Monday, February 23, 2009

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. ~James Openheim

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Needing to show off

The per-capita income of Malaysia’s Klang Valley is a mere fraction that of America’s Silicon Valley, but one would not know that from visiting their respective shopping malls.

At any time there are more (in absolute as well as relative numbers) Mercedes Benzes and other late model luxury cars in the parking lot of the Mega Mall in Klang Valley than at Stanford Shopping Center. And judging from the crowd, the purveyors of luxury goods at Mega Mall do a roaring business compared to their counterparts at the Stanford Mall.

I also see more gold Rolexes on brown wrists than on white ones. I must admit that the gold color looks good against a brown background!

Despite the residuum of the dotcom bust, as well as the current economic crisis, Silicon Valley still has one of the highest per capita incomes in America, which in turn is one of the highest per-capita income countries. Yet for the most part Americans lack the compulsion to show off their wealth.

This is not unique to Americans. The Norwegians also have a high per-capita income, and their sovereign fund is one of the largest in the world. Norway is also the Saudi Arabia of the North Sea. Unlike in Riyadh however, the most popular cars on the streets of Oslo are those fuel-stingy hybrid models instead of the gas guzzling Cadillacs that are the favorites with the Arabs.

To be fair to Malaysians, General Motors sells more luxury models in China than elsewhere. Gucci and Louis Vuitton brands are top sellers in China, and Beijing has more gated communities than any other major capitals. Members of the Chinese Politburo and top generals have special license plates to go with their luxury sedans. That enables them to park their cars anywhere and to ignore traffic (and also presumably, other) rules with impunity.

In Malaysia, UMNO Supreme Council members too are doing the same. I suppose this was what Dr. Mahathir meant when he urged Malays to emulate the Chinese!

Conspicuous Consumption

In his 1889 book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, the American economist and social critic Thorstein Veblen coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” to describe the propensity of the rich towards opulent displays of their wealth.

It was not surprising that the excesses of the “robber barons” of the Gilded Age would offend the sensibilities of a frugal, Mid-Western Lutheran of Norwegian descent. It was after all a time of undreamed wealth creation, what with the confluence of the Industrial Revolution and the opening of the American heartland, together with the availability of cheap immigrant labor.

Such ostentations were needed so members of the “gentlemanly” or leisure class could differentiate themselves from the peons of the working class. As Veblen noted, the need for such differentiations is seen in all societies and at all times, save perhaps of the ancient hunter-gatherers.

The native Indians of the American Northwest had their potlatch ceremonies where they gathered to exchange lavish gifts. The lavishness and associated waste offended the sensibilities of those earlier missionaries such that they lobbied their government to ban such practices. How noble of those missionaries to save those natives from their “destructive” culture!

Across the Pacific, it was only recently that the Chinese gave up the practice of tightly wrapping the feet of their infant daughters in order to increase their desirability as future brides. After all, only the rich could afford to have daughters with dainty feet; huge feet belong to peasant women so they could work the rice fields better. Thus, dainty feet are anatomic manifestations of conspicuous consumption, the need to show off that you are not of the working class.

In the rest of Asia, Malaysia included, huge weddings and exorbitant dowries are also variants of this potlatch mentality.

Malaysian Philanthropy In Its Infancy

Styles, whether sartorial or social, do change. What were once luxuries and the exclusive preserve of the wealthy – cars, washing machines, and hot water on demand – are now basic necessities even for those on public assistance. Today young professionals just starting out can afford Porsches, albeit through generous bank loans.

Ostentatious lifestyles and visible luxuries are no longer indicators of class differences. Worse, in Malaysia if you were to drive a late model higher-end Mercedes, you could be mistaken for a taxi driver!

You could “advance” by acquiring a private jet, but then you would have to invest time and effort in acquiring your pilot’s license, as with John Travolta. Besides, the “showing off” value of and opportunities from a Gulfstream are limited; nobody would notice you except for the brief time when you are taxiing at the local airport. The Bill Gates and Warren Buffets have access to private jets but through their corporations. Meaning, their cost is partly born by taxpayers as it would be tax deductible.

Among the rich in America and much of the developed world today there is a definite reversal of Veblen’s old “conspicuous consumption.” The new chic is “inconspicuous consumption.”

Warren Buffet lives in the same modest suburban home in Omaha that he has had for the past forty years even though he could afford a Gates-like lakeside mansion. Instead Buffet, like Gates, diverted his vast fortunes to philanthropy, emulating the generosities of the “robber barons” of yore.

To be sure, conspicuous consumption is still rampant in America, but only among the rich of visible minority groups, specifically Blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Before we resort to racial and cultural caricaturing to explain such phenomenon, consider this. Such conspicuous consumptions are still prevalent among Whites, but only those from traditionally poor areas like the South. For the same income level, rich Whites from Mississippi spend more on visible luxuries than those from Massachusetts. Meaning, rich Southern Whites behave like rich minorities.

What governs social behaviors has more to do with your social reference groups than with your race or culture. Rich southern Whites, like rich Blacks, Hispanics and Asians feel the need to show off their wealth in order to differentiate or prove that they have “escaped” from their poorer peers.

When your peers are the likes of Gates and Buffet, individuals unimpressed with visible luxuries, you would then spend your wealth to pursue your passion, not to impress others. You are thus more likely to endow a professorship at your alma mater, fund your doctor’s medical research, buy original paintings, or grow premium varietals for your boutique winery.

Likewise, the invitation list for your daughter’s wedding would be short, to include only the couple’s best friends and closest family members. The celebration too would be on a scale the very opposite of what those rupee millionaires of Mumbai would put on for their daughters. I viewed the video of a recent society wedding in Mumbai; it made the one Windsor Castle hosted for Charles and Diana looked stingy.

Malaysia is still Third World. Its many millionaires including the sultans are only a generation away from the privations of the kampong. Thus it is not surprising that rich Malaysians would behave like rich American Blacks or Southern Whites. By displaying their luxury trinkets, these rich Malaysians hope to bury their plebian past. More importantly, they still feel the need to differentiate themselves from the poor masses. The most recent and obscene example was the late Zakaria Mat Deros building his opulent mansion amidst the urban squalor of Klang’s Malay village.

With continued development, and with average Malaysians becoming more affluent, we could expect this conspicuous consumption to wither. At least I hope so. Such profligate displays of wealth offend our religious as well as social sensibilities.

We are already seeing glimpses of this trend. Halim Saad, the poster boy of the New Economic Policy, may have been grounded somewhat from his earlier highflying days of pre-1997 economic crisis, nonetheless he has endowed through his Saad Foundation a superb residential school in Malacca that is already besting the venerable Malay College.

Tun Daim Zainuddin, another prince of the NEP and a former Finance Minister, endowed the Pok Rafeah Chair in International Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan in honor of his mother. Another former cabinet minister, Zaid Ibrahim, was recently named one of Asia’s 48 “Heroes of Philanthropy,” together with Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, Leonard Jugah and Hishamudin Ubaidulla.

It is heartening that Malaysia has four such philanthropists, the same number as China, India and Japan, countries with far greater economies and populations. I also look forward to the day when the parking lots of Malaysian shopping malls would be filled with fuel-efficient cars, and when cars would be viewed purely as a means of transportation. That would greatly reduce the congestion on our roads and the pollution of our air.

M. Bakri Musa

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Salah tafsir sembah derhaka

Harakahdaily Fri Feb 20, 09 12:14:06 am MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Feb (Hrkh) - "...ada pemimpin yang terajang pintu istana kerana tidak puas hati dengan baginda. Bukankah itu satu tindakan yang jauh lebih menderhaka lagi."

(Bahagian pertama)
Beliau adalah antara ulama terkemuka yang masih berhubung rapat dengan Istana dan Raja-Raja Melayu, tetapi tetap dekat di hati rakyat. Justeru, Dato' Dr Haron Din dirasakan tokoh paling sesuai yang boleh mengupas situasi gawat di Perak terutama berkaitan hal yang digembar-gemburkan media, iaitu isu taat setia kepada kepimpinan dan masalah derhaka kepada Raja-Raja Melayu, dari perspektif agama.
Ketua Pengarang Kumpulan Harakah AHMAD LUTFI OTHMAN dan Penolong Pengarang Harakahdaily AZAMIN AMIN beserta jurugambar WAN ZAHARI WAN SALLEH sempat mewawancara Timbalan Mursyidul Am PAS itu, di kediamannya di Bandar Baru Bangi, pagi 16 Februari lalu.
HARAKAH: Insiden di Perak, terutama berkaitan kegagalan Menteri Besar, Dato' Seri Mohamamd Nizar Jamaluddin untuk mematuhi titah Sultan agar meletakkan jawatan disorot dari pelbagai sudut. Ada pihak merujuk kepada maksud surah an-Nisa ayat 59 yang bermaksud, "Taatilah Allah, taatilah Rasul dan pemimpin di kalangan kamu," bagi menempelak tindakan Nizar yang dianggap melanggar tuntutan al-Quran itu. Minta Dato' jelaskan.

DR HARON DIN: Telah berlaku beberapa kali dalam peristiwa di Malaysia, PAS menggunakan ayat-ayat al-Quran itu sebagai suatu hujah untuk mengajak manusia mengikut perintah Allah sesuai dengan dasar PAS sendiri untuk merealisasikan hukum Allah SWT. Adapun Umno-BN menggunakan ayat ini dan ayat al-Quran yang lain hanya untuk kepentingan dan memberi keuntungan kepada mereka semata-mata.
Ayat al-Quran sememangnya boleh dijadikan sandaran hujah dan ianya ayat 'muhkam.' Namun kita nampak sangat bahawa mereka hanya guna yang di hujungnya sahaja iaitu 'pemimpin di kalangan kamu' tetapi tidak memberi perhatian kepada pangkal ayat iaitu 'Taatilah Allah dan taatilah Rasul", seolah-olah menggambarkan bahawa perintah Allah dan Rasul boleh dilanggar namun, jangan langgar arahan pemerintah.
Mereka sengaja tidak mahu melihat, istilah yang Allah guna, pertamanya kalimah 'taat' hanya kepada Allah. Kali kedua disebut 'taat' hanya pada Rasul dan kali yang ketiga tiada perkataan 'taat' kepada pemimpin. Diulang dua kali perkataan 'taat'. Kali ketiga bila menyebut perkataan pemimpin, tiada perkataan 'taat'.
Ahli-ahli tafsir menafsirkan ayat ini bahawa perintah Allah dan Rasul wajib ditaati secara mutlak, adapun taat kepada pemerintah adalah tidak secara mutlak. Maknanya, taat kepada pemimpin selama mana ia tidak bercanggah dengan perintah Allah dan Rasul.
Untuk mentaati perintah Ulil Amri ataupun pemerintah, ada kaedahnya iaitu yang Nabi sebut,taatlah kepada pemerintah selagi ia tidak menderhaka kepada Allah SWT. Kalau ada derhaka kepada Allah maka perintah taat tadi gugur. Ada hadis bermaksud, tidak boleh taat pada mana-mana makhluk dalam melaksanakan kemaksiatan kepada Allah.
Dalam Islam, tiada orang yang maksum selain daripada Rasullulah. Pemerintah Islam iaitu Ulil Amri ataupun khalifah-khalifah, tidak maksum. Contohnya, Umar al-Khatab pernah dibawa ke mahkamah dalam beberapa kes. Hatta Saidina Ali Abi Talib pun pernah dibawa ke mahkamah semasa jadi khalifah. Mereka boleh terima keadaan begitu dengan berlapang dada tanpa timbulisu atau masalah derhaka kepada pemerintah atau khalifah.
Dalam satu kes, Ali pernah mendakwa baju besinya dicuri oleh seorang Yahudi. Dan Yahudi itumembawanya ke mahkamah untuk dibicarakan. Hakim bertanya Ali tentang bukti Yahudi itu mencuri, namun Ali gagal membawa bukti yang cukup dan mahkamah memutuskan bahawa baju besi itu kepunyaan Yahudi.
Ali kalah dalam perbicaraan tetapi tidak timbul masalah dengan seperti yang dibebankan hari ini. Oleh itu pengunaan ayat itu sepatutnya difahami secara menyeluruh. Bahawa yang tidak boleh dipersoalkan ialah ketaatan pada Allah dan Rasul. Adapun kepada mana-mana makhluk ianya tidak mutlak. Ada ketikanya boleh dan ada masanya tidak boleh. Bergantung kepada keadaan dan suasana ketika itu.
Elok sangat jangan disalah-tafsirkan ayat itu sehingga memaknakan ia seolah-olah perintah yang dikeluarkan pemerintah selama-lamanya tidak boleh disanggah. Itu kefahaman yang silap. Ia perlu diperbetulkan.Lagi satu, maksud "pemimpin di kalangan kamu". Perkataan "di kalangan kamu" membawa maksud "di kalangan orang-orang yang beriman yang taat pada Allah dan taat Rasul".
Bukan setakat itu, dalam konteks di Perak ini, Nizar merujuk tindakannya adalah mengikut kehendak Perlembagaan dan Undang-Undang Tubuh Negeri Perak, iaitu Sultan tidak mempunyai kuasa memerintahkan ia meletakkan jawatan. Sultan hanya ada kuasa membenarkan permohonannya untuk membubarkan Dewan Undangan Negeri ataupun tidak.

Maknanya, selain tafsiran ayat Quran di atas, Nizar mempunyai hujah kukuh dari segi undang-undang yang berjalan hari ini?
Saya sendiri melihat senario politik Perak itu berbalik kepada kefahaman terhadap Undang-Undang Tubuh Negeri. Kefahaman dan tafsiran yang berbeza boleh berlaku. Oleh yangdemikian kelainan tafsiran sepatutnya tidaklah sampai mengatakan ianya satu penderhakaan.
Tafsiran yang ada pada orang awam mungkin lain kepada tafsiran yang dibuat oleh pakar undang-undang. Tafsiran pengamal undang-undang juga mungkin lain seperti yang ditafsirkan oleh hakim-hakim di mahkamah. Semua ini kena ambil kira.
Kes Perak, saya sendiri faham bahawa seorang menteri besar yang dilantik secara sah mengikut amalan negeri, akan gugur jawatannya hanya melalui tiga sebab sahaja.Yang pertama, jika dia letak jawatan, kedua kalau Dun dibubarkan dan ketiga jika ada undi tidak percaya yang dikemukakan dalam sidang Dun. Itu saja tiga cara untuk memberhentikan seorang menteri besar. Jadi, tidak berlaku satu pun daripada tiga itu.
Dengan sendirinya, beliau masih lagi Menteri Besar yang sah.Tiba-tiba ada lantikan menteri besar yang kedua. Maka timbul persoalan, sahkah yang kedua itu, dalam keadaan Nizar masih lagi memegang jawatan? Ini memerlukan kepada keputusan yang perlu dibuat oleh pengamal undang-undang rasmi ataupun perintah mahkamah.
Ada kes seumpamanya iaitu kes 1966, membabitkan Ketua Menteri Sarawak Stephen Kalong Ningkan, yang menyebabkan krisis tafsiran perlembangaan di negeri Sarawak. Undang-undang Tubuh Sarawak tidak jauh bezanya macam di Semenanjung seperti di Perak. Akhirnya kes itu sampai di Mahkamah Tinggi Borneo yang memutuskan perlembagaan negeri menyebut bahawa kehilangan kepercayaan seorang Ketua Menteri hanya boleh ditunjukkan melalui undang-undang, iaitu undi tidak percaya dalam dewan.
Oleh kerana ini tidak berlaku dalam Dun Sarawak, maka Kalong Ningkan terus menjadi Ketua Menteri. Tidak berlaku pula kata beliau melawan atau melanggar undang-undang.
Hal sama berlaku di Perak, jika mahu memberhentikan seorang menteri besar, sepatutnya undang-undang tubuh itu jadi penentu. Jika nak digugurkan, gugurkanlah dengan tiga cara itu tadi. Bagi saya, kenapa perlu Nizar letak jawatan sedangkan ketika itu masih ada 28 kerusi Pakatan, juga 28 kerusi BN dan tiga kerusi bebas. Mengapa dia mesti letak jawatan?
Adapun tiga Adun yang bebas itu, selama-lamanya bebas. Mereka boleh undi kekalkan atau singkirkan menteri besar. Yang penting, semua mesti dilakukan dengan undi tidak percaya. Kalau di luar dewan mengaku nak sokong BN, adakah pengakuan luar dewan dikira ada kesan undang-undang atau boleh diguna dari sudut undang-undang tubuh negeri?
Jadi wajar Dun dibubarkan dan kembali mandat pada rakyat. Rakyat yang pilih, biar rakyat yang menentukan semula. Nizar tidak meletakkan jawatan kerana dia memegang amanah rakyat,dia hendak kembalikan semula kepada rakyat. Itu tafsirannnya.Saya tidak nafikan Tuanku Sultan ada tafsirannya.
Jadi jika ada perselisihan tafsiran undang-undang, maka saya tidak fikir itu boleh dinamakan sebagai derhaka. Itu proses biasa dalam amalam demokrasi, telah berlaku di Malaysia dan mana-mana negara di dunia. Ini bukan kali pertama di Perak. Ini sepatutnya diselesaikan dengan cara paling baik iaitu, kembalikan kepada rakyat. Biar rakyat yang menentukan.
Atau kita berlapang dada dan bersabar sedikit, biar Mahkamah Tinggi memutuskan kesahihan perlantikan menteri besar kedua.

Dengan membawa isu ini ke mahkamah, sesetengah pihak melihat tindakan undang-undang itu boleh meletakkan kedudukan Raja-Raja Melayu terjejas dan menyebabkan institusi istana tercalar dari segi kemuliaan dan penghormatan rakyat. Apa pandangan Dato?

Dalam sejarah di Malaysia, sudah ada beberapa kes membabitkan raja yang dibawa ke mahkamah, maka ia bukan kali pertama berlaku. Ini pada saya tidak menjejaskan kemuliaan Raja-raja.Saya ingin menegaskan Raja-Raja Melayu perlu kekal pada takhta mereka. Rakyat perlu bersatu dan mengekalkan kedudukan mereka. Tetapi itu tidak bermakna secara mutlak ataupun dianggap peluang untuk melakukan apa saja oleh seorang raja.
Merujuk kes di Perak, tidak timbul terjejasnya institusi raja. Keputusan Sultan Perak dikira wajar bagi pihak sultan dan kewajaran Nizar juga ada dipihak rakyat. Kedua-duanya memikirkan kewajaran masing-masing. Ia proses biasa dalam sistem demokrasi berParlimen dan raja berperlembagaan.
Jika perlu, ia seharusnya diputuskan di mahkamah, tetapi pilihan lebih terbaik adalah bubarkan Dun, untuk diadakan pilihan raya seluruh negeri semula.Memang tidak terjejas institusi raja-raja kerana kita kembalikan hak kepada rakyat yang ikhlas mahu membuat pilihan pemimpin mereka sendiri. Kita perlu sangat menjaga raja-raja tetapi bukanlah sesuatu yang ganjil pada masa sama diadakan pilihan raya negeri.

Istilah 'sembah derhaka' yang dilafazkan Dato' Ser Nizar ketika menghadap Sultan telah menimbulkan tanggapan negatif, terutama oleh pihak media, walaupun sudah dijelaskan oleh pakar perundangan juga pakar bahasa. Malah Dato' sendiri turut mengulasnya, tetapi Menteri Besar Perak itu tetap dilabel penderhaka hanya kerana istilah istana itu. Mohon Dato' jelaskan lebih lanjut maksud sebenar istilah 'sembah derhaka' itu.
Istilah 'sembah derhaka' bukan bermaksud perbuatan menderhaka tetapi sengaja pihak-pihak tertentu dan media arus perdana 'menangguk di air yang keruh'. Mereka telah mengungkit dan membesar-besarkan bahawa apabila Nizar 'sembah derhaka', seolah-olah ianya 'confrim' derhaka kepada raja.
'Sembah derhaka' bermaksud apa yang diminta oleh seorang Raja atau Sultan tidak dapat dipenuhi atau ditunaikan oleh seorang hamba rakyat, sama ada kecil atau yang besar. Justeru, seseorang rakyat akan menuturkan bahawa 'patik sembah derhaka'. Ia bukan bermaksud perbuatan menderhaka, melawan atau menyakiti raja.
Contoh terdekat, minggu lepas saya dititah untuk mengadap seorang Raja di Kuala Lumpur. Tetapi saya tidak dapat hadir kerana ada urusan lain, lalu saya terpaksa memaklumkan bahawasaya terpaksa 'sembah derhaka' dan meminta tarikh lain untuk bertemu.Maknanya, kehendak raja saya tidak boleh tunai. Adakah itu maksudnya saya derhaka?
Begitu juga apabila saya mahu dilantik untuk menjadi Mufti di sebuah negeri, dan waktu saya nak menolak saya sebut 'patik terpaksa sembah derhaka'. Dan bukan sekali saya, dalam konteks berurusan dengan Tuanku Raja-Rama Melayu, yang mana saya terpaksa 'sembah derhaka'. Ia suatu istilah bahasa istana.Dan tidak timbul soal kemurkaan raja kerana itu istilah yang lazim diguna pakai.
Tidak sepatutnya pihak-pihak tertentu memperalatkan istilah yang dipakai Nizar, 'sembah derhaka' sebagai perbuatan derhaka yang sebenarnya. Dari sudut bahasa, ia dilafazkan apabila apa yang diminta raja itu tidak boleh ditunaikan. Apabila diberikan sebab-sebab yang munasabah kepada raja maka ia bukanlah derhaka.Kalau itu dianggap derhaka, sebenarnya banyaklah perbuatan derhaka kepada raja, tetapi ia tidak pernah ditonjolkan.
Saya tidak mahu sebut kronologi yang jelas tentang perbuatan menderhaka dan menyakiti raja ini kerana tidak mahu terdedah kepada umum wujudnya pihak-pihak tertentu yang memang benarderhaka kepada raja sehingga menggambarkan wujud masalah antara istana dan pihak-pihak tertentu itu.
Ada menteri besar yang sepatutnya tiap minggu pada hari tertentu menghadap raja untuk memberi taklimat tentang perkembangan negeri, langsung tak datang. Ada yang raja yang minta wang rakyat digunakan untuk projek demi kepentingan rakyat, tetapi menteri besar membazir untuk projek mega yang memperkayakan kroni.
Ada raja yang suruh menteri besar hentikan projek tertentu kerana membazir, tetapi tidak diendahkan. Ada raja suruh bantu ekonomi orang Melayu, dengan menyalurkannya melalui projek tertentu, tetapi tetap diagihkan kepada kroni mereka.
Malah ada seorang raja yang memberitahu saya, ada pemimpin di negerinya yang terajang pintu istana kerana tidak puas hati dengan baginda. Bukankah itu satu tindakan yang jauh lebih menderhaka lagi.
Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. ~Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Perbicaraan pelik, Altantuya dibunuh kejam tanpa motif?

Herman Samsudeen Thu Feb 19, 09 6:06:12 pm MYT

Mengikuti perbicaraan kes Altantuya Shaariibuu, akhir-akhir ini, terasa seperti ada sesuatu yang tertinggal, iaitu motif pembunuhan. Cif Inspektor Azilah Hadri, 33, dan Koperal Sirul Azhar Umar, 37, telah dipanggil membela diri pada 31 Oktober tahun lalu manakala tertuduh ketiga Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda dibebaskan. Timbalan Pendakwaraya Manoj Kurup dalam hujah terakhirnya semalam menyatakan bahawa,"kedua-dua tertuduh kini saling bersaing untuk meraih hadiah bagi fiksyen terbaik yang diberitahu di Mahkamah dan kedua-dua versi patut ditolak kerana tidak berjaya mewujudkan keraguan munasabah berhubung kerumitan dan kesalahan dalam pembunuhan Altantuya."
Walau bagaimanapun, sepanjang sesi pengulungan itu beliau tidak menyatakan motif pembunuhan Altantuya. Beliau hanya menekankan bahawa kedua-dua tertuduh memang terlibat dengan niat dalam kes pembunuhan ini.
Walaupun disangkal dalam hujah pembelaan bahawa kedua-dua tertuduh menjadi kambing hitam atas tindakan orang-orang tertentu, namun pihak pendakwaan tidak mengajukan apa-apa soalan untuk mendedahkan siapakah dalang sebenar kes itu.
Pendakwaan jelas seolah-olah ingin menghalakan kesalahan ini kepada Azilah dan Sirul sahaja tanpa ada usaha membongkar penglibatan pihak lain dalam kes ini. Dalam sesi pembelaan pendakwaan hanya tertumpu pada soal kedudukan dan alibi Azilah dan Sirul pada malam kejadian.
Kesilapan yang sama dibuat oleh peguambela mereka di mana tiada seorang pun yang ditanya atau diminta untuk mendedahkan nama pihak ketiga yang menjadi dalam.
Kes ini seolah-olah tergantung pada leher Azilah dan Sirul dalam keadaan mereka kini tersepit.
Apakah kemungkinan mereka masih ditekan dan diugut untuk tidak membongkar kes ini keseluruhannya?
Jika beberapa Ahli Parlimen dan Adun yang duduk di luar ini ada mengadu bahawa mereka dan keluarga mereka diugut serta diganggu sepanjang waktu oleh pihak tertentu yang mahukan mereka lompat parti. Apakah perkara yang sama tidak boleh berlaku pada Azilah dan Sirul yang kini berada di dalam.
Bagaimana nasib keluarga mereka. Mungkinkah mereka dibisikkan nada-nada ugutan agar tidak mendedahkan nama-nama mereka yang terlibat sebenarnya.
Secara peribadi, saya bersetuju dengan permohonan peguambela Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin yang mewakili koperal Sirul Azhar Umar, dalam hujahnya, meminta agar ketiga-tiga tertuduh asal kes itu - termasuk penganalisis politik itu yang dibebaskan tanpa diminta membela diri - dibicarakan semula.
Beliau juga berhujah bahawa kes itu patut dibicarakan semula kerana saksi utama, DSP Musa Mohd Safri, yang merupakan pengiring Timbalan Perdana Menteri, tidak dipanggil memberi keterangan dalam perbicaraan tersebut.
Kamarul Hisham turut berhujah bahawa pelanggannya telah dipersalahkan atas jenayah yang dilakukan oleh orang lain.
Menurutnya, pihak pendakwaraya gagal mengemukakan bukti lengkap mengenai pembunuhan Altantuya tetapi hanya mahu orang mempercayai bahawa Sirul terbabit dalam pembunuhan wanita Mongolia itu dan membuang semua bukti fizikal kemudiannya.
Secara keseluruhannya, penghujung perbicaraan kes Altantuya ini tidak memberikan sebarang jawapan yang dikehendaki oleh keluarga mangsa atau pun pihak mahkamah dan pemerhati yang ada.
Motif pembunuhan tidak jelas dan tidak logik seseorang itu boleh membunuh tanpa motif atau sebab. Malah pengakuan Sirul bahawa beliau adalah kambing hitam wajar diberi perhatian yang serius. Sama ada ianya fiksyen atau tidak, pendakwaraya perlu menyiasatnya bagi mengetahui sejauhmana kebenaran itu.
Kini terpulanglah pada mahkamah untuk menentukannya. Saya tidak berniat untuk mempengaruhi keputusan mahkamah, apatah lagi ianya sekadar pandangan dari sisi ketiga seorang pemerhati bebas.
Hakikatnya kes ini tidak boleh ditutup begitu sahaja selagi motif pembunuhan tidak diperjelaskan. Ini penting bagi mencerminkan imej keadilan dalam sistem perundangan negara di mata dunia. Kita tidak boleh menghukum sebahagian orang yang bersalah dan membiarkan sebahagianya dalam keadaan yang amat meragukan. - mks. _

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A man's age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. ~Bishop Desmond Tutu

Sultan Must Read Their Subjects Well

February 15th, 2009

The current tussle between the Sultan of Perak and his Pakatan Chief Minister is not the first, nor will it be the last, such crises in the country.
Contrary to the assertions of constitutional scholars and legal practitioners, this is not a legal issue. Its solution does not lie with the court system. Nor does it require of us to return to the old feudal ways of blind loyalty to the sultan, as some traditionalists would wish.
I am not surprised that Sultan Raja Azlan, a former chief justice, would view this as a legal matter. However, the reputation and salvation of Raja Azlan specifically, and that of the institution of sultans generally, would require of him to look beyond the law for a solution. Anything less and he would risk our country degenerating into another Thailand, cursed with endless constitutional and political crises. Coming as it is during these trying economic times, it would also be a major distraction, one we could do without.
The continued relevance and indeed survival of our sultans depend on their ability to read the rakyats’ mood correctly, not on some cultural traditions, court precedents, or political expedience.
Lessons From The Past
Past experiences have shown that it was rare for the sultans to emerge from these political crises with their reputations enhanced, or the institution of royalty strengthened. Even when the sultans emerged as heroes, they exposed their blemishes. Raja Azlan needs to be extra diligent to make this episode the exception. Thus far it has not been promising.
Consider the Malayan Union fiasco in 1946. The sultans meekly agreed to the British “suggestion” of turning the country into a dominion. Whether it was British perfidy or the sultans’ stupidity, the result was the same. The price tag too was modest: piddling pensions and perfunctory visits to Buckingham Palace for the sultans. As a sweetener, just in case, they were awarded the knighthood of some medieval English order.
Fortunately their subjects, then almost exclusively Malays, were not as meek, or easily hoodwinked and cheaply bought. Under the leadership of the late Datuk Onn, the Malay masses, on the pretext of paying homage, descended upon the palace in Kota Baru where the rulers had gathered. They effectively prevented the sultans from leaving the premise to ratify the agreement with the new British governor, effectively scuttling the treaty. Thus ended the brief and naked British power grab.
It was also a devastatingly effective demonstration of the halus (refined) ways of our culture. Fortunately the sultans correctly read the subtle message from their rakyats. Good thing too, for had it not been for those village peasants intervening, our sultans would today be reduced to the status of the Sultan of Sulu. Today’s highflying sultans must be reminded of this – and often – lest they forget, as they are wont to.
Less than a decade later with the Federation of Malaya replacing the Malayan Union, and with the sultans securely ensconced in their palaces, this delicate balance between the ruler and the ruled would once again be tested, this time in the negotiations for independence. It turned out that our sultans were less than enthusiastic with the idea, at least initially. Not an unreasonable posture, considering the fate of their brother hereditary rulers in independent India and Indonesia.
Fortunately the sultans again correctly read the rakyats’ mood. After all, the pro-independence Alliance coalition scored a near total victory in the 1955 general elections. Despite that, those rulers did not give in easily. They demanded – and received – assurances that their royal status would be enhanced. Indeed the Reid Commission tasked with drafting a constitution for the new nation codified the role of the sultans beyond their being mere feudal heads of their respective states.
The new constitution provided for a new national body, The Council of Rulers, headed by a “King” to be chosen from among his brother rulers. Unlike real kings however, the new Agong would, apart from being “elected,” have a limited tenure of only five years – unheard of for any royalty anywhere. Further, this Council would have veto authority on legislations passed by the bicameral (House and Senate) Parliament.
Functionally this Council of Rulers would thus be a Third House of Parliament, a miniature House of Lords but with an exclusive membership of only nine sultans. This enhanced status of the sultans also satisfied the Malay masses, feeding their vanity patriotism of Ketuanan Melayu.
With their now elevated status and considerably more generous civil allowances, our royal families soon acquired regal tastes beyond what they could have imagined in their kampong days. Now they compare themselves not to the Sultan of Sulu but the Queen of England and oil-rich Middle Eastern potentates. Actually, closer to the Arab potentates! Our sultans lack the social finesse and regal restraint of Windsor Castle but have all the excesses and vulgarities of the House of Saud.
Time has a way of eroding the wisdom acquired from earlier experiences. Royal excesses soon knew no bounds; it would only be a matter of time when the sultans would clash with the elected leaders. By mid 1980s the sultans would face an adversary in the person of Prime Minister Mahathir, a leader whose heritage and upbringing would put him not in the least in awe of things royal.
On taking on the sultans, Mahathir precipitated a severe constitutional crisis. He prevailed but the price was high. Mahathir had to unleash his hound dogs in the mainstream media to uncover every royal transgression, venal and minor, real and imagined, in order to discredit the sultans. It was not pretty.
While Mahathir effectively clipped the wings of these highflying sultans, they could still fly high and far. Barred from meddling in political matters, they found a lucrative niche in commerce. With that they could acquire the latest luxury jets to fly to their favorite distant casinos.
Political Tsunami Impacted the Sultans
Things would have remained the same, with the royals indulging their newfound wealth, had it not been for the political tsunami that swept Malaysia in the March 2008 election. Sensing a leadership vacuum with the Barisan coalition now crippled, the sultans began flexing their muscles. Pakatan leaders, uncertain of their new role, did not quite know how to handle these newly assertive sultans. By default and fearful of appearing to challenge the Malay sultans, Pakatan state leaders readily gave way to the sultans in Perak, Kedah and Selangor.
Even in states where Barisan did not lose, as in Trengganu, the sultan there was not shy in asserting himself. In no uncertain terms and without any hint of subtlety the Sultan of Trengganu rebuffed the UMNO leadership and succeeded in having an individual more to his liking to be the new chief minister. Prime Minister Abdullah was impotent; his candidate was summarily rejected by the sultan.
Not to be outdone, a few months later the Sultan of Perak intervened in the micro management of the state over the transfer of a junior functionary in the religious department, on the pretext that matters pertaining to Islam are the exclusive preserve of the sultan. His claim was not challenged.
Nature abhors a vacuum; a weakened Barisan and as yet uncertain Pakatan Rakyat created this opportunity for the sultans to reassert themselves.
What surprised me is that this power grab is being led by a sultan who is generally acknowledged as the most enlightened of the lot, having served as the nation’s chief justice and who has as his crown prince an intellect schooled in the finest universities of the West. That they chose to revert to their feudal past given the slightest chance was a great disappointment.
This power struggle between the sultans and the political elite, and among the political leaders, would not interest me except that it deeply polarizes Malaysians. That this polarization transcends race is no consolation.
After over half a century of dominant one-party rule, the country unsurprisingly has difficulty adjusting to the possibility of a minority or even change in government. This adjustment is most difficult on current leaders. Things would have been difficult even if the sultans were to play their constitutionally assigned role of honest brokers, but with their trying to reassert themselves, it makes for a combustible combination.
The other consequence to this power struggle is that the institution of sultan will never again be the same. The oxymoronic expression of ousted Perak Mentri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin, “Patek menyembah memohon derhaka!” (roughly translated, “Pardon me for my peasant insurrection!”) will now be part of our lexicon. More significantly, his Jebat-like stance has all the makings of a modern day Malay heroism. This powerful imagery is now indelibly etched in our Malay psyche.
It is not the sight of citizens giving the Perak crown prince the middle finger that stunned me rather that this was done so openly, spontaneously, and in-your-face style. The sultan’s website (put up initially to demonstrate a royal family very much in tune with its Internet savvy citizens) had to be deactivated as it was quickly filled with shocking insults. Even former Prime Minister Mahathir felt compelled to condemn those attacks.
It matters not; the genie is now out of the bottle. The sultans are now no longer what they once were. I do not lament this; I just hope that the sultans recognize this sea change in their subjects.
Nor do I miss the days of a strong and dominant government. That would be good only if the leaders were fair, honest and competent. Saddam Hussein’s government was strong and dominant; look at the devastations it created.
Canada has a tradition for minority governments, and its citizens are not at all ill served by that. Indeed there is considerable merit in having a divided or minority government. That would be the most effective system of checks and balances.
With a deeply polarized citizenry, the days of a supra majority government are gone. It is for this reason we must have an institution like the sultan that can act as an honest broker so as to maintain political neutrality and stability. Now that too is gone. That is what disappoints me most with this latest political crisis in Perak.
If a sultan as enlightened as Raja Azlan could not disentangle himself from this political morass, we have little hope that the other sultans would be any better.
There is a silver lining to all this. Thanks to Nizar’s Jebat-like stance of “Patek menyembah mohon derhaka!” Malaysia will never degenerate into an absolute monarchy. That indeed is a blessing!

M. Bakri Musa

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Find a job you like and you add five days to every week. ~H. Jackson Browne

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on February 3, 2009 4:16 PM

1. Semasa bahagian-bahagian UMNO sedang menamakan calon untuk jawatan-jawatan parti, terdapat laporan bahawa Jawatankuasa Disiplin telah terima lebih daripada 900 aduan berkenaan dengan rasuah.2. Tetapi hingga kini tidak ada apa-apa pun berita tentang tindakan yang telah diambil oleh Jawatankuasa Disiplin atau mana-mana pihak.3. Sekarang kita dengar cerita lain pula. Wakil-wakil Bahagian yang akan hadir Mesyuarat Agong pada bulan Mac sudah pun ditentukan oleh bahagian-bahagian. Mereka terdiri daripada ketua bahagian, timbalan ketua bahagian, naib ketua bahagian, ketua wanita, ketua pemuda dan ketua puteri serta tujuh orang yang dipilih dalam mesyuarat bahagian yang lalu. Jumlah 13 orang semuanya.
4. UMNO mempunyai 191 bahagian, bermakna jumlah wakil ke Mesyuarat Agong adalah seramai 2,483 (jika tiada bahagian yang digantung) + ahli Majlis Tertinggi.5. Sasaran rasuah ialah kepada 2,483 wakil ini. Saya dengar (tetapi saya tidak percaya) sudah ada calon bagi jawatan tertentu yang sudah beri elaun bulanan kepada sebilangan besar daripada wakil-wakil bahagian ini. Bahagian mereka mencalon calon-calon tertentu tetapi yang akan undi dalam Mesyuarat Agong ialah perwakilan. Dan mereka yang dapat elaun mungkin (mungkin sahaja) akan undi calon yang memberi elaun kepada.6. Jika yang menang adalah orang yang menghulur rasuah maka UMNO akan dipimpin oleh perasuah.7. Dan Kerajaan Malaysia dan Kerajaan Negeri akan dipimpin oleh perasuah selepas Pilihanraya Umum ke 13 jika Barisan Nasional menang. Dan pemimpin jenis ini akan sauk duit Kerajaan dan duit siapa sahaja yang berurusan dengan Kerajaan.8. Saya telah berbual dengan beberapa orang yang tidak berparti dan juga yang berparti. Pendapat mereka semuanya sama - mereka tidak ingin diperintah oleh Kerajaan pimpinan perasuah.9. Saya tanya jika tidak ingin apakah yang mereka boleh buat?10. Mereka akan perhati dengan teliti pemilihan pemimpin UMNO bulan Mac ini.11. Jika perwakilan UMNO memilih orang yang diketahui umum mengguna wang untuk dapat undi dan menjadi pemimpin UMNO mereka akan tentukan UMNO dan Barisan Nasional akan kalah Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.12. Bolehkah mereka berbuat demikian? Jawab mereka lihat sahaja keputusan Pilihanraya Umum ke-12. BN kalah di lima buah negeri dan tidak dapat 2/3 di Parlimen kerana mereka memberi undi mereka kepada parti lawan.13. Undi mereka, kata mereka adalah undi penentu. UMNO tidak boleh menang kerana undi ahli-ahli UMNO sahaja. UMNO perlu undi pengundi yang bukan ahli.14. Kata mereka bukan sahaja yang bebas tidak akan beri undi pada calon pilihanraya UMNO, tetapi ramai juga ahli UMNO yang kecewa kerana kelakuan ahli dan pemimpin UMNO yang tidak akan mengundi calon UMNO dan BN. Mereka yakin kalau mereka percaya pemimpin UMNO yang dipilih Mac ini adalah perasuah, mereka akan tentukan UMNO akan kalah Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.15. Pendapat ini disuarakan juga oleh orang Cina dan India. Kalau yang akan pimpin UMNO lepas Mac ini adalah yang terkenal mengguna wang untuk jadi ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO, mereka juga akan undi parti lawan.16. UMNO tidak perlu ambilkira pendapat mereka ini. Bukankah UMNO parti yang terkuat di Malaysia? Takkanlah UMNO boleh dikalahkan!
What luck for rulers, that men do not think. ~Adolph Hitler

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yang Benar, Yang Salah

Kemelut Politik di Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan sebenarnya telah berjaya menunjukkan sikap sebenar “Wakil Rakyat” yang telah dilantik apabila menang didalam Pilihanraya (sama ada diperingkat Dewan Undangan Negeri ataupun Persekutuan).
Persoalan yang perlu kita semua bincangkan dengan RASIONAL adalah, bagaimana mengklasifikasikan istilah dan konsep “Wakil Rakyat” itu sebenarnya.

1. Adakah “Wakil Rakyat” itu sebenarnya mewakili rakyat, dirinya ataupun partai yang didukunginya?2. Adakah “Wakil Rakyat” itu boleh bertindak tanpa mendapat pungutan suara (konsensus) daripada rakyat yang diwakilnya?3. Adakah “Wakil Rakyat” boleh dibenarkan melompat partai (tanpa dikenakan apa-apa tindakan).

Disini mari kita bincangkan perkara yang pertama iaitu Adakah “Wakil Rakyat” itu sebenarnya mewakili rakyat, dirinya ataupun partai yang didukunginya?. Berdasarkan istilah dan perkataan “Wakil Rakyat” itu sendiri, maka adalah sewajarnya jawatan yang didukunginya disandarkan kepada tugasan untuk mewakili rakyat dalam apa jua keadaan. Oleh itu seorang “Wakil Rakyat” tidak boleh merasakan jawatan yang didukunginya hanyalah untuk dirinya ataupun untuk parti yang dianggotainya.

Maka segala tindak tanduknya perlulah mendapat persetujuan dari rakyat yang diwakilinya secara konsensus tanpa beliau bertindak sendirian. Ini kerana beliau mendapat jawatan tersebut atas undi yang telah rakyat berikan semasa pilihanraya. Tanpa persetujuan rakyat yang diwakilinya, maka sewajarnya tindakan yang dilakukan olehnya boleh dipertikaikan malah boleh dicabar di mahkamah. Hanya pengundi berdaftar bagi kawasan “Wakil Rakyat” tersebut boleh mencabar tindakan “Wakil Rakyat” mereka sekiranya tindakan “Wakil Rakyat” tersebut tidak mendapat mandat rakyat.

Bagi tindakan “Wakil Rakyat” melompat parti, kita tidak boleh (disegi undang-undang) untuk menyekat tindakan ini selagi mana tidak dikuatkuasakan undang-undang anti lompat parti. Mana-mana orang perseorangan boleh keluar masuk mana-mana persatuan ataupun pertubuhan tanpa sekatan dibawah Undang-Undang Malaysia.

Namun apa yang boleh dipertikaikan kini adalah bagi kes “Wakil Rakyat” yang bertindak melompat parti ataupun mengesahkan bahawa beliau telah menjadi “Wakil Rakyat Bebas”, beliau sepatutnya membayar kembali;

1. Yuran Pertaruhan bagi pilihanraya yang telah dilangsungkan (biasanya yuran ini disediakan oleh parti yang didokonginya semasa pilihanraya)2. Kos-kos berkaitan pilihanraya (poster, banting, kos operasi dan sebagainya)3. Denda (sekiranya ada mengikut perlembagaan setiap parti) bagi sesiapa yang keluar daripada parti

Bayaran ini perlulah diperjelaskan sebelum tindakan melompat parti (keluar dari parti) diambil dan ianya perlulah dikira bersekali dengan faedah-faedah (interest) lain sekiranya wajar (bagi pilihanraya yang telah dilangsungkan lebih dari setahun.

Dan sewajarnya bagi mana-mana “Wakil Rakyat” yang melompat parti, adalah perlu mereka mengosongkan kerusi yang diduduki bagi membolehkan rakyat dikawasan tersebut membuat pemilihan mereka sendiri dengan seadil-adilnya. Jika Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR) tidak membenarkan satu pilihanraya yang baharu dilakukan, maka satu saman bolehlah dibuat oleh mana-mana pengundi berdaftar (bagi kawasan yang mana wakil rakyatnya telah melompat parti) terhadap Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya.

Para pengundi sebenarnya mempunyai hak yang amat luas didalam perundangan Malaysia jika mereka mahu menggunakan kuasa yang ada pada mereka. Malah Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya tidak boleh membatalkan mana-mana saman yang dibuat oleh para pengundi melainkan setelah hakim berpuas hati dengan hujah-hujah kedua belah pihak (para pengundi dan Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya).

Kerajaan (negeri ataupun persekutuan) adalah direkabentuk untuk rakyat dan sewajarnya perlu mendapat mandat rakyat seadilnya. Oleh yang demikian sewajarnya setiap perubahan dalam organisasi Kerajaan (negeri ataupun persekutuan) perlulah mendapat konsensus rakyat (yang biasanya diperolehi melalui satu pilihanraya).

Biarpun kuasa untuk memperkenankan pembubaran DUN/Parlimen terletak dibahu para Sultan dan sebagainya, namun bagi mendapatkan sesuatu keputusan yang yang adil, maka perlulah para Sultan dan sebagainya melaksanakan perkenan tersebut dan membubarkan DUN/Parlimen supaya satu pilihanraya yang adil boleh diadakan.

Dan tindakan yang dilakukan oleh Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah (bagi kes politik di Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan) adalah bersalahan dengan keperluan perlembagaan bagi mendapatkan satu Kerajaan Negeri yang adil serta mendapat mandat rakyat (pengundi). Oleh yang demikian tindakan Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah ini boleh dicabar dari sudut perundangan.

Saya sedia maklum bahawa Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah adalah bekas Ketua Hakim Negara, namun ianya tidak bermaksud bahawa beliau maksum daripada terkhilaf ketika menafsirkan undang-undang serta perlembagaan itu sendiri, sepertimana diri saya sendiri yang mungkin ada terkhilaf ketika memberikan pandangan serta komentar.

Walau apa pun pandangan saya, saya tetap rakyat Negeri Perak Darul Ridzuan dan masih menerima pakai frasa “Yang Adil Disembah, Yang Zalim Disanggah”, biarpun mungkin ada pihak beranggapan bahawasanya saya telah menderkaha kepada Sultan.

Ketua Perusuh
Bekas Felo KananInstitut Kajian Strategik Dan Antarabangsa - ISIS
Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more. ~Bob Talbert

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Monkey Handler
M. Bakri Musa
In the few months that he has before assuming office I would have expected Prime Minister-in-waiting Najib Razak to be focused on forming his new leadership team and formulating his major policies. Instead there he was in Perak smirking with renegade state politicians who had crossed over to his Barisan coalition. Najib looked like a mischievous monkey handler who had successfully enticed a couple of wily monyets from the neighbor’s coconut tree to his.
In these perilous times Najib is more a slimy backroom political operative consumed with concocting shady deals than a national leader ready to steer the nation through tough economic and other challenges. This latest and unneeded upheaval in Perak only adds to Malaysia’s already muddled political climate, and comes at a time when the nation can ill afford this distraction. Najib is oblivious of the evolving global economic disaster and its inevitable impact on Malaysia.
These handlers too behave like the monkeys they keep. After finishing his latest act in Perak, Najib stayed away. The monkey handler’s interest, like that of the monkeys they keep, was only in creating mischief. Once that is achieved, then he is gone so as to avoid getting entangled.
Initially Najib had planned to join in the Chinese New Year celebration in Ipoh to soak in what he expected would be a sea of public applause to his latest monkey act. Instead because of the unanticipated sea change in public mood, Najib wisely skipped the event. At least he knew when and where he would no longer be welcomed.
Najib should remember that Abdullah Badawi rode into office with the highest approval ratings, and an untainted “Mr. Clean” image to boot. Yet today, less than five years later, Abdullah is being pushed out of office, and his legacy is anything but clean. Najib has yet to assume office and already his approval rating is under 50 percent, and his public image severely tainted by assorted sordid scandals. His public portraits are now being used for stomping muddy shoes. Rest assured that these are only the beginning.
A Chinese proverb has it that it takes three generations to destroy an enterprise. The first starts it; the second builds on it; while the pampered third squanders it. Najib Razak is determined to truncate that process. He is set to destroy a once proud and successful organization – UMNO – which his late father was so instrumental in starting and building.
Najib will bring UMNO down with him, as prophesied by some ancient soothsayer’s “RAHMAN” theory of leadership. The challenge is to ensure that UMNO’s inevitable implosion under Najib would not also take Malaysia down with it.
Our Cultural Burden
If not for his family and political pedigrees, Najib Razak would today be like thousands of other Malays with similar qualifications, nothing more than a midlevel functionary in the civil service or one of the many Government-linked companies.
He was just old enough when his father died to benefit from the generosities and tributes of a nation in need to express them in gratitude to a great patriot that was his father. Remembering the father’s many great deeds, the nation could not do enough for his son; hence Najib meteoric rise.
The dilemma with having your path smoothed out for you is that once you reach the top, there is no one there to grease the trail ahead. From then on you are on your own, and you ill prepared for it.
It is our cultural tradition that such generosities and tributes are showered almost exclusively upon the first-born son. The assumption is that he is the carrier of the father’s traits. This of course is not unique to Malay culture; nor is there a biological basis to that assumption.
I wish we had not been a slave to our culture. By all means shower our gratitude to the late Tun Razak’s family, but then let us be more prudent and choose the smartest or most promising from among his five children to groom, not necessarily only the first born.
Tun Razak’s other sons are way head and shoulders above Najib. The youngest, Nazir, is a banker. Even though he is not a politician, nonetheless his public utterances reflect not only a first-rate mind but also someone very much aware of the many challenges facing our nation. He has also put forth novel ideas on solving them. Unfortunately, Najib is culturally constrained from taking advice from his youngest brother Nazir.
Last year Nazir suggested granting amnesty to corrupt individuals in return for their confessions and making good their loot, prior to implementing tougher laws. To say that it was a radical idea would be an understatement but on reflection, there is considerable merit to his suggestion. At the very least we would get a measure of the magnitude of the problem and its infinite variations. That could help us design better laws and ways to combat the scourge.
Recently Nazir chastised the leadership for not going beyond orthodox fiscal stimulus and monetary measures to meet the current economic crisis. He suggested re-examining the New Economic Policy, with particular reference to minimizing its drag on the economy. He also called for greater collaborations with the emerging giant economies in the region, specifically China, India and the Middle East. Most of all I like his idea of attracting foreign talents, especially into the education sector.
These are the kinds of innovative thinking we yearn from our leaders, not their endless monkeying around with fence-hopping politicians. In chastising the “leadership,” Nazir has shown that he is not constrained by our cultural norms; he has in effect criticized his oldest brother’s leadership.
Monkey Story
There was this story of a peddler of hats who one day fell asleep under a tree in the heat of the day. When he woke up, his hats were all gone except for the one on his head. On looking up he saw the monkeys in the tree with hats. The peddler tried all manner of tricks to induce those monkeys to part with their newfound toys, but to no avail. In disgust he threw his hat to the ground and stomped off. In the finest “monkey see, monkey do” mode, the apes did the same, and that was how the peddler recovered his merchandise.
A generation later it was the peddler’s son who fell asleep under the same tree. He too lost his hats to the monkeys. Remembering the lesson imparted from his father, the young man threw his hat to the ground. At which point the monkeys laughed at him. “You are not getting your hats back,” they scoffed, “we learned your trick from our parents!”
When Najib enticed those monkeys of politics to Barisan, he stole a play from Anwar Ibrahim’s game book. Anwar may rightly feel flattered by Najib’s imitating, or more correctly, aping. However, like the hat-peddler’s son, Najib may have learned his lesson well but what he may not realize is that those political monkeys too had learned their lessons! They are making a monkey of Najib.
When you have a bunch of monkeys and an equally mischievous as well as irresponsible handler, there is no telling what lasting damage they could inflict. It is time to let Najib out of his monkey business and free those monyet under his keep to once again roam the jungle where they belong. If out of habit they still hang around us waiting for their bananas and making a pest of themselves, then we should kill a rooster or two. That would scare away those monkeys.

Nik Aziz pohon supaya Sultan terima nasihat dari yang layak


Mursyidul Am PAS, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat berkata, status Institusi Raja akan terjejas di mata rakyat kalau Raja mendengar dan akur menerima nasihat (advise) dari orang lain.Bagi beliau, Menteri Besar dalam sesebuah negeri adalah mewakili rakyat dalam sesebuah negeri untuk disembah kepada Raja."Orang lain, walau PM sekalipun adalah orang luar. Kalau tidak begitu maka akan timbul bermacam-macam krisis dan huru hara," katanya dalam kenyataannya hari ini.Berikut adalah kenyataan penuh beliau:Raja dan demokrasi

1. Menteri Besar dalam sesebuah negeri adalah mewakili rakyat dalam sesebuah negeri untuk disembah kepada Raja. Orang lain, walau PM sekalipun adalah orang luar. Kalau tidak begitu maka akan timbul bermacam-macam krisis dan huru hara. Ini termasuklah siri-siri jenayah dan pencolekan seperti yang berlaku ke atas Menteri Besar Terengganu, Daud Samad dan beberapa Wakil Rakyat di Negeri Kelantan di tahun 1960an.

2. Di zaman Tun Dr. Mahathir, Institusi Raja terjejas teruk dan jangan-jangan ia terjejas lagi di kali ini. Ucapan saya ketika di Parlimen di masa itu antara lain berbunyi: “Orang politik akan menjadi Raja/Presiden di masa hadapan. Puncanya kerana peribadi sebahagian Raja-Raja itu sendiri.”
3. Sistem Beraja tidak menjadi semakin bertambah. Hendaklah diingati benar-benar bahawa sistem Beraja semakin hari semakin berkurangan. Bertambah tidak. Dunia boleh saksikan sendiri bagaimana Raja Nepal di Katmandu, Sultan Hussein di Singapura, Hamingkubuwono di Indonesia, Sultan Kudrat di Filipina, Al-Malik Farouk di Mesir, Shah Iran di Iran, Maharaja China di Negeri China, Maharaja Yaman di Yaman, Iraq, India dan seluruh Benua Eropah. Kini, mereka hanya tinggal sejarah.

4. Jadi, Institusi Raja di Malaysia perlu berhati-hati benar.

5. Saya sayangkan Institusi Raja kerana saya tahu bahawa rakyat hormatkan Rajanya. Saya sendiri dapat merasakannya kerana saya sendiri juga daripada keturunan Raja Jembal. Selain daripada menghormati saya dari aspek-aspek yang lain khususnya dari hal agama, mereka hormat saya kerana saya juga datang dari keturunan ini.

6. Tegasnya semua pihak perlu berhati-hati dalam menangani krisis yang cuba dicetuskan oleh pihak-pihak yang berkepentingan di luar dari Negeri Perak. Ingatlah, Allah Maha Berkuasa diatas segala sesuatu dan Allah tidak akan berpihak kepada pihak yang berbuat kezaliman. Sebaliknya, Allah akan menurunkan bantuan kepada mereka yang dikhianati dan mereka yang ditindas. Firman Allah S.W.T. bermaksud : “Maka orang-orang yang zalim itu dimusnahkan sampai ke akar-akarnya. Segala Puji Bagi Allah Tuhan semesta Alam.” (Surah Al An’aam: Ayat 45). Wallahua’lam.

Mursyidul Am PAS
Bertarikh : 9 Safar 1430

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life. ~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, February 1, 2009

An expert is a man who tells you a simple thing in a confused way in such a fashion as to make you think the confusion is your own fault. ~William Castle