Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ramadan Thoughts2: Justice is next to piety

Surah 5 verse 8 of the Quran:

“O you who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do”

Hatred of others, if any, should not make Muslims swerve to wrong doing and be unjust to them.


Anonymous said...


Here is an interesting thought from Haris' People's Parliament:

16 Sept. DSAI Angkat Sumpah Sebagai PM Malaysia

15 Sept. DSAI mohon restu Agong.

15 Sept. DSAI mengadap DYMM AGONG.

15 Sept. DSAI mengisytiharkan pembentukan PAKATAN sebagai
Kerajaan baru di TV1,TV2,TV3,Bernama TV,Awani Astro
secara siaran langsung

12 Sept. Sidang Tergempar mengusulkan DSAI membentuk
‘Caretaker Government”

10 Sept. PM mengumumkan perletakan jawatan.

9 Sept. Sidang Tergempar Parlimen di panggil.

8 Sept. 5 Menteri & Timbalan BN Letak Jawatan

7 Sept. 10 Ahli Parlimen BN umum pindah kerusi Parlimen ke PAKATAN

6 Sept. Semua komponen BN dari Semenanjung keluar BN kecuali MCA/MIC

5 Sept.Parti Komponen BN dari Sabah & Sarawak isytihar keluar BN

Anonymous said...

a very good article, jabar you should post this..

By Idlan Zakaria

Had Lee Chong Wei defeated Lin Dan in the Olympic Mens' Badminton finals, he would have been the first ever Malaysian to have won an Olympic gold medal. Ah, one young man from Parit Buntar, with the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. ... But there will still be some things out of his reach. Chong Wei will always be, as distasteful as the phrase sounds, a second-class Malaysian citizen.

Under the current system, his kids will not qualify for most scholarships. If he goes into business post-retirement, he will not be eligible to bid for certain tenders. And when buying houses he will not be afforded certain discounts (although if he keeps getting given houses for winning gold medals, this may not be a necessity).

Funny, isn't it. An Olympian Malaysians were proud to cheer on every step of his medal winning way, and for all he has contributed to the nation, when it comes to the things that effectively matter - he is sidelined. That is, the politics of race.

History tells us that the segregation of the three main ethnic groups of Malaysia - Malays, Chinese and Indians - into the kampungs, towns and estates respectively was the work of our colonial masters who were eager to preserve their status quo and their position as lords of the proverbial manor. The lack of interaction between the communities exacerbated the fear of the unknown in the hearts of many - where anyone who was different were viewed with much suspicion, and tales of the other were often exaggerated and misfortunes involving members of other races were treated with a sort of herd mentality that defies common sense.

But the Chinese and Indian communities of pre-Merdeka were first-generation immigrants, with strong ties to their respective motherlands. These ties were not just filial, but often political as well, as can be seen through the support both communities provided to the political struggles in China and India. Such strong ties meant that being second-class citizens in their new adopted country was not such a major issue: after all, the underlying intention of their migrating was purely economical.

Fast forward 50 years and three or four generations, for a majority of the Chinese and Indian Malaysians, ties with the former motherland are all but severed. Yes, their ethnicity meant that they were Chinese or Indians, but effectively and patriotically, they were Malaysians, just as much as their Malay counterparts who are afforded with much priorities and affirmative action policies. They contribute as much as the Malays do, they pay their taxes into the same pot that the Malays do, and they too sing Negaraku and don the national colours. But why do we still allow policies that welcome their contributions but negate benefits they should very much enjoy fester in this day and age?

The Guardian recently featured an article by Martin Jacques, who lavished praise on the Malaysian success story. The Malaysian economic prowess was unparalleled, relative to other former colonies, he gushes. Malaysia is the model nation when it comes to managing multiculturalism - a feat that even Britain, he argues, has failed to achieve. But are we really deserving of such an accolade?

Is it not true that the balance we have is achieved is through a policy that effectively garners the efforts of three main ethnic groups, but only allows one to really benefit from the bulk of government-aided initiatives? Is it not also true that the stability admired by Jacques in his article is achieved because any challenge to the status quo is quickly silenced, and the mainstream media is very much controlled by ruling coalition's friendly factions?

To the naked eye, it is incomprehensible that a policy that affords supremacy to one race while denying certain political, social and economic rights to others is the model way forward. Neither is one where media outlets are mere mouthpieces of the government, as is the practise of denying non-ruling party political viewpoints to be aired through mainstream media. If the UK, for example, if implemented such a system where priority in all aspects is given to the British first and foremost, the country would surely go into instant meltdown.

No, arguably the Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaysia integrate better because of inter-connected cultures. There has been a tradition of Hinduism in the Malay peninsular way before Malacca came about. Food and social customs do not differ greatly. Compare this to, say, South Asians migrating to Britain who have failed to fully integrate into British society. There exists bigger cultural barriers: different food, different societal norms, different religions: a classic case of East vs. West. If anything, we have been lucky that the racial-tinted so-called stability inducing policies have not led us into chaos- both political and economic.

And how not so, for Malaysia has in recent decades surged forward economically through the collective efforts of all three main ethnic races, but do the rewards to the Chinese and Indians commensurate with their contributions to our country? The predominantly-Malay government are all too happy to share the benefits of a collective three-way effort, but not to afford equal benefits, under a tacit agreement among the ruling coalition written at a time when the dynamics of the relationship between the Chinese and the Indians with Malaya / Malaysia was very much different. Should there really be any surprise that many are now speaking out regarding what is perceived to be unfairness? Surely, the surprise should be that it took them this long!

Because the Chinese and the Indians of Malaysia are Malaysians in the truest sense.

A little over a century after their forefathers first set foot on our shores as labourers, ties with the 'motherland' are weak, if at all existent. Contrast this, for instance, with the South Asian immigrants in the UK, who choose to live in their own communities and still possess strong ties with their motherlands. It is not unheard of that those in the UK are married off to distant (or not-so-distant) cousins back home, whether out of filial piety or immigration purposes. Many still own land back home, and annual visits are made with such pomp that befits a pilgrimage of sorts. And yet, ironically, these are the communities that the British government is trying to engage as part of the mainstream; with policies to assist them, rather than push them away.

Fifty years post-Merdeka, surely policies that were written in a totally different demographic climate must go. The affirmative action policies put in place almost four decades ago in a bid to increase the economy of Malays have failed many Malays as it has helped. A copy of a memo of sorts that circulated in the web sphere after PRU12 provided proof (if legitimate) that the government not only accepted Bumiputera tenders, but only pro-UMNO Bumiputera tenders; confirming, really, what many disgruntled Malays already believe: that what is touted as pro-Malay / Bumiputera policies are really pro-UMNO policies.

With dissenting voices becoming louder, can Malaysia really afford to hold on to an archaic political structure that was effective in managing post-colonial integration? Irony of ironies, surely - for a country to be touted as exemplar when it comes to multiculturalism, to continue to build its government on race politics. There is a possibility that we as a country have gotten away with as much as we can with a model that champions racial favouritism. Instead of being lulled into a sense of false security of our success, it is imperative that we must wake up to the threat such policies have created. Racial politics are a heritage of colonial times from which we need to make ourselves 'merdeka' of. Surely, the way forward is for the young to shake off the shackles of racism and move forward as one country, one nation, and one people.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else seen this You tube video?


jahaberdeen said...


thanks for the article by zakaria. it made important points which we all should take note.

To any boy or girl, their kampung is the place where they grew up. They do not know nor need to know history

Anonymous said...

Brother Jahaberdeen,

Now you should "Invite (all)to the Lord Way by wisdom" (16:25)

Let us make it happen,tell them about history ya... all the boy n girl from Kampung.



Anonymous said...

Brother Jahaberdeen,

The verse is 16:125 but not 16:25.


jahamy said...

Bro Ibnumubarak,

You wrote "Let us make it happen,tell them about history ya... all the boy n girl from Kampung."

What do you mean about the boy n girl and history? Please share