Posted tagged ‘UMNO’

Hudud incompatible with multi religious society

April 1, 2015

The Hudud amendment passed in Kelantan state assembly still preoccupies the thoughts of both Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians. It is rightly so since the amendment can have far-reaching consequences that cannot be reversed. It is one way all the way.

Malaysians of all races and religions have to stand united to say a big ‘NO to Hudud’ once and for all to the proponents of this punitive bill. Party president Abdul Hadi Awang said PAS wanted to test Muslim MPs on their support for the Islamic criminal law. It is this kind of holier-than-thou attitude that we must stop. Religion is a personal matter and nobody has the right to test anyone’s faith in God. Islam gets a negative image due to the actions of people like Hadi and hardliners.

For a multiracial and multi-religious country, Hudud is certainly not an appropriate law. Many quarters have voiced their opposition to this bill and now PAS hardliners are saying that the government can save the money needed for operating prisons. This is a lame excuse for someone who has run out of bullet. Ulamas and Muslim hardliners must stop speaking for others. Everyone has equal access to God and these hardliners are not gatekeepers of heaven or hell to decide who is to go where. This attitude of ‘holier than thou’ of PAS hardliners and their UMNO supporters causes huge problems for moderate and ordinary Malaysians of different religions, including Muslims themselves.

This amendment is more about control and politics than anything else. It is public knowledge how the FT Islamic affairs department hounded and humiliated a Muslim bookstore manager after the High Court, Court of Appeal and even the Shariah High Court had all freed her of any wrongdoing. Now, she has to beg this department to let her go and to stop torturing her.

She has spoken up several times:

“My crime was being a Malay and Muslim store manager who could be a scapegoat for Jawi to show its power.”

“I thought the pain and humiliation I suffered for three years ended with the courts’ decisions. However, my happiness was short-lived.”

“Jawi, please let me go off this oppression.”(sic)

Already, JAWI, JAKIM and other state Islamic affairs departments feel that they are above the law. Life will become a veritable hell on earth for those like the bookstore manager if these departments are further equipped with Hudud punitive laws.

We already face problems with having two sets of laws – civil and shariah. These include body-snatching in the midst of grieving relatives and family without evidence of conversion, marriages interrupted because one party has Islam written somewhere in their identity documents and schoolchildren converted by teachers without their parents’ knowledge. The Islamic affairs departments are more keen on enforcing their religious law than on enforcing justice and fairness. Hudud law will certainly complicate and make matters worse.

When Sabah, Sarawak, Peninsular Malaya and Singapore, all separate entities, agreed to come together to form Malaysia, the condition set by Sabah and Sarawak was that there was to be no Islamic state and Hudud.

Yet, hardliners like Hadi Awang do not honor their words, as was seen in the Selangor Menteri Besar appointment. If they do not honor their words, how can people trust them regarding Hudud. They can twist their words and all promises of fairness and light punishment may be broken when it comes to delivering actual punishment. What happened to the welfare state promised by PAS before GE13?

The Hudud issue remains unresolved because Prime Minister Najib is steadfast in his silence. Malaysia has the weakest prime minister now. The Hudud amendment to the Kelantan Syariah Code 11 1993 has put Malay MPs in a difficult position. Either way they will be criticised. The prime minister must at least provide protection for those who openly voice their opinions. Threats of murder and rape must be acted upon by the police. If this is not possible, then there is no democratic process as claimed by PAS.

Umno, the devil’s advocate in pushing for hudud

March 27, 2015

The passing of amendment to the Syariah criminal code 11 1993 in Kelantan is uncalled for at a time when Malaysia is inundated with serious economic and financial debacles and dilemmas. The 42 billion 1MDB loan, weakening of ringgit, high cash outflow, the 16 years continuous budget deficit, rising prices and wages stagnation, rising extremism and fundamentalism supporting ISIL to name a few. While the whole nation is grappling and coming to term with these issues PAS has unilaterally created another constitutional crisis by passing this punitive and primitive law. Datuk Nazri Aziz the tourism minister said that only stupid people will talk about hudud law in Malaysia.

PAS claims that they have tabled and passed the bill democratically but this bill removes all democratic rights of both Muslims and non-Muslims. The peer pressure within Malay/Muslim community silences people from voicing out their opposition against hudud. Even those few who honestly voice out like the satirical artist of BFM are threatened with murder and rape. PAS Ulamas and UMNO supporters of hudud did not speak against these threats. They seem to accept and tolerate rape and murder threat but cannot accept an honest opinion of this punitive and primitive Shariah law. PAS Ulama’s narrow interpretation of punitive laws is reducing the status and dignity of Shariah laws.

Obviously UMNO is playing the devil’s advocate to push hudud as a legislation to deliberately break the unified opposition. UMNO should not spite the opposition to hurt the country and itself. UMNO creates a national crisis whenever it is confronted with serious scandals and internal strife. Operasi lalang and even UMNO Baru were staged and hosted to avert and divert serious challenges to UMNO leadership. UMNO has shrewdly coaxed PAS Ulama faction to table the hudud bill to divert public attention from 1MDB, GST and rising prices.

PAS Ulama faction and UMNO have failed to reckon the sprinkling support emerging for IS militants and growing fundamentalism. Malaysia don’t need more religious laws that will encourage extremism.

The moderate group’s growth and acceptance within PAS makes Ulamas vulnerable and not confident of themselves. They lean on UMNO to gain support and financial aid and this lethal partnership is destroying what our founding fathers painstakingly built. UMNO’s support for the Syariah criminal code 11 1993 amendment in the Kelantan state assembly is blatantly clear after 12 of its assemblymen voted for the bill. It will be a flagrant deviation from the stand taken in the so-called global movement for moderation by Prime Minister Najib.

UMNO support to Hudud bill clearly violates the 18/20 point agreement with Sarawak and Sabah. The first point says that while there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo. Therefore this Hudud bill is not applicable in multiracial Malaysia.

PAS good at scoring own goals.

March 21, 2015

UMNO must be relieved at the turn of focus from 1MDB to now Hudud amendment in Kelantan. PAS without Tok Guru Nik Aziz has lost its focus and falling into UMNO trap. The Islamist party had won both Terengganu and Kedah in the past but then lost both due to its fanatical focus on religious matters and not bread and butter issues. Both the states were lost to Umno, and yet the Ulama faction in Pas finds it is somehow kosher being chummy with Umno, its former arch enemy, rather than being faithful to its Pakatan Rakyat allies. And Umno is skillfully and successfully enticing Pas into the hudud trap that will eventually help it wrest Kelantan from Pas.

Kelantanese revered Tok Guru and voted him in as Menteri Besar. But Pas has lost a spiritual and moral leader and runs the high possibility of losing the state in GE14. Umno has been subtly nudging Pas to amend the Kelantan Syariah Code 11 1993, knowing very well that it will not go down well with the people of Kelantan who are just recovering from the worst flood ever. It is unfortunate that the Ulama faction in Pas has wool pulled over its eyes and cannot seem to distinguish between friend and foe.

A recent Merdeka Center survey shows 81% of Malay/Muslim respondents across Peninsula Malaysia felt that the Kelantan state government should prioritise repairs and reconstruction of homes damaged during the devastating floods rather than concentrate its efforts on passing a bill to amend its 1993 hudud enactment. A similar survey conducted in April 2014 revealed that a majority (58%) of Malay respondents thought that the country is not ready for hudud implementation. But the Pas political leadership is not listening.

Another recent survey shows that 67.5% of Malays, 91.4% Chinese and 89.2% Indians who polled preferred a party that takes care of all Malaysians and not race-based parties championing their own communities. While Malaysians are moving towards national harmony and unity, Umno and Pas are galloping in the opposite direction for their own political survival.

But these recent developments have opened up space and opportunities for more moderate and people-centric political leadership among Malay/Muslim communities. But, of course, the hardline faction of both Umno and Pas will never allow space for the moderates to flourish. Malay/Muslim communities are being suffocated and suppressed by these religious and racial zealots and bigots. Both Umno and Pas are preventing and building barriers for the community to be competitive and strong to face the challenges of globalisation.

Kelantan remains one of the nation’s poorest states and its agriculture-driven economy has remained largely sluggish. The average monthly family income is one of the country’s lowest at RM3168 in 2012. The large presence of foreign workers are stagnating the wages for working class which is largely Malay/Muslim. Even race based parties are getting outdated but PAS is going back to stone ages of cruel inhuman punishment and suppression. Malaysians have to show them the door out.


1Malaysia slogan drowned in debts

March 17, 2015

The 1Malaysia slogan was supposed to be the game changer for PM Datuk Seri Najib when he took office in 2009. PM Najib tun Razak came out with 1Malaysia slogan to win back the non-Malays who have deserted UMNO/BN after the 2008 general election when for the first time BN lost their 2/3 majority and 5 states fell to PR. The slogan was launched with much pomp and pride to turn around the electoral fortunes of BN. 1Malaysia campaigns and slogans launched emphasizing the ethnic harmony, unity and improve delivery to the government agencies and civil servants and Umno politicians. Huge funds were injected into the 1Malaysia campaign and transformation initiatives. Public debt which stood at 38% of GDP in 2009 jumped to almost 55% around 2014. But the national unity, public delivery and corruption levels never improved for the better.

From the beginning Umno hardline leaders nurtured and groomed by Mahathir rejected and did not support the 1Malaysian theme of PM Najib. The 1Malaysia, the transformation programs and people first and performance now initiatives, did not receive the needed support from civil servants and Umno hardliners. Mahathir himself reported saying that he “still doesn’t understand (masih tidak faham)” the concept. Perkasa went to town against PM for introducing the 1Malaysia campaign to unite the country. Datuk Seri Najib was helplessly watching the opposition with Umno, Mahathir, Perkasa and Isma and remained silent without confronting them. Non-Malays knew 1Malaysia is a failure and Datuk Seri Najib cannot pull through the campaign to achieve its targeted goals.

Datuk Seri Najib armed with the 1Malaysia slogan and transformation initiatives programs behind him went into the 13th election in 2013 hoping to wind more non-Malay votes and keep the Malay votes. The non-Malay support did not come back to BN and for the first time BN lost the popular votes. Even though Pakatan secured 52% popular votes but could only win 89 parliament seats out of 222(40%). It’s Obvious that BN won due to gerrymandering and unfair delineation of electoral boundaries. After 2013 elections Datuk Seri Najib dumped 1Malaysia and made moves to win back Malay votes and strengthen his position in Umno. All his efforts failed and to top it Malaysians witness the MH370 disappearance, drop in oil prices and now the 1MDB.

Even though 1Malaysia initiatives did not bring the much needed national unity and harmony, but 1MDB sovereign fund turned out to be swelling pool that might drag down even the BN government. The complex money trails round the globe and the complex wheeling and dealing is simply complicated for even professionals. It’s amazing that a MOF linked company will billions of dollars being handled by personals not in the management using dubious companies and the MOF, PMO, BNM and Security Commission as just watching it happen. Within 5 years since its inception the sovereign fund accumulated 42 billion in debts and still counting.

Assets pasted their expiry dates were purchased with excessive prices and prime lands allotted at nominal prices hoping for high gains on valuations. Excessive loans with high interest rates taken to finance the purchase of overpriced assets finally exposed the unsustainable business model of 1MDB. Billions of dollars transferred out with no questions from BNM to dubious accounts in Cayman Island managed by unknown fund managers from Hong Kong makes 1MDB a thriller story. Malaysians may forget all the other 1Malaysia initiatives but 1MDB will be remembered and quoted on how funds should not be managed. It is sad that a noble initiative turned out to be colossal mistake.

Ismail Sabri is feted by Umno but a fool to others

February 17, 2015

Despite all the effort and talk about promoting unity and reconciliation for the past umpteen years, Umno and its agent provocateurs are out to sabotage that very idea. In fact, unity, reconciliation and national development are the least of their concerns. Agriculture Minister Ismail Sabri’s call for Malays to boycott Chinese products seems to score political points with his Umno colleagues and supporters. Only in Umno are there takers for such perverted and bigoted calls. And he has even emerged a hero.

To reduce food prices, the agriculture minister could have reintroduced the green revolution. Food security is of great worry all over the world. The minister could have proposed allocation of more land for vegetables and fruit and dairy farming. This increased agricultural production will reduce the prices of vegetables.  There is no need to boycott any products.

It is unfortunate that the agriculture minister and policy makers are not able to think creatively and boldly about new initiatives to reduce the high prices of food and consumer goods, especially when the international oil price has dropped by more than half. Since this is an Umno government, it is Umno’s duty, not that of the Chinese community, to find ways to reduce prices. The crony capitalism policies adopted by the Umno leadership since 1980s have led to the privatisation of essential services and goods.

The privatisation of Bernas, Malaysian Sugar Refinery, IPPs, seaports, airports, Pos Malaysia, KTM, foreign workers’ permits to My E.G. services Shd Bhd, supply of water and electricity, tolls and others have actually increased the prices of essential goods and services. Umno leaders and their cronies have benefitted at the expense of the Rakyat, including the rural and kampong folks. The failure of our public transportation system has increased household transport costs. Why blame the Chinese traders when Umno itself profited at the expense of Malaysians?

Our public debt and household debt are at their highest now. Approximately six million foreign workers are replacing Malaysian workers. Wages have stagnated and Malaysians have to continue working even after retirement to keep up with the rising cost of living. Income inequality is becoming worse by the day. Can the minister of agriculture enlighten the public as to who is responsible for this situation?

Parliament has passed a number of enactments to handle any unreasonable increases in prices. We have the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Acts 2010, Anti-Competition act 2010, The Malaysia’s Consumer Protection Act 1999 (CPA), Price Control Act 1946, the Control of Supplies Act 1961, the Trade Description Act 1972 etc. Why aren’t these invoked? Why blame the Chinese traders? The minister and his officials can definitely do a better job. Umno and Ismail Sabri should stop blaming others for their own poor governance, policies and non-action.