A giant poster gives Solo reason to celebrate
after their mayor, Joko Widodo, was elected to be Jakarta's next
governor. (JG Photo/Ali Lutfi)
Joko Widodo and deputy Basuki Tjahaja Purnama’s victory in Jakarta gubernatorial election has prompted an open-ended question regarding the Muslim majority’s degree of acceptance toward non-Muslim executive leaders.
On one hand the intellectual community has hailed Jakarta’s election result as a victory of democracy, pluralism, and meritocracy, given that Basuki’s ethnic and religious background did not seem to bother a majority of the voters. Many Jakarta voters opted for him due to his proven track record and vision despite the fact of his “double-minority” status — a Christian of Chinese ethnicity.
“Like it or not, Jakarta can become a barometer for Indonesia,” said Iberamsjah, a political expert from the University of Indonesia. “If a non-Muslim can be accepted in the capital, he or she should be accepted across the country. Don’t be surprised if more good, quality leaders from the minority groups emerge.”
On the other hand, however, pressure is growing within fundamentalist Muslim circles that are unwilling to accept a non-Muslim occupying the mayoralty or gubernatorial chairs to rule a Muslim-majority population.
They say that Joko’s victory, which propelled Basuki to prominence in the capital, spells danger for their future propagation efforts. The theory that these fundamentalists are promulgating is that Joko will not serve the full five-year term because he will be nominated by political parties to run for the presidency in 2014. That move would leave Jakarta’s governorship in the hands of Basuki.
Likewise, Joko’s chair in Solo will be automatically filled by vice mayor FX Rudyatmo, a Catholic who will lead a Muslim-majority population. This is unacceptable to some of the more hard-line Muslim groups.
They refer to Basuki and Rudyatmo as “infidels” who should not become their leaders at any cost.
On Monday, the Solo branch of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) said that it would set up a Shariah council in Solo to “respond to Jokowi-Basuki’s Jakarta election victory.”
“Establishment of this council is a clear rejection of [the plan to appoint] FX Rudyatmo as the mayor of Solo,” the publication Harian Jogya quoted Khoirul, commander of the Solo chapter of FPI, as declaring.
“Jokowi’s victory in Jakarta has caused FX Rudyatmo to be promoted as the mayor of Solo,” Khoirul said, calling the governor-elect by his nickname. “We cannot accept being led by an infidel. Muslims cannot be led by infidels. We will form a Shariah council to make Solo a Shariah city.”
The FPI leader said that this will lead to making Indonesia a Shariah-based state.
The council is to be established within a week’s time, he declared. He added that the council will not confront the government of Solo but will “work for the good of Muslims in Solo.”
Khoirul explained that after setting up the council in Solo, his organization would set up similar Shariah councils in other areas across Indonesia, beginning with Malang, Purworejo, Purbalingga and Tasikmalaya.
“The peak will be in 2014 when hopefully an imam [religious leader] will emerge to lead ... one who is devoted and committed to fully imposing Islamic Shariah,” he stated.
His views were supported by Munarman, chairman of the Central Executive Board of the FPI in Jakarta, who said on Monday that the negative implications of Basuki’s victory in the Jakarta election included his exercising power over many Islamic organizations in the city.
“There are certain important positions in a number of organizations that must not be occupied by infidels when Basuki becomes vice governor,” he said when addressing an audience at Baiturrahman Mosque on Jalan Saharjo, South Jakarta.
Contrary to such radical views, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organization the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) says that religion and ethnicity should never be made an issue in a democratic society.
NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj said that religious and ethnic slurs are no longer suitable in the present-day context of democratic Indonesia and this has been proven by the results of last week’s election.
Despite repeated campaigns against Basuki, the majority of voters opted for him and Joko because voters use sound rationale in making their choices, Aqil added.
Quoting Abul Abbas Taimiyah al-Harrani, also known as Ibnu Taimiyah, an Islamic philosopher from Turkey who died in 1328 after publishing the book Fiqh Khusyatah, the NU chairman said: “Justice brought forth by a non-Muslim is far better than injustice created by Muslims.”
Elaborating on this, Aqil Siradj said: “A good non-Muslim leader will act justly toward Muslims and a bad Muslim leader will act unjustly toward Muslims.”
“So, let Jokowi and Basuki lead Jakarta. NU has no objection,” said Aqil.
Many provinces and regencies are currently being led by non-Muslims but their religious and ethnic backgrounds have not become as much of an issue until Basuki entered the race in Jakarta — as if his Chinese name of Ahok is so nightmarish that one must be afraid of it, some analysts said.
Non-Muslim governors still in office include Barnabas Suebu in Papua, Teras Narang in Central Kalimatan, and Kornelis MH in West Kalimantan.
On district level, the chief executives represent different religions but their faiths have never become a reason for people to reject them.
Kiera never made it to the beach that day and lived as a sex slave to a UAE couple.
BANGKOK: Her hands still shake when she talks about what happened to her for over two years while she was “working” in Dubai for who she said began as a very “warm and loving couple.”
But after about three months, the situation changed. And it changed dramatically.
Kiera, the pseudonym she now goes by, told Bikyamasr.com that she was in Dubai to work as the couples caregiver for their two-year daughter.
“They were so nice at first, picking me up at the airport and giving me my own room, days off and paid on time,” she began. “I knew from my other friends doing similar jobs that this was very good.”
But then, when the daughter began to spend more time at her grandparents’ home after a few months, the situation turned, and violently so.
“It was an early morning, I think Saturday. I was excited because I had an extra day off and was heading to the beach hotel with my friends,” she tells of the first day of what she said was “slavery.”
As she was showering, she said the couple entered the bathroom to “ask a question.” This was normal, she added, saying the mother would often come in and see how things were going for the young, 20-year-old.
“I didn’t think anything of it at that moment because it had happened before, but when I got out of the shower, I realized they had taken my clothes and towel. I was a little annoyed and let myself dry a bit. I was too excited about going to the beach for the first time,” she continued.
The young woman then said that as she went to her room a few meters from the bathroom she realized that the couple was waiting in her room, naked. She said she was stunned and began to become scared.
“I tried to run, but the husband caught me. The both then tied me to the bed and then the horrors happen,” she says here at Bangkok cafe, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks. “The woman would come over and insert objects into me as she played with her husband. Then he would start to rape me as she did other things. It was the worst day of my life.”
But it continued for over a year before she was able to steal a large sum of money and escape the city, heading to Bahrain where she was able to obtain a false passport and return to Thailand.
“I don’t know how this happened. I was a good worker and never talked back. Then they started to rape me and abuse me. I was kept in my room for days and days, naked and my food chained to the bed,” she said.
Her story is one of numerous stories of sexual violence and abuse of women working in the Gulf region. As a result of the growing reports of violence towards women, some countries, most recently Nepal and Ethiopia, have barred women from working in the Gulf.
For Kiera, she hopes the Thai government will ban all women from working in the countries.
“It doesn’t matter if we have a good job as a certified masseuse, we are seen as objects for men and women with power to do whatever they want to us. It happened to me and it happens to other girls,” she said.
Kritikan terhadap MIC timbul ekoran bantahan parti itu terhadap kehadiran pendakwah Islam dari India, Dr Zakir Naik.
PETALING JAYA: Sebuah persatuan India Muslim yang kurang dikenali, Persatuan Inspirasi Muhibah India Muslim Malaysia (IMIM) merasakan bahawa tindakan MIC meminta pendakwah Islam Dr Zakir Naik dinasihatkan agar tidak menghina agama-agama lain sebagai “tidak matang dan tidak wajar”.
“Kedatangan beliau ke Malaysia telah disalah tafsirkan dan ditokok tambah dengan tuduhan-tuduhan yang tidak berasas.
“Beliau tidak pernah memaki atau memburukkan agama lain. Sejajar dengan itu sungguh malang bagi sebuah parti yang besar seperti MIC menuduhnya sebegini,” kata Pengerusi IMIM, Sabarudin Abdul Rahman di dalam satu surat kepada presiden MIC, Datuk G Palanivel pada hari Selasa.
Sabarudin turut meminta MIC berhenti menggunakan media sebagai saluran untuk menyekat kedatangan Zakir.
Pada hari Isnin, Ketua Pemuda MIC, T Mohan mengumumkan bahawa pergerakannya akan meminta kerajaan menasihatkan Zakir agar tidak menghina agama – agama selain Islam, terutamanya termasuk agama Hindu.
“Kami mahu pihak penganjur memberi jaminan Zakir tidak akan menyentuh sensitiviti agama lain,” kata Mohan kepada media.
Zakir singgung masyarakat Hindu
Berita itu telah disiarkan di dalam slot berita Tamil dua hari lalu.
Pengumuman tersebut dibuat Mohan ekoran daripada laporan media bahawa Zakir menyinggung sensitiviti masyarakat Hindu di India yang sembahyang semasa perayaan Vinayagar Chathurti pada minggu lepas.
Penganjur ceramah Zakir, Saba Islamic Media merancang untuk menengahkan Zakir di empat lokasi. Ceramah pertama akan berlangsung di Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru esok dan yang terakhir di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra pada 7 Oktober.
Masyarakat bukan Islam turut dijemput menghadiri sesi ceramah tersebut.
Dalam surat sama, Sabarudin menyatakan kehadiran masyarakat bukan Islam di dalam ceramah tersebut adalah di atas kerelaan mereka sendiri.
“Kedatangan bukan Islam ke acara ini juga bukan atas paksaan atau disuruh tetapi adalah atas kerelaan mereka sendiri.
“Kedatangan mereka dialu-alukan sebagai pemerhati dan bertanya soalan-soalan yang menjadi kemusykilan mereka selama ini,” kata Sabarudin.
Ketua IMIM turut menegaskan bahawa masyarakat bukan Islam tidak dipaksa untuk menerima jawapan Zakir secara bulat.
Home Minister rejected the setting up of an inquiry due to 'lack of evidence', says Minister in PM's Department.
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not initiated any investigation against former IGP Musa Hasan’s alleged links to Johor underworld figures, Parliament was told today.
Minister in the PM’s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, in a written reply to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, said that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had rejected the setting up of an inquiry due to “lack of evidence”.
This is despite the fact that Hishammuddin having admitted to receiving a 2007 letter from former Commercial Crime Investigation Department Chief Ramli Yusuff’s lawyer.
The letter from Ramli allegedly detailed the actions leading to the exposure of the identity of police informants who had helped in the arrest of Goh Cheng Poh and BK Tan.
Nazri also said that as no police report had been lodged over the matter, the authorities had not initiated any investigations since the issue first surfaced six months ago.
“No police report was lodged over the exposé by Ramli Yusuff regarding the former IGP’s links with these two underword figures whilst he was in service with the PDRM,” he said.
“As such, no investigations have been made by the police over the issue.”
Nazri said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) had also not received a single complaint over the matter.
But he added that the authorities would investigate if any police reports or complaints were made in the future.
Local online media reported in March that several police informants had allegedly been forced to implicate six police officers probing the case of Goh Cheng Poh, also known as ‘Tengku Goh’.
It is also claimed that AG Abdul Gani Patail, then police chief Musa Hassan and Tengku Goh were behind the move which lead to Goh’s release from his restricted residence in Kelantan.
A DAP member leads a group to file a report accusing MIC president G Palanivel of misleading the Indian community.
KUALA LUMPUR: A police report has been lodged by a group of Pakatan Rakyat leaders and NGOs accusing MIC and the government of misleading the Indian community over the RM180 million allocation announced by MIC president G Palanivel.
D Kamache, a DAP member from Pahang who led the group, claimed that the so-called allocation was false.
“It seems like MIC is trying to become a ‘champion of the community’ by harping on something with doesn’t exist,” said the former candidate for Sabai, a state assembly seat in Pahang.
Also present were V Ravindran from PKR, S Gobi Krishnan from POWER, S Barathidasan representing WargaAMAN and V Alegenthran from MIPAS.
The report was lodged at the Sentul police station here.
Recently, Palanivel announced that the federal government had disbursed RM180 million as a special allocation for Indians entrepreneurs.
It is learnt that the government had also set up a special task force called Special Secretariat for the Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs (SEED) to manage the fund.
Kamache however said the special task force and the MIC announcement were just an “eyewash” to gain Indian votes.
According to her, 13 local banks had principally agreed to give RM150 million in loan while TEKUN Nasional agreed to set a side RM30 million for Indians.
“However, there is no special privilege to get these loans. We have to follow the normal procedure to get it,” she said.
She added that most applications were rejected on the basis of not having a business background and other problems.
“So in what way is MIC claiming that it is a special allocation for Indians?” she asked.
Kamache also urged SEED not to waste the people’s time by conducting forums and discussions over the so-called fund.
Meanwhile, Gobi Krishnan said the police should take action against SEED for misleading the community.
Tamil school funds
In another development, Malacca PKR vice-chief G Rajendran sought an explanation over the status of the RM100 million allocation for Tamil schools as mentioned by Palanivel.
On Sep 19, Palanivel stated that the federal government approved a RM100 million allocation to upgrade and renovate Tamil schools in the country as part of the transformation programme for Tamil vernacular schools.
He added that the government also agreed to build six new Tamil schools nationwide.
Rajendran urged Palanivel to disclose if the allocation he mentioned was an additional allocation or the special allocation which was announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in the Budget 2012.
“If what he meant was the special allocation announced during the budget then it is crystal clear that MIC and the Education Ministry misused the money,” he told FMT.
According to him, the special RM100 million allocation was granted to upgrade and relocate Tamil schools with the status of partially aided only.
However, it appeared like MIC and the Education Ministry “abused the funds” by allocating it for the construction of new schools which would be entitled as fully-aided schools.
It was also reported that the expected cost to construct the Jalan Paya Besar Tamil school was RM10.4 million while another RM10 million was awarded to build another school in Taman Keladi, Sungai Petani, Kedah.
“So, in average it would cost more than RM60 million for all the six new schools and the balance will be channeled to partially-aided schools,” said Rajendran.
He pointed out that by allocating the special fund to new schools, it would affect the partially aided funds.
The youth who was alleged to have insulted Islam is being investigated under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
PETALING JAYA: J Gopinath, who was alleged to have insulted Islam on his Facebook page, is currently held under remand by the police.
“He will be detained till Oct 1 pending investigations. We’ll refer the matter to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for advise,” said Klang South district police chief Muhammad Mat Yusop.
The 25-year old youth is being probed under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act and Section 298 (a) of the Penal Code for deliberately making statements to hurt the religious sentiments of another.
Gopinath was alleged to have insulted Islam last week, which prompted several social media users to create the ‘Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’ page. The page currently has 5,529 followers.
Yesterday, Gopinath’s home in Taman Klang Jaya was attacked by several men, who destroyed furnitures and damaged his car.
No one was injured in the attack as Gopinath and his family were not at home.
A group calling itself Jemaah Fisabilillah Klang said it masterminded the attack and even posted on the Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’s page that they would track down Gopinath’s family.
Asked on the attack, Muhammad said the police had no leads on the matter for now.
When pointed out that Jemaah Fisabilillah Klang had claimed responsibility for it, he said:” This is the first time I’m hearing this. I’ll look into it.”
Why did he do it?
Meanwhile, MIC central working committee member S Vell Paari condemned the attacks on Gopinath’s home and urged the police to take action on the matter.
“What Gopinath did was wrong but we should let the authorities handle it,” he added.
On that note, the MIC leader also urged the police to investigate what prompted Gopinath to post such derogatory statements.
He pointed out that Gopinath was riled up over a YouTube video which showed Islamic speaker Shah Kirit Kakulal Govindji ridiculing Hinduism.
The video, which was posted in June 2003, is a 10-part series where Shah Kirit is giving talks to a predominantly Muslim audience about Hinduism.
FMT’s check revealed that Shah Kirit passed insulting insinuations on Hindu gods Brahma and Saraswathy in part five of the video.
The video pointed out that Shah Kirit was a Hindu before he converted to Islam in 1996.
Shah Kirit is currently working with the Saba Islamic Media, an organisation that is bringing controversial India-based Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik to give talks in Malaysia.
Vell Paari said the police should be fair and investigate both Gopinath and Shah Kirit for insulting religions.
“Shah Kirit should be probed as well,” he said.
Vell Paari said at times, some new converts to Islam tend to get overzealous in professing their new faith by insulting their previous religion.
“These people try to act more Malay than the Malays themselves. Shah Kirit must remember that it was his Hindu mother that gave birth to him,” said Vell Paari, who added that MIC would lodge a police report against Shah Kirit soon.
We have a far from perfect democracy but then there are no perfect ones anywhere.
People’s right to voice critical opinions is suddenly seen as traitorous. The possibility of alternative administrations is deemed taboo, a word that has connotations beyond the mundanity of voting, rather like talking about sex is considered taboo.
Marina Mahathir, The Star
IN all the past 55 years, we have been proud of being a democracy, minimalist though it may be.
We elect our Parliament like clockwork every five years or so and everyone is aware that that is the first hurdle they have to get over in order to get into power.
Of course, we have a far from perfect democracy but then there are no perfect ones anywhere.
We can do with a more inclusive and representative government and certainly can do with a more vibrant and free media and more space for alternative viewpoints to be heard.
Still, we like to describe our federation with its constitutional monarchy as a democracy – our democracy. So it rather surprises me that of late, there are voices that seem to say that democracy is a bad thing to have.
For some reason, there are people who think that an elected form of government where people have the power to choose who they want to elect is not a good thing.
Perhaps this is because they are unsure that this type of government will put them into power at all. Some are even going so far as to say that democracy is incompatible with our state religion, Islam.
That’s rather odd because I’ve just been at a conference where an Islamic scholar stated that Islam is the most democratic of religions, because everyone has equal access to God. Yet, he added, most Muslims live in undemocratic states.
This sudden turn in attitude towards democracy has had predictable results. Anyone who talks about democracy is suddenly viewed with suspicion, as if they are advocating that the Devil himself should take over the country.
People’s right to voice critical opinions is suddenly seen as traitorous. The possibility of alternative administrations is deemed taboo, a word that has connotations beyond the mundanity of voting, rather like talking about sex is considered taboo.
If the citizens of a country are not allowed to elect whom they want, then they don’t live in a democracy.
So to say that it is taboo to elect anyone other than the present government is to bring the conversation to a realm that is beyond rational argument.
Somehow nowadays, it is a sin to get our people to think democratically, as if democracy is a religion that teaches immorality.
I remember in my childhood being taught about democracy at school. My teachers would talk about how concepts like apartheid or “the colour bar” were undemocratic.
We held mock elections where we would have candidates and campaigns, including “political” rallies, so that we would understand the whole process of how our leaders are elected.
Of great importance were the issues our “candidates” put up; those who had the best solutions to our issues at school were the ones who would get elected.
Today, I hear that schools are not encouraged to have any such thing in case our children get “funny” ideas.
Instead, we are differentiating children by the way they look and dress, rather than treating all of them as equal.
We expose them to possible discrimination, even violence, even though our Federal Constitution says that every citizen has an equal right to education.
Every day, we have new restrictions on our already limited democracy. We can get arrested for comments we never made just because someone made them on our website or Facebook page.
Some of us, in an already limited job market, find ourselves charged with allegedly working against our own religion even though we are not responsible for anything other than doing our jobs.
Even though both our official religion and Constitution give us rights, these rights are now contested. And contested in such a way that those who shout loudest win, even if their numbers are small.
Yet these same folks would be the first to demand their right to speak should anyone object to what they say.
We need to ask ourselves, how did we come to this state where democracy is confused with “total freedom” and “Westernisation”?
Are Westerners the only ones allowed democracy? In that case, why are thousands of people in those autocratic Middle Eastern countries demanding to have a say in how their countries are run?
Are we somehow undeserving of democracy, of the simple right to have a say?
Opposition Leader Anwar
Ibrahim lashed out at former Mahathir Mohamad, accusing the latter of
putting the business interest of his billionaire sons above the Malay
community and the nation as a whole.
Mahathir had over the weekend called the Malays ungrateful and
intellectually deficient for supporting the Opposition parties, warning
that this would put the nation on a disastrous path.
"He is only determined to protect his family business — Mokhzani’s
billion ringgit contract, Mirzan’s billion ringgit business,” Anwar
was reported as saying on Monday.
"But let me remind Dr Mahathir that when we speak of the Malays, we must speak of the millions of those who will be affected." Umno elitist policies and corruption its own greatest enemies
despite Mahathir's sabre rattling, his Umno party has seen a steady
flow of voter support plus an exodus of young talent leaving for the
Opposition parties of PKR, PAS and DAP.
Among reasons often cited are Umno's corruption, mismanagement and
its own elitist policies that bar savvy young professionals from
climbing up the party hierarchy. For example, critics have often
insisted that top posts and entree into the party's inner sanctums of
power were reserved for the children of certain top leaders including
Mahathir's and 'outsiders' no matter how talented were disallowed.
In a interview with the Umno-controlled Utusan newspaper over the
weekend, Mahathir had warned that the greed of a few power-hungry Malays
in the Pakatan Rakyat would see the country’s largest ethnic group
lose its political power. It was clear he was referring to Anwar, his
former deputy whom he had previously sacked and jailed on trumped-up
However, it is Mahathir whom Umno watchers blame for weakening Umno
due to his moves to oust Anwar and his support for former Finance
Minister Daim Zainuddin, who has been accused of many controversial
business deals that favored cronies at the expense of the ordinary
Indeed, the persecution of Anwar, who was then regarded as the hero
of the Malay community, not only shocked the world but split Umno and
the Malay community down the line.
Anwar, who went on to head the Opposition after he was acquitted of
his charges, rubbished Mahathir’s suggestion that the Malays would lose
dominance under a Pakatan Rakyat government. Indeed, racial and
religious politicking have become hot issues as the 13th general
elections, which must be held by mid next year, approaches.
“On the contrary, I believe the vast majority of the Malays will
benefit more. I think he represents the old, obsolete thinking of the
Malay dilemma. It may be deemed as relevant at one particular time but
today, we consider it obsolete,” said Anwar. Dr M now in charge at Umno?
Anwar was referring to a controversial book The Malay Dilemma written by Mahathir, for which he was sacked from Umno by the first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Nonetheless, the book which endorsed Malay supremacy helped Mahathir
to regain popularity amongst the party's right-wing conservative.
Mahthir then swept to power in 1981 and ruled with a fist of iron until
In recent weeks, Mahathir has come under fire for a barrage of
provocative remarks, many of which undermined Prime Minister Najib
Razak's 1Malaysia platform which calls for racial unity.
hardline approach not only indicates that GE13 is imminent, but
speculation is rife that he is now calling the shots in Umno, pushing
the "weak" Najib into the background.
The 87-year-old Mahathir is also fighting to get his son Mukhriz
appointed the Kedah chief minister. Mukhriz, the Jerlun MP, was given a
deputy minister's post despite failing to win any position in the party
elections in 2008, prompting criticism of nepotism. Malaysia Chronicle