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Monday, January 25, 2010

Zaid: Sack Zulkifli

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — PKR supreme council member, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today said the party should sack lawmaker Zulkifli Noordin, after the Kulim MP lodged a police report against a colleague from PAS over the “Allah” issue.

Zaid’s call comes amid a growing chorus of criticisms against Zulkifli from within PKR, including from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who said last night that the MP known for his hardline Islamic views had crossed the line.

“We (PKR) are a reform movement. We go by the law. Even if you disagree, it’s okay, [but] don’t lodge a police report.

“It is time for PKR to look at itself... its credibility is being affected. In my view, they must sack him. Otherwise the party will become a laughing stock,” said Zaid.

Zaid’s strong remarks and Anwar’s move to discipline Zulkifli may signal the end of the road for the Kulim MP in PKR, who has been openly hostile towards colleagues from Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

PKR de facto leader Anwar said last night that Zulkilfi will face disciplinary action by the party.

Anwar added that Zulkifli had crossed the line by lodging the report and that he was disappointed with him.

“I have always given him room to express himself but I have not always agreed with him.

“I have advised him not to cause any tension among our partners but he has crossed the line this time,” Anwar told reporters at Pakatan Rakyat’s road show here last night.

Zulkifli had lodged a police report against the PAS’ Khalid Samad for making a statement that a Selangor enactment which prohibited non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” and other Islamic terms was “outdated.”

Anwar confirmed that he has written to Zulkifli and was expecting an explanation before Tuesday.

“I have emailed him so that he will give an explanation because I want to refer this case to the party’s disciplinary committee and political bureau which will hold a meeting this Tuesday. I hope he can provide his answer before that,” he added.

Anwar also questioned why Zulkifli never referred his grievances to the party leadership.

Is Southeast Asia the Next Front?

ImageBy Asia Sentinel

A new book argues that the US ignores the region at its peril


This is adapted from the introduction to "The Next Front," an examination of rising Islamic consciousness and alienation from the United States and published in Singapore by John Wiley & Sons. A review of the book is published nearby.

See the book review: The Next Front: Southeast Asia and the Road to Global Peace with Islam

The Muslims of Southeast Asia do not register in the American mind's eye. The US turned its back on them and their homelands when we abandoned the quagmire of Vietnam. We can no longer afford this complacency and the ignorance it breeds.

While Southeast Asia's Muslims have for centuries stood apart from their Arab co-religionists, the differences are beginning to shrink. And that is cause for concern and action, from Southeast Asians as well as Americans. Thirty years ago, while American soldiers were fully engaged fighting Vietnam's Communists, the Muslims of Southeast Asia were almost universally what we would have termed "moderate," had we been paying attention. But because they were God-fearing Muslims, and therefore anti-Communist, we paid them little heed.

We took them for granted. Men seldom grew beards, even those sufficiently hirsute to do so. Some women covered their hair; almost none masked their faces. People greeted each other in the vernacular selamat pagi, never the Arabic salaam aleikum. They thought of themselves first as ethnic Malays and only then as Muslims.

All of that, and much more, is shifting dramatically. Moderation is losing the moral high ground, looked down upon as a tool of Western manipulation. And still we are paying scant attention. The flame of puritanical religious practice, which more and more Muslims perceive as the Islam that Mohammed transmitted from God, was reignited by two events in the Middle East during the latter decades of the twentieth century. Only in retrospect have they been recognized as Earth-shattering.

First, the mullahs' revolution of 1979 in Iran demonstrated to Muslims everywhere that Islam was not merely a litany of rites to be performed in the mosque, but a way of life meant to control their every move as well as the legal system and governance of the state. The second was Saudi Arabia's pouring of vast amounts from its staggering oil earnings into building and running ultraconservative Wahhabi mosques and religious schools throughout Southeast Asia, teaching that their intense practice alone was the true Islam of Mohammed.

At about the same time, Osama bin Laden began agitating for stricter implementation of the faith within the Saudi kingdom. He preached that the influence of Christian-Jewish "Crusaders" was eroding the purity of Islam and that the presence of US troops was sullying the very land of its birth. This culminated in the 9/11 attacks. In direct reprisal, on October 7, 2001, the United States attacked Afghanistan in what the Pentagon called Operation Enduring Freedom. Seventeen months afterward, US forces unleashed the Shock and Awe bombing campaign of Baghdad, laying the groundwork for a swift, cross-country armored assault.

T President George W. Bush and Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, argued that they must "disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."

It quickly became evident that Saddam did not possess any weapons of mass destruction, and US credibility suffered its greatest blow since we abandoned our friends in Indochina. Throughout the Muslim world and beyond, America became not a defender of freedom but an aggressor.

Many of the Muslims with whom we spoke during our research travels through Southeast Asia said they had been horrified by 9/11. Many others, however, acknowledged exhaling a collective, long-held sigh of relief and vindication for a score settled. Still, they bit their tongues and swallowed their instinctive resentment when the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. They had little empathy for the Taliban and they understood, even if they did not condone, Americans' need to settle their own score with bin Laden and his hosts.

But the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the protracted and violent occupation appalled them. They condemned the war, not because they admired Saddam but because they viewed it as unprovoked and a clear demonstration of Americans' universal disregard for Muslims. They found in the killing, the Abu Ghraib torture, and what they perceived as the blatant hypocrisy of the Guantánamo Bay imprisonments all the proof they needed that Americans cared little, if at all, about the human rights of Muslims and about bringing the blessings of democracy to Iraqis.

In their reality, the United States wanted Iraq's oil, its strategic location as a permanent base for US military forces, and a springboard from which to better defend Israel — the quintessential symbol of Islam's humiliation. After years of theoretical teachings, Iraq provided them with incontrovertible evidence of America's anti-Islamic bias.

Resentment of Western influence, never very far beneath the surface after centuries of colonial domination in Southeast Asia, percolated up to ground level. Muslims we had considered moderate—or "mainstream"—began to take on the fundamentalist trappings of Arabs, though not necessarily their intellectual comprehension. Small percentages of Southeast Asian Muslims, mainly undereducated, unemployable young men, heard the siren call of terrorism and bought into it as the best weapon available to them to fight against their own disadvantaged status and what they believed was the evil of the West. In Indonesia, officials estimate that 2 percent of Muslims fit within the "radical" rubric. While initially that seems reassuring, in a nation of 238 million, 90 percent of them Muslim, 2 percent works out to well over 4 million.

Yet most Southeast Asian Muslims continue to fit Western standards of moderation. Most value democracy and want to live in democratic societies. Most admire much of what Americans believe in and want the United States to remain an active participant in their region's economic and diplomatic lives. But they will no longer accept the big brother–small brother relationship that we have long demanded of them and that their own governments have accepted as unavoidable.

Because we lacked insight the last time we bumbled into the jungles of Southeast Asia, we left with 58,000 of our own and perhaps 6 million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians dead. Our greatest failure was to convince ourselves erroneously that if Ho came to power over the South, a reunited Communist Vietnam would align with China, its millennial enemy, and the Soviet Union. Today, by continuing to lump religious fundamentalists together with radical extremists and assuming that they all hate Americans, we are compounding the same kind of simplistic mistakes. First among these is the widespread and insulting tendency to think of all Muslims as Arabs and as terrorists.

Zul Noordin faces PKR disciplinary action

Finally crossed the line. — file pic

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said last night that Kulim MP Zulkilfi Noordin will face disciplinary action by the party.

Anwar said Zulkifli had crossed the line and that he was disappointed with him.

“I have always given him room to express himself but I have not always agreed with him.

“I have advised him not to cause any tension among our partners but he has crossed the line this time,” Anwar told reporters at Pakatan Rakyat’s road show here.

Zulkifli, known for his hardline Islamic views, had lodged a police report against the PAS’ Khalid Samad for making a statement that a Selangor enactment which prohibited non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” and other Islamic terms was “outdated.”

Anwar confirmed that he has written to Zulkifli and was expecting an explanation before Tuesday.

“I have emailed him so that he will give an explanation because I want to refer this case to the party’s disciplinary committee and political bureau which will hold a meeting this Tuesday. I hope he can provide his answer before that,” he added.

Anwar also questioned why Zulkifli never referred his grievances to the party leadership.

“I am forced to ask the party leadership to propose appropriate action against him.

“He should have come to us; why can’t you bring it to the party leadership? He never conveyed [the matter] to us,” he said.

The PKR Youth wing has also blasted Zulkifli and described his action as “very Umno-like.”

Youth leader Syamsul Iskandar called on party leaders to take stern action.

However, Anwar believes that Zulkifli should be given a chance to explain himself.

“I don’t believe in the demand of sacking before due process and [I am now] allowing him to explain,” he explained.

The police report against Khalid is not Zulkifli’s first “renegade” act that has placed him at odds with his party and Pakatan Rakyat as a coalition.

The Kulim MP, who was formerly with PAS, has acted in ways seen to be detrimental to the opposition pact in the past.

One example was when he played a role in the demonstration against the Bar Council outside the body’s headquarters.

The protest, held by far-right Umno-affiliated groups and other conservative NGOs, was organised to disrupt the Bar Council’s seminar on the jurisdiction crisis between the Syariah and the civil courts.

Despite his involvement, action was also not taken against him then.

Perception and Royal Reality in Malaysia

By Asia Sentinel

The King is Dead. Long Live the King, so to speak


Malaysia has gone into mourning for the Sultan of Johor, Mahmud Iskandar Almarhum Sultan Ismail, who died Friday at 77. He was buried in an elaborate ceremony on Saturday. In Malaysia's oddball rotating kingship, which allows each of the country's nine sultans to wear the king's hat for five years, Iskandar became Malaysia's Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, or king, in 1984, relinquishing the title in 1989.

Najib Tun Razak, the prime minister, cut short a visit to India to extend his condolences and issue a statement: "On behalf of the government and people. I express sadness and extend condolences to Her Royal Highness Sultanah Zanariah and her children as well as the royal household on the demise of His Royal Highness the Sultan of Johor."

The massive Iskandar development project in Johor across from Singapore was named for him.

Muhyiddin Yassin, the deputy prime minister, said that Iskandar's death "is a big loss to the people of Johor, and also of Malaysia, because of his priceless contributions during his lifetime."

But it is difficult to see just what those priceless contributions were. Despite the encomiums, the Johor sultan embodied just about everything that was ill-starred about Malaysia's system of royalty.

Both The Star, owned by the Malaysian Chinese Association, and the New Straits Times, owned by the United Malays National Organisation, issued respectful obituaries. To most Malaysians, the New Straits Times said, "the Sultan will be remembered for his mercurial ways, as well as his inadvertent role in the constitutional crisis of 1993 which dramatically ended the legal immunity of the country's nine hereditary monarchs."

Iskandar's role was hardly inadvertent but it was certainly mercurial. In fact it was integral to it and it stemmed from his brutal beating, along with members of his staff, of a field hockey coach. And although the end of legal immunity was pushed through 17 years ago, today Malaysian royalty pretty much act any way they want without facing arrest. Several have left huge gambling debts in London casinos to be picked up by Malaysian state governments. Recently there have been incidents reported of fistfights between rival royals in Malaysian night clubs.

In recent months, in fact, UMNO, the country's leading political party, has led a charge to report to the police anyone who dares criticize the royalty. Several critics have been charged with sedition.

Iskandar was one of the worst of Malaysia's sultans, a violent, often brutal and impulsive man who seemingly knew no bounds to his behavior. He was lucky to be a sultan at all. He was ignominiously dismissed as the Tunku Makhota, or prince regent of Johor, by his father, Sultan Ismail Ibrahim, in 1961 after he reportedly chained two policemen into a dog kennel for a day after they displeased him. He was later reported to have attacked a young couple with Mace after they allegedly offended him. In 1972, he was charged for Macing two men because their car had had overtaken his on the highway.

He regularly patrolled Johor roads with a red light and siren on the top of his Rolls Royce and a shotgun strapped to the dashboard, pulling over speeders and ordering them to perform enjut ketampi, the Malay term for squat jumps, until they fell over. Any driver who inadvertently passed the sultan's car on Johor's roads or obstructed him was subject to exorbitant fines. His staff was petrified by him. Once, at a diplomatic reception for example, he was seen to simply hold out his glass when it was empty and drop it as a terrified servant raced across the room to catch it before it shattered on the marble floor.

In 1971, he got into real trouble by shooting and killing a trespasser whom he took to be a smuggler walking near his private helicopter. He was charged with manslaughter but his father intervened, as the sultan did repeatedly at other times, and granted him a pardon despite his disapproval of his actions. Iskandar's family wasn't much better. His eldest son, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, shot a man dead in a nightclub but was also pardoned.

There was considerable speculation in Kuala Lumpur that despite the fact that the kingship rotated on a set basis, his fellow sultans would block him because of his behavior. But they elected him Agong in 1983. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad promptly fomented a constitutional crisis by ramrodding through a series of actions in the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament, that removed the power of the royalty to veto legislation, along with closing other loopholes within the Malaysian constitution.

That didn't slow down the sultan much. In 1987, after he became the Agong, he allegedly clubbed a caddy to death at the Cameron Highlands golf club for laughing when the sultan missed a putt. He also was said to have maimed the caddy's brother, who suffered a mental breakdown from seeing the incident and had to be restrained in a mental hospital.

Although the killing was given wide currency among Kuala Lumpur's political and social circles, Iskandar was never arrested. It remained out of the government-controlled press. It so distressed the retired Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country's first leader after independence, that he publicly condemned the assault without naming Iskandar. The Tunku, however, also pointed out that as a sultan, Iskandar was immune from prosecution.

In 1992, following Iskandar's departure from the kingship, his son, Tunku Abdul Majid Idris, assaulted the goalkeeper of the Perak hockey team after Perak won a match with a penalty stroke. The goalkeeper lodged a police report against the son, who ultimately was convicted and sentenced to a year in prison. The charges were dropped on grounds of immunity. Later the sultan himself was involved in the other field hockey controversy that finally made Malaysia say enough. He called a local coach to his palace over a minor dispute. He and his bodyguards assaulted the coach, who had to seek medical attention for injuries to his face and body. The coach also filed charges. This time, the press reported on both incidents.

Despite the fact that the sultan had won Mahathir's approval by firing Mahathir's nemesis, Tun Salleh Abbas, the highly respected lord president of Malaysia's highest court, which brought an end to the independence of the country's judiciary, the assaults were enough for the prime minister. He led a campaign in the parliament to remove legal immunity from prosecution for the royalty that passed resoundingly.

Iskandar reportedly finally calmed down in later years, and lived a life largely out of the public prints. None of his misdeeds made the Malaysian press after his death. One blog cheerily said he would "always be remembered as Malaysia's unconventional King. He preferred to drive his own car or pilot his own helicopter. He also loved sports, especially golf and was not afraid to lose in a game."

Or a caddy. He was called "a King with the common touch."

Anwar forum ends in chaos, cops move in

Anwar spoke of his upcoming trial at the forum. — file pic

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 25 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s first public forum in Lembah Pantai, his first since his release in 2004, ended in chaos here last night.

The police interrupted Anwar 30 minutes into his speech at 11.35pm at the PKNS flats in Kampung Kerinchi.

The PKR advisor was telling the public about his upcoming sodomy trial when six uniformed officers led by Brickfields OCPD, ACP Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Talib, walked into the crowded parking lot where the forum was held.

As the police got closer to the stage, the 500-strong crowd became agitated and started insulting the officers.

At that point, Anwar tried to calm the crowd: “Everybody please calm down. Let me deal with this.”

He tried to recite a prayer when Abdul Bari got on the stage.

“Just give me five minutes to recite the prayer,” Anwar asked but the police stopped him without warning and moved to grab the microphone away.

This caused momentary chaos as Anwar’s men rushed to protect him from being apprehended.

Abdul Bari looked visibly worried when the crowd became agitated and began chanting, “Reformasi!”

After 10 minutes of heated arguments with Abdul Bari, the veteran politician was then allowed to be escorted into an apartment in a nearby flat.

The police, including Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohamad Sabtu Osman, then ordered the crowd to disperse as a small group of FRU personnel began to line up near the parking lot entrance.

The organisers also tried to ease the tension and asked the supporters to leave peacefully.

“Please calm down. They are only doing their jobs. Please leave,” one of the organisers shouted.

Twenty minutes later, Anwar came out smiling from the apartment and walked to his car.

The car drove off while the remaining few remaining shouted, “God is great!”

A distressed-looking Nurul Izzah, Anwar’s daughter, criticised the OCPD for stirring up public emotion.

“I think it is a clear provocation because you certainly do not have to do that. We stress again this is merely supposed to be a briefing.

“This is terrible because it showcases how politics has gotten involved in police dispensing their duty,” she told reporters here.

The Lembah Pantai MP also argued that they were supposed to have been allowed to hold the talk because it was PKNS land.

“We should have been able to use the hall (of the PKNS flats) but it was denied by the Umno leadership here.

“Since we were not given the hall, the OCPD said that it was fine to hold the talk here (in the parking lot) but a permit was not given,” she added.

Abdul Bari later explained that it was Anwar who provoked the police to act.

“We were okay in the beginning but with the presence of Datuk Seri Anwar... his speech was political in nature which was not in line with why they gathered.

“So we were forced to act,” he said.

He also stressed that he had warned Anwar to stop before the police moved in.

Is Malaysia beyond hope?

Hundreds of thousands have already left. And at an alarming rate too, of circa 1,000 people per day. Triple that of Burma; a country considered to be under a cruel Regime. If we calculate this rate, and factor in the fact that it comprises mostly of people of child-bearing age, and the present mortality rate, then Malaysia should be void of people in 20 years time. except for UMNO people, of course.

By John Doe

Well, migration is one option. The second would be up to the existing “leftovers”. Sounds weird, when people are referred to as “leftovers”, right? Well, what can these people do? They seem to hate UMNO, yet are Law-abiding Citizens who continue to finance UMNO by paying tax, and bribing crooked Policemen.

I draw immediate parralell to “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.

We scream, and rant incessantly over the internet. Becoming Professors in “ArmChair-Criticism-ology”, and the moment we hit the streets, we are silent as a doornail. May I suggest this.

  1. Stop saying “Let others do it..”
  2. Stop saying “ It is the job of Politicans. After all, we elected them...”
  3. Stop saying “I have No TIME”.
  4. Stop procrastinating.
  5. Don't wait till next after GE-13.
Instead, may I suggest this. It can be fun, if we put our hearts into it.

Make weekly weekend trips to unknown destinations. And by that I mean, group trips, family trips, and so on. Pick any location. For example, those in Kedah, can make a trip to Pantai Merdeka. Those in KL can go to Bagan Lallang Beach, those in Kelantan can go to Pantai Cinta Berahi, and those in Sabah can go to Beaufort by train; or even Tenom, if time permits. Yeah, go look at the Rafflesia bloom (it's on top of the hill behind the hotel [seasonal]). So, besides having a good time, and seeing this beautiful country, carry with you a list of crimes of UMNO. And for heaven's sake, bring all the proof you can print out...

So become an “Ulamak of Justice”, “Evangelist of a Clean Malaysia”. Yes, I'm suggesting holidaying, while forging a new Malaysia. Pick total strangers (only those who smile back at you) and pick a conversation. Then say, “You know what? I just happened to have an entire file sitting in my car !!”. Be genuine, and please don't try to sell them insurance, or whip out your religious books, and you will do fine !! Who knows, you might make a new friend. But for goodness sake, don't walk out there in a pack, as what the Jehovah Witnesses do, or you'll scare the living daylights out of anyone.

I'd start the conversation this way, look at a nearby stranger in the eye, smile and then look at the tree, waterfall, playing children, anything, and slowly sigh. And then say, “I wonder if I'll ever see this in 10 years. The way this country is going, maybe all of us will be forced to run away, or be refugees...” well something to that effect. Trust me, many have used this approach, and it works. And who knows? They might even respond... I love starting with the C4 story. It works around the world. If you were to play International-Trivia, “Which Cruel Government bombs Churches and Mongolians..” “MALAYSIA” will be the guaranteed answer. (Proud or not?)

Above all, be genuine, and have fun while doing it. Bring your your wives, kids, girlfriends, anyone. I don't really even care. Make it a weekly-weekend outing. Not only will you immediately spend more quality-time with your family, you'll get out of the house and not sit around the TV farting aimlessly all day. Think healthy, dudes... And bring along a few (not too many) copies to give to them, or to hand around. Yes, let them keep it...

And for the less ethnocentric people, go speak to someone, not of your same skin-color. Worst case scenario, everyone understands the National Language.... I was surprised how well, Bahasa Pasar went. And just to throw in a tiny nugget of information, the word Pasar is understood in Cambodia. They say, “P'sar” instead. Close enough eh?

So, Malaysia might have hope after all...

Finally, maybe friends in MT can help cobble this “Preaching-Pack” together...

So, for those who need help, please write in to the administrators of MT.

Allah row easy to solve if we follow His bidding, not Umno's

The ongoing row over whether non-Muslims can use the word Allah to describe God has flushed out many systemic weaknesses, and also highlighted how unprincipled some of our political and religious leaders have become.

By Wong Choon Mei (Harakah)

Just to stay on the winning side, many seem to think nothing of abandoning basic truth and simple facts. So much so, it is no longer religious principle but vested interest that is now the core tussle behind the row, and that whoever speaks the loudest – regardless of whether the verbiage is backed by the Quran or not – will emerge victorious.

Against such moral deterioration, what are the chances of an inter-faith dialogue finding a way forward that is satisfactory to all quarters? Against such deliberate cultivation of prejudice, can the voices of every participating faith be heard equally, or will they be drowned out selectively?

The answer depends on whose bidding Malaysians - be they Muslims or non-Muslims - follow.

Deliberate lies

Take the much-hyped Muzakarah Pakar or Experts Forum organized by the government-controlled Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia or Ikim, which was attended by some of the nation’s top religious leaders a few days ago.

When the marathon eight-hour forum ended, former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, the Ikim president, was not above bending the ‘findings’ of a seven-member expert panel that included luminaries such as PAS president Hadi Awang, PKR religious head Dr Mohd Nor Manuty and former Perlis Mufti Dr Asri Zainal Abidin.

According to Umno-controlled media, Abdullah said participants had unanimously ‘surmised that the translation of Allah as God was factually wrong because it contradicted the concept of God as espoused by Islam in Malaysia’. Broken down, the doublespeak means it is wrong for non-Muslims to use the word Allah.

But in an immediate response, Hadi denied that the panel ever reached such a common stand and that the news report was wrong.

The PAS leader stressed that there were no such conclusions taken nor resolutions adopted at the discussion entitled ‘Translation of God as Allah: Identifying the Root of the Problem and Its Solution’. He was backed by Dr Manuty and Dr Asri, who also issued statements to clarify what had actually transpired.

They said, on the contrary, there was general agreement by the forum panelists that non-Muslims could use Allah provided that guidelines were issued to prevent its misuse. All three men also reiterated that the Quran allowed it, and that guidelines were the way out in preserving dignity and preventing sensitivities from being rubbed in our multiracial society.

In particular, Asri blasted Abdullah’s comments that the forum focused on whether Allah was an accurate translation for God. This was again untrue, the ex-Perlis mufti said. In fact, what dominated discussion was whether non-Muslims could use the word Allah and not whether the translation of God as Allah was accurate, he added.

Why? To further Umno's cause?


Why then did Abdullah misinform the public?

To say he was being ‘sleepy as usual’ would be too facile and disrespectful of his decades as a top public servant. To say he did it deliberately to further the cause of his Umno party – which has been accused of instigating and prolonging the row to rally Malay support – would also be unfair to his record of having been the most democratic of Malaysia's six prime ministers so far.

Those close to him say he was misquoted, which is not impossible. They say he is unhappy about the incident. But if so, why not issue a clarification. Otherwise, the perception will stick that Abdullah had manipulated information in order to give a false impression of unanimous agreement by experts that it is wrong for non-Muslims to use Allah.

And whether the ex-PM did this on his own volition for the sake of Umno, or was asked to do so by the party’s top leaders would certainly be the next 'hot' questions to follow.

The other four panelists who attended the Ikim forum were religious adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Abdullah Md Zain, associate professor at International Islamic University Dr Kamar Oniah Kamaruzzaman, Ikim director of economic and social studies Dr Mohd Sani Badron and Ikim fellow for Syariah Law and Politics Md Asham Ahmad.

Whose bidding should we follow?

Despite organizing and participating in the dialogue, Ikim’s own stand is still ambiguous. It believes that non-Muslims are misusing the word Allah. But it has not clarified whether the word can be used by non-Muslims. These are two different arguments - each loaded and packing a huge wallop of its own. Still, by keeping silent, the implication that follows is it does not believe that non-Muslims can.

Which is fine and fair enough as we cannot all be expected to have the same viewpoints. Malaysians – whether Muslims or not – should be matured enough to accept and understand divergent stands, but we cannot and must not tolerate dishonesty, which is what deliberate misinformation boils down to.

Especially in a matter where the greatest sincerity and the highest nobility of spirit should be our spontaneous and ultimate guiding factors. After all, God - by whichever name - is watching us all. And we should all be doing His bidding and not that of His adversaries - whether perceived or real.

If we all followed His teachings, then the Allah row would not be difficult to resolve, contrary to what Umno and its media would have us - Muslims and non-Muslims alike - believe.

The grace of God is mightier than all of us, and only the unbelievers and the irredeemably corrupt would dare to challenge Him.


(Wong Choon Mei is a Consultant Editor for Harakah)

My East-West Allah

thenutgraph.com

Go not to the temple to put flowers upon the feet of God,
First fill your own house with the fragrance of Love
.

Rabindranath Tagore

MY first reaction to the news that a church was attacked was one of disbelief. Most East Malaysians, I think, would be confused as to why this is even an issue in the first place. Whether it was in East Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur, my memories of bilingual and Malay-language mass in church included this essential part:

"Kudus, kudus, kuduslah Tuhan, Allah Maha Kuasa."

When we asked for forgiveness, we would sometimes pray:

"Saya mengaku kepada Allah yang Maha Kuasa ... bahawa saya berdosa dengan fikiran dan perkataan."

In our prayer books, both in East Malaysia and in Kuala Lumpur churches, guidance for reading of the Gospels is written:

Bacaan Injil

Injil sebagai puncak sabda Allah diwartakan dari mimbar oleh diakon atau imam.

My father is a non-Muslim bumiputera and my mother a West Malaysian Chinese. My sister and I grew up attending mass and read books on Buddhism; my mother's Catholic brother who practises Buddhist meditation introduced Islamic poetry to our family. We have Muslim cousins and Buddhist aunts.

My East Malaysian cousins and I share ancestors who were bobohizans — pagan medicine women — and men who held bomoh abilities. My family members and I, regardless of faith — whether Muslim, Christian or Buddhist — understood that "Allah" and "Tuhan" could be used interchangeably. It was never something to get confused about.

As Catholics, we never fought with our Protestant cousins the way I had to defend my church denomination when I came to Kuala Lumpur. Diversity in skin colour and belief were expected, and accepted. Had anyone tried to put my Buddhist or Muslim relatives down on account of religion, they would have my sister and me to contend with.

Underlying it all, we knew, even as children, that everyone's blood runs red, and that we ultimately worship the same God. Those who did not believe in a higher being practised love and compassion anyway. This was good enough for most of us.


Excerpt from prayer book (Courtesy of Petra Gimbad)

Being the product of a mixed-race marriage does that to you. In East Malaysia, taxi drivers would never ask, "You Melayu ke Cina?" Once, I had a conversation in primary school about our collective heritages. Many of us were the product of at least three races, most named five. Only two were pure Chinese Malaysian.

Imagine getting into a cab in Kota Kinabalu and having to recite, "Aku orang Cina, Bugis, Filipina, Kadazan, Murut ..." It just does not work. Plus, there are far more interesting things to talk about, such as poverty in Sabah or the Penan issue.

Blurring the lines

The recent church, Sikh gurdwara and surau attacks brought me home to Sabah and Sarawak and what I missed about them. In Malaysia, our textbooks ask schoolchildren, "Is Ali a Malay?" and "Is Mei a Chinese?" based on what they wear, what they speak, and what religion they practise. This is despite the fact that most Chinese girls do not wear cheongsams on a daily basis; and many of my Malay and Indian Malaysian friends in Kuala Lumpur speak English at home.


In East Malaysia, the lines are blurred. You find Kadazan Malaysians who pray at the gurdwara, and Sino-Kadazan Malaysians with Arab and Muslim ancestors who pray in churches.

My father's Muslim friends were so accepting of pork being served at the same table. This is similar to the acceptance practised by Buddhist and Hindu friends throughout Malaysia of non-vegetarian cuisine or beef meals.


Vegetarians don't complain when meat is served
at the table (Pic by lockstockb / sxc.hu)
It worries me how West Malaysian ideas of intolerance have started creeping in: during my childhood, peers started telling me off for being kurang ajar while I absentmindedly ate pork in front of them. What then, one begs to ask, of vegetarians or Hindus who do not eat meat or beef and accept the serving of certain foods at the same tables?

It seemed a little unfair when, as a Catholic, I refrained from meat on Fridays and was totally okay with chicken being served at the same table on that day. I would rather have my friends near than feel segregated on account of food. This is more muhibbah, no?

Why fight over a word?

The arguments we have over the right to a word are utterly bewildering. Classmates and I said "Ya Allah!" instead of "Oh my God!", and used the terms "Nabi Isa" and "Yesus Kristus" interchangeably. Out of respect, my Christian friends and I would try to use the term "Nabi Isa" when we were referring to Jesus Christ while talking to Muslim friends. However, if we said "Yesus Kristus", our Muslim friends did not mind — we understood that our faiths had differing concepts, but we knew we were essentially talking about the same man.

This took place in a school that had a 95% majority of Muslim girls, who may fit the constitutional definition of what it is to be a Malay Malaysian. They spoke the language as do all of us in East Malaysia, regardless of race — unlike the Kuala Lumpur community who sometimes cannot even communicate with each other. They wore the baju kurung, as do many non-Muslim schoolgirls throughout Malaysia. And they professed the Islamic faith. However, many of the girls were ethnically Bajau.

The only Muslim I had to worry about was the ustaz who purportedly sexually harassed his students. I was exempt from this because I did not have to take Islamic studies — a part of me wished I could, because it angered me to hear my friends' stories and I wished I could have collected evidence on their behalf.

As early as primary school, Malay-Muslim friends in Sabah made sure I knew that I should never feel forced into Islam, and that some would attempt to do so by force to "capai pahala". I was to take my time to learn about the religion. If I chose not to convert, that was okay, too. One of these friends was the daughter of an ustaz and ustazah.

Closer to God

In the light of attacks on churches, a gurdwara and surau, I feel immensely lucky to be a mixed race child from a family of many faiths. I believe — and this is personal — that this has brought me closer to God. Hafiz expresses it best:


Blue church next to an Iban longhouse in Sarawak
(Pic by tajai @ Flickr)
I have learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call
Myself
A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
A Buddhist, a Jew.
The Truth has shared so much of itself
With me
That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even pure
Soul.

Dihalang Berceramah Di Lembah Pantai

Alhamdulillah acara di Ampang dibanjiri puluhan ribu rakyat tanpa sebarang masalah.

Tetapi program di tanah PKNS, Kampong Kerinchi bersama Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid dan Nurul Izzah menghadapi masalah permit polis.

Entah mengapa sejak kemenangan kita usai tahun 2008, belum pernah sekali kami dibenarkan berucap di Lembah Pantai. Shahrizat terus berdendam dengan kekalahan dan Raja Nongchik menganggap beliau punyai kuasa mutlak. Dan polis bertindak sebagai alat penguasa Umno.

Dalam pengalaman saya berdepan dengan pegawai polis sebelum ini dalam isu ceramah, saya belum pernah menyaksikan keangkuhan pegawai saperti Wan Bari dari IPD Brickfields. Selalunya pegawai datang – pernah Ketua atau Timbalan Ketua Polis Negeri menyatakan dengan sopan (dari bawah pentas) bahawa saya harus segera menghentikan ucapan. Dalam kes ini beliau terus naik ke pentas pukul 11.33 malam dan minta saya hentikan ucapan. Saya setuju dan meminta hadirin bertenang.

Saya berhenti berucap tetapi beliau arah saya turun pentas segera. Saya minta beliau sopan, kerana saya sudah berhenti dan tidak wajar beliau pamer kuasa secara angkuh.

Alhamdulillah majlis berakhir dengan tenang. Ayuh Selamatkan Malaysia!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Dr Mahathir – a Creation of the US!

By Martin Jalleh

For a very long time the US government was looking for a political lackey to do its bidding in South East Asia. They scoured the earth and soon found their man in Bolehland – a land where anything is possible. He was none other than Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Dr M). They would mould, modify and manage him into a perfect make-believe.

They first portrayed Dr M as the savior of his nation. He would make great speeches about the grave threat of recolonisation but for his own political survival he would hone to perfection and use a gamut of archaic repressive laws left behind by the Colonial Master. US professors in history and politics would then write about the tragedy of how the once-oppressed are now the oppressors in the Third World!

Next they projected him through the foreign press as a Voice of the Third World. Dr M would invite Nelson Mandela to stand next to him in Kuala Lumpur to declare his anti-apartheid vehemence. The same media would then go to town with his racist stance at home reinforced recently by a Cabinet minister who crowned him a “Bloody racist” and a “Father of racists”! It was an excellent smokescreen for racism in US.

The US singled him out, shored him up and saluted him the hero of the Muslim world. Dr M would declare his country an “Islamic State” and preach on Islamic values. Yet, his party was corrupted to the core and his Federal ministers and Chief Ministers (Menteris Besar) were guilty of sexual immorality and many other sins. The West pounced on the tragic contradiction and used it to smear the good name of Islam.

The US gave him free rein with his occasional anti-semitic invective. He would blame the problems of his country and the world on the Jews, though he had official Jewish financial advisors to his government, such as Salomon Smith Barney and Goldman Sachs. The more he attacked Israel, the more it gave the US the excuse to defend and protect them!

He was pictured as fearless in criticising and castigating the US for its many human rights abuses, whilst the US collected evidence of every human right violation he had committed especially those related to the Internal Security Act. Every year such evidence would fill the pages of the annual reports by US agencies on human rights abuse in the country which are sent to potential investors of Malaysia.

“Mahathir, despite his nationalistic rants, signed a secret security agreement with the United States in 1984 that gave the Americans access to a jungle warfare training school in Johor and allowed them to set up a small-ship repair facility at Lumut and a plant in Kuala Lumpur to repair C-130 Hercules transport aircraft,” wrote Barry Wain, author of the ‘Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times’.

The US recognized him as the man behind Malaysia’s economic success but at the same time it would point the finger at him for the nation’s stagnant economy and for the scandalous amount of money lost during his premiership. As Barry Wain would also reveal: “Malaysia has squandered an estimated RM100 billion on financial scandals under the 22-year rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.”

In spite of the big show he had put up in demonising the US, Dr M would seek to return to the US for re-engineering and to receive further instructions. The government paid RM4.6 million for the services of disgraced US lobbyist Jack Abramoff to secure an audience with the then US President George W Bush, whose many crimes against humanity gave an elated Dr M a longer anti-US script to act out.

Dr M said recently that if the US can make ‘Avatar’, they can make anything, even 9/11!

Alas, how true, they can even make their very own Dr Mahathir Mohamad, one who would do anything at the behest of the US to satisfy his craving for the attention and adulation of his country and the world, and the adoration of his many followers who consider him their very avatar of power!

Impostors swindle food caterers for non-existent ministry functions

The Star
By SHAUN HO

PETALING JAYA: Impostors posing as Human Resources Ministry officers have been cooking up a scam to cheat caterers by ordering food for non-existent functions.

One such victim, who declined to be named, claimed he was fleeced of RM2,750 after he was contacted last month by a man introducing himself as a Human Resources Ministry “special officer” wanting a quotation for a function on Jan 9.

The victim, who manages the catering section of the family-owned business, was told that another senior official would contact him once the quotation was approved.

Several days later, the victim did receive a call from another man claiming to be the Industrial Relations Unit director-general, who informed the victim the quotation had been approved.

The victim even received an official-looking letter bearing the department’s letterhead several days later.

“I was initially sceptical about the offer, but was convinced when I saw the letterhead,” he told The Star.

The victim then paid RM250 for the catering project tender and RM500 as commission to the “special officer”.

He was also supposed to pay RM2,000 as “processing fee” to secure the fast release of a cheque for RM54,000 - of which, RM40,000 was for the catering and another RM14,000 as commission to both the so-called ministry officers.

He paid RM2,750 to secure the catering deal. On Jan 4 he went to Putrajaya to collect the RM54,000 cheque.

“While on my way, the “special officer” called and said that the function had to be postponed to Jan 16. He added that my money would also be refunded via ATM machine.

“I waited three days but no money was returned to me,” said the 30- year-old businessman.

He became suspicious and called the department last Tuesday only to find out that there was never any function planned.

He discovered he was the eighth victim who had called the ministry about the scam.

Other victims had lost up to RM10,000.

Industrial Relations Department director-general Mohd Yunus Razzaly confirmed the incident and said he had received complaints from several other food caterers as well.

The department had lodged several police reports over the matter.

S'pore, M'sia fare poorly in 'quality of life index'

By Anil Netto

Many Malaysians look up to Singapore for its quality of life.

But have a look at the ‘quality of life index’ by International Living. Singapore has a total score of just 61, just above Malaysia’s 58. Both are way down the list.

Of course, this doesn’t look like a scientific index as it appears to be based more on perception. And the compilers of the index admit they have a Western bias when it comes to matters such as climate preference.

But all the same it is interesting to note that the quality of life in Singapore – which scores 100 per cent for ‘risk and safety’ but is pulled down by its low level of freedom – just doesn’t cut it for them.

Watch the racist Zulkifli Noordin speaking

Borneo forum revisits M'sia Agreement pledges - Malaysiakini

Borneo Forum (BF), an all-Borneo NGO umbrella body, made the Malaysia Agreement the focus of its deliberations in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.

BF brings together the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) and observers from Kalimantan.

The ad hoc meeting in KK resolved that the Malaysia Agreement will be raised by a Sabah-Sarawak delegation at a briefing at the House of Commons in London on March 19.

The London meeting was set up by Hindu Rights Action Front (Hindraf) chair P Waythamoorthy (right) who said that Hindraf will also be represented.

"We will prepare a joint memorandum for the London meet," said BF protem chair Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan. "Two researchers are in London to gather material from the Rhodes Library in Oxford."

Sarawak environmentalist John Anthony Brian briefed the meet on the progress made by the two Sarawak researchers in London.

BF pro-tem secretary-general Paul Kadang said the memorandum will have to be comprehensive and thorough so as to convince the UK goverment.

"The focus will be on the undertaking and assurances to Sabah and Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement," said Paul.

The failure of the federal government to live up to the promises of the Malaysia Agreement was attributed to "the lack of a permanent monitoring and coordinating body".

The London meet was scheduled to be held earlier this month but was postponed after a simmering crisis in the Sabah chapter of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) threatened to erupt into open warfare.

Kitingan (left) is the PKR national vice-president with overall responsibility for Sabah and Sarawak.

Earlier, BHF delegate and former Tuaran MP Yunof Maringking briefed the meet on the controversy surrounding the use of the term Allah, an attribute of God, by Christians in Malay print.

"This issue would not have arisen if the 1st Point in the 20 Points for Sabah and 18 Points for Sarawak had been honoured," stressed Yunof, a senior lawyer in private practice.

"It was the promise of the Malaysia Agreement that both Sabah and Sarawak would not have an official religion."

Yunof saw no reason why Sabah and Sarawak, along with Labuan, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Malacca, "should be bogged down by the religious history of the Malay sultanates".

He went on to talk about various state enactments on several terms used in Islam as well and fatwas which referred to non-Muslims.

'Let the court resolve the matter'

The meet was unanimous that the state enactments, being inferior laws, were ultra vires the federal constitution and the fatwas non-binding on non-Muslims.

The meet noted that God was rightly explained as Tuhan in the national anthem, Rukun Negara and in Parliamentary usage.

They resolved that this should be maintained and not replaced by the term Allah since the latter was an attribute of God and not the only one.

There are 999 other attributes of God, the meet agreed. "Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohd had wrongly described Tuhan as the Christian God."

The BHF legal committee which was present cautioned the meet against polemics on the current court case pitting the Herald, the Catholic weekly, against the Home Minister.

"The issue is whether the Home Minister has the power to use the Printing Presses Act to prohibit the Herald from using the term 'Allah' in Malay print. Let the court resolve the matter ," advised the committee. "

Nazri showed disrespect

The meet was not without its prickly moments when de facto Law Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz was rapped on the knuckles for showing disrespect to Judge Lau Bee Lan who presided over a Dec 31 ruling favour of the Herald.

"Nazri should be cited for contempt of court if he doesn't apologise," said BHF delegate Evelyn Gobile.

Nazri was also chided for having shown disrespect to Archbishop Murphy Pakiam by blaming him for the court case.

The meet did not touch on Nazri's (right) announcement that the federal government was agreeable to Christians in Sabah and Sarawak using the term Allah in Malay print.

However, they resolved that the Malay language was the common heritage of all Malaysians and no religious denomination should be restricted from using the language fully for faith-based activities.

BHF delegate Benedict Topin won the meet's approval for his analysis that Umno, the ruling party, had miscalculated on the Allah issue "and would not in any case back down on their politicisation of the issue".

"Already, Umno is politicising the Government Transformation Programme as well," said Benedict. "Those who attended the GRP briefing in KK last Sunday were shocked by the extent of politicisation."

Among its calender of activities for this year, the BF meet agreed that Sabah and Sarawak representatives should visit Kalimantan Tengah on April 24 for the harvest festival visit.

Kalimantan celebrates the harvest festival a month before Malaysian Borneo. On the cards are an All-Borneo Song and Music Festival and All-Borneo Safari.

The cultural ties between both halves of Borneo - "the world's best kept secret" - is seen as a prelude to indigenous groups in Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei drawing strength from the well-organised similar movements in Kalimantan.

On a final note, the BF meet resolved to accept the offer from the Chief Justice of the US Indian Nations Native Supreme Court to help develop the native court system in Malaysia.

The offer was made through John during a recent visit to the US. BF expects to co-ordinate on the matter with the state attorney-generals in Sabah and Sarawak and their respective bar councils.

Najib-Anwar rivalry spreads to Indian chambers

By Baradan Kuppusamy - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 – The “two-chiefs disease” that has blighted the PPP and the Makkal Sakti Party has spread to the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry with council member and former president Datuk V.K.K. Teagarajan claiming that he is the rightful president and not Datuk K.K. Eswaran, who bested him by a one-vote majority in elections last June.

The source of their bitter feud, which is the talk of Indian business circles, may well be politics and not business rivalry.

The origins of the feud is a press statement Eswaran gave soon after winning as president, in which he attacked Hindraf, criticised the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and, in the same breath, praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The statement did not go down well with some members who are overtly pro-Hindraf, pro-PR and pro-Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Subsequently Eswaran, according to Teagarajan, continued to use the chamber’s name to propagate his political beliefs and promote Najib’s interest over the main role of the chamber, which is to help and promote Indian businessmen.

Eswaran also allegedly, and on numerous occasions, made political statements favourable to Barisan Nasional.

However, critics say that Teagarajan, who was once an MIC and BN supporter, had also done the same when he was president.

Teagarajan countered, however, that he had never put politics above chamber matters or interests.

He told The Malaysian Insider that he might close one path and open another, politically speaking.

“I keep my options open,” he said when asked if he was considering joining a PR party.

The Najib-Anwar rivalry is notably causing a major split in the Indian chamber, because many of its members are openly backing Hindraf and PR.

According to Teagarajan, members were put off by Eswaran’s alleged “blatant” disregard for the rules and interest of the chamber, his alleged disregard for the ROS directives and “arrogance” and disruptive way of running the chamber.

“His arrogant way of way management has alienated many chamber members,” Teagarajan claimed.

He also claimed that Eswaran failed to hold a special delegates conference, as directed by the ROS on Sept 9 last year.

“He also failed to convene the annual delegates’ conference for 2009 by June 30 last year and got an extension until Dec 30 but also failed to convene in that time,” Teagarajan said,

Teagarajan said that seven out of the 12 state chambers held a special meeting on Oct 5 last year and formed an interim committee to organise a special delegate’s conference.

The conference was held on Jan 11 and during which Teagarajan claims he was elected president.

Eswaran could not be contacted but the Sunday Star quoted him as saying the Jan 11 meeting was illegal and that he had the backing of 58 of the 72 chamber delegates.

He also said the ROS had been informed of the decision to postpone the conference.

Gerak chief joins PKR despite suit from party leader

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Jan 24 — Chief of graft watchdog, Gerak, Mohd Nazree Mohd Yunus today joined PKR but denied it was an attempt to have a pending civil suit dropped.

Nazree, a protege of Gerak founder Ezam Mohd Noor who is now in Umno, insisted he joined the party because of his “principles”.

“I want to be a part of a party that fights for the people and it honours me to participate in the second Reformasi wave,” the 26-year-old told reporters at the PKR headquarters.

The former student leader added that he had discussed his application with party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the latter was “open” about him joining the party.

Nazree’s mentor, Ezam, on the other hand, had left PKR after a nasty fall-out with Anwar’s right hand man, vice-president Azmin Ali.

Ezam resigned as Gerak chief and joined Umno in June 2008.

Many assumed that Nazree would follow Ezam’s anti-PKR trail when he lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission against PKR Selangor chief Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on allegations of graft.

Khalid immediately denied any wrongdoing and claimed the report was libellous in nature and sued the latter.

Observers believe that Nazree’s intention in joining PKR is an attempt to avoid the civil suit.

The former Gerak chief’s application will be reviewed by PKR’s top leadership. Should he be accepted, Nazree will be joining the PKR’s Angkatan Muda, the party’s youth wing.

In response to media speculation Nazree said there is no question of him being appointed to a particular post within the wing.

No man is an island; we are the revolution

It is Anwar’s duty to ensure that this is what will happen. Anwar must now put into place Plan B. The second liners must now be mobilised. Anwar must strategise on the basis that he is certainly going to jail and that he cannot prevent this from happening.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE

I do not know whether you are into Reggae music. If not then maybe today I can convert you to ‘real’ music from the crap you normally listen to on the Malaysian radio stations.

Today, I want to talk about the anxiety many have expressed about the future of the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, in the event Anwar Ibrahim, yet again, gets sent to jail. Well, trust me, there is every possibility Anwar will be sent to jail. There may be no avoiding that.

At 5.00pm last Friday, a meeting was held in the Bangsar home of a certain Umno veteran whom I am not at liberty to mention by name. Let us just say that he knows I know who he is because I had dinner with him less than a month ago and we both ‘fought’ to pay the bill.

Nevertheless, I told him, since he was visiting ‘my kampong’, then it is my duty to pay for dinner. In the event I visit him in his kampong, then I will allow him to pay -- although if I do that I would probably be packed off to Kamunting before we could even meet for dinner.

Anyway, the meeting that was held in this Umno veteran’s house last Friday at 5.00pm and attended by many other Umno leaders was to discuss two very crucial issues. One was on how to bring down Pakatan Rakyat and the other on how to ensure that Anwar Ibrahim gets sent to jail for a very long time where he would probably never see freedom again and end up dying in jail.

That is how determined Umno is in seeing both the destruction of Pakatan Rakyat as well as the incarceration of Anwar Ibrahim. And that is why I said Anwar might be hard-pressed in his efforts to escape incarceration. It is not about the law. It is not about the trial. It is not about whether Anwar is guilt or innocent. It is about Umno wanting to ensure that Anwar ends up in jail whereby that would see the destruction of Pakatan Rakyat.

While one may happen, this does not mean the other will happen as well. Anwar may most likely end up in jail. But this does not guarantee the destruction of Pakatan Rakyat as well.

And this was made very clear by Lim Kit Siang in his statement yesterday.

Pakatan Rakyat or even Parti Keadilan Rakyat is not about Anwar. It must not be about Anwar. If the fate and fortune of the opposition rests on just one man, then Anwar and the opposition leaders have done a great injustice to all Malaysians.

Was the ANC about Nelson Mandela? Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years but did this see the death of the ANC? In fact, the ANC actually grew in strength in spite of and because of the incarceration of Mandela.

They tried to kill the ANC by cutting Mandela off from the outside world. They even denied Mandela family visits for a very long period. Even his wife was not allowed to visit him. They thought that this would sever all links between Mandela and the ANC and this therefore would mean the ANC would be leaderless and would drift aimlessly.

But this did not cripple the ANC. Life went on as usual. In fact, the ANC moved forward and gained more ground. Mandela may have been the icon of South Africa’s opposition to Apartheid. But with or without Mandela’s presence it did not matter one bit. The ANC did not die because Mandela was not around.

And this will be what happens to Pakatan Rakyat. Anwar can come or he can go. But Pakatan Rakyat will continue, with or without him. So what Kit Siang said yesterday is absolutely true. It would be nice to have Anwar around. But it is not crucial that he is.

It is Anwar’s duty to ensure that this is what will happen. Anwar must now put into place Plan B. The second liners must now be mobilised. Anwar must strategise on the basis that he is certainly going to jail and that he cannot prevent this from happening.

We are talking about The Cause. We are talking about The Struggle. We are talking about The Peoples’ Movement. We are talking about The Revolution. And this must not be about Anwar.

And with that I will leave you with this second music video about The Revolution.

SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE

For whom the bell tolls (UPDATED with BM Translation)

Who are the traitors here? Are the traitors those who hijrah in search of a better life like what the Prophet Muhammad did? Or are the traitors those who ignore the patriotic contribution of Malayans from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Malaysians who ‘abandon’ their country and migrate to another country are traitors, says an Umno Minister. Is he speaking on behalf of the Malaysian government, on behalf of Umno, on behalf of Barisan Nasional, on behalf of the Malay race, or on behalf of the Muslim ummah (community)?

Malays always scream, rant and rave that Islam comes first and everything else goes to the bottom of the priority list. Even the Member of Parliament for Kulim -- someone from what can be considered a liberal party, PKR -- says that he puts Islam first and everything else second. So let us assume that Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, being a Muslim, speaks from the Islamic perspective. I doubt he would dare declare otherwise.

Islam stipulates that if you suffer persecution, oppression, injustice, and discrimination under a dictatorial regime, then it is your duty to hijah (migrate). And hijrah is very important to Islam. Hijrah is what the Prophet Muhammad was commanded by God to do. And the day of the Prophet’s hijrah is the day the Muslim calendar begins. That is how important hijrah is to Islam.

Is this Muslim Minister from Umno whacking Prophet Muhammad and calling him a traitor?

Many Malaysians died for their country. The Indians and Chinese migrated to British Malaya between the mid-1800s to about 1920 when the British started to tighten the immigration policy and no longer brought in labourers from India and China to work the railway, public works, plantations and tin mines in Malaya.

But this did not mean that immigration came to a complete stop. The British still brought in Indians to serve in the civil service and to serve as schoolteachers. This was because the local Malays, at that time, were not so proficient in the English language compared to the Indians. So the Indians were required as government servants and teachers.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s father is one example of an English language teacher from India who came to Malaya and eventually married a Malay woman, resulting in the birth of Dr Mahathir.

Many Indian and Chinese immigrants married in Malaya, sometimes to fellow Indians and Chinese and sometimes to local Malays (that is why many Malays look more Indian and Chinese compared to their Indonesian cousins). And understandably they sired children born in Malaya. And these local born sons and daughters of the immigrants are those Malaysian Indians and Chinese of today, many who have never stepped foot in India or China since the day they were born.

Their parents and grandparents (some are third or fourth generation Malaysians while some, like the Melaka Chinese, have been ‘locals’ since 500 years ago) came to Malaya to serve the country and died in this country. And some of these 'immigrants' have been in the country longer than even Malays who are only second or third generation Malaysians.

The question of who came first is an arguable issue. There are Indians and Chinese who have been in Malaysia for hundreds of years and there are Malays who have been in the country less than 100 years. Nevertheless, this article is not to argue about who is more Bumiputera -- the Malays, Indians or Chinese.

Everyone -- Malays, Indians and Chinese alike -- are sons and daughters of immigrants. It would be very difficult to dissect the three different races based on generalising. You would have to look at it on a case-to-case basis. My family came to Malaya in the mid-1700s. Tian Chua’s family came to Malaya much earlier than that. Dr Mahathir and Khir Toyo are merely second generation Malaysians although one became the Prime Minister and the other the Chief Minister of a State.

Okay, the purpose of this article is not to argue who is more Bumiputera as we can argue till the cows come home and will never reach a consensus. What I want to talk about is who has served this country and, therefore, can be considered a true patriot.

The railway, roads, bridges and buildings, right up to maybe the 1980s or so (that means for more than 100 years), were built by the Indians and Chinese (not the Malays). I still remember even as recent as the 1970s when Indians would work in the hot sun building the roads and laying the railway lines. They also worked in the estates and plantations. And the same goes for the tin mines and the construction industry, which were mainly a Chinese affair.

And many died. There were numerous cases where entire Chinese communities were wiped out by disease and war and they had to bring in fresh loads of Chinese workers from China to replace those who had died. And the living conditions of these workers were pathetic. Trust me when I say detention under the Internal Security Act in Kamunting is luxurious compared to what these Indians and Chinese had to endure.

The Malayan civil service, legal system, education system, and whatnot, depended on the English educated Indians brought in from India. It was not until the 1920s or so, when the immigration policy was tightened, that the Malays were educated enough to start filling the ranks of the civil service. Even by the time of Merdeka the country still depended on the immigrants because there were not enough educated Malays to serve the country.

And almost all these people died in this country (only some went home to die) and their Malaysian-born children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are those Indians and Chinese you see in the country today.

To sum up: this country was built by the non-Malays. What we see today is the result of the contribution by the non-Malays. Initially, Malaya’s economy depended on rubber and tin, long before we had factories and heavy industries. And it was because we had immigrant Indians and Chinese is why we saw a thriving rubber and tin industry. If not because of rubber and tin, Malaysia would be amongst the poorest countries in this world.

Then we had three wars - the Second World War, the Malayan Emergency, and the Konfrantasi with Indonesia. And not just Malayans, but many foreign ‘Mat Salleh’ (white skins), as well as Africans, Fijians, Gurkhas, Indians, Punjabis, Bengalis, and many more, died in these wars. Of course, Malays died as well. But Malays were not the only ones who died in these three wars. See the statistics in the addendum below to get an idea of those who sacrificed their lives for this country.

But is the contribution of these patriots ever remembered? The Malays scream, rant and rave that this is a Malay country. They declare that this is Tanah Melayu (Malay land). But we might not even have a country, at least not in the form that we see it now, if not for the fact that many not of Malay origin laid down their lives for this country. If the non-Malays, including the ‘Mat Salleh’, had not died for this country, Malaysia would no longer be an independent nation but just a small province of Indonesia.

When Malays talk about dying for your country, they just look at the three wars. But the death toll for these wars does not even come close to the death toll of those who died serving this country in other ways. Some died defending the country in wars. But many more died in the effort to build this country to what it is today. And many also died of mere old age after serving this country their entire life and then retired here as citizens.

But how do we repay these patriots or children and grandchildren of patriots not of Malay origin? We insult them. We threaten them. We discriminate against them. We oppress them. We persecute them. We treat them as second-class citizens. We refuse to recognise the patriotic contribution of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents in defending this country and in building this country to what it is today.

So these people feel hurt. So they feel that the sacrifices and contribution of their forefathers are not remembered and appreciated. So they decide to leave the country and go to another country that can better-appreciate their talents and skills instead of threatening and subjecting them to screams of “go back to your own country”.

Who are the traitors here? Are the traitors those who hijrah in search of a better life like what the Prophet Muhammad did? Or are the traitors those who ignore the patriotic contribution of Malayans from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s?

The Umno Ministers should be made to pass a history test before they can be appointed as Ministers. And they should also be made to pass a lie detector test every time they make a statement.

As the Malays would say: bodoh (stupid) is bad enough. Bodoh sombong (arrogantly stupid) is unforgivable. And Umno Ministers are just that -- bodoh sombong.

ADDENDUM
Combatants in the Malayan Emergency

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

Federation of Malaya

Rhodesia

Fiji

Various British East African colonies

Breakdown of the combatants in the Malayan Emergency

250,000 Malayan Home Guard troops

40,000 regular Commonwealth personnel

37,000 Special Constables

24,000 Federation Police

Casualties in the Malayan Emergency

Killed: 1,346 Malayan troops and police (of many races) and 519 British military personnel

Wounded: 2,406 Malayans (of many races) and British troops/police

Civilian: 2,478 killed, 810 missing (of many races including 'Mat Salleh')

Malaysian-Indonesian Konfrontasi

Combatants in the Konfrontasi

Malaysia

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

And with supported from the United States

Allied Casualties

114 killed

181 wounded

Indonesian Casualties

590 killed

222 wounded

Civilian casualties

36 killed

53 wounded

4 taken prisoner

The forces that served during the Konfrontasi period to secure Malaysia’s freedom and independence

United Kingdom

Royal Navy:

40 Commando Royal Marines

42 Commando Royal Marines

Sections of Special Boat Service

Detachments of 845 Naval Air Squadron (Wessex)

Detachments of 846 Naval Air Squadron (Whirlwind)

Detachments of 848 Naval Air Squadron (Wessex)

849 NAS Fairey Gannet AEW on HMS Victorious

British Army

Squadron of Life Guards

Squadrons of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards

Squadrons of Queen's Royal Irish Hussars

Squadrons of 4th Royal Tank Regiment

H Squadron of 5th Royal Tank Regiment

4th Light Regiment Royal Artillery (comprising 29 (Corunna), 88 (Arracan), 97 (Lawsons Company) Light Batteries)

V Light, 132 (Bengal Rocket Troop) Medium Batteries (of 6th Light Regiment Royal Artillery)

T (Shah Sujah’s Troop) and 9 (Plassey) Light Anti Defence Batteries (of 12th Light Air Defence Regiment)

30 Light Anti Defence Battery (Roger’s Company) (of 16th Light Air Defence Regiment)

53 (Louisburg) Light Anti Defence Battery (of 22nd Light Air Defence Regiment)

11 (Sphinx) Light Anti Defence Battery (of 34th Light Air Defence Regiment)

40th Light Regiment Royal Artillery (comprising 38 (Seringapatum), 129 (Dragon), 137 (Java) Light Batteries)*

70 Light, 176 (Abu Klea) Light, 170 (Imjin) Medium Batteries (of 45th Light Regiment Royal Artillery)

8 (Alma), 7 (Sphinx), 79 (Kirkee), 145 (Maiwand), Commando Light Batteries (of 29th and 95th Commando Light Regiments, Royal Artillery)

1st Battalion, Scots Guards

Guards Independent Parachute Company

1st Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers

1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

1st Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles

1st Battalion, Queen's Own Highlanders

1st Battalion, Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment

1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

1st Battalion, Royal Leicestershire Regiment

1st Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd)

2nd Green Jackets, The King's Royal Rifle Corps

3rd Green Jackets, The Rifle Brigade

2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment

D Company, 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment

1st Battalion, Royal Hampshire Regiment

22 Special Air Service

1st and 2nd Battalions of 2nd Gurkha Rifles

1st and 2nd Battalions, 6th Gurkha Rifles;

1st and 2nd Battalions, 7th Gurkha Rifles;

1st and 2nd Battalions, 10th Gurkha Rifles;

Gurkha Independent Parachute Company

Detachments 656 Squadron Army Air Corps

Various units from Corps of Royal Engineers

Various units from the Royal Corps of Signals

RAF

Detachments 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

Detachments 34 Squadron (Beverley) stationed in Singapore

Detachments 48 Squadron (Hastings and Beverley) stationed at RAF Changi, Singapore

Detachments 209 Squadron (Pioneer and Twin Pioneer)

Detachments 52 Squadron (Valetta) stationed at RAF Butterworth, Malaya

Detachments 66 Squadron (Belvedere) stationed at RAF Seletar, Singapore

Detachments 103 Squadron (Westland Whirlwind HC 10) stationed at RAF Seletar, Singapore

Detachments 110 Squadron (Westland Sycamore then Whirlwind) stationed at RAF Seletar, Singapore

Detachments 205 Squadron (AVRO Shackleton MR Mk2) stationed at RAF Changi, Singapore

225 Squadron (Westland Whirlwind HC 2)

230 Squadron (Westland Whirlwind HC 10)

81 Squadron (Canberra PR 9) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

20 Squadron (Hawker Hunter) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

60 Squadron (Gloster Javelin) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

64 Squadron (Gloster Javelin) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

45 Squadron (Canberra) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

74 Squadron (English Electric Lightning) stationed at RAF Tengah, Singapore

15 Squadron Handley Page Victor stationed in at RAF Tengah and Butterworth)

Australia

102 Field Battery Royal Australian Artillery.

3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

A and B Squadrons of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment

Malaysia

Malaysian Army

Squadron of Malaysian Reconnaissance Regiment

A and B Batteries (of 1st Regiment, Malaysian Artillery)

3rd Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment

5th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment

8th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment

1st Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment

Royal Federation of Malay States Police

Police Special Branch

Battalion of Police Field Force

New Zealand

1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

1st Ranger Squadron

41 Squadron (Canberra)

Detachments 41 Squadron (Bristol Freighter)

Translated into BM by Tan KY:

Menurut seorang Menteri UMNO

Menurut seorang Menteri UMNO, rakyat Malaysia yang “berhijrah” ke negara lain adalah pengkhianat. Adakah beliau bercakap bagi pihak kerajaan Malaysia, atau UMNO, BN, atau kaum Melayu atau umat Islam?

Orang Melayu selalu memaki-hamun dan berpekik yang Islam adalah segala-galanya dan selebihnya tidak penting. Contoh terbaik ialah ahli parlimen Kulim, daripada parti PKR yang dianggap liberal, berkali-kali berkata bahawa beliau meletakkan Islam mendahului segala-galanya, termasuk tugas beliau sebagai ahli parlimen. Sekarang mari kita anggap bahawa Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, sebagai seorang Islam, juga bercakap daripada perspektif Islam.

Islam berkata bahawa jika anda ditindas, didiskrimasi oleh sebuah regim yang kejam, adalah wajib untuk anda berhijrah. Hijrah merupakan konsep yang amat penting dalam Islam. Allah mengarahkan Nabi Muhammad untuk berhijrah, dan kalendar Islam bermula pada tahun hijrah.

Sekarang renung-renungkanlah. Adakah Menteri UMNO tersebut menuduh Nabi Muhammad seorang pengkhianat?

Ramai orang Malaysia berkorban kerana negara kita. Orang India dan Cina datang ke negara Malaya di antara tahun 1800 ke 1920. Selepas itu, British mengetatkan polisi imigrasi dan tidak lagi membawa buruh daripada India dan China untuk bekerja di landasan keretapi, ladang dan lombong di Malaya.

Tetapi ini tidak bermakna imigrasi telah berhenti selepas itu. British masih membawa rakyat India untuk bekerja di sektor awam dan untuk bekerja sebagai guru sekolah. Ini kerana pada masa itu, Melayu tempatan kurang menguasai Bahasa Inggeris berbanding rakyat India. Oleh yang demikian, rakyat India diperlukan sebagai kakitangan awam dan guru.

Ayah Tun Dr Mahathir ialah contoh seorang guru bahasa Inggeris yang datang dari India, dan mengahwini seorang perempuan Melayu tempatan.

Ramai pendatang India dan China berkahwin di Malaya, setengahnya kepada rakyat senegara dan setengahnya kepada Melayu tempatan (ini sebabnya banyak Melayu hari ini mempunyai iras Cina dan India). Anak-anak mereka dilahirkan di Malaya, dan merupakan rakyat Malaysia hari ini yang berbangsa Cina dan India. Ramai di antara mereka tidak pernah menjejak kaki di India atau China dari hari mereka lahir.

Ibu bapa mereka dan datuk-nenek mereka (ada yang merupakan generasi ketiga atau keempat di Malaysia dan setengahnya, seperti Cina di Melaka, telah berada di sini sejak 500 tahun lalu) datang ke Malaya untuk bekerja dan menghembuskan nafas terakhir di negara ini. Dan sesetengah “pendatang” ini telah berada di negara ini jauh lebih lama daripada sesetengah Melayu yang merupakan generasi kedua atau ketiga.

Perdebatan tentang siapa yang datang dahulu adalah perkara yang tidak mudah diselesaikan. Ada Cina dan India yang telah berada di sini sejak beratus tahun dahulu, dan ada Melayu yang hanya berada di sini kurang daripada seratus tahun. Namun demikian, artikel ini bukanlah untuk betengkar mengenai siapa yang lebih layak digelar “Bumiputera”

Semua daripada kita merupakan anak kepada pendatang. Sukar untuk kita mengkategorikan tiga bangsa ini secara umum. Ia sesuatu yang harus dilihat satu-persatu. Keluarga saya datang ke Malaya pada tahun 1700-an. Keluarga Tian Chua datang lebih awal daripada itu. Dr Mahathir dan Khir Toyo merupakan rakyat Malaysia generasi kedua walaupun seorang pernah menjadi Perdana Menteri dan seorang lagi Menteri Besar.

Sekali lagi, artikel ini bukan untuk membincangkan siapa yang lebih Bumiputra, kerana kita boleh berdebat siang dan malam dan sehingga kucing bertanduk pun kita tidak akan mencapai kata sepakat. Apa yang saya ingin ketengahkan di sini ialah siapa yang telah berjasa kepada negara ini dan oleh yang itu, layak digelar sebagai rakyat yang cinta negara.

Landasan keretapi, jalan raya, jambatan dan bangunan di negara ini, sehingga ke tahun 1980-an (lebih daripada 100 tahun) dibina oleh India dan Cina (bukan Melayu). Saya masih ingat pada tahun 1970-an, saya melihat pekerja India bertungkus lumus di bawah matahari yang terik membina jalan dan landasan keretapi. Mereka turut bekerja di estet dan ladang. Sama juga bagi lombong timah dan industri bangunan, yang kebanyakannya diusahakan orang Cina.

Dan ramai yang terkorban. Banyak kes di mana pekerja Cina maut akibat wabak penyakit dan perang dan pekerja baru terpaksa dibawa daripada China untuk menggantikan yang terkorban. Hidup mereka penuh kesengsaraan.

Di Malaya pada masa itu, sektor awam, perundangan, pendidikan bergantung kepada rakyat India yang menerima pendidikan Inggeris (India pada masa itu di bawah naungan British). Selepas 1920-an, Melayu tempatan mula mengisi jawatan di sektor awam setelah menerima cukup pendidikan Inggeris. Walau bagaimanapun, ketika negara kita merdeka, negara masih bergantung kepada golongan pendatang kerana rakyat tempatan masih kurang yang menerima pendidikan yang cukup.

Hampir kesemua golongan ini yang pada mulanya dibawa dari Cina dan India, anak, cucu mereka yang dilahirkan di Malaysia merupakan rakyat Cina dan India yang anda lihat di Malaysia hari ini.

Kesimpulannya, negara ini dibina oleh yang bukan Melayu. Apa yang kita ada hari ini merupakan keringat bukan Melayu. Pada awalnya, ekonomi Malaya bergantung kepada getah dan timah, sebelum kita mempunyai industri berat dan kilang-kilang. Dan hanya kerana adanya pendatang India dan Cina kita mempunyai sektor pelombongan dan peladangan yang berjaya. Kalau bukan kerana ini, Malaysia hari ini mungkin di antara negara termiskin di dunia.

Selain itu, kita pernah mengalami tiga perang, Perang Dunia Kedua, perang Komunis dan Konfrontasi dengan Indonesia. Bukan hanya orang Malaya, tetapi juga orang putih, orang Afrika, orang Fiji, orang Gujerat, orang India, Punjabi, Bengali dan banyak lagi, terkorban dalam peperangan ini. Tidak dinafikan, Melayu juga banyak yang terkorban. Tetapi mereka bukannya satu-satunya golongan yang terkorban.

Pokoknya, adakah pengorbanan golongan bukan Melayu diingati hari ini? Ada Melayu hari ini yang terpekik terlolong bahawa negara ini kepunyaan mereka. Mereka kata ini Tanah Melayu. Tetapi kita mungkin tidak ada negara yang kita ada hari ini tanpa pengorbanan bukan Melayu. Jika bukan kerana mereka, kita mungkin hanya satu wilayah Indonesia hari ini.

Apabila Melayu bercakap tentang berkorban untuk negara, mereka selalunya menumpukan kepada tiga perang ini. Tetapi angka korban bagi perang adalah kecil berbanding dengan yang terkorban kerana berkhidmat untuk negara ini dalam aspek lain. Dan ini tidak termasuk yang menignnggal dunia kerana usia tua selepas menghabiskan seluruh hidup mereka di negara ini sebagai seorang rakyat.

Tetapi bagaimana kita membalas budi mereka, dan anak-anak dan cucu-cucu mereka yang bukan Melayu? Kita menghina mereka (pendatang!). Kita mengancam mereka (jangan cabar Melayu!). Kita mendiskriminasi terhadap mereka (hak-hak Bumiputra!). Kita menindas mereka dan menganggap mereka sebagai rakyat kelas kedua. Kita tidak menghiraukan budi datuk nenek mereka yang menghabiskan hidup berbakti untuk negara kita.

Jadi mereka berasa terkilan. Mereka berasa bahawa pengorbanan dan bakti datuk nenek mere tidak dihargai. Jadi mereka mengambil keputusan pergi ke negara lain di mana bakat mereka lebih dihargai. Mereka meninggalkan Malaysia kerana tidak tahan dengan kecaman “baliklah ke China atau India. Ini Tanah Melayu!”.

Siapa pengkhianat di sini? Adakah pengkhianat mereka yang berhijrah mencari kehidupan yang lebih baik seperti apa yang dilakukan oleh Nabi Muhammad? Atau pengkhianat mereka yang tidak mahu mengiktiraf pengorbanan dan jasa pendatang di Malaya dari tahun 1800-an ke 1900-an?

Menteri Umno patut mengambil ujian sejarah sebelum mereka menjadi Menteri. Mereka juga patut mengambil ujian bohong setiap kali mereka membuka mulut mereka.

Bak kata orang Melayu: bodoh suduh cukup teruk. Bodoh sombong tidak boleh dimaafkan. Dan Menteri Umno hanya satu: bodoh sombong.

"Dont come home, Son"

Sometime in 1980, when I was a final year student in London, I had a very short teleconversation with my father. In those days, there were no call cards, Skype or the like and calls were expensive. He had a very simple message - "Dont come home, Son".

By "Ice Cream Seller"

To Deputy Minister Husni,

A story (true) in response to your statement about emigration by ingrates.

Sometime in 1980, when I was a final year student in London, I had a very short teleconversation with my father. In those days, there were no call cards, Skype or the like and calls were expensive. He had a very simple message - "Dont come home, Son".
Now almost 30 years on, I see where he was coming from.
He advised me to stay on in the UK or if I found the weather not to my liking, told me to go to Australia - even if it meant that I may eventually marry a "white girl" as he put it. I was 23 and marriage was certainly not on my mind.
He was a 'pendatang'. This pendatang however secured a scholarship to study in Raffles College (the pre-cursor to the University of Malaya) and served some 30-odd years in various senior teaching positions culminating with the last few years in the Malay College. Amongst his students - a list of past and present ministers and opposition figures.
I didnt heed his advice till last year and spent the last 28 years in Malaysia. However, it became increasingly untenable to work here without compromising my values, integrity and conscience.
Why did he advise me such?
With hindsight, I saw his foresight. As an educationist, he saw we were heading to be another Ceylon (from where he was sent when orphaned), Burma, Philippines and in today's scenario, Zimbabwe.
He saw what the outcome would be when we mess up education with politics.
He saw that religion would be a divisive factor in years to come (he even encouraged me to learn Jawi as a 9 year old).
He believed that in a country like this, mixed marriages would help cement society.
He saw in some of our leaders of yesterday that even in their youth, they had unbridled cunning and only needed an opening to exploit that trait.
He saw in some of his students potential to be PM but said that would never be because they were "too smart for UMNO's liking".
He saw that given our racial demographics, religion would be used as a means to ensure the survival of a particular group.
He believed that eventually, the Malays would have a class war amongst themselves.
He said that even amongst the Malays, many of the English educated would opt to live away from Malaysia.
He told me promotions won't necessarily be given for competence. These are usually won in the Clubs (read political party today) and over a few drinks. Being a bit of an introvert myself, he encouraged me to join clubs, associations and play sports and travel. He said honesty doesn't necessarily pay in this world but still better to be honest and live with dignity.
Our home was (at different times) home to 3 delinquent Chinese boys - sent by the Juvenile court. He volunteered to take them in. Add to that a few other Indian boys. Though not my mother tongue, I spoke to my parents in Malay till I was about 10. We took in a Chinese lady injured during the war and she lived with us for about 40 years till she died. My father referred to her as his mother in law. I thought she was my grandmother even though my mother was not Chinese!!
By the late 70s and early 80s, he saw that this scenario would not likely repeat in the years to come. When he died in 1982, we were pleasantly surprised to see some of his students (by then in their 50s) come from different states for his funeral. One told me that it was my father that made sure he spoke flawless English and another told me how my father would bring the 6th Formers home from the hostel and used our home for dinner and to teach them social graces - including dancing (taught by my mother). Partners were arranged from the convent school with the blessings of the headmistress!!!
29 years on, I view his foresight through the same prism and now agonise as to whether I should tell my children the same. For now, I am allowing my eldest to pursue his tertiary education overseas. Maybe when he finishes, he may not be as shortsighted as I was. Pray God grant him wisdom and vision.
Last year, I resigned from my job, returned the company car and driver, said goodbye to my executive package and moved to Australia where I now live with no maid, no driver, no Audi 2.8, no golf, no teh tarik seessions, no bonus etc but am rediscovering humanity running a humble ice cream shop.
Sometimes we learn very late.
An ice-cream seller