Archive for September 2010

The Status of Malaysia as ISLAMIC STATE or SECULAR STATE Was Determined By Only Five Supreme Court Judges?

September 28, 2010

It looks like, out of a sudden, the Pakatan coalition is in DEEP TROUBLE. PKR divisional ‘cabang’ general meetings have been marred by FRACAS, BRAWLS, and even PHYSICAL ATTACKS AND FIGHTINGS. What a ‘revealation’ for a party which was formed mainly to promore DEMOCRACY, JUSTICE and RULES OF LAW. Events of the past few days did not only tarnish the image of PKR, but the events TARNISHED the image of Malaysia too in the eyes of the world.

Not enough with that, PAS and DAP, the other two partners in the Pakatan coalition, out of a sudden, are deeply embroiled in ‘constitutional debate’ on the subject of Islamic laws, hudud and questions as to whether Malaysia is ISLAMIC STATE or SECULAR STATE. Today, Malaysia Today, highlighted the ISLAMIC STATE or SECULAR STATE debates again by taking up the newspiece as follows:

DAP will not compromise on hudud issue, says Karpal

(The Star) – DAP will not depart from its stand that Malaysia should not be an Islamic country.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh said PAS should not infringe the ruling by the five-men bench Supreme Court ruling in 1988, which decreed that the country is governed by secular laws.

“This ruling is not overturned and therefore the decision still stands.

“PAS has to accept the Supreme Court’s pronunciation,” he told a press conference at the Air Itam market yesterday.

He was commenting on PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi’s statement that it would continue to push for the implementation of Islamic laws in Malaysia despite fierce objection from the DAP…..”

What tickled me in the above newspiece is the BASIS of argument used by Karpal Singh to support his STRONG CONTENTION that Malaysia is a SECULAR STATE…… a ruling in 1988 by a panel of 5 Supreme Court(now Federal Court) judges. From what we understand, the ruling was made on a ‘specific and isolated case’. The panel of 5 judges DID NOT sit down specifically to determine whether Malaysia was ISLAMIC STATE or SECULAR STATE. Despite that,  Karpal Singh seems to depend mainly on this ruling to support his obsessionbe for SECULAR STATE.

What Karpal fails to see is that, our Federal Constitution accomodated BOTH, the British Common Laws and certain Islamic Laws. Besides spelling out that ‘Islam is the religion of the Federation’, our Constitution also allows for ‘parallel existence’ of both the SYARIAH COURT and the CIVIL/CRIMINAL COURTS. In certain matters,  the SYARIAH COURT reigns supreme. He also fails to note how the Federal Constitution allows the ISLAMIC MATTERS beeing administered by respectives states in the Federation under the Malay Sultans.

There will be no end to LEGAL ARGUMENTS on whether Malaysia is ISLAMIC OR SECULAR. Besides the ‘court ruling’ on specific and isolated case which Karpal Singh holds firmly as the ‘final verdict’ on the issue, the re IS NOT even a single word ‘secular’ in our Constitution. Had Karpal been a PRO-Islamic State lawyer, I’m certain that he would find more evidence in our Constitution itself confirming that MALAYSIA IS AN ISLAMIC STATE.

I wonder how much of Karpal Singh interpretation of our laws is DRIVEN by his political affiliations. The way he MISUSED the legal processes in DELAYING Anwar’s ‘sodomy trial’  is enough clue as to where he stands.

Multi-racial Party or Multi-racial Coalition?

September 27, 2010

Datuk Onn Jaafar, was and is, a Malay ICON. He was instrumental in gathering over 40 Malay NGOs from all over Tanah Melayu, literally means ‘Malay Lands’ , in 1946 to mobilise the Malay masses in REJECTING the ‘Malayan Union’. A new Malay political party by the name United Malays National Organisation(UMNO) was formed as a vehicle to unite the Malays in opposing the Malayan Union.

Malays, united under UMNO and Datuk Onn Jaafar, succeeded in forcing the British to  rescind the Malayan Union. UMNO was CELEBRATED by the Malays, and Datuk Onn was regarded as the ‘saviour’ and ‘unchallenged’ political leader of the Malays. Yet, when Datuk Onn, influenced by the British, proposed to open up the membership of UMNO to non-Malays in 1951, he received COLD SHOULDERS from the Malays.

After leaving UMNO, Datuk Onn formed a Malay-centred multi-racial party called Independent Malaya Party(IMP), and then multi-racial Parti Negara(PN), but did not achieve much inroad into the politics of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Overwhelming majority of Malays supported UMNO, while the Chinese were comfortable with Chinese-based MCA, and the Indians with Indian-based MIC. Yet, the three parties later on form a multi-racial coalition called the ALLIANCE PARTY to secure a 51/52 majority in the FIRST GENERAL ELECTION in 1954.

Since then, several ‘multi-racial’ parties were formed, including DAP, Gerakan and PPP. The parties managed to survive up to TODAY, as the parties are NOT MULTI-RACIAL in the true sense of the word. DAP has been identified more as a CHINESE PARTY and so is Gerakan. And, PPP has been identified as an INDIAN PARTY.

The latest ‘multi-racial’ party, PKR,  was formed in 1999, following the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim from his post as Deputy Prime Minister and from UMNO, to provide political platform to his REFORMASI supporters. Anwar conceived PKR as a Malay-centred multi-racial party, in the same way DAP is as a Chinese-centred multi-racial party. However, PKR failed to attract substantial number of Malays, but managed to attract substantial number of Indians disgruntled with MIC, and English-educated Chinese.

As things developed, PKR has developed into possibly the first TRUE MULTI-RACIAL PARTY in the country, with the membership mix almost balanced among Malays, Chinese and Indians. Even Anwar Ibrahim is seen NOT CAPABLE to maintain the ‘Malay-centredness’ he seeked to maintain.

The COMMOTIONS ATMOSPHERE which marred the PKR Cabang elections of the last few days is serving us a CAUTION, whether to experiment with ‘Multi-racial Party’, or to continue with the PROVEN MODEL of ‘Multi-racial Coalition’ of race-based parties, which has proven successful in maintaining PEACE, STABILITY and PROSPERITY in our great country for over 50 years.

Anwar Ibrahim should have benefitted from the experience of Datuk Onn. But, WISDOM is becoming a rare commodity among our politicians these days….

Unveiling the Back Side of PKR

September 26, 2010

These few weeks, PKR is undergoing their ‘most defining moments’ in their 10-year old history, holding their first party elections after the 2008 General Election. With their rank-and-file being induced with the ‘beautiful dream’ that Pakatan coalition would take over Putrajaya by the coming General Election, their leaders at all levels have started scrambling for ‘tickets’ to be candidates in the coming General Election, to be appointed as ‘Ahli Majlis’, State Excos, and even Ministers.

Its generally believed that divisional-level(in the case of PKR, its called ‘cabang’) Top 5 leaders would be the most probable candidates to be chosen by the party for State Assembly or Parlimentary seats. As events in the last one week unfolded, the bitter scramble for posts at divisional level has unveiled the ‘back side’ of PKR for the first time, for all to see. The contest for Divisional Leader posts have been particularly BITTER, in some cases with 4-5 candidates contesting for the post.

After the first round of divisional-level assemblies which elect the division-level leadership, there would be a second round of division-level assemblies, to elect the NATIONAL LEVEL leadership, using the new one-member-one-vote ruling. Those contesting for the national-level posts would require at least TWO NOMINATIONS for the respective post during the first round of division-level assemblies.

Despite the new one-member-one-vote ruling, the VERY TOP leadership of the party have shown BAD EXAMPLE from the very beginning. One of the party’s Vice Presidents, Azmin Ali, is believed to have persuaded the majority of PKR members of Parliments and State Assemblymen to openly pledge support for him in his bid for Deputy President post. Such move is viewed by many remenicient of Anwar’s move to form ‘Team Wawasan’  to ‘check-mate’ Tun Ghafar in the contest for the post of Deputy President of UMNO in 1993. Its an open secret that Anwar is actively behind Azmin.

Despite that, PKR newcomer Zaid Ibrahim have garnered steady flow of nominations for the same Deputy President post. It has been unveiled that Zaid Ibrahim is DAP’s preferred candidate for the post, and he appears to command the support of the majority of non-Malay members of PKR. And to the astonishment of many, both Wan Azizah, the wife of Anwar, and Nurul Izzah, the daughter, are believed to be supportive of Zaid.

The rakyat will be able to see more of the ‘back side’ of PKR in weeks to come.

DAP and UMNO – Between Racism and Ethnic Nationalism

September 25, 2010

Beyond doubt, terms ‘racism’ and ‘Malay rights’ have become the most UTTERED, WRITTEN, BLOGGED and DEBATED terms in Malaysian political scene of today.

As late as yesterday, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang labelled Tun Mahathir as ‘the number one racist in Malaysia’ after Tun Mahathir cautioned the Malays a day earlier that ‘Malays would lose power if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) defeats the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general election’.

Tun Mahathir is not the only one being labelled as ‘racist’  by DAP leaders and bloggers. However, its still a pale shadow compared to attacks, mockery, insults and verbal abuses being thrown at Ibrahim Ali, the President of Perkasa, for his stands on MALAY/BUMIPUTRA RIGHTS. Despite UMNO top leadership ‘diplomacy’ in commenting on racial-related issues, many, including DPM Muhyiddin Yassin are not spared with accusations of being ‘racist’ too.

Whilst, for Malays like Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa, they are not interested in taking away anything from the non-Malays/non-bumiputras. They are only interested in defending certain rights accorded to the Malays/Bumiputra as allowed for in our Constitution. To them, their stands in upholding the MALAY RIGHTS are in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and has nothing to do with ‘racism’.

Before we form opinions on the issue of RACISM, lets have a quick look at certain ‘academic discussion’ on the term ‘racism’, so that we remain ON THE RIGHT TRACK  as the debate intensifies. Are Lim Kit Siang and DAP subscribing to a correct understanding of the term ‘racism’ or are they MISUSING the term, by labelling others as ‘racist’ to further their own ‘racist ends’.

Let us first look at the definitions of RACISM, by universally accepted dictionaries.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, racism is defined as ‘a belief or ideology that all members of each racial group possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially to distinguish it as being either superior or inferior to another racial group or racial groups’.

And, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, racism is defined as ‘a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority or inferiority of a particular racial group, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief’.

Looking at the two definitions, I can not help to wonder, who are the TRUE RACISTS. The way I see it,  DAP and their Chinese leaders, bloggers and supporters have been the ones ‘indirectly’  harping on the SUPERIORITY of the Chinese over the Malays. Just look at the SUPERLATIVE TERMS being used to praise Lim Guan Eng for ‘transforming’ the northern state of Penang. And, that’s still nothing compared to their ‘worshipping’ of Singapore as a CHINESE SUCCESS STORY.

Are Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, DAP leaders, bloggers and supporters the TRUE RACISTS loitering our once PEACEFUL, POLITICALLY STABLE and ECONOMICALLY PROSPEROUS country, with their wild imagination that the Chinese are BRANDED SUPER RACE, and only ‘their species’ , or Malays guided by them, are fit to rule the country.

On the contrary, are Tun Mahathir, Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa really ‘racists’ as labelled by DAP, Lim Kit Siang, and their bloggers and supporters? Let me, at this juncture, highlight certain discussion among scholars of sociology,  human and political sciences. In scholarly literature in those fields of studies, there are certain terms being used to describe ‘efforts to defend certain race rights within certain territory’ like ETHNIC NATIONALISM.

ETHNIC NATIONALISM is usually contrasted with CIVIC NATIONALISM.  Ethnic nationalism bases membership of the nation on descent or heredity—often articulated in terms of common blood or kinship—rather than on political membership. Hence, nation-states with strong traditions of ethnic nationalism tend to define nationality or citizenship by ‘jus sanguinis’  (the law of blood, descent from a person of that nationality) while countries with strong traditions of civic nationalism tend to define nationality or citizenship by ‘jus soli’ (the law of soil, birth within the nation-state). Ethnic nationalism is therefore seen as exclusive, while civic nationalism tends to be inclusive. Rather than allegiance to common civic ideals and cultural traditions, ethnic nationalism tends to emphasise narratives of common descent.

The theorist Anthony D. Smith uses the term ‘ethnic nationalism’ for non-Western concepts of nationalism as opposed to Western views of a nation defined by its geographical territory. Ethnic nationalism  present in many states’ immigration policies in the form of repatriation laws. States such as Armania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Germany, hungary, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Romania, Serbia and Turkey provide automatic or rapid citizenship to members of diasporas of their own dominant ethnic group. For example,  Italy allows citizenship almost entirely on the basis of jus sanguinis (having an Italian Ancestor). Israel’s Law of Return, grants every Jew the right to settle in Israel and automatically acquire citizenship. In Germany, citizenship is open to ‘ethnic Germans’ (e.g. descendents of Germans living in the former Soviet Union).

There is certain degree of similarities, in term of history, between Malaysia and the countries listed above. Malaysia is part of the old-time MALAY ARCHIPELAGO with its rich history, culture and civilisation. To the Malays, MALAYsia , which literally means ‘Malay State’, is still essentially a MALAY LAND, despite having almost 40% of citizens whose forefathers were IMMIGRANTS mainly from China and India. 

From the above discussion, I wonder whether the POLITICAL MESS developing in the country, in particular after 2008 General Election, is a bye-product of SHEER MISUNDERSTANDING of the term ‘racism’. DAP and the Chinese are making accusations against UMNO and NGOs like Perkasa, based on their perception that UMNO and Malay NGOs are promoting ‘racism’.

While, UMNO and Malay NGOs are making stands against ENCROACHMENTS by others into their TRADITIONAL RIGHTS, as allowed for in the Federal Constitution. Are their stands in defending their RIGHTS a form of ETHNIC NATIONALISM?


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