Sunday, February 28, 2010

Trivial Issues Consequences

(Mingguan Malaysia, 28 February)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia cum Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.

I feel strange why there are many Muslims today wasted their time debating and discussing trivial issues, when there are more important and serious issues that need to be given attention in approaching the 21st century. Issues on the future of Islam religion and the Muslims survival are among the main issues that need to be given attention compared to issues such as whether or not to march when celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. I am confident that all Malaysians understood and already knew the answer. Why should we debate on issues that are already cleared, including issues such as the caning punishment on women who had been sentenced by the court and continuing disputing among them?

In conjunction with the Prophet SAW birthday, shouldn't we better discuss whether the Muslims are following the character of the prophet or not? The disunity among the Muslims is increasingly destroying and many more matters relating to our future in this fortunate land. Whether the decision to march or not, this does not question the faith or the life and death in Islam. What is more important is the teaching of the celebration. What is the use of a large-scale celebration when it has little impact? The best, great celebration, the effect is also great or moderate celebration, the effect is great, too.

It shouldn't be otherwise, great celebration, money exhausted; the impact is little or less. The worst, there is no celebration, the remembrance of the Great Prophet diminishing. Regardless, at least the celebration reminds us of the Prophet's struggle. That's the beauty of the culture in our society showing our feelings and love towards the Prophet SAW.

If we review his biography, the Prophet had never in his life wasted on matters that were not of benefiting. The Prophet's life is of quality in every second that passed. Every moment was used for the purpose of social struggle, in the sense of ensuring that Islam and the Muslims continue to excel, competent and quality. The pride of all is that Islam had spread to every corner in the world. This resoluteness in the Prophet's struggle must be followed and emulated.

Apart from the resoluteness in faith, the main foundation must start with the bond of unity and brotherhood. Both of these elements are the fundamental strength. We only have one last prophet, the Prophet Muhammad SAW. He is our reference together with divine revelation of the Quran. The way of life and the rules brought along had proven to be capable of creating a great glory and admired by the world, none has ever disputed, including the non-Muslims. This is because; the Prophet's lifestyle was the best as Islam brought in by HIM. Hence, there is no issue arises to dispute his credibility from any angles even to this day. Michael Hart (2007) placed the Prophet as the most influential person in history compared to other great figures in the history of world civilization. Are we still doubtful?

Therefore, there should not be any disputes among the Muslims pertaining to issues or problems that had been solved and resolved. For example issues on the caning punishment on adulterers and alcohol consumption. The Sharia court, being the highest legal source in the Islamic countries, pertaining to the Muslims issue, had decided, and therefore respect that decision. The expertise of the learned judges in their fields should not be disputed. Why some of the Muslim women in the NGOs were so anxious? Who actually are to be caned? Why should we waste time holding protests here and there? We seemed to act on behalf for the non-Muslims. They do not need to react because we have become their representative. We are humiliating the court decisions and our own religion. What should be the appropriate action? Haven't we realized that they were clapping their hands when we distance ourselves from the religion and the Prophet's teachings? We are not united nor being brotherhood in many things.

Do we want to continue to allow the Muslims to be immoral without providing any guidance? Are we afraid that among us will be caned later with the implementation of the punishment? Why are we championing the human rights? I would like very much to see that we also fight for the rights of Allah apart from the human rights. Only then we will get the respect from everyone. I'm not saying that the current punishment is hundred-percent adhering to the Islamic law, but at least there are precedents toward that direction. Do respect the decisions because they were under the jurisdiction of the experts. The culture of referring to the experts must be recognized so that non-experts will not be entertained. If you have not mastered the readings of the Quran, it is advisable for you to refer to the learned ones. Do not be like the ignorant acting to be clever for it will eventually be just a waste on oneself.

Offenders must be punished. We cannot allow them to go around scot-free. Fee sex, alcohol, and other immoral activities such as drugs, often lead to addiction. Releasing the offenders is not in accordance to the teachings of Islam after the process of counseling or advice which did not have any impact on them. Disobediences must be tackled, otherwise it will be a cancer to the society, spreading and damaging others.

This form of thinking told by
Eleanor Roosevelt that great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. Today we discuss endlessly on people whom we do not like, rather than putting forward our ideas. The idea or the plan had its pros and cons. Accept the good even though it may come from our enemies, and we should not only reject the bad, but at the same time we should stand together to object. For example, the ultra kiasu plans on the ideas of Malaysian Malaysia. Among the ideas are to allow what is forbidden by Islam in the name of human rights such as free sex, alcohol, gambling and so forth. We do not object if that is what they want to do, but these ideas will not bring any good to the Muslims, but instead will create chaos to the country. So we have to reject and be prepared to face them at any time, whether with arguments, facts and actions. In fact we should discuss the dangers that would happen if we allow those ideas that are against Islam to perpetuate, especially the damage that would befall on our people.

Instead of discussing, we continue to blame others on who are right and wrong. Discuss small issues will make our minds small, not creative nor innovative. This does not include our other lifestyles as we prefer to discuss the life of an artiste compared to the lives of scholars with their researches and statesman with their experiences. In the developed countries, scholars, statesman, entrepreneurs and professionals who had proven to excel will be revered. They will be deemed as high status and are invited to teach at the university and be bestowed the title of professor even they might not have done any researches. Recognitions were given based on their knowledge and great experiences in their life.

In comparison with us, the culture of such knowledge does not exist, instead we encourage the culture of worshiping a handful of artistes when their lifestyles involved with controversies and gossips which are not developing the minds. Discussions like these will only turn off the mind and not toward a quality life. The time has arrived for us to embrace the way people think in the advanced countries which elevated people with knowledge and scholars in high places compared to other matters that are not beneficial. Reading materials or books read by them are high quality, compared with developing countries where the people prefer to read the entertainment articles and news of no values.

Please note, if we read and discuss major issues, indirectly our mind becomes larger, thus producing a nation with strong spirits. If not, we will continue to waste our time disputing trivial and small issues. The main issue that should be the focus by the Muslim community today is related to the unity of Muslims and the goals of the Muslims in facing the 21st century as to the strength to defend from the enemy threats. We should seriously discuss the planning of the enemy movement through the
Freemasonry which melt and destroy the faith of the Muslims through their alliances with several of the opposition parties and the NGOs.

This movement seems to have accessed into the individuals and organizations of the Muslims. Their goal is to separate the religious life. Religion is considered as something dangerous. Preventing the Muslims to unite, and at the same time turning off the spirit of
jihad in the Muslims. If previously the Freemasonry's target was the Christians, today their target is the Muslims after the fall of the socialist system.

The collapse of the socialist system provided a bright future to the Freemasonry to have a strong foothold again in the late 20th century. Economic system created in the new form and was named the modern capitalist economic system hidden behind the veil of economic globalization. Name of globalization is used by the Freemasonry to camouflage the invasion of the new imperialist colonial order on the Islamic world.

Fathi Yakan and Yusuf Al-Qaradawi considered the globalization as a process of hegemony or domination of political, economic, cultural and social development of the United States over the world especially the Islamic world and third world through the process of westernization and Americanization them. They also succeeded in cheating these countries with the term of without economic borders or free and open economy.

This economic globalization is very dangerous because of evil planning by the Freemasonry with their theory of 20-80. Only 20 percent of the Muslim country wealth is owned and the rest 80 percent are left in poverty. Their purpose is none other than to control them. Their next step is to make the Islamic developing countries preoccupied with entertainments which are harmful. Mass Medias and information technologies without borders are used to attain this goal until they cause the widespread of entertainment hubs, captivated singings and increased prostitutions.

In conclusion, what appeared as strong resistance towards caning punishment and Islamic Sharia courts could be relevant to the Freemason movement which are the hot topic of today? Why are the wrong such as entertainment and immoral activities not opposed? Let's think together. To me, this movement had subtlety accessed into certain individuals and organizations of the Muslims. This further led to a handful of us to be no longer sensitive to the problems and the future of Islam and Muslims. The Muslims fought and disagreed with each other. We were disturbed over trivial issues compared to bigger issues and eventually our mind become smaller. Meanwhile we knew the Prophet requested us to be concerned on all big issues that are related to our lives. The Prophet Muhammad said: "Whoever sleeps and do not bother about the affairs of the Muslims, then he is not among them (the Muslims)".

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Be Firmed on Article 152

(Mingguan Malaysia, 21 February)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia cum Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.

I rushed back to the capital on 15.2.2010 merely to attend the invitation from GAPENA, KALAM and PENA as panelist on the subject Malay Language Civilization Discourse in conjunction with The Language Fighting Day 152 in Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Although it was a Chinese New Year holiday, guided by the principles which occurs when a clash between national interests with the interests of the race, then the national interest must be prioritized.

However, I was so disappointed because the number of participants who attended was fewer than 200 people, while the matter under discussion was a national policy issue. Where is the sensitivity in us as citizens in this beloved land of ours? The date 15.2 was chosen because in conjunction with the spirit of Article 152 of the federal constitution pertaining to the Malay Language (BM) as the national language. Strangely, why are we discussing something that had already been the national policy? Why was it not implemented since before?

I was so touched to participate in such forum, let alone to listen to the views of other panelists. The fact is BM was known as the language set forth in the constitution which has no authority in its own land. We are busy with other languages, especially English language (BI) compared with BM. The language was portrayed as not important. The question is, how can we expect others to respect our own BM if we are not serious to elevate BM to be the core in the building of a nation?

We are willing to spend large amounts of money up to billions of ringgit to empower BI, but to which extent similarly or more are being used to empower BM? We willingly spend to purchase computer equipments and all BI laboratories with sophisticated equipments for the purpose of teaching and learning of BI, but whether the same are provided for BM? At times it is difficult to blame the vernacular schools for their indifferent approaches toward BM, when we are not serious to provide the platform to enhance them in this unity language.

I do not think anyone would reject the importance of BI in facing the current modernization and globalization. It is foolish to reject the need to learn foreign languages because it is required by the religion. However do not be too enthusiastic with the foreign language until its own language trade places in its own land. Where had the slogan gone that language is the soul of a nation which used to be pinned in the heart?

Is BI a factor that will determine the progress of a country or to change our attitude? I observed that a number of the developed countries such as France, we will not be entertained if we are to speak English over there, however their country still progress. In Japan, the country was destroyed after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945; they continue to rise up with the spirit of being Japanese. Today, the Japanese remain as a world leader standing tall with the other developed countries. In other words, the spirit of loving the identity and language as the soul of a nation had uplifted their country. Similarly with other countries, they rise up with the molding on the belief in empowering the language as the soul of the nation in all aspects.

Sometimes I felt snubbed, why must I defend BM, after all it is not my mother tongue? Why should I face the condemnations and criticisms from my own race for merely defending the language of others? After consideration, I realized that in fact that the spirit to love the homeland and Islam over turned everything else to the extent of forgetting one's origins. I do not perceive this as a sin as labeled by the ultra kiasu.

If BI is the cause for the weakness in our children, then do a large-scale change in the way of teaching and learning in terms of domains, cognitive, psychomotor, and various aspects of the pedagogy, rather than changing the basic education system itself. Sometimes I feel weird that we were brave to transform the national education system that involve the future of the Malay race, but why are we not brave enough to touch or change the structure of the vernacular schools, when we have the power to do so based on Article 152 and Education Act 1996? We can't even be firmed in reaching to the level of standardizing and increasing the school curriculum in BM. In the end, the national education system is victimized.

I was very impressed with the presence of a professor from Korea in the discourse, who is fluent in the Malay Language. He suggested that Jawi writings also be strengthened in an effort to elevate BM. He said BM and Jawi are very closely related and cannot be separated. Are we not ashamed and snubbed with these types of views? Similarly, the views provided by Dr. S. Nathesan Sellapan who was also in the discourse as a panelist. He said the struggle to empower BM is the responsibility of all Malaysians, and not just the Malays only. This means, the non-Malays must also bear the same responsibility as being done by the Malays.

The question is how it can happen when the Malays themselves are not in unison on the position of its own language. Just look, when the government decided to restore the teachings of science and mathematics in BM, how many Malay NGOs came forward to go against the decision? As a result, others took advantages. We became the losers.

Why are we not acting like the non-Malay NGOs? When the question to defend their mother tongue language and schools, there is no such word as NO, in unison they united their hearts. If there is news or any action to change the features of their schools, such as additional time and standardizing the BM syllabus, they are in unison to object. The government decision cannot even change their stance. Eventually the government had to bow down to their pressure and stance. Whether it is appropriate or not, we should think by ourselves? Why can't the Muslims have this attitude?

At least, we should practice the culture of referring to the specialist, as done in the developed countries. For example, if we are ill, then refer to the medical doctor, and not referring to the doctor of philosophy. Similarly, it should be the practice in the field of language. Let the language experts solve the problems if there is a language flaw or lacking in terms of implementation. Instead, the non-specialist were the ones busy trying to change something that are outside their expertise, without referring to the specialists. Finally, the decision made did not achieve its objective and eventually bit by bits the civilization of the nation diminishes.

Just look at the signage, names of shops and housing estates, do they reflect the Article 152? Are those in the City Planning Department sensitive to this belief? This does not include facility such as suraus which are not available, even there is, it is located in the parking areas that is repulsive. Sometimes I am impressed when the west could understand us better than we ourselves. We look at the suraus in Carrefour and Tesco which are placed in strategic places, beautiful and clean.

Are we not the one who approved this building realized this reality. We want to see and hear many names such as Teratai Park, melor etc., instead of Ki Park, Monte Kiara, Country Height and other types of Height. The western names are considered to have standards, therefore we rush to buy houses in that area and names with BM are considered substandards. Are these names reflecting the spirit of 1Malaysia and Article 152? This does not include the dominance of foreign cultures that have drowned the local music, songs, customs, arts and cultures. If insignificant issues are not addressed, how could issues of significant are confined? I am hopeful that 1Malaysia will uphold the beliefs of being Malaysians.

Regardless, top-down approach is the most effective in determining the direction of a country, rather than bottom-up. Sometimes I was very impressed with the few NGOs that enthusiastically fight for the belief and identity of the country race, but do they get the support and encourage from every parties? I am afraid it is only self gratification. Do not be too political involved to the extent of putting aside the importance of religion, race and country. If that's the case, I would be very concerned that we will be extinct. Do not just be political when having the power or governing for one term or five years. When not selected again, we became quiet. The struggle of the language as the soul of the nation is a lifetime struggle rather than action-oriented.

Consequently, others took advantage. When others dominate, we accuse them, while the fault lies with ourselves for being negligent and not firm. Where will the Malays and Muslims go if they continue to lose their power? Will my prediction be true that the Malay civilizations will become extinct in its own land if they do not have anymore confidence on themselves but to trust the strength of others? While we know that Allah provides the strength to every creature created, it is imperative for the creature to be grateful and not obnoxiously ungrateful.

Sometimes I was puzzled to see that we are so disturbed on the extinction of the species of plants or animals and human rights, but we do not pay attention to the extinction of the language and culture of the nation. Let alone among us with a fixed mind who do not want to be left behind with people who are considered advanced. In the name of globalization, they are easily agreeable, not only providing the way to end the historical journey of the language as the soul of a nation, but also contribute in accelerating the process. In fact, they should be wiser by approaching together with the environmental groups and human rights activist.

Most of us in the third world considered globalization as a new phenomenon caused by the explosion of information technology or the influence of the West, and therefore willing to change such as using BI in every aspect. We must remember, although about 50 percent of Europeans know English language well, however they do not leave out their mother tongue language in the education system of science and mathematics. European leaders such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and others, continue to use their mother tongue in official communications. In the United Kingdom itself, the language of Wales and Scotland, was based on indigenous language regions - Celtic, used in their daily life and education system at the kindergarten and school. They began to realize on how severe is the effect on the fate of the language being squeezed by the policy of using the United Kingdom English all this while.

Ironically, developed countries with their main language as United States and United Kingdom, are encouraging their people to master other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and even BM itself, and to learn the psychic of these nation for economic and political purposes. The education policy in this country allows education in its own culture form starting at the kindergarten level and primary school. It can been said that almost all computer and telecommunication companies of today such as Microsoft, are actively translating every product or products in various languages in the world on the grounds of globalization.

The most saddening part today is that our reaction towards the globalization and advancement of information technology are different from the reaction of many leaders of other countries (including developed countries) which are towards an increasingly multi-cultural and pushing forward their own culture. Malaysia is increasingly lowering its own culture and moving towards a more monolithic-western culture. Let us not become Singapore which regretted on their actions for being too entwined with BI until marginalized their mother tongue language and they are now known as Chinese banana.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be Grateful in the year of Tiger

(Mingguan Malaysia, 14 February)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia cum Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.

Happy Chinese New Year.

When I propose
the formula of equal and fairness according to the population statistics of 60 : 40 (Muslims : non Muslims) pertaining to the rights in the construction of houses of worship, political and economic distributions in resolving the ethnic problems in Mingguan Malaysia dated 27/12/2009, I was denounced, scolded and criticized. To me, that is the formula of equality, putting things in perspective. Lately, the Center for Policy Initiative (CPI) led by Lim Teck Ghee wanted to adopt the formula in the public services due to the dominance of Muslims in this sector, so that zero sum game does not happen. Nobody was angry or criticized him; instead all can be said as agreeable.

Previously, this formula was opposed; now flauntingly want it to be received. These characteristics should be excluded in facing a challenging world. When feel inadequate, need to increase. When already exceeded, became silent, instead if possible wanting for more. Too engross to win big or
ultra kiasu. Who are actually practicing the zero sum game? I am confident that CPI already knew the answers.

Prior to this, the BN component parties which I do not need to mention, was busy urging the government that the public services must reflect the race population which is 25 percent of Chinese, 15 percent of other races. The question is why the formula is not applied in the field of economy or in the private sector dominated by the non-Muslims? Isn't this called fairness?

Studies had been made, providing the answer that the non-Malays were not interested in working in the public services because of the low salaries. Even those interested, they would only choose the sectors that provide higher returns such as the high-ranking positions. In the police services, for example, from the 250 non-Malay youths studied, 80 percent wanted higher rank positions rather than the low-rank positions. This study has clearly indicated the psychic of the races existed in the country on their inclination. Try to understand this fact with an open mind.

Apparently, the trend of deliberately highlighting the negatives or still not enough with the intention of hiding the positives, are continuously happening. This group will intentionally turn a blind eye on history of the public services in this country, which cannot escape from
Article 153 of the federal constitution. This section clearly defined that it is the responsibility of the Yang DiPertuan Agong to determine the reserves for the Malays and the Bumiputera in Sabah and Sarawak by allocating a proportion of positions in the federal public service that he thinks necessary. According to Mohd Suffian Hashim (1987), this rationale was in the early independence, the number of the non-Malays in the civil service were too many, rather than the Malays in its land itself. At that time, the non-Malays were more exposed to education in the city compared to the Malays which were from the villages.

According to the study by Comber (2007), the participation of the non-Malays (Chinese) currently were not many in the public services, because they were fascinated to the corporate sector or the business itself. They were considered as a better career compared to the public sectors which the salaries were just enough to survive. Moreover, these people were ambitious, proud of their cultures, and did not want to be governed and prefer to rule independently. These psychics need to be understood by all. Studies had shown that the perception existed that it is difficult to get positions in the public services sector because these had been taken by the Muslims or the Malays. Even if succeeded to obtain such position, then it would be difficult to get promotion. This argument was further supported that the non-Malays were not quite comfortable working in a Malay environment, because of their upbringings or the political socialization of racial overtones, such as place of stay, education, media and others (Yew Yeok Kim, 1982). Furthermore, the criterion of having a credit in Bahasa Melayu was also another hindrance.

In fact, the government has given and provided opportunities to the non-Malays in the civil services. We have seen so many non-Malays faces holding high positions in the public services including the chief secretary of the ministry, senior positions and so forth, compared to before. Isn't this a change and openness? In the banking sectors for instance, many banks are owned by the Muslims, reflecting the number of non-Malays as many compared to the Malays in the non-Malays bank. This is one of the features of openness in Islam. I request Teck Ghee to make a study on the percentage of the Malays being accepted to work in the non-Malay companies and how many of the non-Malays were being used to promote sales? Therefore, aren't Malays appropriate to be in the public services? Only then there will be a win-win situation.

Issues raised by the CPI reminded me on the RM15 million approved by the cabinet to help the single mothers who are Muslims. This issue was continuously manipulated by the author and the ultra kiasu Medias. They urged the government that non-Muslims single mothers should be included. I do not deny that the government should help those in need, regardless of religious background, race and ideology. The principles of Islam are very clear in addressing this issue.

As the Yang DiPertua for the Parents-Teachers Association in the school with the non-Muslims as the majority, I have approved plenty of school fees assistance to non-Muslim students compared to the Muslims, because they need more assistance after investigating their backgrounds. Do not accuse me of being racist, for the sake of responding to the call of
1Malaysia, without taking any advantages. It is not wrong to assist the kafir zimmi, as long they are not against Islam. What is so worrisome is that a small group that is considered kafir harbi, had openly humiliated and opposed Islam. This group is not fit to be in this fortunate land.

I am not as
cunning as the ultra kiasu to manipulate the idea of 1Malaysia to fulfill their ambitions. I also want to see that fairness is being practiced in the ultra kiasu state which announced wanting to rule according to Umar Abdul Aziz. Why CPI didn’t made a study or provide the same views on the ultra kiasu state in term of economy distribution? Didn't the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz would want to see fairness is done? Including Muslims stalls which were demolished? Why the policies of Umar Abdul Aziz did not appear? I remind the Muslims to be cautious with the policy of Middle Malaysia, including their think-tank which tries to act independently without taking any sides. Actually, there are hidden intentions to fulfill the agendas of the ultra kiasu explicitly and implicitly.

I suggest that studies be conducted, based on the 60-40 formula in all fields with respect to the constitution, not by emotions and wanting to be a champion for 1 = 1. All parties understood that the income per capita for the Muslims are still lagging behind compared to the non-Muslims. This means, in terms of logic, because relatively of the large Muslim population, certainly more among them have to be assisted compared with the non-Muslims.

Similarly with the economic issues, the non-Malays controls have exceeded 70 percent, meaning that single mothers who are non-Malays would have more opportunities than the single Muslim mothers. Furthermore, the lifestyle of the single mother Muslims are different from those non-Muslims. Single mothers from the non-Muslims can work in all sectors irrespective of
halal or haram. But single Muslim mothers are limited. They cannot work in places such as shops involving gambling, alcohol, usury, night club or obtaining their income forbidden in Islam, although I do not deny that there are some who work in such places. This means that Islam has limited opportunities in the field of employment compared with the non-Muslims.

At the same time, the Muslims should not be choosy in their occupation. I seldom see the Malay Muslims in the laborer sector, compared with the Indonesian laborer. It is very sad to see the teenagers and the youth loitering around and wasting their time without any work. However, I am proud to read the news of a few Muslims who were willing to be scavengers with the garbage piles to the extent of losing their life. Despite this sad news, but the spirit to survive should receive credits. These type of group must be viewed seriously by all of us and be assisted through the New Economic Policy and should be supported by
zakat. In fact the problems of single mothers and poverty should not arise, if the zakat institutions are transparently fully driven.

Today we are facing problem because there are few rich Muslims who want to continue to be rich without any regards to others. The characteristic wanting to be rich is good and noble. But that wealth belongs to Allah, it should be shared with others or to save the single mothers. Do not be too busy marrying just a handful of artists who want luxury living. This must be stopped. Many mothers are single mothers who need protection and to be rescued by assisting and marrying them. I am very proud to see the leaders of the country and their wives were willing to come down into the field to help those in need, including people with disabilities.

I think, the time has arrived for Malaysians who are capable to come forward and become the people champion in this issue. Do not just conserve your wealth. When you die later, the wealth can never be brought into the grave. If the wealth is used to help the children of the nation, the wealth will continue to grow and expand. Otherwise, we will continue to hear stories of wealthy Muslims involve in marriages and divorces. Some married today, divorced the next day or a month later. Marriage is so sacred and holy, not to be ridiculed. Do not only value when useful and only discarded when useless. We were often insinuated by the non-Muslims for allowing polygamy. Whereas polygamy is something noble, if treated with care, compared with those cannot polygamy but having women or mistresses. I hope the ultra kiasu will not be angry with this argument because they consented to adultery previously. In building a better 1Malaysia, this basis need to be understood.

Regardless, the culture of requesting and demanding what the Muslims have, must be given to the non-Muslims, requires rational and logical thoughts. If we accept this formula, then eventually we will see in each housing estate, 1 mosque, 1 church, 1 Indian temple, 1 Chinese temple, and 1 each for those who do not worship anything, although they actually do not need. Requirements must be viewed in terms of race history, basic religion concepts and resident population, with respect to the constitution. Then this is called fairness, putting things in perspective.

In my opinion, this is the essence of the idea of 1Malaysia. Otherwise, later the Muslims will demand the economic cake to be based on the formula of 60:40. Will the non-Malays willing to sacrifice and share their more than 70 percent of the economic control? If not willing, do not resort to such cheap publicity. Just be grateful with whatever you have. Do not always accuse others of damaging the race relations in this country! Actually this ultra kiasu nature is the caused to all of these.

Finally, to all who celebrate Chinese New Year, I wish Gong Xi Fa Cai. Hopefully with the arrival of the Tiger year will reduce the nature of ultra kiasu tiger to less kiasu. The year of the tiger teaches us to be more careful in all aspects of life. Avoid feelings of resentment and envy, increase the attitude of gratefulness and accept the opinions of others. This attitude will prevent us from falling down easily, because once we fall, we may not be able to rise up again.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Winning on one side

(Mingguan Malaysia, 7 February)
Dr. Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, Senior Lecturer, National Defence University Malaysia cum Secretary General of Islamic Chamber of Commerce Malaysia.

Incident in the speeches with racist overtones in the recent 1Malaysia Meetings, should be an exemplary for all parties, especially in raising sensitive matters that affect the racial sensitivity. It has been a political practice in the country where an offense done will be used as a weapon to fell a person ignoring the thousand good deeds the person has done. This is the reality that we need to accept.

Thus, we must be careful in debating so as not to be trapped. Arguments submitted must be accompanied with facts. Emotional argument will only affect oneself and degrade the religion, especially if it is not supported with academic facts.

This incident reminded me on the invitation by the MCA Youth on February 2, 2010 recently to debate with them on the Chinese education system together with Professor Khoo Kay Kim. I have to turn down the debate as the organizers were not quite professional in conducting it.

Before the invitation was made, I have reminded the organizers several times that to choose a relatively neutral place to debate such as the chambers of the Public Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTA) and not the Chinese assembly hall as proposed, or at least, the hall near the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. However, my request was not heeded.

The organizers provided a simplistic reasoning that the public halls were all full, except for the Chinese assembly hall. I feel very strange that their youth head, a deputy education minister, could not find another hall, or at least a school hall under the supervision of the ministry. However, I still agreed to attend even if it is held in a place with full of ultra kiasu, because the organizers informed that the debate will be broadcasted live through one of the private television channel.

I feel relieved if it can be broadcasted live. This is because I do not want the debate and my arguments to be manipulated later on. Two days before the debate took place; the organizers informed that there will be no live telecast, just only a normal debate, which will be attended by a group of ultra kiasu. I had to cancel the decision to participate in the debate because of the bias attitude from the organizers. Do not accuse me for being a coward to face with them.

My question is why must we really have the debate in the Chinese assembly hall? Is there no other better places? The reason given that the forum had to be held there because of Chinese New Year is not a valid reason. There is still plenty of time available. What is important is that the forum must be organized professionally, in a neutral place in order for it to be attended by all levels of the society. Then it is fair to me.

I do not want to be a victim manipulated by the racist newspapers and the ultra kiasu. I have had enough experienced so far. The only thing that I wish to remind is that striving for truth is a bitter struggle. We need a lot of patience. Patience is to be followed by efforts to obtain knowledge through reading and study. This is very important so that the facts or arguments submit are difficult to be shot down or disputed.

Even better, let those in their respective areas of expertise do the arguments, so that it has more authority. Sometimes I feel very strange that when those not having any related field of expertise, also want to write and speak until their writings and opinions strayed away. This is one of the features of ultra kiasu.

This culture was also mentioned by Syed Hussein al-Attas as moronic culture, referring to the political culture which has no intellectual value. I remembered the words of a poet of Islam that we should be the one who knows, he knows what he knows, and that is the best. Otherwise, be the next group of people which is people are aware that he does not know and he himself knows or others may not know that he is aware that he does not know. This category is still acceptable. But do not be the human with the lowest standard, which is he is unaware that he does not know or he actually does not know but pretend to know. This last category is considered ignorant. This should be avoided when submitting arguments.

In discussing the political landscape of Malaysia and to eliminate this moronic culture is difficult. We like to label someone whom we dislike without trying to evaluate the facts that were submitted. More seriously until we are willing to reject the good that was done because of political sentiments.

Just look at the political culture between the government and the opposition, which is UMNO (BN) with PAS, PKR and the ultra kiasu party. In the eyes of the opposition, there is nothing good in UMNO which has been ruling all this while, all is bad. Pondering, all this while, was there not even a good deed that UMNO had done for the country? Are we enjoying all this while happened naturally without planning? At least provide opinions even though not many, a few also is fine, on UMNO good deeds. Vice versa, UMNO views on the opposition. Do not reject all. Moronic culture such as this must be stopped. It does not benefit anyone.

As an academician, I see both UMNO and the opposition have a role in democracy. Both contributed in the development of politics, providing a check and balance. But, do not because of being angry of one mosquito; the whole mosquito net is burned. Just because of one person who brought in the problem, everyone is condemned. Just one or two people involved in corruption, all are said to be corrupted. My question, when we rule, is everything fine, no corruption at all?

Always remember the help provided by others, and forget the help we provided to others. Remember the wrongs that we did on others, forget the wrongs that others did to us. Can't we politically engage based with this attitude? Are we not Muslims and related! Why are we so calculative and revengeful among ourselves?

All these incidents reminded me of another similar incident when the strong person of the Gerakan party issued a statement that the Malays were also immigrants. The statement was very sensitive, but not many came forward to demand the person to resign. What was so saddening, this ultra kiasu group supported this statement.

This incident portrayed that there exist a silent pact which is very cunning. They are united in silence. Similarly, the issue on the name of Allah which was discussed freely in the ultra kiasu websites. Sometimes it was horrifying to read the articles and comments that were published. Those who do not worship Allah also do not support us or protested. This does not include the interference by the ultra kiasu humiliating the position of the Malay rulers and with the latest on the late Sultan of Johor? Imagine the speeches made among them to which not understood by us at all. Why some of the ultra kiasu are still free and not subject to any action?

That's what I had always said, if it is on the Malay, the whole Malaysia become noisy, as if there is no other story. If it is on them or their own group, they pretend to be silent. This is the fate of the Malays in the Malay land. If the offense was committed by the Malays then they were forced to resign and to provide a public apology. If is on them, is there any pressure made? Have they provided any public apology when their actions had actually hurt the hearts of the Muslims? I think the Member of Parliament for JELUTUNG understand what I mean.

I see the relationships among our races are increasingly fragile. There is rarely a win-win situation happening. What we see is always a party wins big and the other party is losing substantially. The question is until when this moronic culture culture must continue? In this life, we need to be transparent and don't be only clever manipulating issue for cheap publicity.

I was so encouraged to see how the ultra kiasu politicize the 1Malaysia idea. If there is any deficiency or something that is felt to be unfair, then the idea of 1Malaysia was to be blamed. In fact, they understood the actual purpose of the idea. I still remembered, at one dinner function and it happened that in the function more meat was served compared to vegetables, because the numbers of non-Muslims were countable. Those who do not eat meat left the function immediately protested uttering the words, "this is not 1Malaysia"? 1Malaysia was blamed for not providing equal rights with equal taste which is 1 = 1 or one meat serving = one vegetable serving.

In resolving this crisis, we need to immediately emphasize that the 1Malaysia idea is not a concept of equal rights with equal taste but supported by the federal constitution. The Constitution is a living constitution. Hence, it must be the basic reference in understanding the life of the nation. This is the basis of the 1Malaysia speech that we should use when we are given the opportunity to speak in public, so that what we convey will not be manipulated.