonsensical advice can be urged upon such a mundane thing as doing away with the NEP, why couldn't the same reasoning be applied to a more explosive issue? Funny how that kind of thinking is treated as amendable to an economic and purely rational issue, but disingenuously abandoned when needed on a rather irrational issue as religion.

But you CAN make a rational choice. Keep the damn thing!


Tuesday 26 January 2010

Can UMNO be saved?-1

Can UMNO be saved? Of course it can, the answer lies with the members and the leadership at the basic unit of UMNO organisation- the UMNO branch or cawangan. A party with a 64 year history just simply can't fade away because of shenanigans at the apex. It will definitely not whistle away because the opposition wish and fictionalise its demise. They have to also win the electorate.

There must first of all be a genuine desire to transform UMNO and it must begin at the basic level. The top at the superstructure is less relevant because it essentially feeds off the base. It is to the base that we need to pay attention. Forget the top- why should we bother to reform people like Rais Yatim for example or the large numbers of UMNO divisional heads who are more interested in hobnobbing with ministers whispering sweet nothings into their ears, spending evenings listening to concerts?

Why must transformation take place at the bottom of the UMNO structure? Because it's the foundation upon which the superstructure rests. Change the foundation, the superstructure will change accordingly. The UMNO branch is the cell that is the basic structure and functional unit of the UMNO living organism.

It is a simple concept. We create them; we should be able to de-create them. The leadership at the superstructure I mean. The 25 elected supreme council members, the president, the deputy president, the 6 vice presidents, the information chief, the secretary general, the treasurer and the 12 others appointed by the president. I don't think this contradicts the popular adage that the fish rots first in the head that translates into if you want to make changes, start at the top. We are, that is why we are starting with the branch heads. They are the real top cats. Why do we have to limit our thinking of believing the top has to be the top at the superstructure? Look at the top of the basic unit, i.e. the branch.

Revolution doesn't start from the conventional top. It doesn't start with the status quo. It begins with resentment and disillusionment with the status quo by the broad masses. The status quo simply doesn't have the consciousness nor the political will to change itself. Transformation and revolution must come from elsewhere and they don't come in refined and chaste manner. Demanding change in the quality of leadership at the basic UMNO unit is violent in nature because, just as those entrenched in power at the top at higher levels, leaders at the basic unit will also resist being forced out of power. The clash between two opposing forces can't be anything but violent.

You call for a revolution; you must know that revolution is not like a dinner party or making crotchet. You know the saying; "Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly."

When the UMNO president calls for some form of direct elections by more some 140,000 delegates to the divisional meetings, that's a revolution by UMNO standard. It hasn't reached a real revolution yet, because the agenda set forth by the UMNO president is a qualified revolution. It's still fettered by rules here and there.

The question of having to transform UMNO would have been unheard of before 2008. UMNO won a big majority at the 11th general election. That was in 2004. Tun Abdullah had succeeded Tun Mahathir a year earlier. There was euphoria for a moment and a lot of hope was pinned on Abdullah. Within 4 years, the euphoria turned to disillusionment. We got rid of the illusion that Abdullah could make a difference. He was wanting in most departments. His leadership resulted in the biggest loss UMNO had in its history.

UMNO wasn't paying attention to its front liners- the branch leadership. UMNO's leadership was more besotted with esoteric ideas. Islam Hadhari, inter-faith dialogues, Economic corridors which by the way are fast turning into nothing more that economic boundary markings by predatory economic players. .

UMNO leadership (not just Pak Lah alone) sent the message of an Utopian-esque future. Pak Lah and UMNO wasn't paying attention to the UMNO front liners who bear the burden of translating the ideas into practice. All Pak Lah was able to muster later, was to come out with a limped whimper blaming the little napoleons. In order to translate and implement, members must first understand the agenda. The little napoleons didn't understand Pak Lah. They still don't about PM Najib's agenda.

Either you make them understand or have them replaced with those who can understand and share your enthusiasm. Problem is, PM Najib is surrounded with eager to please the leader people. People who continue to blindly say, it's ok boss, it's ok until it reaches a point when the OK turns into KO.

The little napoleons were in the form of UMNO branch leaders – he wasn't paying attention to them. He lost the message war. Where was he bringing the country to? How do we get there? The other leaders too made the same error. The future of a country rests in the hands of over 100,000 branch leaders who elect 191 division heads who in turn elect an even smaller number to manage the country.

Just take a look at a typical branch leader- he may be a school gardener, a watchman somewhere, the village bully and loafer, the local strongman. With due respect, these people are hardly the material on which to build a great nation. Would these people have the required presence of mind to choose leaders with capabilities, intelligence and probably dissimilar thinking at variance with what they have been accustomed to?

What was needed wasn't Islam Hadhari. What we could have profited from, was an UMNO hadhari- a pursuit to make UMNO leadership relevant.

The question then is, how does the UMNO leadership ensure UMNO stays relevant? It can't retain relevance by retaining a leadership at odds with the new mood of the electorate. How has the profile of the electorate changed?


Sunday 24 January 2010

Burn, baby, burn- and I am not talking about the Black Panther hot sauce

There is a world of perception and a world of reality. There is also another realm, a domain of willed fiction that is impervious to reality and treats facts like enemies. Example: UMNO is very strong or has regained its lustre, or has attracted the support of second and 3rd generations, are some of the manufactured fictions. It's the imaginarium of Dr Rais or whoever with PhDs out there.

UMNO is strong to certain UMNO people. It's strong to people who have benefited directly from an UMNO doing business as usual. These are people who continue to spend money like nobody's business while the government hasn't got sufficient funds to feed students in boarding schools on weekends. UMNO is strong to those proposing to build two tallest buildings in Kuala Lumpur.

When PM Najib took over, my sense is that what motivated very many Najib enthusiasts was loathing of Abdullah Badawi and the desire to oust him and place someone cool in his place. Najib is cool but he is surrounded by political buffoons.

We accomplished this. We pressured Abdullah Badawi to leave before he does more damage to UMNO and the nation. But we never gave much thought to the public policies PM Najib and the UMNO leaders backed. We got our Obama in to replace that George Bush but now we are realising that Obama is just like Bush in many ways.

Theirs was a politics of style, not substance. They got the style and maybe most of us like that, but we don't much like the substance. And we don't like "the stench of crony capitalism, bailout favouritism and earmark corruption" which is increasingly creeping into PM Najib's record. Think I am imagining? - wait till RMK10 comes out; the mega projects are already reserved.

It is the Delusion Zone and, judging by the results of a recent Merdeka Survey Centre earlier this year, large majorities of Malaysians especially Malays have been trapped there since PM Najib took up residence in the Sri Perdana.

The judgments of a sampling of 400 UMNO members can't be wrong, can they? Yes, they can. Najibmania appears to destroy brain cells and disable both short- and long-term memory.

Hmm, let's see.

UMNO thinks it's on the mend. You transport busloads of ululating party faithfuls to Hulu Selangor. That's already an accomplishment, you console yourself. Nowadays, people just refuse to listen to UMNO operatives. They humour and indulge them. Show the PM tens of thousands are in attendance. You conclude that UMNO support is great.

You delude yourselves. The UMNO of today has a different kind of politics. It's the politics of style rather than substance.

Ah yes, the substance. What's binding them up? What bounded the early generations of UMNOans? It was the spirit of voluntarism and sacrifice. Aunties and uncles pawned their precious belongings to put into party funds. Leaders mortgaged their houses to keep party finances alive. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah spending millions of his own money to keep the spirit alive. That's the essential element missing- sacrifice and a sense of realism.

The best took up the mantle. People refused positions fully aware of the onerous responsibilities. It was a question of fitting into the clothes. Most knew their place. People wanted substance.

It is different nowadays. The party is filled with ne'er do wells, the riff-raffs, the pompous windbags. People who are always on the lookout to leverage party positions for personal gains. People with style overwhelm the Party. But they didn't bring substance along.

Have we looked at the elements that are worth developing, defending and reinforcing to ensure the things that bind party UMNO solidarity remain there? Attendance is not a reassuring element to infer UMNO's solidity.

Start with quality leadership first. At the branch levels. Since they are going to elect the leadership at national levels. Get rid of the riff-raffs, the village bullies, the ne'er do wells.

How do you do that? Dismantle the power structure. There has been much hoo hah about the election reforms that UMNO is undertaking. A closer look will reveal that these changes are but wine in new bottles. The various preconditions put in place ensure those currently in power have advantage over those seeking out to make changes. The previous quota system was designed to do the same. The present rule of 3 is doing exactly the same.

The top leadership must show it's serious in wanting to transform the entire UMNO body politic. Why the rule of 3 then?

One needs to be member of a branch for 3 years to offer one's leadership to the branch? One needs to be a division committee member for 3 years to offer one's candidacy for higher position at divisional levels? And one has to be an MKT member for3 years to offer oneself for higher posts? Fresh blood with new ideas and new work ethics have to wait for 3 years to offer leadership choices?

The usual retort is you can serve the party in any capacity. Try doing that without position and prestige and therefore authority. Nobody will listen to the PM talk about Malaysia if he were to talk without the position, prestige and authority of the premiership. You lead with capacity of application. You apply when you have position, prestige and authority. So, don't patronise people by saying you serve in any capacity. You serve better in leadership capacity.

The problem is this. If you have been that long in the old hierarchy, it means you are set in the ways of the old school. Would it be reasonable to imagine that a person steeped in the old ways wants to transform the party? The idea of transforming is revolutionary itself and is assuredly at variance with a person type casted in the old mould.

Nazri Aziz says something off tangent with what the DPM says over this Allah issue. In effect, there are squabbling in public over the issue. Nazri is pre-empting the appeal court decision on the Allah issue. Muhyiddin is straining to do damage control.

Don't insult our intelligence by saying; the differences aired out in public are symptomatic of the democracy UMNO practices. That's a lot of bull. It's emblematic of the fissures in UMNO leadership.

We want you UMNO leaders to know, that this is exactly the type of frustrating political behavior that sickens people. It's childish, and it alienates votes by making the party look disunited and spineless.

We know the reasons why. Perhaps you have been up there too long. You people are too set in your ways to be creative and bold enough. People can pre-read your next moves and people adjust by being indifferent. Once indifference takes hold in the public mind, what can UMNO do?

Who is the most crucial UMNO operative? He is the ketua cawangan or the branch head. Though he is the most important, his importance elevated more when UMNO implements its 'direct elections' of UMNO leadership, the branch head on average is often ignored. If you have over 100 branches and you have a minister as a division head, most likely, the division head will not be able to know everyone.

How do you explain the listlessness and fossilization of UMNO at the grassroots level? I think becoming fossilized in the most appropriate term. Certainly, there is a great loss in the spirit of voluntarism or even the spirit of sacrifice among UMNO members. This trend needs to be arrested first before UMNO begins to talk about transforming.

Any transformation must begin at the branch head level. What is happening to UMNO branch leaders is similar to what is occurring among grassroots leaders in almost all political parties; you can have countless numbers of retreats, courses, etc, - efforts which are designed to transform the mentality of UMNO leadership, the reality is, the minds of the branch leaders have hardly moved an inch.

Take what happened last year. There were no jostling for positions; hence there was an enforced truce momentarily. No jockeying for positions means no roundabouts, no chinwags, and no clandestine rendezvous. Which in turn mean, less room for money transactions?

While the top leadership entrust the responsibility of connecting with the masses to the branch chairmen, the UMNO divisional chairmen are doing the opposite. They are on the prowl for titles, patronage, contracts, other business opportunities, directorship in GLCs and the like.

Change the leadership at branch levels and then change the leadership at the national levels. Don't institutionalise any leadership level as sacred. Its burn, baby, burn.


Friday 22 January 2010

Are Anwar’s chickens coming home to roost?

Maybe Anwar is troubled with the move to send him to jail on a fabricated charge of sodomy, and now for being the 'mastermind' behind the church attacks as well. In that case take sabbatical leave and go solve your personal problems first. And after your personal problems have been solved then come back into active political life.

These were perhaps the biggest understatements thus far- Anwar Ibrahim is to take leave to solve his personal problems? Why should Anwar Ibrahim listen to RPK when he refused a similar advice which Tun Mahathir gave him in the first place? Didn't Dr Mahathir ask Anwar to leave quietly with the unspoken possibility of coming back later? Anwar didn't because his way is lawan tetap lawan.

He could have gone abroad, dealt with his personal problems, which are known only to RPK, come back a few years later and claim leadership of UMNO. That would have been possible because the Malays are a forgiving lot who easily forgets personal transgressions.

The truth is that would have been so un-Anwar. He needs to fight to stay relevant. So, please don't go on sabbatical. Stay and waste the government. Stay and stand your ground to sexpose expose the evil machinations of the evil government.

Anwar Ibrahim knows of only one way to solve his personal and that not to be mentioned in- front- of- kids problem. That is by creating as much chaos and anarchy as possible. That is why he is going on a series of road shows to accuse the government of masterminding a second sodomy case.

We have not even gone before the courts. We would like to hear the arguments of his lawyers. He will have every chance to defend himself and to rebut the charges proffered by the evil government prosecutors. If Ghani Patail is leading the case for the government, he is placing himself at the mercy of being methodically dissected by Anwar's legal team. If he is not, then his replacement will bear the additional liability of defending his name.

The court case should be the ideal place and avenue for Anwar and his legal team to abuse the government mercilessly. Wouldn't his day in court be the best forum to expose the government with a list of wrongdoings? Wouldn't his day in court be the perfect forum to bring down the evil 'Reichstag' government on its knees and usher in a new millennium at Putrajaya?

That's why he needs to go around the country to paint this second sodomy case as being part of a government conspiracy to finish him off for good. The funny thing is- the government doesn't seem to be beleaguered. Instead we have the government behaving as though it already has sufficient material to finish Anwar off legally. The government is not flustering while Anwar and his team are behaving all muddled up.

Admittedly, this way of facing off Anwar is most beastly. It would have been sweeter to explode the hollowness of Anwar- his policies, his politics and his thinking through democratically sanctioned ways.

Anwar's chickens have come home to roost.

We, the public want to know whether there is credence in the rumours and whispers going around that poor Saiful fellow didn't go to the toilet for days so as to contain body fluids from foreign bodies allowing medical experts to test them. And I am not talking about international relations.

We wish Anwar all the best. If he manages to overcome this biggest hurdle, and somehow gets to Putrajaya, he will have his chance to clear his name once and for all.


Thursday 21 January 2010

The syllogism of Allah

Now, why do Christians prefer to use the word "Allah" when they translate the Bible into Bahasa Malaysia? The reasoning is this: Islam's name for God is Allah, who is the same God as Abraham's God. Abraham's God is also the God of the Hebrew people, namely the Jews. And the God of the Christians is the same God of Abraham, the Muslims and the Jews.

Like I said before, the issue hasn't died down. There is even a new twist to describe those who oppose the ruling of the court of first instance. These people are now called the mob. Anything associated with the mob, should be discounted. As in mob rule. As in mob referring to the gangster. The term mob, in general is always associated with bad things.

Malaysians don't like bad things.

NH Chan, the former judge has employed a subtle and clever use of Syllogism. Let me try to illustrate this method of argument and see whether it makes sense.

All Muslims believe in Allah

All Christians believe in Allah who has a son named Jesus

Therefore All Muslims believe in Jesus as son of Allah.

Now, even using this kind of syllogism, we can already see that the meaning of Allah as used by Christians is not the same as when Muslims used Allah.

The law professor, Azmi is right; we cannot use legal precepts in debating the Allah issue. We must go back to the Holy Scriptures. For us Muslims we go back to the Quran. But we don't read the Quran as we do a story book.

Let us go a little farther. When we, confident people, who are not at all affected when other people of differing faiths use Allah, pass on, the next generation has fused within the religious melting pot. Why not we call the Sunday church affair as solat hajat hari Ahad? Or now call the church no longer gereja but masjid ? the great Cathedral in Rome shall be called Rumah Allah or even Kaabah?From next year, all Hajj pilgrimage will be diverted to Rome, where there is also another Kaabah?


Cui Bono?- Who Benefits?

When I countered by writing on the burning of the Reichstag, many were angry. Especially among PKR's delicate flowers followers. I was merely pointing out to a possibility that another version may also be true. If it was regarded as preposterous, it wasn't any more preposterous that the article penned by RPK.

It is becoming the usual stock in trade. Whenever the PR people face defeat, they will always ask- "cui bono?'' –"who benefits?" The answer of course the Party UMNO. Hence, it comes easier to always ask- who benefits with the burning of the churches? Why, it's UMNO of course. It must be. UMNO is desperate. It hangs on to any driftwood that comes along.

UMNO can also use the burning of the churches to blame it on Anwar.

Who benefits from prolonging the Allah issue? Again, "cui bono?" Who benefits? It MUST be UMNO because this issue gives UMNO the chance to regain lost Malay ground.

Every act of vandalism, even outright crimes bear the hands of UMNO. UMNO has become a convenient label fitting in any description that's fancied at any particular time. When PM Najib gave RM500k to a church that was quickly assailed as acknowledgment of guilt. It may have been nothing more than expression of genuine sympathy translated into pecuniary form. It may be nothing more than an act of outwardly charity or doing something decent when coming to visit.

But it may also be true that these issues benefit Anwar too. The Allah issue has allowed Anwar's delicate flowers to associate it with their vision of a grand conspiracy on the part of UMNO. The significance of this is to enable Anwar and his followers to broad-brush everything under the label of conspiracy by UMNO. So cui bono? Its Anwar and his followers.

By placing everything under the heading of conspiracy, Anwar expects any issues; allegations thrown at him will be downgraded as specific forms of conspiracy. Accordingly they must be dismissed.

Imagine this. If Anwar succeeds in informing the world at large, that his sodomy trial is but another specific form of conspiracy, then it must be dismissed by the world at large. So cui bono if the issue is played out according to the conspiracy theory.

But let's come back to the story behind the burning of the Reichstag.

The 1933 trial in Germany resulted in the execution of the principal accused of the burning. He was a Dutch communist named van de lube. He was tried alongside prominent members of the German Communist party (PKD).

A prominent member of the PKD, one Willi MUnzenberg staged a counter trial in London sometime in September 1933. The counter-trial was organized in London by a group of lawyers, democrats and other anti-Nazi groups under the aegis of German Communist émigrés. The chairman of the counter-trial was Labour barrister D N Pritt KC, but the chief organiser was KPD's propaganda chief  Willi Munzenberg.

Here is the interesting thing. We have here in Malaysia, Anwar going around in his road shows trying to drum up the support of the world at large that his impending trial at the end of this month. He is claiming the trial as nothing more as a rehashed conspiracy. As the storyline would have it, any taints of conspiracy would diminish the credibility of the allegations.

The counter-trial began on September 21, 1933. It lasted one week and ended with the conclusion that the defendants were innocent and the true initiators of the fire were to be found amid the leading Nazi Party elite.

Our own Willi Munzenberg is going around the country staging his own trial in the people's court. But of course, just like the trial staged by the real Munzenberg in 1933, this trial in the people's court will have its "judges", the not so sophisticated pasar Malam people, the usual suspects of hoi poloi. But this counter trial just like the London Trial will have the atmosphere of a show-trial, with our Münzenberg constantly applying pressure behind the scenes on the "judges" to deliver the "right" verdict without any regard for the truth.

What will the counter trial hope to achieve? Like the London counter-trial it will be an enormously successful publicity stunt for the PKR and its delicate flowers and members of the PKR lickspittle club. Maybe Anwar like the real Münzenberg will follow up his road shows by writing a best-selling book in the style of Munzenberg's The Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror. Maybe for good measure, Anwar can publish that as an exposé of what he can allege to be the Nazi UMNO conspiracy to burn down the Reichstag and blame the act on the Communists on PKR.


Wednesday 20 January 2010

UMNO Juara Rakyat-2

Last week I spoke with a former deputy chief minister. I asked him, did he go to the big do in Hulu Selangor, where the PM launched the UMNO Juara Rakyat? He said he did. So I asked him, how large was the fleet of vehicles used to transport the faithful? He let out a guffaw and I laughed together.

I saw the faces of the various MBs on TV at the bash and I deduced they have asked divisional heads to send in contingents. They provided transport and maybe some travel allowance. Makan sikit. Minum sikit. But please- no dangdut. Itu sendirian berhad.

You see, when we see a large crowd at UMNO gatherings, we are not so confident their presence is voluntary or paid for. The normal thing to do is to ask the various state heads who will ask the various division heads to arrange for transport. I am not saying this is a wrong thing to do, some of the venues are far away and party supporters need to be transported. Where we have problem is to ascertain, the spirit of voluntariness.

Let us put forth an argument. See whether this makes sense or not. Let's use an argument a fortiori. Let me illustrate.

Several years ago, the political scientist Robert Putnam wrote a now-famous essay called "Bowling Alone." In the essay, he pointed out that, in general, Americans today seem to participate in far fewer civic associations—bowling leagues, Rotary Clubs, PTA, and other voluntary groups—than they did decades ago.

He supported this observation with statistics on membership in such groups over time. That fact on its own was not terribly interesting, of course, but the broader point Putnam was trying to make was essentially an a fortiori argument. He held that if Americans did not participate in community-based associations (groups which clearly affected their daily lives and could potentially make their local communities better places to live), then they were certainly not likely to participate at the national level where events did not affect them directly—such as voting in national elections or having strong views on national politics or foreign policy. That is an argument a fortiori.

Now, apply these observations on UMNO members. If UMNO members did not participate in UMNO activities voluntarily, then it would be very safe for us to infer they will not likely to participate in events that do not affect them directly such as voting for UMNO in national elections. How many times have we heard UMNO people say, whether we vote or don't vote, we remain like this too.

Have the UMNO leadership apply their thinking on this fundamental issue? The erosion of the spirit of voluntarism?


UMNO Juara Rakyat

UMNO Juara Rakyat.

The PERKASA movement, headed by Ibrahim Ali, is gaining momentum. It launched its membership drive in Johor recently. At the end of this month, it will launch is Selangor chapter. It will be launched by Tun Dr Mahathir.

Where UMNO slackens and is slow-footed, PERKASA has stepped in. Where UMNO appears to have diluted its own foundations of struggle, PERKASA have and will replace them. Where UMNO is mired in its Jack Sparrow kind of approach over many issues, PERKASA has been forthright, clear, determined and these resonate well with the average Malay. Not necessary right and even right wing at most times, their views are understandable by the Malay masses- the not so confident Malay Muslims, the bigots, sexists etc.

Jack Sparrow appears not to have any plans but makes up solutions as he goes along the way. That is how UMNO is behaving now. It surrenders its armory by default.

Where UMNO has forsaken its AlifBaTa of its struggles, PERKASA has usurped a commanding position, at least in the minds of a growing number of Malays who are comforted by PERKASA's approach to things.

AlifBaTa- Agama, Bangsa dan Tanah Air- the ABC of UMNO's struggles which are forgotten and diluted ever since the UMNO leadership has been taken over by the salonMalays, gauche-caviar, Chardonnay Bumiputeras, or even the not-enough- Malay Malays.


Tuesday 19 January 2010

Allah: the name sacred and profane.

Allah is not a big issue. Just declare it is exclusively for Islam in Malaysia. It is a matter of principle. It isn't inferior to the principle of the rule of law or doing what is right. It reaffirms our faith in Allah. Switzerland bans minarets. France bans the headscarf. Switzerland and France do not ban Islam. They ban Islamic appurtenances. So, Malaysia, learn the lessons there.

I have been asked repeatedly to read Quran 7:180.

There in that verse, we are told we can call Allah by whatever names. These of course refer to what Muslims know as the 99 most beautiful names- which explain and describe the attributes of Allah. It is through these names the Muslim appreciate the Supreme Being.

But there is also the caveat. We are asked to shun such men as use profanity in his Names. The ones who use His name profanely use them in a manner to suggest anything derogatory to His dignity and His unity.

I have already written something about this in my previous article, Pagan God and Uslub Mujadalah. To non Muslims, Allah is just a name. To Muslims, Allah is founded on Aqeedah which incorporates the concepts of Tauheed. Allowing Allah to be used as 'just' a name means you devalue the Muslim Allah.

See what is happening already? When you allow Allah to be used fluidly, it assumes any form you fancy. For instance, I have already mentioned about the inclination of some people asking Muslims to be less excited on forms. That would imply that Allah is just a form.

If I were to be strict, then I will have to say, to suggest that the Name Allah is just a form fits the act of using the name of Allah profanely. That's why I in turn suggest- now we can worship a tree because, it's just a form.

Hence from a monotheistic position, allowing fluidity in the name of Allah, we have pantheism, a school of thought which has been debated upon by Muslim scholars a long time ago. Let me alert those who imply that Allah, a name is just a form:-

Pantheism is the philosophy that everything is God (pan=everything, theos=God) or that the universe and nature are divine. For all practical purposes, according to Islam, pantheism is atheism because it does not acknowledge the existence of God apart from the world, nor does it say that there is a God Who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, nor does it say that there is divine judgment or the hereafter. From this it is clear that pantheism cannot have any place in Islam.

To those who ask us to read 7:180;

It is true that Islam gives 99 names to God. But this does not mean that God can take 99 forms! These names signify the qualities of the One God, such as the Creator, the Sustainer, the Merciful, the Forgiving. And they do not in any way mean that God takes different forms or incarnates in those forms. The polytheists or those who believe in the incarnations of God may try to misinterpret the significance of the names of God to find some justification for their false beliefs. But from the point of view of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, there is no

Chance for such misinterpretation. Most assuredly, they are wrong.

And Allah knows best.

Someone also asked why do I waste time and effort debating this issue? My answer: for the same reasons that motivate those who argue for the fluidity in the use of Allah. I am sure those who share my convictions don't see their efforts as wasting time and effort.

Until this issue comes to closure, we shall debate it civilly. Agree?


Good form, bad form

Here is the problem. We now have Muslims going around saying Allah is just a form. Hence people say, Muslims have to learn to be less excited about form. Concentrate on the substance. To balance things up, we say, non Muslims have to learn to be sensitive.

I like this kind of thinking. So, we can now worship a tree- because a tree is just a form. A chair is a home. If we concentrate fully, behind the tree is the essence of Allah. It's all in the mind.

This issue hasn't died down. When they( public outcries and anguish)  are not published or their undercurrents not captured by the lethargic mainstream media, it does not mean, they have died down. They only mean the MSM has been sleeping and slow footed to capture the essence of the mood of the people.

It's not about form. Allah for Muslims is the foundation of our Aqeedah . It incorporates the principles of Tauheed. To say, it's just a form, devalues the Islamic religion. If other people say its just a form of terming God, let them. We don't have to prostitute ourselves.


Muslim cabinet members must stand and be counted!


On the contrary, all Muslim ministers in the cabinet must study the 57 page judgment on the Allah issue and come forward with reasoned arguments to 'overrule' the judgment by the judge.

To not do it, will mean we hold you as having devalued our own religion. Or even worse, you sit idly by while your religion is abused.

Don't be like Anwar Ibrahim. Look carefully at he is doing. He is only prepared to give a qualified endorsement to the use of Allah- he is playing both sides (no pun intended). Yes- let's allow others to use Allah but don't allow them to abuse it.

What kind of prescription is this?

It is a prescription of a deceptive and devious mind at work. That kind of endorsement- a qualified support is not operational at all. What does it mean? Yes or no? When will the usage be deemed as abuse and therefore invites censor or ban? How my friend?

What mechanism will we put in place that raises the alarm that the name of Allah has been abused? Anwar can't give us that mechanism. Would he classify the DAPSY's call for the use of Allah over the whole of Malaysia as an abuse of tolerance? Will he consider this a case of giving your calf wanting also your leg? Isn't this an abuse already? Even at this preliminary stage, renders Anwar's prescription of can- but- cannot- abuse, WORTHLESS already.

It's pathetic to suggest that this entire ruckus is a ploy by UMNO to regain lost Malay ground. UMNO is far from perfect. We know that. We know it's infested with ne'er do wells as pointed out by Tengku Razaleigh, but who is to say, these elements will not be purged? Indeed that is the only way for UMNO to regain credibility, which is by ridding itself from elements bringing it down. On the other hand, the Pakatan structure is waiting for its implosion.

When will that happen? It will happen when Anwar is punished for the wrongs he has committed. Even people within Pakatan have resigned to the fact that this time Anwar may have reached his cul-de-sac. If not, how do you explain, his bizarre attempts to postpone his trial in the civil court indefinitely by creating whatever legal ruses he can think of? Cornered, he is fighting using brass knuckles.

Why is he for example insistent on being tried the shariaah way which requires 4 witnesses to see the action taking place? Who in their right minds will ever want to see such spectacle? And only an imbecilic person will bring people watch his exploits.

There's a scientific alternative in DNA analysis which can replace the actual 'seeing' by 4 witnesses. Why is Anwar suddenly infatuated with an ancient way to prove his innocence, when in the issue of Allah, he chooses a liberal stand?

How can such a person, ding-donging from one position to another position, be believable?

The Allah issue is not a second or 3rd leg of a conspiracy to discredit the Pakatan grouping as suggested by Syed Hussein Ali. The severity and gravity of Anwar's personal case are not lessened by this disingenuous attempt to include Anwar's personal problem under the same roof as the Allah issue where all, it is claimed are part of an UMNO strategy to discredit Pakatan. You think Anwar's case is diluted if we can be made to believe that it's all part of an UMNO game to destroy the credibility of the disparate grouping Anwar leads? Come on!

Then there is our venerable Lim Kit Siang.

Why is Mr. Lim Kit Siang so patronizingly concerned that the cabinet must practice collective responsibility over this matter? That it involves allowing each minister to make their stand?

What if the cabinet makes a stand that the word Allah, in recognition of the sensitivities and fairness, recognizing the supremacy of the Malay rulers over issues affecting the wellbeing of the Islamic religion, desirous of maintaining racial harmony, declares that Allah is exclusively reserved for Muslims?

The stand behooves all those who have differing views to submit to the views of the majority, i.e. endorse the cabinet stand.

The same principle will have it that those who object on conscientious grounds or whatever grounds the warped minds of ministers trod on at that moment, be asked to leave the cabinet so as to qualify as genuine practitioners of collective responsibility? Doing that, they receive the standing ovation of Lim Kit Siang?

Will these cabinet members imagined by Lim Kit Siang to have the guts and gumption to insist and even demand that Allah can be used not only in East Malaysia but over the whole of Malaysia, resign the cabinet posts? That is the principle of collective responsibility isn't it? That once the cabinet makes it stand, everyone must acquiesce otherwise, he or she must make the honorable exit and tender resignation?

Why should Lim Kit Siang deny the government its right of appeal against the decision at first instance? The effects after the first judgment are all out in the open for all to see. That these matters are possible and real outcomes of the judgment should have been conceived by the judge. That would make her averments that the prosecution has failed to show adverse repercussions could happen, crumble.

Adverse repercussions did happen after that- churches burned and mosques desecrated. We have no guarantee that these things will not occur further.


Monday 18 January 2010

The Pathologization of the Muslim mind

In 1974, when I was in lower sixth form, I read a book on the oppression of black Americans. The exact title of the book escapes me. But the message there stays.

One of the ways, White America oppresses the black Americans is to categorize them as mentally dysfunctional individuals. The American dominated institutions then could justify actions to incarcerate blacks in mental institutions.

This was the classic version of psychological sweeping of the problem under the carpet.

Official white America doesn't have to deal with mentally dysfunctional people- they just lock them away.

The pathologization of minds continues today. In our society, Muslims who hold steadfast to the insistence that Allah be used exclusively by Muslims are regarded as mentally dysfunctional, emotional, their arguments flawed etc. they are assigned as bigots, narrow minded, diffident as opposed to confident.

I don't accuse those who elect to support the free usage of Allah as emotional. or bigoted. I did however, classify those liberated Muslims who advocate its liberal use as salon Muslims, Bolshevik believers etc only as a description that the views they champion, are particularistic as opposed to universal. Their views are particular to them and their like minded fraternity. Certainly I believe their views are not shared by the majority of Muslims here in Malaysia.

By extolling this elitist view, what are we doing actually? We see comments on blogs peppered with things like, " how we wish there are many people like you Pete, or how we wish there are many who think like Marina. "

Well, I have heard some people say- Marina's views as regards religion are eclectic because she synthesizes them from the many husbands she has had.

Cruel, but maybe some truth there.

We unwittingly perpetuate the colonizing of our own non-Western-mind. The idea that this Allah issue has caused the Muslims to be traumatized and dysfunctional leads to the perception, that Malays who are emotional and narrow minded are under qualified and lack capacity for self-government. We have seen that actually when commentators come in and say, if this is the way, Malays handle the issue, this country will go the Pakistan way, the Zimbabwe way.

The only way to avoid that is to adopt the liberal way, extol the thinking of salon Muslims, Bolshevik believers and so forth. We are asked to be mindful of what others say and so forth. Be nice to them, so that others are nice to us. Where shall this kind of thinking eventually lead to?

The construction of populations as traumatized and dysfunctional, is leading to their disqualification from self-government.

Calling us dysfunctional and narrow minded Malay Muslims and the fact that spokespersons for the enlightened chattering classes would even think that such words could be touted as acceptable demonstrates the elite supremacist commoditisation of the average Malay. That categorization is a legacy of a colonized mentality that has transformed itself, into a cultural mainstay that proudly links the liberated Muslim minds to acceptable mainstream Western and modern thinking.


Sunday 17 January 2010

The government must hasten the appeal on the Allah judgment.


Told you so.

Lim Kit Siang has asked the government to withdraw its appeal against the judgment of Lau Bee Lan. It is to show the sincerity of the government.

Would it also be reasonable now, to ask the Catholic Church to volunteer withdrawing the usage of Allah in its Catholic Herald? Would it be reasonable also to ask the Catholics agree in a government decision to ban Malay bibles printed wherever, from use in Malaysia?

Lin Kit Siang asks, in echoing Muhyidin Yassin's call for an interfaith dialogue. The object of interfaith dialogue is to foster understanding, Mr. Lim, not see to the fusion of religions or religious elements into a One Malaysia religion.

We are not looking for a rojak religion, with a new One Malaysia name, incorporating the similarities in all the major religions. The similarities encourage open dialogues and understanding while retaining all their core beliefs at all times.

How can Islam subsist under a Cao Dai like environment having to sacrifice the most basic foundation of the Islamic faith-Aqeedah founded on Tauheed?

No, Mr. Lim Kit Siang- the Catholics should volunteer to desist in the usage of Allah in their Herald and stop using Malay Bibles having the name of Allah therein.

Mr. Prime Minister- you must decide either there is One Allah or none. One Allah applicable to the whole of Malaysia, not one in the East and one in the West.

The DAPSY is against the use of Allah in the East only insisting that it be allowed to be used in the whole of Malaysia. There you are, they are knocking at the master bed room.

Mr. Prime Minister- make a 'bad' decision- declare that Allah is for Islam only. A bad decision is better than neither here nor there, or half here and half there.


West Malaysia Allah, East Malaysia Allah

This is part 2 of the letter I received from Persatuan Peguam2 Muslim Malaysia.


The Birth of Allah's Son-Part 11




The Judge presiding the case of the Herald, Datuk Lau Bee Lan, in her decision disallowing MAIS, MACC and Majlis Agama of States as interveners, made special mention of the fact that the applicants in this case were unable to provide concrete evidence that the use of the word "Allah" is sensitive to the Muslim community and would cause disharmony, disunity and confusion among the Muslim community. As such, it may be inferred that the Judge was of the opinion that the usage of the word "Allah" by the Herald and the Church would not be of material consequence as far as the Muslim community is concerned.


Events that unfolded during the days immediately succeeding the decision proved otherwise. NGOs, Islamic organisations and various other organisations whether politically connected and apolitical were greatly moved by this outright disregard of the Muslim's community sensitivities. The government, initially unsure of the correct stand to be taken, followed the stance set by our former premier in this issue, where Tun Mahathir in his statement immediately after the Court decision was handed down stated that "….the word "Allah" is specific for Muslims.." and "…in Peninsular Malaysia we have never heard of Christians using the word Allah when referring to God in the Malay language, why are we using the word now?..". Tun Mahathir's sentiment is shared by many Muslim groups in Malaysia who questioned the motives behind the application by the Church to use the word "Allah" in the Herald which may, subsequently lead to the use of the word of "Allah" in a Malay language version of the bible. The other versions of the bible, which is the English, Chinese and Tamil language, do not include the word "Allah" in their publications. As such, it seems that the word "Allah" and as such, "Allah's Son" are meant to be used exclusively for a Malay language version and targeted for the largely Malay Muslim community.


The demonstrations of opposition to the Court decision that took place all over the country culminated in sporadic attacks against Churches in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Malacca and Sarawak, hinting to possible civil unrest if left unabated. A news report dated 11th January 2010 in the Star which states "…Some 1,700 members of the Protestant Church packed the hall for the joint Mandarin and English services from early yesterday…" points blankly to the age old customary usage of English and Mandarin in their Church services, which reinforces the suspicion of the Muslim community towards the intention of the Church in using the word "Allah" in the Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly and the Malay version of the bible.


In respect to the attacks against the Churches, there have been notable efforts by the government to pacify the Christian community whereby monetary compensation and contribution to repair the Churches were offered. The Muslim community generally do not condone the attacks and belief that these attacks are isolated incidences and committed by extremist individuals. However, similar efforts by the government to pacify the Muslim community are wanting and the Christian community have not come strongly forward to state their disagreement with the application by the Titular Roman Archbishop to use the word "Allah" in Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly. In order to contain extremist individuals and comfort the wounds of the Muslim community inflicted by the Church's Court application, a more decisive stand has to be made by the government authorities.


Although the stand by the government authorities in this issue is uncertain and lacking in direction, the Yang Dipertuan Agong Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin ibin Almarhum Sultan Madmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah ("Yang Dipertuan Agung") came forward to point the direction that the government is supposed to drive in this issue. In the statement issued by the Yang Dipertuan Agung dated 9th January 2010, the Yang DiPertuan Agung reminded all parties to respect Islam as the religion of the Federation and emphatically stated that the use of the word "Allah" shall precisely follow that as understood and complied in the Islamic context. The statement made by the Yang DiPertuan Agung had to a certain extent, provided some semblance of relief from the black abyss that currently envelopes the muslim community.


The statement by the Yang DiPertuan Agung that Islam is the religion of the Federation is of great significance in its meaning and effect. Under the Constitution, Islam holds a special position that is unquestionable. This special position is entrenched in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution that states, "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace in harmony in any part of the Federation." Therefore, Article 3 establishes the sovereignty of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the rights of other religions to be practised shall not encroach on the rights of Muslims to practise Islam nor cause disharmony to Islam. The description of Islam as a religion above others under the Constitution is aptly described by Judge Mohd Nor Abdullah in a decided case in the year 2000 (Meor Atiqurahman bin Ishak & Ors v Fatimah Sihi & Ors [2000] 1 CLJ 393), where Islam is likened to a majestic tree known as the "Pokok Jati" which is tall, strong and luminous. It stands and walk before others, its presence is in the main arena with its voice heard loud and clear. If its nature is not as such, then it cannot be said to be a religion above others in the Constitution.


The Yang DiPertuan Agung, in taking the office of Yang DiPertuan Agong, is subject to the Oaths he had pledged as stipulated in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution. In accordance to the Oaths taken under the name of Allah, the Yang DiPertuan Agong has an undisputable sacred duty as custodian and protector of the religion of Islam and Malay rights.


In the case of the Herald, the Yang DiPertuan Agong, having been advised by Constitutional experts, came instantly to the defence of the Islamic religion and being an institution by itself, was the first to pledge support for the Sultan of Selangor in the intervener application. The Majlis Agama of Terengganu, being the state directly under the Yang DiPertuan Agong was initiated as a party through its Majlis Agama Islam to the intervener application. For states that have no Sultan such as Malacca, Pulau Pinang and Wilayah Persekutuan, the Yang DiPertuan Agong took upon himself to instruct the Majlis Agama of these states to join in the intervener application. The Sultan of Johor, meanwhile, came into the intervener application through the advice of their Mufti.


The main thrust of the Yang DiPertuan Agong's and Majlis Agama States' concern is the confusion that the misuse of the word "Allah" would cause among the Muslims and non Muslims alike. The concept of Allah as understood, embraced and practised by the Muslim community in Malaysia is totally distinct and separate from the concept as understood by the Church conceptually, culturally and theologically. Whereas, the concept of Allah embraced by the Muslim community in Malaysia as defined in the context of Muslim and Malay tradition is Allah in a MONOTHEIST (TAUHID) sense as opposed to the concept of TRINITY of God as understood by the Church.


In the aftermath of the Church attacks, calls were made for the Muslim community to remain calm and not to disrupt harmony. Some opinions chided the Muslim community for their intolerant behaviour towards the Court Decision and even advised that the issue of the use of the word "Allah" in the Malay language pages of the Herald-Weekly has been unjustly magnified. The nation has forgotten one critical aspect in all of this mayhem; the Muslim community did not start the encroachment of the rights of other religious communities. Instead, the act of the Church in bringing the matter to Court is seen by the Muslim community as a belligerent and provocative act and this fact should be acknowledged by all, as a first step towards healing wounds.



Information Secretariat

Persatuan Peguam Peguam Muslim Malaysia.


Be nice, so that Muslims are treated nice. it's just some excuse to uncle-tom some people out there? We need to be nice to our minorities because hopefully, others will be nice to our Muslim minorities. Muslims all over the world are run down and run over. Now, that's a definition of being nice to minorities.

Once you compromise on the underlying principles you prostitute yourselves. Then, there is no stopping you being nice to all and sundry. The nice sounding signals are given by people such as Khalid Samad( whom Pas rank and file consider heretic), Miss Marina Mahathir, leader of the salon Muslims and Abim?( a bunch of Bolshevik believers).

We, the rest? Are all miscreants and religious bigots.

I received a copy of the views of some Muslim Lawyers who have banded together under the Persatuan Peguam2 Muslim Malaysia. This was some time ago. Obviously Nazri hasn't been to a place to see how this issue is viewed by Muslim professionals. You see, with Nazri, what HE knows he has got no problems. Hence a fortiori , what he doesn't know, is even more a no problem to him.

The birth of Allah's Son- Part 1

The Malays, as one foreigner once summed up, are a people who rest under the coconut tree with the sun shining brightly and cheerfully upon them whilst the wind blow softly against their faces.

This observation is meant as a compliment to the temperament of the Malay Muslims. As compared to Muslims of other countries, the Muslims of Malaya did not go through a period of great conflict and bloodshed to obtain independence. As a result, you have a Muslim community who is tolerant and receptive to other religion and races.

The constitutional position of Islam and the Malays can best be understood by making an analogy to a house owner who welcome visitors into their house and allowed their visitors the right to use the living room, dining room, the bedrooms, the garden, and all other areas, except, the house owner was to say, "Never ask for the right to use my own master bedroom. It is my special privilege." After a few decades, the house owner has shared everything in his house except for his own master bedroom. He finds that his visitors, having enjoyed unlimited access and use of all the parts in his house are now knocking on the doors of his master bedroom, demanding for the right to use his own master bedroom, his last bastion.

The case of the weekly Herald has jolted the largely Malay Muslim community into the realisation that their last bastion, their master bedroom (i.e. Islam and Malay privileges) is now very much at stake. The positive outcome from the Herald fiasco is the unity of the Muslims coming to the fore to protect and defend a matter held dear to their very essence, their religion, culture and sense of identity.

The Herald had since 1986, illegally used the words "Allah" to refer to God in its publication. Under Control of Undesirable Publications of the Printing Presses and Publications Act introduced in 1984, the Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) has the power to introduce the Garis Panduan Penerbitan Kementerian Dalam Negeri ("Guideline") to regulate publications such as the Herald. According to the Guideline, words such as "Allah", "Kaabah", "Baitullah" and 'Solat" are not allowed to be used by religions other than Islam. The KDN then issued a letter dated 19.05.1986 instructing and advising the weekly Herald not to use the words contained in the Guideline. Such words are deemed as sensitive to the Muslim community and may cause disharmony, disunity and confusion among the community especially the Malay Muslim community.

However, instead of adhering to KDN's instructions and advice to cease publishing the word "Allah", the weekly Herald repeatedly breached the Guideline by reproducing the publication in the Herald containing the words "Allah".

The Archbishop of the Titular Roman Catholic Church ("the Church") himself admitted in his Affidavit that a total of eight letters were sent to the Herald by KDN advising them to cease the use of the word "Allah" in their publication which went unheeded. They have blatantly disregarded the Guideline since 1986 until 2007, and with that action, provoked the sensitivities of the Muslim community. Since no immediate and decisive action was taken by KDN in response to this consistent breach, the Church was emboldened enough to file a Judicial Review dated 19.03.2008 for the following declarations:-

  1. that the Church is entitled to use the word 'Allah' in The Herald, a weekly Catholic publication of the Church;

  2. that the Guideline by the Kementerian Dalam Negeri is illegal; and

  3. That the use of the word "Allah" is not exclusive for the religion of Islam.

The Herald meanwhile, posted their publication online until it came to the attention of the Majlis Agama Islam Selangor ("MAIS") and the Malaysian Association of Chinese Converts ("MACC") who were deeply concerned on the effects of the publication on the Muslims in general, especially as they were under the impression that the publication was to be solely for internal circulation of members of the Church. With its posting online by the Herald however, meant that the general public and those outside of Kuala Lumpur including the world at large would have unlimited access to the Herald. The MACC feared that the publication would cause confusion among converts due to the terminology used. It may also open the floodgates for other beliefs to challenge the Guidelines and use the word "Allah" in their practise.

As a body entrusted with the protection of the rights and interests of Islam and the largely Malay Muslims, MAIS viewed these developments with alarm and concern. MAIS is empowered under state legislation to dispense their duties as the lawful representative of the Sultan of Selangor including to advise the Sultan of Selangor on any matter impacting the unity and interests of the Muslims. Having presented to the Sultan of Selangor the gravity of the matter, the Sultan of Selangor found the situation to be sufficiently compelling for MAIS's intervention. With the blessings and unequivocal support of the Sultan of Selangor, MAIS filed applications to be admitted as interveners for both the Summons and Review. Their action was emulated by other Majlis Agama Islam of the States of Wilayah Persekutuan, Terengganu, Johore, Pulau Pinang and Melaka. Throughout the case, solicitors and MAIS officers handling the case attest to the ease by which they were able to advise and brief the Sultan of Selangor and to obtain further directions. The deeds of the Sultan of Selangor shall be crafted in our historical manuscripts as a monarch who has displayed a deep conscience and understanding of his role as protector and custodian of Islam and Malay rights, in the case brought by the Church.

The intervener applications by MAIS, MACC and Majlis Agama Islam of States were provided for by statutory provisions under the Rules of the High Court. Unfortunately, the Court did not allow their application even though MAIS argued for their inclusion under the various provisions in the Rules of High Court, including provisions for special entry to oppose the judicial review. The Court did not recognise the statutory duties of MAIS under state legislations as the lawful body to advise and aid the Sultan of Selangor in such matters of judicial review relating to the rights and interests of Islam and the largely Malay Muslims. The Court made a pronouncement that MAIS have no basis to justify that they have a direct interest in the case, in total disregard to MAIS's statutory function as adviser and aid to the Sultan of Selangor in matters of Islam and Muslim rights. Thus, MAIS was denied the opportunity to put forth their arguments before the Court by the Judge presiding the case, Datuk Lau Bee Lan. This situation proved fatal to MAIS's intervener application and was a major factor that led to a decision in favour of the Herald. The Court decision meant that the words "Allah" and consequently, "Allah's Son" were allowed to be used in the Malay pages of the Herald weekly. The reaction of the Muslim community to the Court decision dated 31.12.2009 has been largely one of disbelief, anger and humiliation; a deep wound that if it were at all to recover, would require a long healing process.

Information Secretariat

Persatuan Peguam Peguam Muslim Malaysia

Date: 11th January 2010


When the mice are away, Nazri(the Cat) comes out to play.

I hope, Nazri isn't talking on behalf of the PM. I hope, he is on a frolic of his own. Because, if he does speak on behalf of the PM- the permission given is vastly out of sync with the character of a person responsible for coming up with the One Malaysia concept, KRAs and implementation of inherited KPIs. The permission represents recklessness and light thinking- while only serious and meticulous planning results in the creation of such concepts.

The way the government is handling this Allah issue, if what Nazri said is true, shows the government is clueless as how to deal with the matter. It goes along the way, solving issues as matters of expediencies.

This kind of management style isn't like MBO or something along that genre. Indeed, the way the government handles this issue is as though, it thinks of something as it goes along. This kind of thinking isn't culled from books like Blue Ocean Strategy which the PM favours or some lessons imparted by management thinkers.
If I were to describe the management style- it's the management style of Captain Jack Sparrow. In the film Pirates of the Caribbean, Sparrow thinks of a game plan as he goes along.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has described the management style of the government succinctly:-

As a mark of our decline, at some point in our recent history the government itself began to speak the language of sensitivities. In the controversy over whether Christians are allowed to use the term "Allah" the government talks about managing sentiment when it should be talking about what is the right thing to do. This is what government sounds like when a political system and its leadership have come unstuck from the rule of law. IT GOES FROM ISSUE TO ISSUE, HOSTAGE TO THE BRINKSMANSHIP OF SENSITIVITIES. Small matters threaten to erupt into racial conflict. The government of a multiracial society that cannot rise above sentiment is clearly too weak or too self-interested to hold the country together. It has lost credibility and legitimacy. The regime is in crisis.

This is Captain Jack Sparrow's kind of management style- going from issues to issues, solving them as expediencies. The management style suggests no underlying, stable principles. While I agree with Tengku's description and observations, I do not over elements which he accepts as underlying principles. To him, it's the rule of law and doing what is right. Incidentally, doing what is right is the calling of the leader. Obviously by not doing what is right, the present government has no leadership.

Doing the right thing calls on the Prime Minister to bring closure to this issue but not in the way Nazri does- appeasing the voters in the fixed deposit states. If Allah cannot be used by Catholics in West Malaysia, it cannot so too in East Malaysia. There is only One Allah not Two. But we should not be too hard on a person known more for his outbursts and almost nightly sojourns at the watering holes in Shangri-La should we? Yes we shouldn't be too hard on salon believers, Gauche caviar , Chardonnay Muslims and members of the chattering class appearing on 101 East al Jazeera. The only thing worth seeing there was perhaps the interviewer.

Doing the right thing requires the PM to call for a congregation of the national council on fatwas, or something like a national council of muftis, national council of ulamas to state once and for all, the views of Muslims over this Allah issue. The principles of Aqidah and Tauheed are not less underlying principles such as doing the right thing and rules of law expounded by Tengku Razaleigh. Indeed, they are more relevant as regards matters of the Islamic religion than Tengku Razaleigh's rule of law and doing the right things.

I want to get away from the Allah issue. But it doesn't die down. This time Nazri Aziz, the minister who has this penchant for shooting from the hip tells everyone, that Allah can be used in East Malaysia. By his own admission he has been to an Iban Church and heard the word Allah spoken of. He has no problems with it.
If Nazri comes out with the government stand on the basis of having no problem when visiting and Iban Church, God Allah save us! Is this a decision based on an underlying principle? You are going there to do some balls licking fearing you lose the fixed deposit states.


I hope this declaration by Nazri isn't a frolic of his own. But it does not matter, if it's done in the course of his duty as His Majesty's Minister, then his boss or his employer is vicariously liable or responsible. We are being reasonable therefore to infer than Nazri's declaration received the blessings of the Prime Minister.

Please decide Mr. Prime Minister.


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